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The smart thing to do, considering how the team is currently structured, is to just pay the luxury tax. Just sign Garza or Feldman and go all out on Tanaka. But that would be an ownership decision, and the ownership of this team does not have a track record of making smart decisions. If we don't come away next week with at least one decent starter (Garza, Feldman, or Arroyo - I doubt any SP that would cost a draft pick is in play), then the best alternative would be to pick up a couple of solid relievers like Balfour or Benoit and Axford, Ryan Webb or Downs and take chances with cheap SPs like the A's did with Bartolo Colon and hope and pray they pan out. Pelfrey, Maholm, maybe even Daisuke (esp. if he's cheap) and Wada might be worth a shot.
3 months ago on Alternative routes for the Angels to acquire pitching
Very insightful article. I agree that the Freese trade sets things up for Howie to be moved. I have to assume that Dipoto shopped his available guys hard the last couple of months and concluded that the only guy who will bring back the pitcher he wants (and clear the salary space he needs to sign a decent free agent SP) is Howie. So, as Garrett said, he moved Pete for Freese to pick up a replacement for Howie's production in the infield while filling a huge hole at 3B. I'm hoping that the fact Kinsler brought back a good return in Fielder bodes well for a solid return for Howie. The prices for free agent infielders (a rumored 4 years and $52 million for Peralta?!) also make me think that Howie will bring back someone good. OK, the Freese/Bourjos trade is done and I'm willing to live with it, but if Howie only brings back a Jeff Locke-type, then I will be really pissed...
3 months, 2 weeks ago on Fallout from the Freese-Bourjos trade
I was in a rage yesterday after the trade, but this article and Keith Law's take on the trade have calmed me down quite a bit. Maybe, as Keith states, the market for Bourjos was "very limited" because "most scouts think he's an 80 grade defender who can't hit and thus will find it hard to stay in a lineup" and that Freese "[a]ssuming his back is healthy again, [is] a good candidate for a rebound year, something like .280 AG / .360 OBP / .430 SLG." I'm more willing to give Dipoto the benefit of the doubt and assume that he got the best deal he could for a player he had to move now, though I still think he could have done a lot better than Salas as the second component of the deal... at least get Maness if not Siegrist if you're also giving up Grichuk in the deal and the extra year of control of Bourjos at cheaper prices than Freese. But as this Garrett says here, it is pretty easy to see Freese as a replacement for Howie's offensive production in the infield. I gotta think Dipoto is on the brink of moving Howie now that Freese is in hand.
3 months, 2 weeks ago on TRADE: Angels swap Peter Bourjos for David Freese
Very interesting and well thought out predictions. I really like the KC/Ventura scenario, but I'm guessing that Dipoto is looking for a young pitcher with some success already in the majors. I'm guessing Trumbo gets dealt to the Marlins for Nathan Eovaldi and a reliever like Ryan Webb, and that's the only major trade we make this winter. Then we bring back Dan Haren on a fairly cheap, one year deal with a vesting option for a second year. And I'm guessing despite what he's said about not spending on closers, Dipoto will swoop in and sign Grant Balfour to a reasonable deal in a market with a closer glut. Bourjos stays, but will be the Angels' primary trade chip next summer. I think you're absolutely right (unfortunately) about the Angels being unable to sign Tanaka, that they will let Vargas walk away without seriously pursuing him, and that Blanton stays. And I sure hope they sign Trout to an extension this winter so I can quit worrying about it!
4 months ago on Predicting the Angels off-season
Nice plan. Absolutely agree that we need to land Tanaka. Angels need high upside pitching in the worst way, so signing guys like Vargas with no upside for good money would be a huge mistake. In that vein, I would look at trading a bat to the Orioles for Brian Matusz and Tommy Hunter. Their trade value is low right now, both being basically situational relievers. But they both have a lot of upside and could end up being helpful starters, though with Butcher being brought back, it is less likely. At worst, you have two good pen arms. Or a trade which nets Yordano Ventura and a solid reliever would be ideal, but Royals probably not moving Ventura. I'd love to land Greg Holland somehow, Frieri anchoring the pen is still a recipe for disaster.
5 months ago on Fixing the Angels for 2014 in seven steps
Anybody else see Keith Law's comments in his chat on ESPN yesterday? He was asked whether the Angels should offer Trout a 10 year, $250 million extension this winter, and his response was that he had heard enough stories about player discontent with Scioscia that he wasn't sure Trout would even take it. He thought Trout might just say screw it, clean up in arbitration, and become a Yankee or Dodger at age 26. And then I read Scioscia's comments about how he felt due to the Angels' (non-playoff) record and his year not being exceptional enough (though it is), Trout shouldn't be MVP. Scioscia needs to be supporting Trout, not undercutting and diminishing him. He (and the whole organization) needs to be kissing Trout's behind at this point. If Arte ends up keeping Scioscia, and Scioscia ends up driving away Trout, it will be easy for me to blow off the Angels. Let's hope all these meaningless wins they've been racking up doesn't prevent Scioscia and his staff from getting canned.
5 months, 4 weeks ago on Halo Headlines: Bees, Travs and 66ers all advance to championship series, who is the Angels' best trade chip?
With Calhoun's emergence, I can easily see the Angels moving Trumbo this winter. The Rays might be a good fit, since they are perpetually looking for power hitting in general and first basemen in particular. Maybe Trumbo for Hellickson - they each have three years of team control remaining. And I can see the Angels and Royals revisiting talks for Howie Kendrick. Maybe Howie for a SP prospect and a reliever - Yordano Ventura and Luke Hochevar or Greg Holland and a lesser SP prospect might work.
Nice analysis. Agree on all points. I agree with you that the money owed to Scioscia has been overblown as a reason to keep him. I would be surprised in a contract of that length if there weren't buy-out provisions of some sort, and even if there aren't, I would assume Scioscia would be able to get a job relatively quickly and that his new salary would off-set a lot of the money still owed to him by the Angels. And Arte has invested so much in this team already, I really doubt that he lets an amount of money about the same as he will be paying Vernon Wells this year and next not to play for him dictate his decision.
I'm wondering to what extent Arte has been bad mouthing Dipoto. I'm sure everyone remembers this interview he gave to USA Today just a couple of months ago where he said he really liked the analytical systems Dipoto has put in place and how Dipoto needs time to "get our system going": http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/mlb/angels/2013/06/23/arte-moreno-angels-josh-hamilton-mike-scioscia-jerry-dipoto/2450849/. I'm guessing Arte has been grumbling about signings like Blanton, but I would be very surprised and concerned if he fired Dipoto. It'd be hard to stay a fan if he fired Dipoto and kept Scioscia.
6 months, 2 weeks ago on Who will Arte Moreno fire?
Hoping Dipoto pulls some moves. Trade Aybar and Frieri to the Tigers for Porcello and a minor leaguer. Aybar could play 2b or SS if Jhonny Peralta gets suspended, so Detroit should want him. All signs point towards Masahiro Tanaka being posted this off-season. He has the upside of a #2 pitcher. Bite the bullet, bid $40-50 million for the posting fee. Then sign him for around $10 million a year, control him for six years. Would much rather take a chance on Tanaka turning into Darvish-lite than throw money at the mediocre FA starting pitching that will be available. A rotation of Weaver, Wilson, Tanaka, Porcello, and Richards/Blanton wouldn't be bad. Sign Brendan Ryan cheap to play SS. Then sign Koji Uehara, who doesn't seem to mind going year to year, to a one year deal to close. There. Fixed. ;)
7 months, 1 week ago on Series Preview: Angels vs. Rangers vs. Deadline
Burnett's a nice pickup, but would have preferred Uehara or Adams. Hopefully we can pick one of them up if we have money left over, but I'm assuming that's not going to happen.
1 year, 3 months ago on Angels nearing deal with Sean Burnett, bullpen nearing not being awful anymore
Totally didn't see this coming, but it makes a lot of sense. If anything, Blanton is a reliable source for 200 mediocre innings, with some upside (I like how his k/9 has been consistently trending up and bb/9 consistently trending down). I think Dipoto has his eye on an injury risk starter like McCarthy (hopefully) or Marcum to fill out the rotation as the #3, and having an innings eater like Blanton helps minimize the risk. I agree with your thoughts on what this does to Richards.
1 year, 3 months ago on Angels 'on the verge' of signing Joe Blanton, who is definitely not Zack Greinke
Maybe the Angels are taking a page out of their 2002 playbook. That team had a solid offensive (that was at times explosive), a kick ass pen... and a mediocre rotation. Jarrod Washburn was our low wattage "ace." Who else did we have again? Ramon Ortiz? John Lackey for part of the year? Aaron Sele? Kevin Appier? If I'm forgetting anybody, well, that was a pretty forgettable rotation. At least we already have a bona fide ace in Weaver and a pretty good wing man in Wilson. Dempster would be a nice add... he definitely has his warts, but he'd be a solid number 3. He is a bit old, but he spent years as a reliever...maybe the front office likes closers turned starters.
1 year, 3 months ago on Halo Headlines: Angels interested in Dempster, Marlins covet Bourjos, David Courtney passes away
Of course, we would have to account for the 90 IP of 3.54 ERA Greinke himself provided down the stretch, but full seasons out of Weaver and Wilson plus improvements from FA pitchers (starters and relievers) should hopefully fill that hole.
1 year, 3 months ago on Halo Headlines: Angels complete Madson signing, unlikely to sign Greinke, Weaver a cause for concern
I kinda had my doubts about the Angels bringing back Greinke to begin with, but now that it appears pretty clear that he will get his asking price of 6 years / $150 million (if not more), I really don't see this happening. I don't think the Angels have a problem paying any SP more than Weaver, but $150 million is pretty close to what they are paying Weaver and Wilson combined. But I'm not too worried. We were, what, 4 games out of playoff spot with a crap bullpen and a spotty rotation. As a baseline, the Angels should be looking to improve on the 176 IP of 4.33 ERA that Haren gave them and 178 IP of 5.16 ERA that Santana provided. Maybe it won't be easy, but it's not Mt. Everest, either. I see them going after a mid-rotation type with no health concerns (I'd probably prefer Dempster over Jackson in that Dempster will probably be cheaper; Sanchez asking for crazy money) and a high upside guy with injury issues (hopefully Brandon McCarthy, maybe Shaun Marcum), and taking a cheap flyer on Daisuke for depth. But the cheapest and easiest way to improve is to strengthen the bullpen. Love the Madson signing, but we need one more good reliever, especially since we most likely won't be able to get Greinke. I slightly prefer Uehara to Fujikawa because we know he can shut down MLB hitters, but would be very happy with Fujikawa as well. But I definitely hope Madson isn't the only bullpen move we make.
I'm actually expecting fairly big things from Callaspo. I think he has a better shot at putting up next season the type of numbers Torii put up this year than Torii does. I wouldn't be surprised to see him in the two hole if we don't bring back Torii. And I really hope Frieri isn't our closer next year. His second half numbers don't bode well now that the league knows what he's about - a one pitch pitcher who can't command his one pitch. Dipoto isn't going to pay $10 million a year to the likes of Rafael Soriano or Papa Grande, but he better not go super cheap and end up with scrap heap relievers and repeat the mistakes from last season. Koji Uehara, please!
1 year, 4 months ago on Halo Headlines: Imagining an A-Rod-Angels trade, Rodney named Comeback Player of the Year, how the Cardinals thrived without Pujols
Nice write up, as usual. Looking at this, I'm thinking the top three destinations for Greinke will be: 1) Atlanta 2) Texas 3) Angels. I didn't know the Braves had such tremendous payroll flexibility, but I guess it shouldn't be surprising. They have a lot of good, young, cost-controlled players (esp. pitchers) so they could afford to pay for an ace to lead their staff. And Greinke seems like a player who values personal comfort a lot, so even if the Braves offer less than other teams, I can see him going there if they are his first choice, just like how CJ took less money to sign with us last winter. And it looks like Texas will have money to spend - I just don't see them bringing back Hamilton, so they will most likely compensate for his loss by bolstering their staff. They need Greinke more than we do. I would love to see Greinke come back, he was my favorite Angels pitcher to watch last year, but I've already prepared myself for a member of the Band Aid Brigade like Haren, Marcum, or McCarthy.
1 year, 4 months ago on Previewing the Zack Greinke sweepstakes
@ScottyAllenLAAI Woops, meant to reply to this post earlier. Marcum, Iwakuma, McCarthy, DiceK would all be worthwhile buy-low targets. What do you think about bringing back Haren? Would he be a better risk than Marcum or McCarthy? I suppose he'd be more expensive than either.
1 year, 4 months ago on GM for a day, the Monkey's fool-proof 2013 off-season plan for the Angels
Interesting discussion. I actually don't think the Mets would be interested in a Niese for Bourjos deal at this point. I would love to bring back Greinke but I just don't see how we can really afford him in the future. And though I'm leaning towards keeping Torii, I do share the Monkey's uneasiness about doing so. I'd hate to see both of them as Rangers, but it's quite possible that one of them will end up in Texas. The more I think about it, the more I see Dipoto letting BOTH Greinke and Torii walk and using the $30 million or so we would save by signing a bunch of undervalued pitchers, given how much Dipoto has talked about increasing our pitching depth. Marcum, Iwakuma, and McCarthy would be good targets (and even DiceK). I like Anibal Sanchez the best out of the non-Greinke SPs, but he is rapidly getting more expensive with his post-season exploits. Maybe Hiroki Kuroda would be interested in returning to LA - he would be attractive not only because of his talent, but because he would only require a one or two year deal. I really like the Monkey's Lindstrom idea and Rauch wouldn't be bad. The one free agent I really want is Uehara, who could close (I don't want to see Frieri and his shaky command in the ninth inning). I can see Dipoto doing some very creative things this winter.
Dipoto is absolutely right about the unpredictability of relievers. I learned that the hard way this fantasy baseball season trading for John Axford, thinking he would anchor my pen. I just want a guy who has good command of more than one pitch, misses bats, and doesn't walk people. So I want Koji Uehara and his career 8 k/bb ratio (14.3 last year) in the worst way. But even he is not without risks, being old and injury prone. He even had a stretch with Texas that was so bad he was left off their post season roster last year. But he won't cost nearly as much as Papa Grande or anybody who has the benefit of the "closer" label, though the Angels probably couldn't afford him if they bring back Zack Greinke. But Uehara may be too obvious for Dipoto - I agree that it's very likely he takes a page out of the Kevin Towers playbook and digs up a reliever or two who are currently undervalued. Or work out creative contracts with guys coming off major injuries like Soria or Madson or minor injuries like Mike Adams.
1 year, 4 months ago on What will Jerry do with the Angels bullpen?
Nice analysis. I'm not so sure, though, that Dipoto is that focused on bringing Greinke back. I thought his statements so far have been kind of vague, actually, along the lines of being interested and getting in touch with Greinke's agent soon. I think what he will do is make a reasonable offer (along the lines of $80-90 million over 5 years) and move on quickly if and when it gets rejected. It looks like Greinke is in line to make Matt Cain money (6 years, $127.5 million, plus a $21 million option year), and I just don't think the Angels will spend the money to add another $20 million player. They will owe Weaver, Pujols, and CJ over $60 million in 2015 and 65.7 million in 2016, and Trout will have reached his arbitration years by then. If they add Greinke, they'll be spending $80 million on four players alone starting 2015, three of them being starting pitchers. I think I'd rather have Dipoto sign Anibal Sanchez for 4 years and $60 million (their career numbers and their AL performances this season are pretty similar) and use the extra money saved to sign Uehara for the pen and maybe a back-end starter like Iwakuma. Angels already have an ace in Weaver and a solid #2 (when he's right) in Wilson. They need to fill out the staff with quality pieces rather than another shiny, very expensive top of the rotation type.
1 year, 5 months ago on What will Jerry do with the Angels rotation?