Thursday, July 26, 2007

By Eric Denton

Angel fans are as excited as little kids at Christmas time waiting to see what Santa will bring them. Will they get the baseball glove they want or a lump of coal in their stocking ?

The trade deadline is once again approaching and Angel fans are hoping that this is the year Bill Stoneman doesn't sit back and not improve the team. With the team struggling offensively, it's obvious that the club could use another hitter. But is that all they need ?

First priority - Get a power hitter.

With Chone Figgins able to shift around the diamond it gives the Angels flexibility as to what player or position they fill. Ideally, if the Angels are going to give up some of their top prospects, they'll be able to acquire a young impact player.

The biggest rumor out there is Mark Teixeria. The 27 year old, switch hitter would give the team a big boost either at first-base or designated hitter. The Angels have allegedly offered Casey Kotchman, Ervin Santana and either Nathan Haynes or Terry Evans. I'd personally prefer they keep Kotchman while trying to get something for Kendry Morales instead. However, this deal would be acceptable as long as the Rangers don't try to raise the ante by asking for Joe Saunders instead of Santana.

Other rumored players are Jermaine Dye, Mike Piazza and Troy Glaus.

The Angels probably have the prospect in Brandon Wood that could re-acquire the former Angel, but there are conflicting media reports about whether or not the Blue Jays are even willing to deal him. Blue Jay officials feel 2008 could be their year. Angels fans would be thrilled if Stoneman was able to get Glaus back into Angel red as many feel his departure is what caused the offensive problems the team has suffered since the 2005 season.

Dye could also help, adding power at either right or left field and DH. Dye is going to be a free agent at the end of the season and probably wouldn't cost the Angels any of their top tier prospects.

Piazza could help at designated hitter or even catching games in place of light hitting rookie Jeff Mathis when Mike Napoli needs a day off.

Second Priority - Starting pitcher.

If the Angels can acquire a decent starting pitcher it would free up Ervin Santana or Joe Saunders to be included in a trade for a hitter. If the Angels were to acquire a pitcher like Jon Garland, Javier Vazquez or the recently available Dontrelle Willis, the Halo rotation could be stacked for the postseason. With Bartolo Colon put and Ervin Santana at Triple-A Salt Lake City, it would be not a surprise for the pitching centric Angels to acquire another starter.

Third Priority - Reliever

The Angels have a stable back end of the bullpen with Justin Speier, Scot Shields and closer Frankie Rodriguez. However, Chris Bootcheck and Darren Oliver have been shaky. With Dustin Moseley looking at a potential starting job due to the elbow injury to Colon the Angels could use some bullpen help. Maybe that will come from recently re-called Marcus Gywn, but it probably wont come in the form of Greg Jones.

Relievers worth taking a look at include St. Louis's Russ Springer, New York's Scott Proctor and Chad Qualls or Dan Wheeler from the Astros.

I do believe this will be the season that Bill Stoneman is able to come through with the big trade many fans have said the team has needed for a couple seasons now. His contract is up at the end of the season and Stoneman may want to either continue as general manager in 2008 or retire after this season. Which ever way he may be leaning. Winning another World Series has got to be his top priority. He did the prudent thing building the farm system into one of the best in MLB. But it's now time to deal from strength. Aside from perhaps Brandon Wood and definitely Nick Adenhart, no player in the minor leagues should be deemed untouchable.

My prediction. Jermaine Dye to Angels

Love to hear what you think!

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