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Finnpin 01-12-2011 03:13 AM

LA Angels of Anaheim Discussion
 
What do you think about the offseason so far and the Halos chances for the season 2011? What is right and what is not and what needs to be done?

Werth's contract helped Crawford and Beltre to have more money than they deserved and Angels were out of the race.

Bullpen got better with 2 signings (Downs and Takahashi) and the rotation already looks good (even with Kazmir).

Morales is coming back from the injury but is that offense lift enough against the Rangers.

Podsednik or Damon to left field? Trade back for Figgins? Vlad back?

Discuss...

Slyintine 01-12-2011 06:53 AM

Here's my take on the Angels:

Because of the massive contracts being handed out in this offseason coupled with all the arbitration hearings that they have (I think 9), the Angels were expected to spend a lot of money (that they didn't have) on big free agents for long term (who expected more money than they're worth).

Am I disappointed that the Angels couldn't land Crawford or Beltre? Yes.
For that many years and at that price? I'd say no.

Next offseason, when Matthews, Kazmir, Pineiro, Rodney, Abreu, and Rivera's contracts are all up, the Angels will have a lot more financial flexibility. Some of that money will be used to, hopefully, extend their young players (mainly Jered Weaver), but we can expect the Angels to be huge spenders next season.

Will the Angels be competitive this year? I think so.

The Angels have arguably the best pitching staff in the AL West:
Jered Weaver, Dan Haren, Ervin Santana, Joel Pineiro, Scott Kazmir/Trevor Bell/Hisanori Takahashi is solid, while the bullpen is extremely deep with a good combination of young talent and veteran presence. I was worried about the fact that Scott Kazmir was going to be the only lefty on the staff, but the Angels went ahead and signed two very good lefty relievers with role flexibility (Scott Downs can be a 7th inning/Setup/Closer while Hisanori Takahashi can fulfill any role).

Offensively, the Angels will struggle, no doubt.

They don't have the ideal lead-off player, the old outfield is another year older, and half the lineup is made of contact hitters with little power (Callaspo, Izturis, Aybar, Kendrick). However, I think a full season of Kendry Morales will improve the line-up a ton and the Angels a few in-house options for lead-off. If Erick Aybar or Peter Bourjos fail to improve their on-base percentage at ST, Bobby Abreu can fill that leadoff role with his career .400 OBP.

If the Angels sign Johnny Damon or Scott Podsednik for a year, then that would be a serviceable fill in left field, while filling the lead-off spot (I prefer Damon's 10+% walk rate/.355 career OBP over Podsednik's 6.6% rate/.340 career OBP). But they aren't necessary additions.

As for DH, I think the Angels have a ton of options (Napoli, Abreu, Rivera), so I doubt Vlad makes a comeback to Anaheim.

Realize that this is still 80% of the lineup that was 2nd overall offensively in '09. Yes, some played over their heads, but in '10 those same players underperformed dramatically as well. Realistically, we can expect an offense that is somewhere in between '09 and '10.

The young players will play a huge role in whether the Angels can compete or not:

Brandon Wood managed to have a good winter-ball and I think it's worth giving him another shot. Why? Because this time the Angels have Alberto Callaspo to take over if he struggles again, which is something they didn't have last season. I still believe Wood can be the power-hitting, slick fielding third baseman that the Angels believed he would be. He just needs to gain the confidence and have a fire lit under him; a fire in the form of Callaspo.

Peter Bourjos had a fantastic '10 campaign roaming CF. His value on defense alone (league leading 44.7 UZR/150 among players who played in 400+ innings last year ) is enough to give the Angels a boost. Let's see if he can improve his batting average to .250. He was killed last season by a .228 BABIP after his call up, so we can expect his offense to improve a bit. I say he keeps the CF job, while putting up Drew Stubbs-type offense.

Rich Thompson looks like a rock in the bullpen and a future 7th/8th inning guy, while Michael Kohn and Jordan Walden have shown the poise and strike out ability of late inning relievers (although they could work on their control a bit more). From what the young pitchers have shown so far, I expect the Angels bullpen to be worlds better than last season's.
Bold prediction: Jordan Walden takes the closer role from a struggling Fernando Rodney before the All Star Break and wins AL Rookie of the Year. (Yes, a rookie reliever wins the award three years in a row).

Other young players that look to make an impact are Hank Conger and Mark Trumbo:

Hank Conger has been a top Angels prospect for a while. He's a catcher whose bat can make an instantaneous impact because of his combination of power and plate discipline. He still needs to work on his defense behind the plate, but I feel another year in AAA isn't necessary for his development. I think he gets sent to AAA only to be recalled halfway in the season when one of Mathis/Napoli/Wilson gets traded/DFA'd.

Mark Trumbo is a pure power hitting first baseman. He strikes out a lot, so there's still a lot of questions about his swing and plate discipline. With Morales coming back and Rivera/Napoli/Abreu taking the DH slot, there isn't a spot for Trumbo on the main roster. He'll likely get sent back down to work on his discipline or he'll get packaged in a trade.

How does the rest of the AL West shape up?

The Oakland As have improved significantly on offense with the addition of David DeJesus, Hideki Matsui, and Josh Willingham. There are still some injury concerns in their pitching staff, mainly staff ace Brett Anderson and closer Andrew Bailey. They will be in the mix for the AL West and may end up leading it halfway in the season.

The Texas Rangers failed to land Cliff Lee and overpaid for Adrian Beltre to make up for it. Their rotation still looks weak as they've only signed Brandon Webb in hopes he can return to his '08 form. Don't be surprised if they fall behind the race early due to key injuries to their impact players; Josh Hamilton, Nelson Cruz, and Ian Kinsler have all missed time last season due to injury. It'll be interesting to see if the Rangers can stay healthy enough to win another pennant. However, their bullpen and overall offense is still solid, so it's their division to lose.

The Seattle Mariners are chalking the '11 season to showcasing their young talent. Pineda looks to make an impact in the middle of the rotation, while Ackley and Smoak hope to add a spark to the anemic Mariners offense that ranked dead last in most categories last season. Along with the addition of Jack Cust, the Mariners look primed to not lose more than 90 games.

Overall, I think the Angels can stand pat and still compete. A full season of Haren, Morales, Bourjos and that bullpen can put the Angels into 85+ wins category, but the AL West looks to be more competitive than ever in '11. We'll just have to see how the season plays out.

EDIT: Grammar and formatting.

Static 01-12-2011 01:38 PM

God damn that's a lot of words. The only thing I'll say about the Angels right now is that the season hinges on Aybar and Kendrick swinging the bat better than an average MLBer.

mightyquack 01-12-2011 07:56 PM

I cringe when I see the Angels full name, it's an abortion

Hockey Duckie 01-12-2011 08:42 PM

For the team to be successful

1. Pitching. If Kaz can regain control and a true closer can be had, then the team doesn't need to score a lot of runs.

2. Table setter. The Angels need to find a leadoff man. I hope that can be Kendrick. Heck, may be Bourjos can be developed to hit in the leadoff spot during the offseason.

3. Bourjos. If he can continue to awesome in the outfield, then that can actually save runs from being scored and save our pitching staff.

4. Napoli as a full time DH. When Nap plays as a catcher, then his focus isn't as intense as simply being a hitter. When Nap is just a hitter, he is "en fuego" as noticed throughout last season.

5. Catching. Mathis needs to have the same start as last season, but not get injured. Conger needs to make Wilson expendable. Having Wilson will enable Napoli to be a full time DH or double up at first base.

While most people think you need to get a big bat, and I acknowledge we do need a big bat, but if the other team can't hit your ball, then they can't score. Isn't that how the Angels won their first championship? Great pitching and timely hitting.

darko 01-12-2011 09:49 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Slyintine (Post 30156085)
Peter Bourjos had a fantastic '10 campaign roaming CF. His value on defense alone is enough to give the Angels a boost. Let's see if he can improve his batting average to .250. He was killed last season by a .228 BABIP after his call up, so we can expect his offense to improve a bit. I say he keeps the CF job, while putting up Drew Stubbs-type offense.

I dont see it. Bourjos doesnt posses Stubbs's power. Probably the best he turns out is Jacoby Ellsbury-type offensively. Even if he's another Podsednik I dont think Angels fans will care too much because of how much better he makes them defensively.



Quote:

Rich Thompson looks like a rock in the bullpen and a future 7th/8th inning guy,
That's mah boy right there.



Quote:

Bold prediction: Jordan Walden gets the closer role before the All Star Break and wins AL Rookie of the Year (yes, a rookie reliever wins the award three years in a row).

I like it. The kid can sure dial it up.

Francesa 01-12-2011 10:24 PM

Wow long post

Anyway the Rangers aren't losing that division

The Angels time is done

Rangers
A's
Angels
Mariners

Justified 01-13-2011 02:00 AM

they always have the rally monkey.

Slyintine 01-13-2011 10:34 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by darko (Post 30173189)
I dont see it. Bourjos doesnt posses Stubbs's power. Probably the best he turns out is Jacoby Ellsbury-type offensively. Even if he's another Podsednik I dont think Angels fans will care too much because of how much better he makes them defensively.

Bourjos hit 6 HRs and stole 10 bags in 51 games. It's not so crazy to think he can go 20 hrs/30 sbs in a full season. Obviously, if he works on hitting more for average, it'll hurt his power, but Bourjos has sneaky HR ability.

Mooseduck 01-13-2011 05:47 PM

Moreno needs to replace the front office imo.
Hope for a healthy Morales.

Go Angels!

Fighter 01-13-2011 05:53 PM

I'm not an expert on baseball, but I was hoping they'd sign a big name like Crawford, our offense is going to struggle even with a healthy Morales IMO. Any chance to get back Vlad? Man, I thought he was done, instead he went for a big year...

The Rangers still look stronger though.

Unholy 01-13-2011 06:47 PM

Have not followed the Halos in a few years. Surely losing interest in this team and baseball. Will be even more so if LA gets a football team in a couple years

Sean Garrity 01-13-2011 06:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ixcuincle (Post 30173984)
Wow long post

Anyway the Rangers aren't losing that division

The Angels time is done

Rangers
A's
Angels
Mariners

The Rangers and what pitching staff? I believe in Colby Lewis and CJ Wilson, but after that their staff is garbage. Do you really believe Tommy Hunter will go 12-4 with a sub 4 ERA again...because he wont. Brandon Webb of two years ago would be a great addition, but he is a shot in the dark at this point in regards to him staying healthy AND returning to form in his first year back. It has also been proven countless times that pitches who can dominate the NL cannot always dominate the AL because the offenses are so much better.

The Rangers need pitching and the Angels could use another bat...hey we should trade :sarcasm:

Epictetus 01-13-2011 08:00 PM

I think Oakland wins it.

Slyintine 01-15-2011 01:25 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Fighter (Post 30188262)
I'm not an expert on baseball, but I was hoping they'd sign a big name like Crawford, our offense is going to struggle even with a healthy Morales IMO. Any chance to get back Vlad? Man, I thought he was done, instead he went for a big year...

The Rangers still look stronger though.

Vladimir Guerrero had a good year for two reasons:
1) His numbers in Arlington are incredibly good: .345/.400/.996 is pretty crazy.
2) The lineup he was in was very good.

Vlad looks like he was done, but really he had actually a nice season in '09. One of the main problems was that Vlad wanted more time in the outfield and if you watched him in the World Series, he was atrocious in RF.

The Rangers boast the best lineup in the AL West, that much is true. But I think people are overlooking how awful that rotation is. A team can always manufacture runs, but you can't manufacture good pitching. Their rotation is: Brandon Webb, CJ Wilson, Colby Lewis, Tommy Hunter, and Derek Holland:
- A guy who hasn't thrown a pitch in the majors since the beginning of '09
- A pitcher who was extremely lucky in '10 (stupidly low BABIP) with a declining strikeout ability (he just turned 30)
- A 31-year old year old pitcher whose ceiling is a #3 pitcher
- A Nick Blackburn-type pitcher, except he doesn't induce many ground outs, so he could possibly be worse
- A young lefty who can't find the strike zone.

The good thing about the Rangers pitching staff is that they have a solid bullpen. Feliz is a stud, but they might try to plug him in as a starer, which would be awful considering he can't control any of his secondary pitches, Ogando is a legit setup man, Frankie Francisco is a serviceable reliever who can pitch in any role, Darren O'Day is a decent side-arm pitcher who was pretty lucky last season, and Arthur Rhodes and Darren Oliver are two of the best left-handed relievers in the game. But it's all for naught if the starters can't keep your team in the game.

I'd be more afraid of the Athletics than the Rangers at this point. They have a serviceable offense now combined with a young, talented pitching staff and they play near flawless defense. The only thing they have to worry about is the health of their pitchers (but who doesn't?)

Sean Garrity 01-15-2011 09:09 AM

I really hope Moreno signs Manny to be the DH.

jiggsawpuzzle35 01-15-2011 04:09 PM

Had the pleasure of speaking with one of our starting pitchers yesterday while i sold him a printer. Can't believe he flat out told me these things. I brought up the fact that it suck that we didn't sign Carl Crawford. He told the reason why he didn't sign here was because the Angels were too cheap and I couldn't agree more. I also told him I was glad Fuentes was gone because he blew a lot of games and ruined this certain pitchers stats. He responded by telling me that Fuentes thought he was better than actually is. Lol this proves that Brian really is a POS. Anyways kudos to this Angels pitcher for being a great guy and not a stuck up kid.

Jesus Teemu 01-21-2011 05:30 PM

Vernon Wells for Mike Napoli. Seems like a good trade for both teams.

Jesus Teemu 01-21-2011 05:38 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Hazy (Post 30368020)
Vernon Wells for Mike Napoli. Seems like a good trade for both teams.

Lol maybe not after looking at Wells' age and salary. :amazed: Still had a good year last season though.

Static 01-21-2011 06:13 PM

That trade is awful if the Angels are taking the salary on.

Corey Perry* 01-21-2011 08:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by X Hockeystatic X (Post 30368817)
That trade is awful if the Angels are taking the salary on.

I don't think Arte Moreno cares too much... There's no cap, and the Angels usually make alot of money, and there getting rid of Rivera and Napoli, that will help a bit with the salary.

Baseball is still an awful sport.

Jesus Teemu 01-21-2011 08:39 PM

The Jays' GM has done the impossible. It's pretty amazing how the Jays have such a better idea of how to build a team than the Toronto hockey team. :laugh:

Static 01-21-2011 08:42 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Duckscrazy (Post 30371376)
I don't think Arte Moreno cares too much... There's no cap, and the Angels usually make alot of money, and there getting rid of Rivera and Napoli, that will help a bit with the salary.

Baseball is still an awful sport.

He balked when he was asked to give a better player LESS than he is now going to pay Vernon Wells. This is a terrible trade for Anaheim. Unbelievable offseason.

Finnpin 01-22-2011 12:36 AM

Still quite new to the baseball so don't know much of Wells (though heard of the name)

He is old and has lousy contract, good D?, good last season and injuries before that....

Desperation move by Reagins/Moreno?

Wells taking the LF? and Bourjos stays center?

EDIT. LOL, every page/news is saying Angels got fleeced but still the team is better than yesterday... when you count the countings off.

Jesus Teemu 01-22-2011 01:03 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Finnpin (Post 30375897)
Still quite new to the baseball so don't know much of Wells (though heard of the name)

He is old and has lousy contract, good D, good last season and injuries before that....

Desperation move by Reagins/Moreno?

Wells taking the LF? and Bourjos stays center?

Precisely correct imo. They won't ever say it but it will look like an epic failure of an offseason if all they got to show for is two middle relievers. I think it definitely was a knee-jerk reaction.

Wells is a good player who will add some needed power to the line-up and he's a good defensive player as well. The outfield possibly with Bourjos in centre and Wells in Left and Hunter in right will be impressive.

The Jays and Angels are my favourite teams but I think, atm, the Jays win the trade just based on salaries. Napoli will put up similar numbers to Wells for much less and Rivera is just loose change.

Also too bad Abreu still around as I think Vlad would be a better DH.


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