I've been a faithful Angel fan since birth in 1982 and I must admit that last year was the most frustrating year for me. For all my years I would complain that we never signed the BIG free agent (superstar) year after year. Finally we signed Pujols and Wilson. With the addition of Greinke, Frieri and the emergence of Mike Trout we HAD the most talented team I could remember in all my years as a hardcore halo fan. To finally have the talent to win it all and miss the playoffs was painful to say the least. A combination of an inconsistent offense, starting pitching at times (Wilson, Santana), and the worst bullpen i have ever seen ruined our season. It also ruined Mike Trout's MVP chances. BTW..we would've killed any AL team in the playoffs for the record. Detroit, Baltimore, Oakland, NY looked vulnerable and we were hot uggghhhhhh!!!!!
JD has his hands full for 2013 but if he does the following we will win 100 games and favorites to win it all. Priorities in order:
1- Sign Zack Greinke- We must have Zack since he is a proven ace and not knowing which CJ Wilson shows up for 2013, Santana probably gone, Dan Haren who might be slowing down after his dead arm and lower back issues, Richards or Williams as a 5th is worrisome to say the least we MUST sign him. Did i also mention we gave up some good minor league arms and a legit SS/2B Segura for him. I'm guessing it will be 5 or 6 years for $115-130 mil. Get it done!!!!!
2- Sign Torii Hunter- We need to keep the glue for another year or two. Torii found tons of success batting second and we should keep him there. He also has a history of tearing it up in the last two months of the season which is huge when pushing for a playoff spot. He also is the glue in the clubhouse, durable and great defensively still. I say sign him 1 year 9 mil with a club option at 9 mil for the 2nd year.
3- Improve Bullpen- There are some arms available through free agency however i believe JD will explore some arms via the trade market. He will see what he can get for either Vernon Wells, Bourjos (if the price is right), or even Morales. I imagine it would take a ton to move Bourjos since he is under control for 4 years and is cheap. Unless we get a legit young starter and some stud relief arms I don't see Bourjos moving since he will start once Torii is done as an Angel and serve as our 4th outfielder meanwhile. If we can't pick up some arms through trade we will sign up some arms to aid Frieri, Downs, Jepsen, Maronde, and Walden.
4- Trade Vernon Wells- We have to trade this guy since he serves no purpose for us. The good news is that he showed some signs that he can play towards the end of the season. I believe he can be traded for some relief arms or another bad contract, shoot, maybe even some minor league talent to restore our thin minor league system. Either way we will have to eat up a ton of his contract but we might as well get someone who can help us rather than have Vernon benched all year. The other thought is restructuring his contract so we can pay him after his playing days w a slight interest if we cannot trade him. This could allow us to sign another starter or an elite bullpen arm....
5- Resign Dan Haren- even though he had his first injured season, Dan has been a proven workhorse for us and for 15 mil for one more year i think it's worth it since any other starter on the market w Dan's resume will cost the same with more years attached. Dan said he was open to restructuring his contract so maybe we can offer him 2 or 3 years w a club option for less money. With Jered, Zack, Dan, CJ, and Garret or another starter we would be sick!!!
6- Let go of Santana- Too much drama with this guy. He is either awesome or pathetic........never consistent. We can't have that anymore. Adios...let the Dodgers or Yankees pay a ridiculous contract for him.
PS... CJ Wilson said we were signing Josh Hamilton. I don't think it would be necessary but it's not my money. I could see this maybe happening if we can't sign Zack. Our lineup would look like Trout, Hunter, Pujols, Hamilton, Trumbo, Kendrick, Callaspo, Aybar, Ianetta......Good luck to any starter facing this lineup. This move could happen w Zack signing too but we would have to unload Vernons' contract, trade Kendrys for pitching/bullpen and probably unload on both Haren and Santanas' contracts. I prefer not signing Josh since he is prone to injury, boos and a crapload of strikeouts. When he is hot though he is the best hitter in the game (including Cabrera)....too risky tho since he is 32 and starting to decline if you haven't seen his last month and a half of the season.
Preferred lineup: Trout, Hunter, Pujols, Morales, Trumbo, Kendrick, Callaspo, Aybar, Ianetta
Preferred Starters: Weaver, Greinke, Haren, Wilson, Richards or other
Go Angels 2013! I've got my season tickets all ready to go!