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Just Inspired

First Angel free agent signing of the offseason is JUSTIN SPEIER.

He signs for 4 years at $4.5 million per year.

Along with Hector Carrasco, what is happening is that Stoneman is overpaying for bullpen help with the knowledge that what was once an expensive infield (Bengie, Erstad, Kennedy, Cabrera) is now a bargain (Napoli, Kotchman-Morales, Kendrick, 3B Black Hole). So Bill underpays on the clay and overpays in the pen. Good balancing of the household budget there, Bill.

This could be the precursor to a trade of Scot Shields and Adenhardt for Andruw Jones - apparently Scott Boras will take the Braves up on the waiving of Andruw's 10/5 rights in exchange for a contract extension negotiating window with the Angels - with the reported Soriano @ 8 years to the Cubs signing, why risk an injury for the Braves' All-Star Centerfielder during 2007 when the market is overheated now?

Halos wind up with either...
1. A servicable (if expensive) replacement for Shields if the Jones deal goes thru
A near-impervious bullpen if AJ stays in Atlanta.

Not the big bat we were promised, but an inspired, just inspired signing...

UPDATE: Excellent analysis of Speier from our colleagues at Bluebird Banter.