Monday, December 9, 2013

By Greg Bearringer, Columnist -

The worst part of this time of year as a baseball fan, and even more as one trying to write intelligently about it, is that the information available to us is incomplete.  Even if the Angels have already made all their moves, it’s hard to criticize them because there are so many moves that could potentially still be made.  It’s not a question of whether or not the organization is in a good position (it’s not in a great one), or even if the current front office has done a fantastic job of building this team for the future (the next 5-7 years for the franchise look potentially rough.)   It’s a question of whether they have successfully guided the team from the end of the 2013 season into 2014.  After all, halfway to North America, the Titanic's voyage was peachy.  And the 2002 Angels were a good team, but didn't appear to be a championship club by any stretch in March.  So judging an entire offseason before the Winter Meetings even start is not easy (or smart) to do.

The Angels' position is clear:  They have about $15 Million dollars under the luxury tax to add two pitchers.  They have little depth on the roster and only a few valuable pieces which may or may not be valuable enough to add the necessary, cost-controlled pitching they need.  The minor league system appears to have a few solid future regulars, a few pretty interesting "raffle tickets"*, and little in the way of high-impact, high probability prospects arriving in the next few years.  (Though it must be noted the Angels minor league teams have been quite successful in spite of this apparent lack of depth.)

So what to do?  The consensus about the Angels seems to says they will trade for one pitcher and sign another.  This is perhaps a reasonable assumption.  But I wonder if there isn't a second option, one that has the possibility of being better for 2014 and 2017 so to speak.  I am talking about gambling on the anticipated market value of Howie Kendrick and Mark Trumbo, and signing free agents before they trade these two players away.

Assuming that the Angels are $15 Million under the luxury tax, and that Howie Kendrick ($8.3 Million) and Mark Trumbo ($5 Million) amount to another $13 Million, that leaves the Angels with roughly $28 Million to spend on free agents.  Assuming that Grant Green and the number of quality second basemen in the Angels' system are enough to "replace" Howie, that $28 Million has to go to two pitchers and a DH.  Lets say, for example, the following signings take place:

1) Matt Garza: 4 years, 60 Million. ($15 Million AAV).

2) Roberto Hernandez: 1 Year, $4.5 Million.

3) Corey Hart- 1 Year, 10 Million Dollars.

Ok, so this leaves the Angels $2.5 Million into the luxury tax.  The Angels would have to fork over the mighty sum of $562,500 dollars to the league.  (Hardly a reason to keep from making a couple of good moves.)

Of course the danger here would be that the Angels, now essentially forced to trade Kendrick and Trumbo, might have to take a diminished return given the team's financial position.  But I would suggest that’s not the case.  For starters, taking someone like Hart off the free agent table increases Trumbo's value to the market.  Secondly, it’s almost impossible for Kendrick not to garner some decent interest, especially given that his contract is so darn reasonable.  Before last year’s July trade deadline, the Dodgers reportedly offered Zach Lee and Chris Withrow for Kendrick (that was reportedly vetoed by Moreno last year.)  This deal might now be more palatable to the Angels' boss and would help the Angels restock a beleaguered system.  Similarly, the Angels could wait for that Trumbo deal they were hoping for to materialize.

One of the reasons we want to judge the Angels so quickly is that the Angels appear to be on the precipice of having to do something which seems unimaginable:  trying to rebuild a roster (not to mention the entire decision making structure) saddled with two onerous contracts.  What happens next week at the Winter Meetings may very well have repercussions over how, when, and even if this happens.  This is one idea to have our cake and eat it too.  By dipping slightly into this year's luxury tax, the Angels could improve their chances to compete now and in the future.

* By "raffle tickets," I mean there is a group of young players which seem to have pretty good skills but were undervalued in the draft and still are undervalued to varying degrees.  Mike Morin, Mark Sappington, Eric Stamets, Alex Yarbrough, and  Zach Borenstein are the top examples.  I'd bet at least one of these guys is a future, solid starter.  The best two examples of this in recent Angels history are Ervin Santana and Mike Napoli.  The best current example is Kole Calhoun. 

Love to hear what you think!

Listen to "A Fish Like This" Tribute song to Mike Trout's Greatness

AngelsWin Media

We Recommend

 photo 8fbce79f-4964-43ef-a13d-ff1832b5e9a4_zpsd3c2ece7.jpg
Click on the picture above to pick up a copy of Rob Goldman's latest on Angels' great, Nolan Ryan. A Must Read for every fan of the Angels! Website Store

 photo t_zps6af139fc.gif
Copyright © 2013 Los Angeles Angels Blog | is the unofficial website of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Our comments and views do not express the views of the major league club or anyone affiliate with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. blog content, articles and opinions are provided "as is" and without warranties of any kind.  We disclaim warranties, express or implied, including warranties for a particular purpose, accuracy, completeness, availability, security, compatibility and non-infringement.  Blog material, articles and other information furnished or supplied by you to become the ownership of for use at our discretion.  Your use of AngelsWin content is at your own discretion and risk. We do not warrant that any content here be error free that access thereto will be uninterrupted or errors will be corrected. We do not warrant or make any representations regarding  the use of any content made available through  You hereby waive any claim against us with respect thereto. may contain the opinions and views of other members and users. We cannot endorse, guarantee, or be responsible for the accuracy, efficacy or veracity of any content generated by our members and other users. The content of is intended for educational and entertainment purposes only. Such content is not intended to, and does not, constitute legal, professional, medical or healthcare advice or diagnosis, and may not be used for such purposes. Reliance on any information appearing on is strictly at your own risk. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. You should not act or refrain from acting on the basis of any content included in, or accessible through, the without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer or professional licensed in the recipient's state, country or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.