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.
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The Atlanta Braves, a huge disappointment last season, need to decide whether to rebuild or retool this offseason. I lean toward rebuild, but with Bobby Cox, they probably will try to retool. They have a few needs. They have to get a left fielder, center fielder, starting pitcher, and reliever. They might have to look to fix center field from within with Gregor Blanco and Josh Anderson stopgaping untill one of the center field prospects are ready. Left field could be given to Brandon Jones, but they think he needs more time. They can sign a guy in the Raul Ibanez, Garret Anderson, Jaun Rivera teir. If they want to spend a lot they could sign Pat Burrell, Manny Ramirez, or Adam Dunn. For pitching, I don’t think they have a chance at getting CC Sabathia or Ben Sheets, but could go after a solid #2 or #3. Jon Garland makes a lot of sense for this team. The bullpen also must be adressed. They should try hard to retain Will Ohman, although he should be tough to resign. If they decide to sell, Kelly Johnson, Mike Gonzalez, and Rafeal Soriano could be trade chips. Tim Hudson, also, when he returns from injury could be shopped at the trade deadline. So, the Braves could go either way, but they probably won’t be able to compete next year or build up a great farm system next year.
The Cincinnati Reds are trying to retool what is a bad season for them. Oddly, after losing adam Dunn and Ken Griffey Jr. They think they can be better than they were this year. They have a lot of money to burn. About 30 million is coming off the books in contracts. They probably won’t spend it all in one plce, but will spend a lot of it. They have many holes. Five of them. They need a reliever, shortstop, left fielder, center fielder, and a catcher.They will go after Raul Ibanez, Garret Anderson, and Jaun Rivera to be their left fielder. They also will pursue Mark Kotsay as their center fielder. They could go after a guy like David Eckstein for shortstop, and Jason Varitek makes a lot of sense at catcher if the Red Sox don’t resign him. They could try to resign David Weathers and Jeremy Affeldt. The Reds have the money to fill all of their holes, just not with impact players. They are hoping they get a bounce back season from Aaron Harang and that Johnny Cueto steps up the be the #3 they need. Micah Owings is a solid #5 starter if he beats out Homer Baily for the finale spot in the rotation. Baily needs to step up as well. For the offense, Joey Votto and Jay Bruce need to become big-time run producers. The rest if the offense needs to be solid as well. This team reminds me a lot like the other Ohio team, the Indians. Both teams have a lot of things that need to go right, but if they do, these teams will be contenders.
Next up is the Philadelphia Phillies. This team is good team without many needs. The only need they have are left field/right field, starting pitching, and a reliever. They are losing a big slugger in their lineup in Pat Burrell, and will try hard to resign him. They Phils don’t have a lot of money to spend, however. Only about 8 million. If they backload Burrel’s deal they could get it done, but that would leave nothing for pitching. They could possibly trade Ryan Howard, who could earn 14 million in arbitration next year. They could trade Howard and shave that 14 million off the payroll so they can resign Burrell and have enough to sign a reliever and a first baseman. Maybe trade Howard to the Yankees for Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy, then resign Burrell to a 4 year, 60 million contract. Hughes solves the pitching, and they can trade Ian Kennedy to the Florida Marlins for Mike Jacobs. I know it’s a inter-divsion trade, but it could work. They can then resign Chad Durbin with their remaining money. This is unlikely, but it makes sense, doesn’t it? If they don’t do that, they’ll probably let Burrell walk, resign Jamie Moyer, and sign a Raul Ibanez, Jaun Rivera, Garret Anderson type left fielder. They also could sign a reliever, but it might not be Chad Durbin. So, the Phillies are going to have to get creative this offseason since they don’t have much money.
The offseason plan for the Los Angelos Angels of Anahiem is pretty simple: Resign Mark Teixera. They need this guy back badly. They can afford to lose Francisco Rodriguez. They can sign Brian Fuentes who I think makes a ton of sense here to replace K-Rod. Fuentes wants a closer job on the west coast for a contending team. He gets all three if he signs with the Angels. Garret Anderson and Jaun Rivera, the other two key free agents for them, are easily replacable and might be resigned. Jon Garland, another good free agent that could leave, is not needed with Kelvim Escobar returning from injury and with a great pitching prospect in Nick Adenhart sitting in the minos. There are two scenerios, depending if the Angels resign Tex or not.
If they resign Teixera: If the Angels find a way to convince Tex to stay with the Angels instead of going to the Yankees, they will be a lot better off. Then, all they’d have to do is get a closer like Fuentes, and get a left field/DH type. I could see them resigning Rivera or Anderson to fill this void. Or they could sign Raul Ibanez or Jason Giambi to fill the hole. I don’t think, but it’s possible they sign Tex and a Pat Burrel, Milton Bradley, Adam Dunn, Manny Ramirez to be the DH.
If they don’t resign Mark Teixera: This is not going to improve their team, but if they make the right moves it won’t hurt the team, either. They need to add a big bat. If Tex leaves they’ll go after a Burrel, Dunn, Manny, Bradley type player to play left field and DH. I still think they’ll go after and sign Brian Fuentes. They also will want to sign a player out of the Giambi, Anderson, Ibanez, Rivera group to play first base. Kendry Morales could also get some playing time. This team is not as good as the other, but not that much worse.
I have stated before that it would be smart for the Blue Jays to sell off Roy Halladay and rebuild. But, because he is there only decent trade chip, they are likely to retool. They don’t have many needs. According to our Offseason Needs post, they only have two, shortstop and designated hitter. The problem is that they need players like Alex Rios, Aaron Hill, and Vernon Wells to come back from injury and return to form. If these things happen, and they add a shortstop and DH, they could contend. Wouldn’t it be awesome to see the Rays and Blue Jays at the top of that divsion, with no Yankees and Red Sox. My Top 50 Free Agents list predicts the Jays will sign Jason Giambi and Orlando Cabrera. This, along with Rios, Wells, and Hill returning to form, would give the Jays a chance to compete. I think they will try hard for Manny Ramirez, and be one of the most aggresive suitors for him. If they fail out on Manny and Giambi, they should go after Raul Ibanez. They had interest in him at the trade-deadline. If they miss out on all of them, they would have to settle for a lesser player like Jaun Rivera. For shortstop options if they miss out on Cabrera, they could go after Rafael Furcal and Edgar Renteria. Worst case they could settle with resigning David Eckstein. The Blue Jays don’t have a great chance, but if things go right offensive wise, they could compete.