OK, I give in, I can't hold my tongue anymore. I was going to take the recent time off the blog move has granted me to relax and center myself until the new site and domain move was taken care of.
Yeah, not so much.
This site is emerging from the darkness, but will Reagins ever do that same and make a big move?
What I hadn't counted on when I went on hiatus was that A) it would take so damn long (seriously, transfer the domain back to me already, freaking IT people) and B) that the Angels would take so damn long to DO SOMETHING!!!!!!! Oh, wait, no I'm not. Not with Tony "No Comment" Reagins involved. So now that the Winter Meetings are well under way, allow me to vent on all that has transpired (or hasn't, as it were) in the Angel off-season.
- The Angels declined to offer arbitration to Hideki Matsui. This was pretty much a no brainer, although Hideki did have some usefulness as part of a DH platoon, but not at the salary arbitration would have earned him. More importantly, the Halos have shown absolutely zero interest in bringing Godzilla back, signaling that they are fully committed to improving the team defensively by getting Bobby Abreu and all eight square feet of the range he covers in the outfield moved into that DH slot. Let's just hope that means the new left fielder can not only field, but also hit... and hopefully have a name that rhymes with Shmarl Shmawford.
- The Brewers hired away Ron Roenicke to be their manager and the Angels replaced him with Rob Picciolo as bench coach. First off, congrats to Roenicke (though I wouldn't expect his undefeated record as a manager to last much longer). As respected as Roenicke was, I think it will be great for the Halos to have a new voice on the coaching staff and Picciolo has a rep as being a great guy and a great teacher, which should come in handy with all the stagnating youth the Halos have on the roster.
- Kevin Frandsen was non-tendered... but Jeff Mathis was not. Not to belittle Frandsen, but I'm glad to see him go. Frandsen was a great dude in the clubhouse and a useful bench player, but for whatever reason, I can't spell his freaking name. It is like I have some weird mental block about it because it just doesn't look right when spelled correctly. Anyway, sucks to be him, maybe he'll land on his feet elswhere or at least come to Angel spring training as a non-roster invitee, though the Angels aren't exactly lacking light-hitting utility infielders. Now, on to the meat of this point, Jeff "Mendoza Line" Mathis is still an Angel. I absolutely hate that the Halos (and by Halos, I mean Mike Scioscia) are bringing him back. I am also Jack's total lack of surprise. Sosh loves Mathis and is going to want him around to provide that defense behind the plate that he values so much. Like it or not, Mathis is here to stay for at least one more season and will likely be a prominent part of a defense-offense platoon with Hank Conger. Yes, Conger, and not Mike Napoli. Naps may be the people's catcher, but he is also going to be pretty expensive and that just won't work for a team that is rumored to be on the verge of adding anywhere between $20 and $40 million to their annual payroll. Reagins knows he needs to clear salary as well as some of the roster logjams, and moving Napoli accomplishes both goals. Sorry, Naps, but ya gots to go.
- Hisanori Takahashi signs a two-year, $8 million deal with the Angels. Arte Moreno really doesn't want to give up on all that sweet Japanese TV revenue does he? Takahashi is old, so his contract doesn't look so great, but it isn't like it is so big that he will kill the payroll. What Takahashi will do, however, is actually give some more depth and balance to the Angels' leaky bullpen. At worst, Takahashi will be a middle relief lefty that can be used as a weapon against the big scary lefty sluggers while also holding his own against righties. At best, he could very well be a prominent part of a new closer-by-committee. Whatever his role, I like Takahasi a lot. He doesn't throw hard, but he still gets plenty of strikeouts without issuing too many walks. Plus he is versatile enough to go more than one inning and won't get too exposed if facing too many righties. In other words, say hello to the man that will henceforth be known as Japanese Darren Oliver.
- The Boston Red Sox traded for Adrian Gonzalez much to the delight of Angel fans. I never imagined being so happy that the Red Sox just got a lot better, but I am. I have always thought, and still think, that the Red Sox were the only real competition for the Angels to sign Carl Crawford. The Red Sox have a huge payroll, but even they seem pretty unlikely to dole out a mega-contract for Gonzalez and then double-down with a similar monster deal for Crawford. If only they didn't have that nasty John Lackey contract clogging up their payroll (hehe, suckers). Sure, Crawford is going to try and drum up interest from the Rangers (who are going to spend on pitching, not Crawford), the Tigers (who already blew their wad on Victor Martinez) and maybe the Braves (who won't ever pay what he wants), but the Angels are the only team with deep pockets left that still has a hard on for him. Let's just hope the Yankees don't lose out on Cliff Lee before Crawford signs, otherwise, all bets are off.
- The Washington Nationals grossly overpaid Jayson Werth and now everyone hates them. Seriously? Seriously?!?! SERIOUSLY?!?!?!?! Eff you, Mike Rizzo. Efff you so hard. Just when things looked like they were falling into place so nicely, the Nats wanted to play pretend like they were a real franchise (Look, Ma! I can sign free agents too!), blowing up the free agent payscale in the process. Now the Angels have a big enemy to battle for Crawford, their own normal sense of sanity. The Angels would never be dumb enough to give a guy a contract of seven years or more, or to overpay a guy by several million dollars, but that is what they are being forced to do now because of the Werth signing. Assuming their common sense alarm doesn't kick in first, and I'm not so sure that it is going to. Let's just say that I have a distinct feeling that at some point in the year 2017, I am going to have to write a post about how glad I am that the Angels only have two more years and $45 million left on Crawford's contract. Nothing personal, Carl, but that kind of cash and contract length is just plain bonkers,
Alas, that is all that is going in the land of Angel baseball. Those "Kazmir to the Rockies" rumors seem to have gone up in smoke (no pun intended), but now interest is starting to pick up in Juan Rivera. Oh, yeah, and there is the persisting rumors that the Angels are still the favorites to sign Crawford, Rafael Soriano and Adrian Beltre (and presumably gain permission from the US government to start printing their own money). No doubt, Tony Reagins will be busy, even though he still couldn't be bothered to arrive at the meetings on time.
As for me, I'm not going to go radio silent again, but I'm not going to get fully ramped up again either, not until the domain transfer finally happens. However, I will continue to react to news and rumors as I see fit or, more accurately, as Reagins sees fit to actually do something of note.