Hello to everyone. It's been a while since I've commented, but I've been lurking around. I feel like now is a good time to give my thoughts.
With the Trumbo trade, the Angels' whole offseason has shifted. They have somewhere around $19-20 million left to spend, it's not likely they're going to be trading any other important pieces (Dipoto has stated it's likely Kendrick will stay), and pitching is not the dire concern it was before. So, now seems like a good time to look at what the Angels can still use, and how they might go about filling those holes.
As I see it, there are just about 20 players who are shoo-ins for the Opening Day roster (barring injury or truly hellish springs, of course).
They are as follows:
Dane De La Rosa
So, with those twenty players, there are several holes that could do with filling. I'll cover each of the ones I see
It's pretty clear that Santiago will figure into the rotation in 2014. Skaggs, however, is no sure bet, and that's why I haven't listed him here. If the Angels could get another rotation arm, it seems likely they would put Skaggs in AAA to get him a little bit more time. After all, Skaggs is only 22, and not every prospect can be ready as quickly as Mike Trout.
If Dipoto has his way, he would likely choose to sign another starter with most of that $20 million. The question, then is, which.
The most interesting possibility is Masahiro Tanaka. If the Angels were able to win the right to discuss contracts with him under the new posting system, then he would definitely be the best talent available. He would likely command a salary in the 6 year/$100 million range (an AAV of ~$16.6 million), which, while frightening to the Angels because of the large contracts that have been burdening the books for years, would not be an unreasonable gamble for a pitcher of his talent. Imagine how great it would be if the Angels could get a Yu Darvish-caliber pitcher on their hands! Of course, he could also flame out like Daisuke Matsuzaka... The question for the Angels would be if it would be better to go with a calculated risk or a fairly safe bet.
Matt Garza is a bona fide innings eater, and one of the best there is. He has never been great, with a career ERA+ of 108, but he can eat innings. He won't come cheap, though-- he will likely get a deal around 4 years/$64 million (an AAV of $16 million.)
To my mind, the Angels would do better to sign Tanaka than Garza. Obviously it would be riskier and more difficult to pull off, but if Dipoto wanted to redeem himself in my mind, that would be how to do it. If he can't, Garza would be a nice consolation prize.
Outside of those two, there are few I would like to see the Angels sign. There's the far too expensive (Santana), the too-risky (Jiminez), and the ones the Angels just need to avoid (Colon.) Truthfully, the only other pitcher still available that interests me in the slightest is your friendly neighborhood inning eater, Bronson Arroyo. I wouldn't be too excited if the Angels signed him, but he wouldn't be expensive and he would give Skaggs some time.
Still, though, if Tanaka or Garza can't be had, I say the Angels should go with Skaggs as their fifth starter.
I will be brief here. I've listed the four pitchers that are almost certain to be in the bullpen come April, but the Angels have a lot of options beside them. Kevin Jepsen, Michael Kohn, Joe Blanton, Cory Rasmus, Fernando Salas, Michael Roth, the list goes on. I see no reason for the Angels to waste resources on acquiring another bullpen arm.
At this point, the Angels' starting lineup seems essentially set, and they have enough usable backups that there is only one real need. The Angels could use a DH/1B/OF type guy to spell Pujols and the outfielders. Most of the good players that fit this description are taken or too expensive. There are three options that intrigue me-- Raul Ibanez, Lance Berkman, and James Loney. All of these three come relatively cheap, and will help the Angels fill in the gap left by the Trumbo and Bourjos trades. I would be fine with any of these players as additions
In my view, the Angels need another starter, and that's all they should really be worrying about now. Another bullpen arm just isn't needed, and the offense will do just fine. If the Angels can acquire one of the two starters I suggested, they'll be in a great position for next season--better than any of us could have envisioned after the Freese trade. Another bench/DH bat would be nice, but isn't absolutely essential. If the Angels neglect to get another starter, they'll have to simply hope that Skaggs will be ready, and there's been entirely too much hoping in Anaheim the last few years.
With one more quality pitcher, the 2014 Angels can succeed. It's time for Dipoto to bring us that pitcher.