I understand that there exists numerous places where the Angels need enhancement. However, unless Moreno really is willing to go for broke for next season, Reagins and the FO will have limited means to improve. There needs to exist some type of priority list, so that Angel’s society, both the fans and the organization, realize the Angel’s greatest concerns from important but more trivial matters. Here is what I believe the Angel’s offseason acquisitions should be in order from greatest concern to opulent, Yankee-like lust.
1) WE NEED A 3BASEMAN!!!!
Unless Brandon Wood proves he can hit during the winter (I’m one of the few hopefuls) or Maicer Izturis rids of his bed’s injury bug infestation, I would be extremely unsatisfied with Callaspo at 3B. He’s solid defensively, but so are the other fifty Angel’s underperforming third basemen. Offensively, he does nothing particularly well. He is not a spectacle of speed and his OPS is second worse among third basemen with at least 500 plate appearances (Jose Lopez is the worst).
Sadly, the options to improve at 3B seem very limited. The blog’s beloved Boras client, bombing Beltre, seems like the most popular choice and the only apparent improvement at 3B that the Angel’s could make this offseason. So unless Moreno’s willing to flash the cash (many believe he is), he and his ninja should be ready to use their imagination. Luckily, I’ve already imagined for them.
All of the quality third basemen are already locked up by their respective teams (Longoria, Zimmerman, Wright etc.) or they come with a price tag to gawk at (Beltre). However, a common and almost always successful transition in baseball is the one that takes a player from 2B to 3B. Examples include Polanco, Callaspo, Infante, Prado, Beckham, Jose and Felipe Lopez, and Figgins. Obviously, this transition is not so much a stretch as was my notion to move Napoli to 3B. So assuming that a second baseman could transition to third base with relative ease, I believe some suitable candidates to play 3B would include Kelly Johnson and Aaron Hill although my favorite possibilities would be Dan Uggla and Rickie Weeks.
Uggla would definitely bring plenty of power and run production, an area lacking at 3B since the glory days of Glaus. Uggla is a free agent after 2011 and although the Marlins seem to want to extend his contract, it seems that Uggla is asking for more than they can afford. Including Napoli in a trade with a 2B prospect seems fair enough to return Uggla to Anaheim; although he will most likely be a coveted commodity for many teams this offseason.
Rickie Weeks is a free agent after 2011. A trade for Weeks would be more difficult assuming the Brewers are intent on extending his contract. I believe Napoli replacing Fielder, a for sure free agent, and Rivera intermittently replacing Hart, a probable free agent would justify a trade for Weeks. However, the Brewers would most likely ask for a bus load of pitching prospects, an area lacking in the Angel’s farm system. There is a reason why I feel that Weeks would be the best improvement the Angel’s could make this offseason and why he would make himself worth all of the prospects we give up for him. Weeks’ power numbers (29 homers 32 doubles) are very similar to those of Uggla’s. Not only does Weeks fill the void of power found at the 3B position, he would fulfill another offensive vitality absent in the Angel’s lineup. Which segues to the Angel’s next most needed improvement…
2) We need a LEADOFF hitter!!!
There are other options to hit leadoff, but, barring the FO looks to other teams for improvement (which many of you have already suggested), the only candidates would be the inexperienced Bourjos, the free swinging Aybar or the withering Abreu. This is where I believe Weeks comes to the rescue.
Of all the leadoff hitters in baseball in 2010, Weeks not only has the highest OBP but he has also scored the most runs. In fact, Weeks is third in runs scored behind only Pujols and Teixeira. In the case that either Bourjos or Aybar (more likely Bourjos) learn to hit leadoff with a respectable OBP, Weeks could easily slip back into the cleanup spot behind Morales as evidenced by his 83 RBIs: the most of any leadoff hitter this year.
Again, other options to hit leadoff outside of the organization exist; however, most of the feasible options do not exist at infield positions. They play in the…
I hate to admit it but, as with most of you, I feel that Napoli will be traded away leaving Abreu most likely to fill in at DH. And judging by his playing time this season, Juan Rivera seems to be on his way out or on his way to the bench. This leaves a void to be filled in Left.
I won’t comment as much on this since I agree with the suggestions to trade for either Dejesus or Kemp. However, it concerns me to trade for the blog favorite, Jacoby Ellsbury.
If we acquire Ellsbury via trade, the consensus is that he could leadoff and play a much improved left field. I agree that Ellsebury could be a huge improvement, but I doubt that he has fully recovered from his injury and I am skeptical as to if he could even complete a physical exam to complete the trade. But even if Ellsbury recovers fully I see him as a long term investment that could block a position for a polished prospect. I would hate to have Mike Trout stall in the minors while he waits for Torii or Ellsbury to move for him.
This is the area I believe we could produce without any outside help. The only specialty the Angel’s lack in their bullpen is a left hander.
As mentioned on this blog a guy like Scott Downs would come in handy in many situations and I wouldn’t mind bringing back Fuentes, just not as a closer. In my opinion, the bullpen is the least of the Angel’s concerns.
I hope most of you agree with what I’ve argued, especially Rickie Weeks. I honestly believe this is the one player that could immensely improve the Angels. I know a certain Halowood will disagree with my comments on Ellsbury. I just believe he’s too risky and that there are better options. Anyways, tell me what you think.
Fun Fact- Howie Kendrick is tied with Robinson Cano for the most doubles of any second baseman in 2010 (I thought that was interesting)