MLB Free-Agent Scenarios: 5 Quick Fixes for Los Angeles Angels Roster
If the organization and fans alike are honest about the current Angels roster they'll agree on one thing: An offseason face-lift is in order.
Torii Hunter has one year left on contract but is on the decline. And what the Angels choose to do with the $15 million owed to the longtime veteran could direct quite a spending spree.
It is fair to say that no team will be a taker when it comes to Vernon Wells, who at 33 years old, lacking plate discipline and owed $20 million-plus per, will be a hard sell.
Letting loose these two players (one way or another) in order to open some sum of money in the pocket of Arte will be a telling test for Tony Reagins, currently on thin ice.
On the pitching side of things the Angels are set. Boasting a three-man behemoth of Weaver, Haren and Santana, is pitching any club not named the Phillies would build around.
But aside from pitching, the Angels offensively are unstable.
Hunter, Wells and longtime injured Kendry Morales are the team's big bats. All three were/are expected to sit in the middle of the lineup and drive in runs.
Currently though, none of the three are club positives.
Hunter is the closest, because of his Gold Glove in the outfield, clubhouse leadership and community involvement. Wells, in my opinion, is Mathews Jr. all over again. And if the Halos can make something happen to at least save a couple of million dollars over the remainder of his contract, I say do it.
As for Morales?
Many in the organization have seen too many great things from the youngster to fully give up on him. Moving him to a DH roll in order that Trumbo might continue as a key cog for many years would be a smart move.
The group of Conger, Trout, Trumbo and Bourjous have given fans a glimmer of hope in the near future. All four have shown signs of brilliance, with the ability to hit the ball and play lockdown, error-free defense.
Yet it is doubtful to believe the team can fully rely on four kids and a returning Morales.
Making some mixture of free-agent moves this offseason to solidify the club with a big bat is imperious for the "kids'" maturation and organic growth into solidified stars.
Albert Pujols, 1B, St. Louis Cardinals
I don't want to sit here and tell you why adding Albert Pujols would make sense on every level—from swag to high hitting for average, to league legend, to greatest ever, to rock defensively and class act.
Making my point?
Somehow, a rumor that the 31-year-old is on the decline has spread like wildfire. I am certain this type of thing is hysterical indiscretion for my generation’s greatest player.
Amidst this incredulous buzz, the three-time MVP is having another MVP season and the way in which he is doing it is special.
In a lineup as poor as the Angels', Pujols is carrying the Cardinals close to the playoffs with a .299-36-96 stat line. His career 444 home runs put him in the prime talk to break Barry Bonds' mark by the end of his career.
Adding Pujols inserts another Torii Hunter into the community as well, as he directs a phenomenal organization: The Albert Pujols Family Foundation, a foundation that helps struggling families—emotionally, financially and psychologically—thrive.
This move would give Kendry Morales plenty of time to get healthy in the minors. Moving Trumbo to DH may not be the quintessential move from the youngster’s perspective, but is there a better way to learn the position?
Prince Fielder, 1B, Milwaukee Brewers
(Side note: Scott Boras will be Scott Boras. Prince does not equal $300 million. If this is the case, cut the notion of him ever wearing Halo Red.)
"Sir Prince" is having quite a kingly year.
He and Pujols are leading the MVP talks in the NL, and for the first time in 10 years, MLB fans have a new face apart from Pujols and A-Rod to revel in.
But how special is he really?
He is not $300 million special—nobody is. I would not pay that amount for a date with Moses or Archangel Gabriel.
The 275-pound self-professed vegetarian has averaged 39 home runs per year the last five years. Two years ago he proved just how good he is with a stat line of .299/46/141.
This year he has given Brewers fans quite a storyline as "upon his back" the team has had one of their greatest seasons in club history.
Poised for the playoffs, big spenders will be looking at the Prince's abilities come postseason. With just one series under his belt, the 27-year-old hit only .071 with one home run and two RBI.
This offseason, for the Angels front office, the matters of "how much" and "for how long" will prove how reachable a player of his caliber is.
There is no question that his bat would give the Angels the pop necessary to thrive for many years.
Jeremy Affeldt, Middle Relief, San Francisco Giants
Jeremy Affeldt leads a long list of middle relief pitching this offseason. He is one of the many who could help solidify the Angels' lack in the middle relief, where apart from great starting pitching and solid closing, they show signs of weakness.
The 32-year-old, 6'4", 230-pound, lefty slinger throws with heat. He was a key component in the Giants' run last year to the World Series and over the course of the last four years has averaged .94 strikeouts per inning.
Adding his left-handed pitching in timely middle-relief situations is the perfect bridge to help ease tension off of rookie closer Jordan Walden.
David Ortiz, DH, Boston Red Sox
Big Papi may not be Big Papi of old. But he is a left-handed bat with still a year or two left of power.
This year the 6'4" Dominican is having a monster year: .314/29/95. It is fair to say most teams would not be interested in locking up the veteran to more than a one-year deal.
This gives the Angels leverage.
If Pujols or Prince fall through, Papi is a nice third option to fill the hole in the middle section of the lineup. His DH role would ease tension on the young Mark Trumbo who desires to play first base.
Giving the veteran a one-year contract with a club option for a second season could lure the seven-time All-Star to join Halo Red. He may not be the long-term fix but would be the "quick fix" to get the club back into the postseason.
Yadier Molina, C, St. Louis Cardinals
The Angels are no stranger when it comes to the Molina family.
The club at one time or another hired the services of Yadier's brothers, Bengie and Jose, so adding the youngest of the three would be a natural fit.
The 29-year-old, three-time All-Star has quietly been a top-three or four catcher in all of baseball over the course of the last three or four years.
During the span he has earned three Gold Gloves and hit an effective .283.
This would be a nice fit because it would rid the club of grade school jokes like Jeff Mathis and Bobby Wilson, and give star-to-be Hank Conger an All-Star to model himself after.
Most importantly, Molina fills the hole "now," and gives the Angels a lock at the position. Somebody who can hit with a high average in the lower parts of the lineup.