The Angels have a general manager now, but that doesn't mean we know a whole lot about their off-season plans just yet. What we do know is that the Halos will be looking to upgrade at third base. The only problem with that is the free agent and trade market at the hot corner is woefully thin. Is there even one viable option for the Angels to pursue?
The third base market? Your looking at it.
As a general disclaimer, I am only going to consider viable options (at least in my mind) for the Angels both in terms of them being a realistic signing or trade (sorry, no magic trades for Joe Mauer) as well as a proper roster fit. For example, Ryan Doumit won't be appearing on this list since he is essentially a poor man's version of Mike Napoli.
Aramis Ramirez - Ramirez is the only legit All-Star third baseman on the free agent market. Combine that with the dearth of quality third basemen throughout the league and he is a mortal lock to get wildly overpaid even though he'll turn 34 next season and is following up a terrible 2010 season with a "remarkable" bounce back campaign in 2011, a contract year. Hmmmm..... If the Angels are serious about adding a big bat via free agency, upgrading over Callaspo/Izturis at third is their best bet and Ramirez is really the best option, even with his warts. However, signing him could create other roster problems since the Halos would basically use up all of their free payroll on him unless they heavily backload his contract.
Michael Cuddyer - This is a big stretch since Cuddyer has only played extensively at third base in two of his ten big league seasons. For the Angels and their recent emphasis on defense, adding Cuddyer as a third baseman will require a big leap of faith. However, Cuddyer is a well-rounded offensive player and could be a relative bargain compared to Aramis Ramirez, so maybe the Angels can learn to live with poor defense at the hot corner.
David Wright - I don't like this idea, but it is an option. As recently as a year ago, Wright seemed like a prime trade target, but after a disappointing, injury-plagued season, he is losing his luster. Wright missed several weeks of the season with a BROKEN BACK!!!!!! Yes, a broken back. He wasn't paralyzed or anything like that, but that sounds like scary injury to me. Plus, last time I checked, sluggers and back problems are a lousy combination (see McPherson, Dallas). The only way the Angels should consider him is if they can trade for him on the cheap, and even then, he'd be tough to fit into the budget since he makes $15 million in 2012. Plus, he isn't even a good fielder at this stage of his career, so trading for him and signing him to a contract extension comes with a real chance of him having to switch positions well before the extension is up.
Ryan Zimmerman - Repeat after me this is NOT an option. The only reason I list him here is because people keep suggesting him as a trade target. You fools, the Nationals are trying to make the leap to being a contender this off-season and could spend big money on the free agent market. To then turn around and trade their best position player makes noe sense. THE ANGELS ARE NOT GOING TO TRADE FOR RYAN ZIMMERMAN!!!!!!!!!
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Here's the problem as I see it. I guess it's OK to have a banjo hitter at third if the lineup can support it. It's nice that he gets on base and all but the '11 Angels just couldn't bring him in. I'd guess his Joe Torre-like "speed" didn't help much, either. If more of the bigger guns can perform up to career standards next season, I'm talking to you VDub and Kendry, we could survive. Sort of like we did with Chone Figgins but at a snail's pace. And, while he may not be the worst fielder to play the game, his glove is certainly coated with some malleable metal not called "gold".
The other thing he needs to work on is not running into so many outs. This guy is as dumb as a box of hammers on the base paths. So, he has no power, no speed, more closely resembles Edwin Encarnacion than Brooks Robinson in the field and appears to have no instincts once he's on base. But he can get on base, at least as compared to the rest of the team, so we must bow to the sabermetricians and accept his standard, substandard all-around play.
Again, it's his good fortune that it's such a horrendous year for third basemen or even infielders converting from another position in free agency this year. Just our luck. Let's hope for better things in '12.
Yup you pretty much nailed it.
- Ramirez: Bad attitude, too expensive, poor defense.
- Wright: Mets don't look like they can trade and get their $ worth, so he's likely to stay in NY.
- Cuddyer: Not a 3B.
- Zimmerman: Not leaving the Nats.
Right now the best option actually look like Callaspo and to hope that prospect Luis Jimenez will be ready to go before long. He'd provide a serious upgrade in the power and defense departments, though Callaspo's D at the hot corner was nothing to complain about.