So, after cutting ties with Haren and Santana, backing out of the Greinke sweepstakes, trading for Tommy Hanson (losing Walden in the process),and signing such illustrious free agents as Joe Blanton and Sean Burnett, the Angels finally made their big move of the offseason by inking Josh Hamilton to a 5 year, $125 million deal. This seems to leave the Angels pretty much set for the 2013 season, barring one more signing or a trade that would most likely involve Peter Bourjos or Hank Conger for a middle/back of the rotation pitcher. So, let's go over the current Angels players and see what the team looks like!
1. Jered Weaver- Another fantastic year for the Weave in 2012. His velocity dips are somewhat worrying but I'm not too concerned.
2. C.J. Wilson- Definitely unperformed his expectations this year, but he's a talented, smart guy, so I'm expecting a bounce back year.
3. Tommy Hanson - He's been good in the past, but 2012 was not a good year for him. The Angels gave up a good pitcher in Walden for him, so it's clear JeDi sees something in him. Hopefully he's right.
4. Joe Blanton - He's never been good, he'll probably never be very good. Hopefully pitching in the Angel's pitcher-friendly park will help him.
5. Garrett Richards/Jerome Williams- Either of these guys could end up with the job, and the other will end up in the pen. Richards was a good prospect, but he's shown nothing to give us reason to expect he'll improve greatly upon his 2012 season. Williams is a replacement-level innings eater, nothing more.
So, that's the pitching right now. Definitely not great, but with our hitting and bullpen it ought to suffice. A trade could help, and the current rumors seem to involve David Price or Rick Porcello. Both of those guys could definitely help us, but we ought to consider if they'll really be worth what we'd have to give up. If a trade for either of those guys involves Trumbo or Bourjos, I would rather stick with what we've got
1. Ryan Madson- A fantastic JeDi signing on the cheap ($3.5 million base, up to $3.5 million more in incentives) should bring us an excellent closer and help end our bullpen woes of the last two years.
2. Ernesto Frieri- JeDi robbed the Padres for him, and it turned out very well for us. He didn't seem to have to composure to close out big games, but now that we've got Madson he should be able to hold down the seventh or eighth innings with ease.
3. Scott Downs- He's been great for us, and there's no reason to expect anything less this year.
4. Sean Burnett- We got him for a good price (2 years/$8 million), and he's been good for the Nationals. He'll bring a strong left-handed presence to our 'pen.
5. Kevin Jepsen- He bounced back really well in the second half, and we all know he's got the stuff to be a great threat. Hopefully he'll keep the momentum from the tail end of the 2012 season.
6. Nick Maronde/Bobby Cassevah/???- the last spot will probably go to Maronde, but the Angels might want to give him some more time in the minors, leaving the door open for Cassevah or another reliever to sneak in with a good Spring Training.
For the first time in quite some time, the Bullpen looks pretty formidable. Props to JeDi for working on our biggest weakness.
1B- Albert Pujols- We'll be seeing his name for the next eight years. Hopefully he can bring back some average and power this year
Kendrys Morales- Expect to see him mostly at DH, but he'll grab first when Pujols needs to rest. I'm expecting a nice uptick in production this year.
2B- Howie Kendrick- I assume we'll see more of the same from Kendrick- above average defense and hitting for his position, but terrible clutchness.
SS- Erick Aybar- Aybar had a great second half, hitting .326 with 15 bags and 39 runs after the All-Star Break. I'd expect to see him in the two hole sometimes, which would probably help to boost his numbers even further.
3B- Alberto Callaspo- Not your traditional third baseman, but he gets on base at a decent enough pace and we'll be getting enough power elsewhere
C- Chris Ianetta- He didn't have a great first season as an Angel, but hopefully he can stay healthy and put up better numbers in the upcoming year.
Hank Conger/John Hester- Since the Angels have so much depth in the outfield, I'd bet they'll go with two catchers. Hopefully Conger gets to play some more this year. If not, expect him to get traded.
LF/CF- Mike Trout- After being robbed of the MVP and Gold Glove, Trout will probably play a bit more left field in his sophomore campaign. He might not be able to rob as many homers in left, but it'll spare his body some. I expect his hitting will regress a bit, but I'm sure he'll still be a great leadoff player and a formidable threat.
CF- Peter Bourjos- It remains to be seen how much playing time Bourjos can expect, or if he'll still be an Angel come April, but I'm hoping he stays and gets some playing time. He's a force to be reckoned with in center, and he'll probably do well in the 2 or 9 hole (or 1 if Trout is moved out of the leadoff position)
RF- Josh Hamilton- It'll be a few more years before we know if the deal was a good one or a bad one, but we should still see some elite production in 2013.
LF/RF/DH- Mark Trumbo- How much playing time Trumbo gets depends on if he plays like the first half or the second half Trumbo. I'm guessing we'll see something in between and Trumbo will be in a kind of platoon with Bourjos and Morales. If he gets another chance at third and improves there then he'll probably end up playing there pretty often.
LF/RF- Vernon Wells- the only reason Wells is still on the roster is that $21 million salary. Unless he improves significantly, I don't expect him to see much playing time. The Angels are simply too deep. I'm sure JeDi is trying to trade him, but honestly, who would take him? Maybe he can start filling the water coolers or learn to catch bullpen.
The Angel's defense looks great and their offense will likely be one of the best in the majors. The outfield might even be a little too deep (though I don't believe there can be such a thing), so if there's a player traded, expect it to be one of the guys from there, most likely Bourjos (although it could also be Trumbo or Morales).
So, assuming all of the players I've listed makes the team (except one of Maronde/Cassevah), that would leave the Angels with one extra spot. I'm doubtful the Angels will make any more signings (other than minor league deals before Spring Training a lå Isringhausen/Hawkins), so that last spot would probably go to either Cassevah (if Maronde stays up and the Angels want to go with 13 pitcher, although that seems unlikely), Cole Kalhoun (probably not, since the Angels have so many outfielder already), John Hester, or Andrew Romine. My money's on Andrew Romine due to his versatility.
So, that's the team! I think it looks pretty good, definitely the best the Angels have had for a few years. If the Angels can't make the playoffs in 2013, that falls solely on management. Let me know if I made any mistakes and what you think!