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OC Register: Arte Moreno says a Mike Trout extension is still ‘in the front of your mind,’ but no talks yet


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ANAHEIM — As the clock ticks away on Mike Trout’s contract, Arte Moreno would only say that he hears it.

“Sometimes you have things in the back of your mind, and sometimes you have things in the front of your mind,” the Angels owner said Monday, at the press conference to introduce new manager Brad Ausmus. “That’s one of those things that’s always in the front of your mind.”

It was similar to what Moreno said about Trout’s contract in spring training, back when he had three years left on his contract. Now he’s got two.

Although there’s been speculation, and a natural assumption, that the Angels would begin negotiating an extension with Trout this winter, Moreno said nothing has happened so far.

“We have not talked about it,” Moreno said. “We all communicate. He just had, personally, a real rough end of the year. We’re giving him a lot of space. We just want him and his family to go through the grieving process, so we all try to support each other.”

Trout’s brother-in-law, former Angels prospect Aaron Cox, died in August.

Trout, 27, will make $34 million each of the next two seasons. He has said that he isn’t yet thinking about his future, beyond saying that the most important thing to him is winning. The Angels have made the playoffs just once in his seven full seasons.

Moreno sounded optimistic about making improvements this winter.

“I’m not going to tell you that we’re going to spend a ton of money, but we’re going to spend money,” he said, adding that “there is, realistically, a budget. It’s not an endless thing, like a fantasy draft.”

Although the Angels don’t share their budget publicly, it is believed they have somewhere around $30 million to spend on new players if they want to keep the payroll around where it was in 2018.

“We need starting pitching,” he said. “Bullpen help. We blew a lot of games in the last two or three innings. We need more depth in the bullpen.”

Offensively, Moreno said the Angels need “a left-handed bat with some power who can play first base, just to fill in.”

The Angels have Albert Pujols at first, but he’s coming off knee surgery, so they likely need some coverage if he’s unavailable.

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Offensively I'd just try to sign a catcher like Kurt Suzuki for ~$5M if we can't trade for Realmuto. I don't like any of the corner bats in the FA market, I'd rather give Cozart the couple days a week Albert doesn't play at 1B and put Fletcher at 3B. If they go with 12 position players then you have Briceno, Fletcher, Hermosillo.

There are scenarios where all the bench players would play multiple times a week.

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3 hours ago, Blarg said:

Looks like JMF is not in their plans for 1st base. 

I don't see why not. He's a left handed bat that hit for power in AAA, can play 1B and as a reserve, can be expected to "fill in" wherever he's needed, whether that's at 2B or 3B. 

But there are a few different ways his comments can be construed.  Does he mean just a lefty bat off the bench with power that fills in at 1B and nowhere else? Because that could definitely be Matt Adams. You can probably get him at 3 million a year. Or is he looking for a specific Valbuena type to back up both 1B and 3B enough to basically be a starter, which could be Moustakas at 12 million per year. Or does he mean someone that's going to play everywhere, including 1B like Martin Gonzalez, that's probably going to run you 10 million a year?

My guess is they'll be spending most of their money on pitching additions so we'll either see Fernandez out there or Matt Adams.

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2 hours ago, Jeff Fletcher said:

 Thaiss was working on some things with his swing, as I understand. He didn’t exactly tear up AAA.

 

Sure, I remember he ended on a bit of a cold streak, but he had some really good stretches too last year.

I have to imagine he'll get a serious look this spring, I just think it would have made sense if he had even a cup of coffee considering that, even if he experienced more failure up here.

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Moreno's comment fall in line with what most of us are thinking.  We need pitching first and foremost.  His comment about the pen is somewhat interesting though and it will be interesting if we allocate resources to that area.  For me, it's the first time we've gone into an off season in the Eppler era where the pen seems to have some shape with Parker, Anderson, Alvarez, Buttrey, Robles, Jerez, and Cole.  With Key coming back around mid year and maybe Ramirez as well depending on what they do with him in arb.  The lynch pin of the 2017 pen, which was very good, was Petit.  We are missing that multi inning guy who can give you two solid innings at a time and around 90ip for the season with a sub 3 era.  

Guys like Paredes, Noe Ramirez and Cam need to go.  I would keep Cam of those three if you made me but I think there's room for upgrade there.  

While I am trying to get on board with letting the farm fund the pen long term, if they went out and bagged a solid relief arm for about 6-7m per, I wouldn't complain.   But that, of course, is a risky proposition.  Still like Herrera regardless of his struggles with WSN.  I think he might come on the cheap as a result.  Maybe 2/16 or 3/21.  Which would take him through age 31. 

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2 hours ago, IheartLA said:

Offensively I'd just try to sign a catcher like Kurt Suzuki for ~$5M if we can't trade for Realmuto. I don't like any of the corner bats in the FA market, I'd rather give Cozart the couple days a week Albert doesn't play at 1B and put Fletcher at 3B. If they go with 12 position players then you have Briceno, Fletcher, Hermosillo.

There are scenarios where all the bench players would play multiple times a week.

Suzuki is too old and slow behind the plate. And he makes Jeff Mathis look like a good hitter. I wouldn't pay him over minimum.

 

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30 minutes ago, Dochalo said:

Moreno's comment fall in line with what most of us are thinking.  We need pitching first and foremost.  His comment about the pen is somewhat interesting though and it will be interesting if we allocate resources to that area.  For me, it's the first time we've gone into an off season in the Eppler era where the pen seems to have some shape with Parker, Anderson, Alvarez, Buttrey, Robles, Jerez, and Cole.  With Key coming back around mid year and maybe Ramirez as well depending on what they do with him in arb.  The lynch pin of the 2017 pen, which was very good, was Petit.  We are missing that multi inning guy who can give you two solid innings at a time and around 90ip for the season with a sub 3 era.  

Guys like Paredes, Noe Ramirez and Cam need to go.  I would keep Cam of those three if you made me but I think there's room for upgrade there.  

While I am trying to get on board with letting the farm fund the pen long term, if they went out and bagged a solid relief arm for about 6-7m per, I wouldn't complain.   But that, of course, is a risky proposition.  Still like Herrera regardless of his struggles with WSN.  I think he might come on the cheap as a result.  Maybe 2/16 or 3/21.  Which would take him through age 31. 

Fangraphs had an interview with Ausmus a while back where he was adamant that not just anyone could close games and seemed to be a fan of the traditional bullpen approach. Dunno if he still feels that way. If so, he probably would hate what the Halos have had the last two years. 

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1 hour ago, greginpsca said:

Suzuki is too old and slow behind the plate. And he makes Jeff Mathis look like a good hitter. I wouldn't pay him over minimum.

 

I'm not in favor of Kurt Suzuki, but have you actually kept with him at all? Since when did Mathis ever put up a near .900 OPS in a season or a near .800 for that matter like Suzuki the last two seasons? Or even ever have anything close to a 100 OPS+ in a season.

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12 hours ago, AngelsWin.com said:

I’m not going to tell you that we’re going to spend a ton of money, but we’re going to spend money,” he said, adding that “there is, realistically, a budget. It’s not an endless thing, like a fantasy draft.”

This makes me think of when we didn’t sign Beltre.  Yikes.  Arte better not let Trout get away and then say, realistically there is a budget, you know.  This is real life, not fantasy.  It’s business.

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59 minutes ago, Revad said:

This makes me think of when we didn’t sign Beltre.  Yikes.  Arte better not let Trout get away and then say, realistically there is a budget, you know.  This is real life, not fantasy.  It’s business.

I think he meant more like we aren’t going to sign a Machado and Harper and Corbin. He saw what throwing 70% of your payroll to a few players can do. Seems like a guy that trusts his GM to field a competitive team without mortgaging the future payroll, and also learned his lesson and now has let Eppler take full control of player personnel. 

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10 hours ago, Make Angels Great Again said:

 

Sure, I remember he ended on a bit of a cold streak, but he had some really good stretches too last year.

I have to imagine he'll get a serious look this spring, I just think it would have made sense if he had even a cup of coffee considering that, even if he experienced more failure up here.

The cup of coffee would have taken up a 40-man roster spot all winter, though.

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9 hours ago, greginpsca said:

Suzuki is too old and slow behind the plate. And he makes Jeff Mathis look like a good hitter. I wouldn't pay him over minimum.

 

I could definitely see Suzuki getting signed to a 1-year, $3M type deal. He'd be a better version of Rene Rivera, splitting time and helping out the younger guys.

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