I'm sure we've all moved on as the regular season winds down and the playoffs begin without our favorite team. I figured it was time to do a roster review and make projections on what the 2014 team is going to look like. Some might consider this an exercise in horror or patience. I think it's potentially brighter than that.
Here is the projected 2014 roster with two important caveats. One, the Angels make no signings, trades or releases in the off-season and two, nobody gets hurt before opening day, and everyone currently on the DL comes back healthy.
Angels 2014 Roster*
- Chris Ianetta
- Hank Conger
*No Roster Moves or Injuries. This article is manager agnostic.
So there are a couple of obvious observations of the above. Firstly it's obvious moves will be made so the roster isn't going to look like that. But I think it's a good baseline before speculation begins. I think it's pretty much a slam dunk that Hanson shouldn't be counted on to be in the MLB rotation next year. I think he's a valid guy to probably take another chance on though and to keep him on the 40 man roster. At best he's a #3 starter which is good value considering his present salary. At worst he's in AAA or released. Hanson might return but any GM who actually counts him on the 25 man roster is doing the team a disservice. The other notable is Blanton is probably not coming back. So we should likely scratch both of them off the list right now. We can probably replace them with JC Gutierrez and Michael Roth. That still looks pretty bleak.
So basically the Angels need a minimum of two quality starters added to the roster via free agency or trade to even be considered as a contending team in 2014. Having Jerome Williams as your #4 is a very bad thing, and that's assuming everyone stays healthy.
The bullpen actually looks salvageable. Burnett is good if healthy and the remaining guys range from average to good. It looks better if you swap in Williams for Blanton. It wouldn't be a bad idea to shore up some of the depth further though. Coello, Morande and Sisk still lurk in the minors.
From a trade speculation standpoint the three names we've heard the most about lately being offered up for pitching help are Kendrick, Bourjos and Trumbo. If Kendrick is traded that shifts Green and Romine both into the starting lineup full-time. That appears to be a major hole in the lineup waiting to happen. You have to count on them both hitting at a average clip (0-2 WAR) and both not getting hurt and then still don't have a serviceable utility guy. If you trade Bourjos, then Calhoun and Shuck get more at bats. If you trade Trumbo, then Conger and Calhoun get more at bats. This assumes all trades are equal and we only would get arms in return. If we get something else, like swapping Kendrick for another starting infielder in addition to an arm then that changes the perspective.
The Angels clearly have some work to do and I think anything short of adding two quality starters will doom 2014 before it even starts. There are certainly more moves to be made beyond that but I think past the starter adds it probably amounts to bench and bullpen tinkering rather than an overhaul. The offense was still very good this year despite Pujols and Hamilton (aka 30% of the payroll) both taking the year off. If they come back healthy (both physically and mentally) in 2014 there will be zero concerns about scoring runs. If the team can improve the pitching, particularly the rotation, and maybe find a couple breakout guys in the sparse minor league system, they can contend again.**
** This article is manager agnostic. But feel free to rip/discuss Scioscia in the comments.