Tag Archives: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

Winter Meetings Bringing Some Winter Depression

As I heard the Miami Marlins making it rain with their signings of Reyes, Buerhle, and Bell simply because they’re moving into a new stadium and now have more money. It couldn’t help make me wonder if the A’s could do the same thing if they were moving into a new stadium as well. Maybe they won’t spend on that same level, but it does give me some hope that they will be able to spend like the big boys one day. Unfortunately that we won’t really know if that day exists anytime soon because the MLB still hasn’t made any rulings on the A’s stadium situation and possible move to San Jose after three very long and frustrating years of waiting. All the 1,000 A’s fans have had to look forward to is if Andew Bailey or Gio Gonzalez gets traded for a bunch of minor league guys this off-season. At least last year they were throwing offers out there to Beltre and other free agents. This off-season it’s back to standard operating procedure. Our spending has gone down for three straight years, and even when we are in the free agent market nobody wants to come to Oakland unless they’re a semi-washed up pitcher or reliever. Even guys that want to stay in Oakland like Josh Willingham for a discount nonetheless, which is unheard of, since no hitter ever wants to stay in the spacious Coliseum can’t sign with the team because we’re waiting on the MLB’s ruling. I don’t fault Billy Beane like some have in recent years, because it’s impossible to build a team or plan for the future when you don’t know where you’ll even be.

Then the news broke that CJ Wilson and Albert Pujols will be joining the division rival LAAAAAAA for about $325M. No big deal for Moreno, just a couple additions to get more people in LA waving those game changing rally monkeys. I do hope whoever runs the CJ Wilson is a douche site keeps it going. It makes a ton of sense for the Angels to do this to try and take over the LA market while the Dodgers are in a rough downtime, and while doing so they also stole the division rival Rangers #1 starter. Weaver, Haren, Santana, and Wilson is a ridiculous rotation that was already good last year. Trumbo and Pujols makes for a solid heart of the order. The A’s haven’t spent as much as Moreno did in one day on payroll for the last four years combined made me even more depressed. While I’m not overly worried that Pujols will live up to his humongous contract, it will suck to see him playing against Oakland for 18 games a season. Another thing for A’s fans to be depressed about is the fact the Astros are joining their division which means we have more even competition to get that 3rd place finish next year. Fortunately you need 25 guys to play well to win, so there’s a little hope, but a more likely scenario is having to hitch more of my rooting interest on the Warriors and Raiders for the next couple years…


Angels $$ in the Outfield

Arte better not expect the second coming of Vlad with Vernon....

Did Arte Moreno ever really buy the Angels from the Disney Corporation? Are the Angels are spending all their money on outfielders in an attempt to bring back the classicly bad movie Angels in the Outfield? At the time the movie came out it was laughable that the Angels would ever win a pennant, and after a head scratching offseason it seems just as laughable right now spending more on their 30+ year old outfield than the movie grossed at the box office. Moreno is making Al Davis look sane these days.

You may or may not have heard they traded for Vernon Wells giving up Juan Rivera and Mike Napoli to the Blue Jays. Wells is a slight upgrade over Rivera, but not a $15M upgrade. Wells had a pretty good season last year, but if you look at his career numbers you will see he has one pretty good year, then a bad one, and the worst part about him is he has continually declined from his career highs he set in 04-06. I’m not saying he’ll be terrible this year, but he will never live up to his contract. Rivera was supposed to make $5M this upcoming season, while Wells is due to make $23M in 2011 with three more years of $21M left on his contract. Both Rivera and Wells are 32 years old, and without PED’s we know that their production will dwindle as time rolls along, unless some crazy undetectable strengthening drug comes along.

The Angels struck out on landing Carl Crawford, and decide to trade for a guy that the Blue Jays have been trying to get rid of for years!?! I even put him on my list of worst contracts in the MLB back in August of 2009. This move makes no sense at all, especially when the reason for them not wanting to sign Crawford was that he wanted too many years. He wanted seven, and that would’ve put him at 35 years old when his contract ran out, coincidentally that is the same age that Wells will be when his contract is done. I’ve got nothing against Vernon, but in two years which player would you rather have? Not a tough choice there right?

With their current outfield alignment, they weren’t especially bad out there, nor were they all that good, but having this be their major upgrade of the offseason seems like a joke. They are still paying for the final year of Gary Matthews Jr.’s ridiculous contract ($11.5M this year), and he’s not even playing anymore. They are spending $63M on the outfield including Matthews Jr. Yup, $63M is not a typo for (Matthews Jr, Wells, Hunter, and Abreu). That’s more than the A’s entire payroll, ok, maybe that was an exaggeration, but it’s close, and they still don’t look like a great team. I know Vernon won’t be labeled as the most overpaid fourth outfielder like Matthews Jr. was, but he could be in four years during the final year of his contract! Was it Torii Hunter’s contract working out that made them pull the trigger? I’ll be the first to admit that I thought Hunter was overpaid when they signed him, but this seems like a twice as risky scenario, since Wells hasn’t had an all-star worthy season since 2006, and Torii is known for his hard work ethic, not the same with Wells. Why wouldn’t they put in a better offer for Beltre since he obviously would’ve come to LA if the price was right since all Boras clients ever want is the most money. It would’ve sured up their worst infield position, and they wouldn’t be stuck with quite as large of a contract. They needed an upgrade at 3B much more than in the outfield. Whatever their reasons, I’m glad they are going to stick with Brandon the .200 hitter Wood at third base, and even happier they have Vernon for the next four years keeping a lot of salary tied up. Just so you know Brandon Wood makes the A’s Kevin Kouzmanoff look like a shoe in All-Star.


Is the AL West the Best Division in Baseball?

I guess it might be a stretch, since none of the four teams residing in the AL West are truly considered a threat to knock the Yankees off their thrown, but is there really anyone that looks like they can derail the Yankees besides injuries? I don’t think so… Can you name the only division that had three teams finish the season with 85 wins? Surprisingly, it’s the AL West! Sure you can argue that the AL East had three 84 win teams, but the basement is a lot worse than it is in the West.

The Yankees have pushed over the $1 billion mark in payroll a long time ago, and the Red Sox aren’t all that far behind, so we’ve been trained to see the East as far superior. Surprisingly the AL West had a great record versus the East going 95-79 in 2009. I think the best team in the West (Angels) regressed a little over the off-season losing their horse/ace in Lackey, and their versatile infielder Figgins, and that has put the division up for grabs.

I felt that Seattle made the biggest push to be a force in the west by trading for a bonafied yearly Cy Young contender, Cliff Lee, and last year’s runner up Felix Hernandez was already there setting up one of the deadliest duos in the league. They also stole Figgins away from the Angels, which should get them two guys on base if Ichiro and Figgy are hitting one and two. Milton might be able to knock them in if he’s on the field for more than 80 games, but that’s a big IF.

The Rangers bolstered their roster, but there are question marks already on the health of the players they signed. Vlad seems past his prime, but if he can be productive anywhere, it’s going to be in Arlington where careers being revived happens. They also signed the often injured Rich Harden, which could be a boost if they have a plan b for all the starts he gets scratched from each year. They were in the race for the West crown up to the last couple weeks, and have a ton of young talent that will only be better this coming season. It seems like a lot of the experts are picking them to win the west this year, but those predictions don’t seem to have much confidence behind them.

I’ll do my A’s preview a little closer to the season when I’ve gathered all my expectations of them, but honestly, all I’m hoping for from them is to stay healthy for once. We’ve used the DL more over the past two years than anytime in franchise history, and broke records two straight years in a row for DL usage. Not a good stat for a young team trying to figure out what pieces go where, and far from a recipe for success! Not sure about the offense, but the pitchers must be happy to have a true ace on the staff in Sheets. They owned a better run differential than Seattle last year, so there’s some hope!

All in all, I’d say the top teams of the AL West aren’t as good as the AL East. From top to bottom though, the West has teams that will be able to pull out wins night in and night out. You know you aren’t getting that from Toronto or Baltimore, who have both probably already given up on this year. I’d say that one distinct advantage that the West has over the East is in the farm systems. The East gets better through buying free agents that most of the time we can’t afford, and the West gets better by building up their prospects from within. I’m pretty pumped to see how it all shakes out, and one thing is for sure, the West is up for grabs this year with none of the teams completely out of the picture. Can’t say the same for the AL East.

What really defines the best division in baseball? The degree of difficulty? The balance from top to bottom? General intrigue?

Maybe I’ve been worn down from all the northeastern hype, and the YES network, but I believe there’s a solid argument that the west is the “best” division in baseball!


The Cuban Missile is Going to be a Gayngel

Awhile back you may remember me writing how excited I was for the 22-year-old lefty, Aroldis Chapman. I really couldn’t contain my excitement of seeing the next great bearer of last name Chapman (which is my last name), and was hoping he would be the best since Rex Chapman (the basketball player). I already had a nickname picked out for him “The Cuban Missile”. He has tons of upside, and will get his shot at the big league level just like anyone else who has hit 101 mph on the radar gun with some accuracy. I’m still curious if he really is 22, but that’s for Cuban immigration to figure out. I would still be behind him, but yesterday it was reported that the Angels agreed to terms and have locked him up for $21 million. I’ve been an advocate of not paying guys before they throw a pitch at the big league level, and do think giving Chapman and Strausberg contracts this size isn’t the smartest thing to do for unproven talent. Alas, I’m at a loss, because I can’t stand anything Angels related, so this might bring an end to me rooting for him to succeed. Donning the Halo’s uniform, I’m scared to hear what Rex Hudler (Angels Announcer) has to say about him. If you’ve never heard Rex Hudler announce, he puts Angels players on the same pedestal as NFL announcers put Brett Favre. If Aroldis does succeed, I hope they find out he’s really 33, and trade him away to a team I don’t care about so I can root for him again! Actually I hope they trade him before he ever gets to the bigs, but we all know that the Angels hold on to prospects  tighter than Gilbert and his guns.