The off-season brings about intrigue to a franchise; the Angels’ organization is no exception. There is a lot of uncertainty yet great anticipation of what was what is, and what can be. It’s also the time of year that my entries become less analytical and more based on my fan enthusiasm. This is where reflection, anticipation, and expectation converge.
I believe angels made a statement this past season, although they were eliminated from postseason participation this year, they were still able to make an impact. Jared Weaver was the runner-up to a 2011 American League CY Young Award, and Mark Trumbo was a runner up for the American League Rookie of the Year Award. Clearly this demonstrated to me that the Angels have the talent to be a championship caliber team they just lack if you pieces that need to be in place to reinforce an already talented team full of potential.
Potential is not always good, the team has to be developed said potential, in order to accomplish that. They must be crafty in the way they approach the transactions both made in the off-season and during the season. Angels’ General Manager, Jerry Dipoto was quoted in the Los Angeles Times as saying that free agency was not the only option; the team has the option of improving and solidifying itself via trade as well. Let’s think about that for a second, on the one hand, I agree with him the Angels must stay away from bad contracts. Then why go after C. J. Wilson? The 31-year-old left-hander wants a six-year contract; let’s do the math this multimillion dollar contract would end when he is 36 years old. Isn’t that the essence of a bad contract?
If one is going to risk that much money why not go after Albert Pujols or Prince Fielder? At least in Pujols’ this case one is taking a similar risk but I think a reward would be much more likely. In the 2011 World Series, Wilson was a lackluster player who seemed to crumble under the bright lights of the fall classic. As opposed to Pujols who seemed to shine especially in game three and tied Babe Ruth and Reggie Jackson for the most home runs in one game. Wilson reminds me a bit of Chone Figgins. Who is a great player during the regular season, but seems to wither away during the playoffs.
The winds of change are apparent in Major League Baseball, in the way of division realignment, it seems to be a done deal; the Houston Astros are coming to the American League West. Giving all divisions in Major League Baseball five teams.
I myself would rather see the Arizona Diamondbacks transfer over to the American League West simply because that would keep all the teams in the Pacific time zone; the Angels, the Athletics, and the Mariners, from traveling to time zones to face a division opponent, and the Rangers would go to the Pacific time zone something that they’re already accustomed to doing with the other three teams in division. This move would keep the American League West strong by adding a quality Baseball team like the Diamondbacks, and not give them the East Coast pundits one more reason to downgrade the quality of baseball in the American League West. Let’s face it, the Astros don’t really help the American West solidified itself as a strong division, and with the exception of the Texas Rangers that he wasn’t Astros don’t really mean much, nor are they as strong attendance draw for the rest of the American League West. From a financial standpoint it doesn’t make sense to bring in a weak team into the division. I’m certainly not opposed to bringing a fifth franchise into the American League West. I do believe in balance, however let us bring in the team that strengthens the division while at the same time makes geographical sense, and does not put one team at an advantage over the other three teams in the division.
The Angels continued to impress, Shortstop Erick Aybar has won his first Gold Glove of his career, joining Torii Hunter, Ken Berry, Rick Miller, Gary Pettis, Devon White, Jim Edmonds, and Darin Erstad.
The Angels potentially have a very bright future, in addition to Erick Aybar’s Gold Glove season; the Angels also have the American League Rookie of the Year Mark Trumbo; in addition 3/5 of their rotation Jared Weaver, Dan Haren, and Ervin Santana can go toe to toe with any starting rotation in Major League Baseball. Let us not forget young upstart Mike Trout, if the Halos were to add one or two decent arms to the starting rotation and maybe an above-average bat, quite possibly they may have the ingredients for a championship soup.
As I stated before, the Angels need a a lot of reinforcements in different areas. In my previous entries I touched upon their need to address the bullpen. I also addressed how the Angels need to part ways with Jeff Mathis who is a sub .200 hitter for his career. Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder are maybe out of the question financially, but the Angels could possibly court Yadier Molina, who is a career .400 hitter that demonstrated in the 2011 World Series that he has a cannon for an arm that can throw runners out at any base. If the Angels are able to acquire the youngest Molina it would solve two issues at once, it would put a pretty good bat in the lineup while the same time address the need for a defensive catcher, the type that Mike Scioscia seems to covet so much.
Again congratulations to Erick Aybar for his Gold Glove and Mark Trumbo for being the American League Rookie of the Year. They are both very deserving of their individual awards respectively. It is my belief that the Angels have the right ingredients for a championship soup. However, it has yet to be seen if the new Angels’ General Manager can add the right spices to make the soup devastate and endear the taste buds of Angels’ fans simultaneously.