Three Immediate Moves the Los Angeles Angels Should Make This Offseason
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Much to the same tune as their cross-freeway rivals the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Angels have now failed to make the playoffs for the third consecutive season despite huge signings, trades and money thrown into the team.
In spite of spending over $315 million in signing both Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson to long-term deals and trading for Zack Greinke midway through the season, the Halos could not emerge from the shadows of the Texas Rangers or hold off the surging Oakland A’s in 2012.
While it is not necessarily panic time in Anaheim, it is certainly do-or-die time for manager Mike Scioscia. The Angels’ manager has been on the hot seat for over a year now, and if he can’t win in 2013, it will most likely be his last season with the Angels.
However, according to owner Arte Moreno, there is no question he will be back next year.
"I have told him. He wants to come back, I want him to come back,” said owner Moreno. “He's been the manager of the Angels for 13 years. He will be the manager of the Angels for a 14th year. Period."
Moreno still has confidence in Scioscia and is committed to winning with him as the team’s manager.
Therefore, significant moves will surely be made this offseason to help Scioscia and the Angels get back to the playoffs this season.
Here are the moves I think the Angels should make if they hope to contend for a spot in the postseason in 2013:
Re-Sign Zack Greinke
Pitcher Zack Greinke delivering a pitch at home against the Mariners.
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Without any doubt, Zack Greinke will easily be the most highly courted pitcher of the MLB offseason.
After joining the Angels at the trade deadline last season, the 2009 Cy Young Award winner posted a 6-2 record with a 3.53 ERA.
The 29-year-old free agent out of Orlando, Fla., has all the makings of a No. 1 starter in almost any rotation. Over the past four years, Greinke has eclipsed 200 strikeouts three times, while earning a 57-33 record in that time.
With Jered Weaver and C.J. Wilson both inked through at least 2016, the Halos have a chance to cement one of the top rotations in baseball by signing Greinke.
Expect them to make a compelling offer within the next few weeks.
Re-Sign Torii Hunter
Outfielder Torii Hunter swinging at a pitch against the Texas Rangers.
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The Angels were able to stay in the playoff hunt thanks to the everyday leadership and game play of outfielder Torii Hunter.
The four-time All-Star is coming off one of the best seasons of his career and was the most stable bat in the Angels’ lineup for a good portion of the year.
At 37 years old, Hunter is still putting up triple slash numbers of .313/.365/.451 with 16 home runs and 81 runs scored.
Hunter also provides a leadership in the locker room that is unparalleled. His experience and advice to the younger players such as Mike Trout will be instrumental to their careers with the Halos.
Acquire Relief Pitching
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This slide will be of no surprise to anyone who followed the Angels campaign in 2012, but for those of you who don’t know, here are the facts about the Angels’ bullpen this past season.
The Angels tied the abysmal Boston Red Sox for most blown saves in the American League. In 60 save opportunities, the Halos bullpen squandered 22 saves.
To put this in perspective, if the Angels were to match their AL counterparts, the Oakland A’s, with just 17 blown saves last season, the Halos would have tied the A’s for the AL West crown. Simply put, five fewer blown saves and the Angels would have been in the postseason.
This offseason, GM Jerry Dipoto needs to place an emphasis on grabbing guys who will be able to hold leads for the Halos late in games, and he will.
Some interesting free-agent relief pitchers who will be on the market this offseason will be Detroit Tigers closer Jose Valverde, Texas relief pitcher Mike Adams and World Series champion Jeremy Affeldt of the San Francisco Giants.
The combination of an improved bullpen with great starting pitching will be the recipe for success for the Angels next season.
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