Hi all. Been lurking for awhile now, and occasionally making a post here and there. I figured that my loyal following of two or three people who had accidentally read one of my posts might miss me, so, here it goes....
Between all of the hoopla about Jerry DiPoto this, Chris Ianetta that, non-tender Jeff Mathis howling, and the 7.2 on the Richter caused by Prince Fielder lumbering about the basepaths, I wonder if we haven't lost sight of some of the more subtle moves that could significantly improve our beloved Angels. I of course am not referring to the vaunted "big splash" that we seek every offseason, but rather the assorted variety of unheralded, under the radar free agent signings and trades that have made the Angels and other teams successful? For instance, how many of us truly thought that our effort to rid ourselves of a clubhouse turd like Jose Guillen would net us meaningful players? Yet here we are years later more fondly than not remembering Juan Rivera and still appreciating the skills of a player like Maicer Izturis, who even spawns such great profile names like"Of Maicer and Men". Before the jump, take a moment to consider how, in recent years, a variety of more unheralded signings have redefined certain clubs around the majors (forget Heath Bell, who'd have pegged Kyle Farnsworth and the Rays as a success story?!). If Tampa Bay can rebuild a bullpen with a total budget that is almost less than Vernon Wells's annual salary, why can't we?Jeff Francis - A pitcher once labeled as an ace with fly ball tendencies whose career was unhinged by injuries. Found a minor bit of redemption in his peripheral stats this season, and could be serviceable again. Our outfield defense (Flete Pete at least) and the generally heavy marine layer couldn't hurt. Given his recent history, he could be had for a short and cheap make good deal. Why not pursue it?
Aaron Harang - Ditto. His HR rate is a little scary, but again, mitigating defense and park factors could help.
Zach Duke - Cheap. Left-Handed. Youngish in baseball years (29).
Paul Maholm - Ditto?
Dontrelle Willis - Aaaah why not give him a flyer?
Todd Coffey - Big. Lumbering. Throws hard. Pitches occasionally. Fun as hell to watch while I've been out here in the DC area. His ridiculous sprint in from the bullpen would enamor him to fans. Coffey time!!
Pat Neshek - Fun. Accessible. Was good once upon a time. Why not take a flyer?
Joel Zumaya - Keep him away from Guitar Hero or helping his parents move, and we could be in business.
The point being, with all of these suggestions, is not that we would be making a potential signing to fundamentally alter the dynamic of our club. However, sign some or hell, all of these guys to cheaper incentive laden/make good deals, and see what happens! Let them battle it out, and see whose skill shows through.