By Tanner Shurtz - AngelsWin.com Columnist
According to Cot’s baseball contracts the Angels have 151MM committed to this years payroll, with only 87.5MM committed to next years squad. The team’s payroll has risen just about every year and this offseason Arte Moreno has shown that he will spend lots of money to contend. Last offseason ownership said they could spend around 15MM…they went on to spend around 30MM, so with that and the new TV deal (which is worth 3 billion over 20 years), no one but the front office is really sure how much they can actually spend.
The team needs upgrades everywhere except the starting lineup; this would leave the rotation, bench and bullpen for upgrades. In just about every season Mike Scioscia has not managed the bench very well, usually carrying 2 catchers, a utility man and an outfielder or two. A great team that utilizes the bench very well is the New York Yankees. Joe Girardi has a great advantage when it comes to his bench, in the DH spot is Andruw Jones and Raul Ibanez, for their respective careers, Jones hits lefties fairly well and Ibanez destroys right handed pitching, so Giradi uses them in a platoon split. They also have Eric Chavez to play 3B who has been destroying right handed pitching all year, while playing 73 games against them rather than 18 against lefties.
Now, enough of the Yankees, here are some players GM Jerry Dipoto should sign in the offseason. For the bench: Eric Chavez, Jeff Baker, and Marco Scutaro. Scutaro would replace Izturis as the utility man as he can play 3B/SS/2B though older, he is much more durable. There are two ways the Angels could use Baker and Chavez together, they could either non-tender or trade Alberto Callaspo, shedding 3.1 million dollars or he can keep Callaspo, pay him close to 4 million in arbitration and use Chavez and Baker as bench options. I previously stated why Chavez would be a good platoon because he hits right handed pitching very well, but what about Baker? In his career he has hit left handed pitchers very well, so Scioscia could create a very dangerous platoon at 3B with Chavez and Baker. For comparisons sake, he are some triple slash lines of the three players I have mentioned:
.306/.354/.519- Jeff Baker against LHP in his career
.279/.358/.511- Eric Chavez against RHP in his career
.266/.332/.376 Alberto Callaspo against RHP in his career
.303/.346/.411 Albert Callaspo against LHP in his career.
As you can see this platoon would be significantly better than Callaspo alone and they would be cheaper combined than Callaspo’s potential arbitration cost. A Baker contract would look something like 2 years for 4 million and a Chavez contract would be close to 1 year for 1.5 million. So that’s 3.5 million for 2013 compared to Callaspo’s 4 million in arbitration and for more production. Not only are these two players on-base percentages better than Callaspo’s their slugging percentages are over 100 points which means more power at the 3B position, which they have badly needed since Troy Glaus was manning the position. As for Scutaro his contract would look something like 2 years for 6 million. To give Scutaro playing time at 3B it would be against a left handed pitcher, that way you can also give Morales a day off and give Baker a day at DH and vice versa for a right handed pitcher. I personally would rather non-tender/trade Callaspo than have him on the team.
Now that we’ve addressed additions to the bench, let’s put it all together. The full bench would be Bobby Wilson as backup catcher, Eric Chavez as platoon 3B, Jeff Baker as platoon 3B, Marco Scutaro as UT, and finally Kole Calhoun for 4th outfielder. As for Wells, I believe he will be either traded or released in the offseason. That’s 5 bench players, so that leaves 20 more players for the full roster. Along with these additions to the bench, will be additions to the rotation which I will address next in part two.