The next team I will preview for the regular season is the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. The Angels had a fantastic regular season. This team was able to win over 100 games while clinching their division in early September. Unfortunately for Angel fans, the Red Sox defeated their team once again in the first round of the playoffs. The Angels will be looking for more October success this time around.
To me, this team is just not as good as the one that won over 100 games last year. Losing Mark Teixeira and Francisco Rodriguez will hurt the team immensely. Signing Brian Fuentes helps to keep the bullpen strong, but I think that the offense in not going to be as good as it was in the second half of last year. Vladimir Guerrero is not going to get pitched to now that Tex isn’t sitting there behind him. Adding Bobby Abreu will help make up for the OBP that Tex would’ve brought, but with him you don’t get the power or the gold glove defense that would’ve come from Teixeira. I also think that starters such as Joe Saunders and Ervin Santana will slightly regress. This is still a very good team, but I doubt that they’ll win 100 games again.
Despite the regression, they probably still are the best team in the AL West. The A’s will be much improved after acquiring Matt Holliday and Jason Giambi, but they have some concerns with the pitching staff. Unless the young pitchers have breakout years, they probably won’t be good enough to pass up the Halos in this division. The Rangers will also be very good because of all the talent they have in the farm system. It’s the same thing, though. The Rangers don’t have the pitching. So, this division is still the Angels to lose, but it will be tighter than last year.
If and when the Angels make the playoffs, it will be difficult to advance. Anything can happen, but I just don’t think that this team has the hitting to beat teams like the Yankees, Red Sox, or Rays. However, you never know what can happen in October.
My early prediction is that the Angels will win their division once again, but they won’t play very deep into October.
In order to fill the hole in the bullpen left by Francisco Rodriguez, the Angels have signed Brian Fuentes to a 2 year deal worth 17.5 million. There is also a vesting option for a third year. This looks like a nice deal for both sides.
The Angels didn’t necessarily need to address their bullpen, but signing Fuentes can’t hurt. They get him at a reasonable price, too. Nine million per year for only 2 years seems like a steal. Compare him to Francisco Cordero. Their numbers seem very close in their walk years, yet Cordero scored big with 4 years, 46 million. If the Angels can get the production that Fuentes provided last year, it will be a ginormus steal, especially when you consider how much Cordero received. Fuentes can come in a make the bullpen one of the best in the MLB, just like it was last year. It can’t get much better than Fuentes closing with Jose Arredondo and Scott Shields setting him up. Darren Oliver is one of the better lefty relievers, on top of all that. This has the makings to be a fantastic ‘pen. (obviously it was better with K-Rod last year, but it’s still great)
I also like this deal for Fuentes. It stinks that he gets stuck with 2 years, but he couldn’t have done much better elsewhere. He gets the 3 things he wanted, to play on a contending team, to play on the West Coast, and to get a closer’s job. He also gets around the annual salary he had hoped for. Fuentes could even end up with that third year if the option vests. This was a good job by Fuentes and his agent.
The Angels paid about 9 million per year to grab Fuentes. That leaves them with about 13 million to spend. Most teams looking for an outfielder also have that amount, so it is fair to say that the Angels could go out and sign a player like Adam Dunn, Pat Burrell, or Bobby Abreu. With the bat added, it will have been a solid offseason for Anaheim.
Teams that missed out on Fuentes will have to turn to Trevor Hoffman. You could see a bidding war happening between the Cardinals, Brewers, Dodgers, and Tigers. Things are really starting to move in the hot stove season.
I had to take the weekend off from blogging. Sorry I didn’t let you know, but let’s get back to baseball.
The Angels are out of the running for Mark Teixeira. They pulled out when team owner Arte Moreno concluded that Tex didn’t want to play for the Angels, and would rather go to the east coast. Their 160 million offer is off the table, so Teixeira’s next team will be the Red Sox, Nationals, Orioles, or possibly Yankees. The latter don’t seem completely involved, but you never know about a team that has Hank Steinbrenner as the president.
With the Angels out, the Red Sox seem like the clear frontrunner to me. BoSox president John Henry said that “we’re not going to be a factor,” but I believe that was just a negotiating ploy. Several baseball writers have said that the Red Sox offer of 8 years, 180 million is still on the table. I’m guessing that Scott Boras went to the BoSox and stated that he had a better offer on the table from a different team. It looks like Henry effectively called Boras’s bluff, because if the unknown team was the Nationals, they would’ve signed him by now. It couldn’t have been the Angels, because they’re out, and the Yankees GM Brian Cashman said that they had not made an offer. The Orioles appear reluctant to raise their 7 year, 140 million dollar offer. So it looks like Boston’s offer of 8 years, 180 million is the best on the table. This is just me trying to draw conclusions, though. No one really knows who’s offering what except for Tex and Boras. This is making me crazy!
Now that Tex won’t end up an Angel, who will? They have about 22 million left to spend, and are looking to add a power hitting outfielder. A cheap starter could be under consideration, also. Brian Fuentes could make sense if his price drops down; the Angels are his first choice because they will give him a closer’s job, play on the west coast (where he is from), and are a contending team. I don’t consider the bullpen or the rotation a need, however, and would rather just get a great bat.
You can’t call Manny Ramirez a perfect fit, but he sure does make a lot of sense. He can DH most of the time, and is truly the only bat on the free agent market not named Mark Teixeira that can scare pitchers. If I see Manny hitting behind Vladimir Guerrero, I’m just as scared as if I see Tex. I know that Ramirez doesn’t have gold glove defense, and he has an attitude problem, but there is no difference between the two hitting wise. For some reason I have a feeling that the Angels will pass, but I don’t think they should.
If not Manny, then Adam Dunn makes a ton of sense. Dunn is no Manny or Tex, but he is still a 40 homer bat that will bring you an OBP in the .360 to .380 range. A lot of people get blinded by his poor defense, low batting average, and lack of emotion, but he is one of the most consistent bats in the MLB. He also brings some versatility because he can play both first base and left field. If I were the Angels, I would DH him, because like I said before, he has poor defense. Some other options that would make sense for Anehiem are Milton Bradley, Bobby Abreu, and Pat Burrell.
So the Angels are out on Tex, the Red Sox and Nationals look like the frontrunners for his services, and the Angels could pursue Manny Ramirez, Adam Dunn, Milton Bradley, Bobby Abreu, Pat Burrell, or Brian Fuentes. I can’t wait to find out how all of this happens.
The Angels have signed Juan Rivera to a 3 year, 12 million dollar contract. I guess this is a decent move by the team.
Rivera certainly has the up-side. In 2006, his last completely healthy season, he hit .310 with 27 home runs and 85 RBIs in only 448 at bats. He injured himself playing winter ball, and missed most of the next 2 years. Last year, however, he slugged 12 homers in the second half. If he did that in every two months he played, he would have 36 homers. Plus, he will probably be playing every day this year instead of mainly coming off the bench the way he did last year. So, this is a pretty solid signing, and to a big market team like the Angels, 4 million per year doesn’t mean much.
The other good things about Rivera is his versatility. He can play both outfield corners, first base, and of course DH. So, the Angels will still aggressively pursue Mark Teixeira, and if they can’t get him they’ll still go after a big bat for the outfield. With Darren Oliver likely to make around 4 million in arbitration, and with Rivera making 4 million per year, the Halos have around 22 million left to spend. Only one big bat is needed.
If that bat is Tex, Rivera will switch off between left field and DH while playing every day. Kendry Morales and Gary Matthews Jr. would be switching off from DH and left field while sharing time. If the Angels sign Adam Dunn, they could either place him at first base and do the same rotation, or they could do it this way. Put Dunn at DH, have Rivera switch off between left field and first base while playing every day, and have Morales and Matthews switch off between first base and left field while each sharing time. Dunn could also play some left field.
This is looking more and more like a solid signing for the Angels. Rivera has a lot of up-side, and 4 million per year isn’t much of a risk. The Halos are one big bat away from finishing off their offseason.
I have previously stated that the Red Sox offered Mark Teixeira 8 years, 160 million. Today, I am receiving different news. The offer seems to be in the 180 million range. Mike Lynch says it’s 184 million. Buster Olney and Peter Gammons say it is for 176 million. Dan Roche says it’s for 180 million. So, the offer is 8 years and 22-23 million per year. All of the writers also say that Red Sox owner John Henry and GM Theo Epstein will meet tonight with Mark Teixeira and Scott Boras. They hope to get a deal done by Friday morning. It definately looks like Boston is the frontunner.
The question is, will the Nationals or Angels up their offer to match the BoSox one. I don’t know if either one will. If I had to make a guess, I would say that both teams would let Tex go to Boston because of some solid backup plans. The Angels could move on to sign Manny Ramirez, Adam Dunn, Pat Burrell, or Milton Bradley. There are a ton of guys sitting around that could come on bargains. The Nationals look like they will move on to Dunn and Orlando Hudson. I could be wrong though. I wouldn’t be surprised if Arte Moreno demanded that GM Tony Reagins match the Red Sox offer. I could also see Jim Bowden matching it. Who knows?
To me, it looks like the Red Sox are the frontrunners with the Angels second in line and the Nationals breathing down Los Angeles’ neck. Tex could go to any of these destinations, but I favor Boston a bit because of this new offer.
This should be really fun to watch. Just like CC Sabathia set the market for pitching, Mark Teixeira will set the market for hitting. A lot of things are being hung up because of teams and players waiting for Tex to sign. I can’t wait to see how this ends up.
After the Angels, Nationals, and Orioles made their offers to Mark Teixeira, the Red Sox jumped in. Today, they offered at least 8 years, 160 million, maybe more. To recap, the Angels and Nationals offers were both 8 years, 160 million while the Orioles offered 7 years, 140 million. The O’s won’t be raising their offer, but it is possible that the other 3 teams do.
I’m glad the Red Sox finally made an offer. Hopefully, things will start cooking now. With 3 teams offering the same or almost the same amount, Tex will have to chose where he wants to go the most. Obviously, I’m not Teixeira, but I think that Boston would make the most sense for him. He gets to win more than the Nationals do while also staying near his Baltimore home. By the way, it looks like the Orioles are out because of their reluctance to raise their offer. I don’t think that they were all that serious anyway; they just put in a bid so that could say that they tried. There’s no way Tex is taking 140 million.
So now that this is a 3 team race, things will get interesting. Will the two teams that don’t get their offer tentatively accepted raise it or drop out? Will Teixeira get only 160 million, or will he get the 200 million he’s been asking for? Where is his preferred destination? The good thing is that all of these questions will be answered soon. I do think that Teixeira will sign before Christmas, and I still believe it will be with the Red Sox. He will tentatively accept their offer, but will report back to the Nationals and Angels first. I have no idea whether either team would raise its offer. If one or both do raise their offer, will the Red Sox also? Or will they drop out?
This is going to be a very, very fun thing to watch over the holiday season! Hopefully he’ll sign before Christmas.
I know that it’s really early to start talking about this, but I started to wonder where Matt Holliday will sign next offseason.
Yankees (frontrunners) If my estimation is correct, the Yankees will have 158 million committed on their 2010 team unless they sign a free agent to a multiyear deal this offseason. Lets say that they’ll put their payroll in the 200 – 210 million dollar range. That would leave 42 – 52 million left to spend. The outfield corners and designated hitter look like the only holes. Holliday is the best player available in the outfield, and I’m sure that the Yanks will go all-in to try to lock up this great slugger.
Red Sox (frontrunners) They’ll pursue him partly because the Yankees are in on him, but also because they would love to add Holliday to their ball club. The BoSox inquired on him while he was with the Rockies, because they thought he would be the perfect Red Sox player. Jason Bay is a free agent, opening up a hole in left field. I’m not sure if the Red Sox would like to make record breaking contracts back-to-back years, so I don’t think the BoSox will go all-out in order to sign Holliday if they already have Mark Teixeira. If Tex goes elsewhere, look for Boston to go hard after Holliday.
Angels (frontrunners) This is pretty much the same thing as with the Red Sox. If the Angels sign Tex this offseason, they’re less likely to sign Matt Holliday next offseason. If Holliday goes somewhere else, the Angels are a big player for Matt. A lot of money should be opened up when John Lackey’s, Kelvim Escobar’s and Vladimir Guerrero contracts end. With “Vlad the Bad” not so “bad” anymore, the Halos could always look at the younger Holliday. Matt makes a lot of sense for their club if Teixeira isn’t signed first.
Dodgers (possible) If Manny Ramirez doesn’t resign in Dodger Blue, the other LA team could decide to go after Matt Holliday. I don’t know if they’ll be willing to go past the limits for Holliday the way the Yankees, Red Sox, and Angels probably will. This remains a possibility, however.
Cardinals (slim chance) I named them because I think they have a chance to sign Holliday, even if it is a slim chance. They aggressively pursued him in trade talks with the Rockies, and were reportedly close to an agreement. If they did aquire Holliday, they would like to talk extension with him. So that could possibly mean that they would be willing to fork over the 200 million+ that would be necessary to sign Matt. I just don’t think that a mid-market team like the Cards would be willing to pay at least a fifth of their payroll on one player. The above mentioned teams are much more likely.
Nationals (dark horse) They’re aggressively pursuing Mark Teixeira this year, and that leads me to believe that they could do the same with Holliday if Tex signs elsewhere. Remember, they were in trade talks with the Rockies if a window for an extension would be granted. I think that means that they would be willing to offer the 200 million+ it would take to sign him. They might be outbid by the larger market clubs like the Yanks and Red Sox, but I think that they’ll throw a pretty high number in front of Holliday’s face.