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Key Roster Issues in 2015


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Going into spring training/the 2015 season the questions I believe the organization will wrestle with include the following:  

 

1. Josh Hamilton.  He will be beginning the 3rd year of his 5 year contract.  Clearly, he has been a major offensive disapointment.  He's always been a streaky hitter, but when you are 35, have the mileage his body has on it via his  past substance abuse, and have not hit for two years, how likely is it that he'll start putting up good offensive numbers in 2015?  It's not impossible, but it seems very unlikely.  My prediction is when the 2015 begins one of the following will occur:  (a) Josh won't be starting.  Instead the Angels will start someone from the 2014 roster (e.g. Cowgill, Navarro), someone from Triple A, or they will add someone via a trade.  I believe they will go the Vernon Wellls route and say enough is enough regarding Josh starting.  If they are willing to eat a large percentage of his remaining contract, I can see the Angels trading Josh.  Josh is not helping the Angels win and often, he's a drag on the offense.  What do you think?

 

2. CJ Wilson:  CJ is entering the 4th year of his 5 year contract.  I've never been a fan of CJ pitching-wise.  That's documented in my prior posts.  He can't consistently throw strikes and he taxes the bullpen.  Barring injury, we know that our 2015 starting staff will probably consist of Weaver, Richards, Shoemaker, and maybe Santiago who had a better year than his won loss record would suggest.  Rasmus is also in contention.  Jerry has added some starting depth with the Conger trade and I suspect more starting depth will be coming from subsequent trades.  We also may have a pitcher in the minor league pipeline who may earn a spot in Spring Training.  CJ can be dealt a lot easier than Hamilton and we can get a return on CJ.  I don't see CJ being on the team or if on the team, I don't see him in the rotation in 2015.  Waht do you think?

 

3 Howie Kendrick/Eric Aybar.  Its typically better to trade someone a year early than a year late. At this time, their trade value is high.  I see the Angels trading one or both (probaby just one) this off-season.  It will depend on who they can get better players/prospects for.  This would allow the Angels to get younger and reduce payroll.  The Angels have internal people who could be slotted in as well (Green, Beckham).  You can make an argument that the following teams could use an upgrade at second base:  Minnesota, Cleveland,  Yankees, Toronto, Padres, Miami, Phillies, Rockies, and Arizona, You can make an argument that the following teams could use an upgrade at shortstop:  Reds, Oakland, Pirates, and the Rays. 

 

I believe the Angels can build on what they accomplished  last year and will be stronger in 2015.  

 

What do you think?

 

 

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1. Pencil Hamilton in as the starting left fielder on Opening Day. Two reasons: One, the Angels owe him $89 million and a $30M/yr player won't be benched unless he absolutely sucks; two, as disappointing as he's been, he's still OK - and certainly better than Cowgill or Navarro, and with greater upside for improvement. The bottom line is: Unless Hamilton completely sucks, is injured, or traded while the Angels pick up $60M+ of his remaining salary, he's going to be the starting LFer for at least 2015.

 

2. Wilson's leash will be somewhat short, but only somewhat. The Angels will give him time to figure things out. If its clear that he's done, enter Tropeano, Nick. But Wilson--plus Richards' injury--is the reason why the Angels are trying to stock-pile usable young arms, and while we'll almost certainly see a free agent signing of some kind or through trade.

 

3. Kendrick is far more likely to be traded than Aybar because of Green, Beckham, and Lindsey Yarbrough. But Dipoto won't let him go for nothing - he's going to want either an established #3-4 rotation guy or a good+ pitching prospect.

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Barring physical injury, Hamilton will be the LF starter, hopefully hitting down the order especially against LHP.  At his age/wear, he won't make a miraculous (or even moderate) recovery.  Scioscia will leave him in there for months, where he'll become the rich version of Bobby Abreu. 

 

Wilson will open in the starting rotation, mostly because the SP is not exactly overwhelming.  He'll pitch pretty much like he did this year, walking gaggles of hitters and wearing out the BP.   Very possible he could be dropped when Richards returns, or sooner if Scioscia forgets he's a vet.

 

Aybar remains a quality SS, fairly rare commodity.  No compelling reason to trade him and no replacement in sight.  Kendrick, maybe, if someone wants to overspend. 

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I think #3 is why the Angels signed Baldoquin and might be why they go after Moncada. Aybar gives us another year to figure shortstop, but I think Green could fill in admirably for Howie if Baldoquin needs more time to develop. If it wasn't a crazy amount, maybe even extend Howie? 

 

Hamilton and CJ aren't going anywhere so forget about it. 

 

Just continue making depth moves (like yesterday's trades), go all out on Moncada, get a utility infielder, let's go to war. 

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I think that if the Angels ate looking to repeat last season Howie needs to stay. I like Green's bat but his defense would be a big drop off. I would rather wait until after the season and offer Howie a QO. The extra first rounder would probably be a better player than anyone you would get in trade. This team will need to get younger in 2016 not now.

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I think that if the Angels ate looking to repeat last season Howie needs to stay. I like Green's bat but his defense would be a big drop off. I would rather wait until after the season and offer Howie a QO. The extra first rounder would probably be a better player than anyone you would get in trade. This team will need to get younger in 2016 not now.

Yes, the team will need to get younger in 2016. That starts now. Say we keep Howie and give him a QO and he turns it down. We get an extra 1st rounder in 2016, and that player probably doesn't see the Show (if he does at all) until at least 2019. So, if we need to get younger in 2016, we actually don't see the fruits of that until the end of the decade at the earliest. How do we bridge the gap between 2016 and 2019 or 2020?

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I think that if the Angels ate looking to repeat last season Howie needs to stay. I like Green's bat but his defense would be a big drop off. I would rather wait until after the season and offer Howie a QO. The extra first rounder would probably be a better player than anyone you would get in trade. This team will need to get younger in 2016 not now.

You make a good point, but what if Howie slips next year and is merely league average? There is no guarantee that keeping him will net us a draft pick.

Edited by wopphil
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As much as I'd like to think that Hamilton won't be starting or will get traded, I doubt it very much.

 

Ditto for CJ Wilson. 

 

It's hard to dump  a player with a bloated contract when it offers little salary relief. Not every GM can find a Tony Reagins on the other end to take the whole contract.

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