After reading all the 'experts' write about who is best in the West, I noticed a few things that happened to be left out. For one, Jordan Walden is getting absolutely wrecked in the media. I don’t know how many times I have heard that the Halos need to trade for a "proven closer." I don’t get it, as a rookie, Walden put up some impressive numbers.
As a fan (and I am writing this as a fan of the Angels) who watched almost every game last year, you can discount a few of Walden's blown saves. One of which Torii Hunter lost a fly ball in the sun – blown save on a routine fly ball that would have ended the game. Another game I can remember off the top of my head was Jordan coming in with runners on second and third (or maybe bases loaded) and gave up ONE run for the blown save. He did blow some games that he shouldn't have and you can’t have 10 BS without a few mental gaffs, yet I will not write him off as a closer. Looking at the stats, Walden (outside of the BS) put up a very solid ROOKIE year.
Mariano Rivera: 44/49 saves 60 K 61.1 IP, WHIP 0.90
Jose Valverde: 49/49 saves 69 K 72.1 IP, WHIP 1.17
Brandon League: 37/42 sv 45 K 61.1 IP, WHIP 1.08
Chris Perez: 36/40 saves 39 K 59.2 IP, WHIP 1.21
Neftali Feliz: 32/40 saves 54 K 62.1 IP, WHIP 1.16
Jordan Walden: 32/42 saves 67 K 60.1 IP, WHIP 1.24
When you look at Feliz and Walden’s numbers side by side, there really isn’t much of a difference. Yet Feliz is considered one of the best closers….
The Angels got off to a busy start before the winter meetings by trading for Chris Iannetta. Then answered all of the problem spots by signing LaTroy Hawkins, CJ Wilson, and Albert Pujols. They got the big bat that fans have been asking for, the middle of the rotation starter, and a back end reliever to alleviate the pressure put on Scott Downs.
The Angels have gotten quite some slack for signing a 32 year old to a 10-year contract. I don’t think it’s good for business to sign players to long term deals like this one; however, there is more to this signing then just getting the player. Pujols is one of those special guys that you can only come across once in a blue moon. Just look at the sales in jerseys and season tickets just a mere 24-hours into the signing. AP will decline for the next 10 years, but you can expect him to contend for an MVP award for the next 5 years. I don’t look at years 6-10 as "overspending" because of the TV deal he helped the team get from FOX. I don’t see his character getting in the way of becoming a full time DH, and I see him hitting .270 + and around 25 HR’s a year. I will take that for what he can give us early in his contract.
CJ is being killed by the Rangers fans. I see them trying to make the signing look like less then what it is by saying that he isn't an ace and that we overspent on him as well as AP. CJ is a number 2 starter – not a number 3, although he will be our number 3. His contract may be too expensive for Texas, but it is fair market value for the numbers he put up. He will do great things for the city and the team.
Chris Ianetta has been overlooked in my opinion. He is a significant upgrade from Mathis offensively and is very capable defensively. Then there is Hawkins – who has gotten almost zero coverage. One of the most important pieces will be LaTroy and what he can bring to the pen.
With King Albert in the lineup you can count on everyone to improve this year - he is that special. If Wells doesn’t perform before Mike Trout gets to 150 AB’s in AAA then you can count on him sitting quite often. Hunter will be able to perform behind Pujols and hopefully will hit the whole season like he did the last two months of last year.
I see Vernon staying within himself now that he knows the ball does not travel well in Angels Stadium. He will make the adjustments that he needs to make to become a line drive hitter once again and he should be good for a .270 AVG and 20 HR.
I expect Kendrick to have a break out season this year and will go on the record to say he hits over .320 and has another 15+ HR season.
Bourjos needs to get comfortable hitting leadoff because Aybar will be a 6 or 7 hole hitter for the rest of his career.
The Angels lost so many games because of the bullpen and if they could have just finished off half of those games without blowing them – then were in the playoffs. Hawkins will help with this and hopefully Downs can stay healthy this season. With all of this happening, I don’t thing JD is done with the off-season. Abreu is tradable as long as the Halos cover about half of his contract, so I expect them to trade for another bullpen piece.
There are still a few trades to be made…. Who needs to go?
Who is most likely to be traded before the season starts?
Bobby Abreu (718 votes)
Mark Trumbo (138 votes)
Bobby Wilson (47 votes)
Alberto Callaspo (185 votes)
1088 total votes