By Bruce Nye - Angelswin.com Columnist
“Sleigh bells ring are you listening, in the lane, snow is glistening
A beautiful night, we’re happy tonight walking in a winter wonderland”
For the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim the off-season is a winter wonderland with emphasis on the word “wonder.” As in fans wonder what signings and trades the Angels front office will make to the already solid roster.
It has been widely published that 1B Mark Teixeira is the Number 1 priority to be re-signed this winter. If Tex is re-signed, then a lot of wondering goes away. But what if he signs with another team, largely believed to be the Red Sox or the Nationals.
Garret Anderson is a free agent and he may not be re-signed as the Angels left fielder. Fans wonder if a new outfielder will be signed. There has been speculation that Raul Ibanez was being considered for that position, but he has now been signed by the Phillies. Angel fans don’t need to wonder about Ibanez now, but they can wonder if Chone Figgins would be asked to take over the left field position. If he does, fans wonder who will take over the3B position. Will Bobby Abreu or Adam Dunn be signed? What about Manny Ramirez, will he be an Angel in 2009?
Brandon Wood can take over playing 3rd base as it seems that his time has come. The highly talented Wood needs to step up or step out as a major league talent. It is prospect or suspect time. The shortstop position seems relatively stable with Izturis and/or Aybar but if they are involved in a trade, then Wood could take over the shortstop position, which is his natural spot. Even Angel players wonder what will happen here.
Jon Garland seems likely to deny arbitration, which leaves the No. 5 spot in the rotation open for a starting pitcher. If Adenhart isn’t ready, Angel fans wonder who will be signed to fill this spot.
Angels fans have seen Kendry Morales come up and go down as a major league player and the general consensus is he will be on the major league 25-man roster in 2009. But fans wonder what position he will play. He can place 1st base or he can play LF. Which will it be?
Frankie Rodriguez has signed a three year deal with the New York Mets. That leaves the closer spot open and the fans now wonder who the closer will be. It could be Scot Shields. It could be Jose Arredondo. It could be a committee. The Angels could sign Brian Fuentes.
The Winter Meetings have now concluded and the Angels have been active, but have not made any major moves in terms of trading or signing free agents. The chess match between general managers and Scott Boras continue as he strives to obtain the best deals for his clients even if he has to stir the pot and not always be as forthright as perhaps he could. It’s still two full months until spring training and no doubt the Angels will make a number of moves, but thus far it is clearly a winter wonderland.
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