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Quick Offseason Checklist


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The Angels are sitting at 76-79, with just 7 games remaining in the season. 5-2 will put them at .500 for the year, something that seemed all but impossible just a few weeks ago. It would be a small triumph. One that could keep our current Front Office and Manager intact. Which despite all the rumors, it likely the best thing for this club as currently constructed.


The Angels will have some decisions to make in the offseason. A number of hitters underperformed. Two of the three starters acquired last offseason are not in the current rotation. Both of the relievers last year barely had an impact, if any. They still don't have a solid answer at 3rd base, and have too many OF/DH types.


Going into 2014, there are a number of questions, of course, as an underachieving team with a high payroll, there are bound to be.


Starting with pitching, the unquestioned aces of the staff are Jered Weaver and CJ Wilson. Weaver missed a good portion of the year with a freak injury, but a 3.36 ERA is still great. CJ Wilson notched 200 innings again. Both are under contract for next year. Garrett Richards has earned a spot in the rotation with his 2nd half play. Jason Vargas has been pretty good as well, at times looking like the best starter on the staff. One spot to fill, but no one on the current team looks ready, able, or good enough to fill it.


I'd think the Angels will shop here, cutting ties with Joe Blanton, Tommy Hanson, and even Jerome Williams, unless he comes cheap and is willing to be the long man in the pen. They have a thin rotation at SLC, but none of these guys look to be solid answers for the future.


The best starters on the FA Market look to be Matt Garza, Ervin Santana, Hiroki Kuroda, and guys with serious question marks like Josh Johnson, Tim Lincecum, Ubaldo Jimenez (who's looked like the Jimenez of old in the 2nd half) and Phil Hughes.


One wonders where the Angels would be had they simply kept Santana instead of signing Blanton. They could've afforded it had they not signed Alberto Callaspo, or traded for Tommy Hunter. Would a rotation of Weaver, Wilson, Richards, Vargas, and Santana got them to the playoffs? One wonders. I think they could've kept Santana for even less than he made this year on his option, maybe 3-27 or 3-30, if he had agreed to a longer term deal. Would they bring him back? Who knows.


Now they need to allocate money here, and some say they need to trade for depth. I think they need a starter and depth in the minors through trade. Perhaps they look to Japan with Masahiro Tanaka. Just 24, he's going to cost a posting fee, but should be able to step in to the #3 or #4 spot, and could solidify a shaky rotation.


The other way they could get pitching depth of course is to make a trade from their hitting surplus. The Angels haven't exactly lit the world on fire, but they have scored more than 700 runs, something I didn't think they'd do after their lousy first half.


Pujols should be back, and isn't going anywhere. We can only hope he returns to form. Hamilton as well, who has had a good September after a decent August. Trumbo has had a dismal 2nd half, Bourjos has been injured, Kendrick and Green play the same position, Aybar hasn't hit well, Shuck is Reggie Willits 2.0 and can't field. Calhoun has shown he belongs, and Trout of course is the best player in baseball. 


The Angels need a 3rd baseman. They have a few options. They can move Green there, but his defense leaves something to be desired. They can try Trumbo there again, in limited duty. With Calhoun on the roster, they won't need him to man first if Pujols is the DH. Kendrick may be able to play the position.


The Angels likely will make a trade from their surplus of OF bats, having four young starting caliber OF plus Josh Hamilton and JB Shuck means that is very likely. Can they acquire a young 3rd base prospect like the Tigers Nick Castellanos? Or do they go with the Youngsters in Green or Lucho Jimenez, while bringing in a Veteran like Eric Chavez or Michael Young to be the mentor?


Finally they have the pen. Do they go after a closer? Do they keep Frieri in the role? Too many decisions here to list. Yet Burnett should give them something, and they have a lot of live arms. It comes down to budget here, I suppose. A lot of close games were lost by the pen this past year, but perhaps that is a function of being in a lot of close games since the offense wasn't producing. 


As for the lineup, I like Trout hitting third. Yet they may need him to leadoff, too. Putting a player with a solid OBP at the #1 and #2 spots is definitely necessary, except the Angels with the best OBP (other than Trout) are Calhoun and Iannetta. If Calhoun plays regularly, that means less playing time for Trumbo, Bourjos, and Shuck….as Trout, Hamilton, and Pujols are all playing pretty much every day if healthy. Is Trumbo then destined for a trade (or 3rd?)… 


We'll know by December… Hot Stove is only a few weeks away. 












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Most important additions are one starting pitcher (Tanaka?) and one late innings guy to pair Frieri with (the Beard?).

Pitching wins post-season berths.


Then the next question is what to do about the extra OFers/DH types, 3B, and Lindsey's impending arrival at 2B.

There are a lot of different directions to go with the extra OFers/DH types.   Can one of them help to bring in a 3B while waiting to see what Cowart does the next couple of MILB seasons?   Or can some combo of Green (solid hitting since arriving), Romine (hitting over .300 in September with solid fielding), and Jimenez handle 3B?

Does Lindsey skip AAA and then Kendrick is traded? 


In the pen, Kohn will be in year two after return from TJ surgery, and that is the year when a pitcher normally gets to where he needs to be.   Burnett is hopefully healthy.   DDLR has pitched well, just needs to tweak the command a little.   Coello is good promise that he showed before going on the DL for over 2 months.   Shoemaker or Williams will be a solid utility guy.   Morin is close to being ready.

Boshers has shown something.  Brasier has promise.   Signing that one experienced late innings guy may be all that needs to be done for the pen.


Williams, outside of July 1 - August 16, was really solid (3.30 ERA, 1.20 WHIP).   He will have some 170 innings pitched by the close of the season.   He might be ready for that #5 spot, and thus only one starter would then need to be brought in.   If the one starter was not brought in, Vargas could then be signed to a 2-3 year deal.   If that starter is brought in, then Vargas is offered arb, and if as anticipated wanting more years would go elsewhere, and if going to a non-top 10 draft pick team then the Halos would add that extra 1st round pick.  


Above ALL else though, Pujols (.875+ OPS) and Hamilton (.850+ OPS) MUST produce in 2014.

Edited by Angel Oracle
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For pitching the angels should do what it takes to get tanaka. Trade bourjos for a young starter and let vargas walk i know that sounds stupid but hes been inconsistent since returning from his injury and has only had 1 10 win season. The ration should look like this: weaver-wilson-tanaka-richards(or vice versa)-and a a starter acquired for bourjos.

For this base maybe platoon green nelson jimenez and romine or sign micheal young

For outfield trade bourjos like I said earlier and go with trout,hamilton,calhoun,shuck and maybe cowgill

For first base i would keep trumbo but if we trade him we should look into signing jose abreu

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Step two:  Get a quality pitcher for middle of the rotation or better.  Tanaka sounds like a no brainer.  It won't cost us a draft pick, He is young, and he won't cost us tradeable talent.


Step three: Re Sign Vargas or trade for another pitcher.  We can dangle Bourjos, Trumbo, Calhoun, and Schuck as we have too many outfielders.  If any of them can get us a major league quality pitcher than do it.  Trade the one who brings us the best value.  Calhoun may not have much trade value as he hasn't produced long enough on the majors.  Schuck is basically a fourth outfielder so I can't see getting anything more than a relief pitcher for him.  Bourjos I would think could get us a back end starter, but with his injury you don't know hurts his value.  Trumbo should bring us a quality starter.  


Or we would trade Kendrick or Aybar.  Romine's offensive production seems to indicate that he could be adequate offensively at SS.  Both Kendrick and Aybar should bring us not one but two starting pitching prospects that are middle of rotation or better.  It would be a lot to give up so I am not sure if the Angels would go the cheap route and trade Bourjos or Trumbo.  Green is making Kendrick expendable, but there is a big drop off between Kendrick and Green.


Finally, get some bullpen help that would actually pitch in 2014.

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 "Shuck is Reggie Willits 2.0 and can't field. Calhoun has shown he belongs..."


I find this very fanboy. Shuck has started 89 games this season as the emergency replacement for the often injured Boujos. His fielding has been ok although unspectacular. He gets the job done and has been involved in 7 outfield assists with 2 errors. His negative dWar (-0.5) is actually better than Calhoun (-0.8) who makes a few spectacular catches but also at a cost of overplaying many hits allowing runners to take extra bases. In 38 games he has 2 assists but 5 errors.


Shuck is a boring, slightly above replacement level player. Calhoun may have a greater upside but only if he can learn the difference between a ball he should take on a short hop opposed to diving for everything and costing the pitchers more than a single. Right now he is no great improvement over Shuck defensively.

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As far as pitching goes, the team has given up only 702 runs with 7 games to go. Even if in those 7 games they gave up the straight average of the previous 155 games (4.52) or 32 more runs they wouldn't be that far from last season (699)…They'll probably give up less as the pitching has been remarkably better since Joe Blanton left the rotation. 


It will be more than 100 off the pace from 2011 when we had a great rotation (Weaver, Haren, Santana, Wilson, Grienke/Richards/Williams) and gave up 633 runs. 


Anything around 600-700 should be fine…except for if the offense doesn't produce. And in the last four seasons, the pitching has been oft-identified as the culprit, and the pen might have been, but the years where the Angels made the playoffs, the offense was substantially better than it's looked in these pst four years.


The five best years the Angels have had under MS are 2002, 2005, 2007, 2008, and 2009. The common thread there is offense. Those five teams are four of the ten best hitting Angels teams. 2008 was the only one that doesn't fit (15th all time in offense).


In 2002 they scored 851 runs whist giving up 644. In 2005 they scored 761 whilst giving up 643. In 2007, they scored 822 whilst giving up 731, 2008 they scored 765 whilst giving up 697, and in 2009 they scored 883 whilst giving up 761.


Not that pitching isn't important as well. In the post-strike days, offense has been up across the league, but the three best pitching seasons are 2002, 2005, and in first place 2011.

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Trumbo has been displaced numerous times since he's been here by way of 1st / DH / RF / LF / 3rd and with Todd Helton retiring, Trumbo would be a great fit in Colorado. He could hit 45 hrs playing as their regular 1st baseman. I would ask for Rex Brothers and Nolan Arenado in exchange for Trumbo with take your pick of Lucho, Green or Nelson.


They should then trade Cowgill for a prospect and re-sign Kendrys Morales or start working more with Calhoun at 1st. It looks like Pujols and Hamilton will need more days at the DH position than we expected so Trout, Hamilton, Calhoun and Shuck would stay while PB needs to be moved for a #4 SP.

They could make a run at Tanaka but I doubt that Arte wants to spend big bucks this time around.

Edited by Hamiltown
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Mike Scioscia's seasons by runs Allowed


2011- 633

2005 - 644

2004 - 643

2008 - 697

2012- 699

2010 - 702

2013 - 702 (155 games)

2001 - 730

2007 - 731 

2006 - 732

2004 - 734

2003 - 743

2009 - 761

2000 - 869


And by Runs Scored


2009 - 883

2000 - 864

2002 - 851

2004 - 836

2007 - 822

2012 - 767

2006 - 766

2008 - 765

2003 - 736

2013 - 708

2001 - 691

2010 - 681

2011 - 667 

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Arenado makes contact, but having just 41 XBHs playing half of the time in Coors Canaveral is not very promising power wise, plus he's only walked 22 times.

Brothers had a strong season as first a late innings guy, and then the closer, with a sub 2.00 ERA.

Arenado is a Newport Beach kid. He's young and has a lot of upside.

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The reason the 2008 team was so good despite weak peripherals is the pen was amazing that year. 2009's rotation was garbage after Nick Adenhart's death, but the team dominated offensively. 2010 was awful offensively after Kendry's was injured and not having a third baseman or leadoff hitter. Plus everyone slumped. 2011 was the best pitching but also the worst hitting number, 2012 was better offensively and decent pitching. In 2013 they got two garbage starters to replace guys who were good in 2011, but slumped in 2012, and then added a decent replacement middle-of-the-road guy in Vargas. Still even with that and pen issues, they still managed to give up middle of the road pitching numbers.


But they didn't hit well.


Going forward they need to figure out the pen issues, add two solid starters (one of them can be Vargas). And need to hit. This team as constructed payroll wise needs to score 800 plus runs to make the playoffs. And hopefully next year they can shave a few runs off here and there and get the team to pitch to 700 runs or less. 


The bigger that differential the better. They truly aren't that bad pitching wise, but offensively, 730+ runs is not going to get you in the playoffs.


So how do they add 75 runs and lose 50? Well, Blanton and Hanson combined for 33 starts, and 183.2 innings as starters. They gave up 124 runs in those starts. That equates to an ERA over 6. If they had say, kept Ervin Santana, who admittedly disappointed last year with his 102 runs in 30 starts, 175+ innings, but has been great for KC…there's your 50 run difference. He's pitched 205 innings, and given up 81 runs. 


How do they add 75 runs? Well the team needs to hit better in scoring position, and Pujols and Hamilton need to hit better. Add that to a better year from Trumbo or Calhoun playing more. Bourjos playing healthier, and voila…75 runs more.

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Exactly, we don't need to add much offense.   We need for Pujols and Hamilton to get their acts together!   That will make the rest of the lineup that much better.


On Arenado, I do see that in the minors and in 2013 for the Rockies that he's always hit for a solid BA and has been a solid gap to gap hitter.  

But he needs to work on the plate discipline without letting the K's climb (only 66 Ks but also only 22 BBs in nearly 500 at bats for the Rockies in 2013).

How does his power project?   Outside of 2011 at Modesto (20 HRs), he's never exceeded 12 HRs.

Edited by Angel Oracle
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I think they keep Bourjos and just play him in SLC.  If they dealt him after the season, they'd be selling very low.  Better just to keep him, hope he has a strong year in SLC, and see what happens with Hamilton.  They can always look to trade Hamilton at the deadline if he comes out of the gates on fire.  With Bourjos in SLC, Trumbo can split time at DH/1B with Pujols.  I think Kendrick gets dealt.

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Arenado is also a fantastic defender at 3rd base and hits well enough that he'd be a massive improvement over what we have.

I don't see why they would trade him though.

I think that with Helton leaving and having a shot at getting a monster power hitter like Trumbo at Coors Field might draw their interest.

Edited by Hamiltown
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3rd base is going to be very interesting in 2014.


It looks like there's a pretty good chance it's a problem area(really weak FA class at the position coupled with iffy, or worse, internal options), but it's still pretty firmly 2nd behind the pitching and I don't think the Angels have the means to patch both up.


Maybe the Cardinals decide to give Wong a shot and you can try to buy low on Freese, I guess.

Edited by jshep
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