The Hot Stove League isn't exactly steaming up for the Angels right now, but that doesn't mean we can't take a look at the trickle down effect that some of the other moves and rumors from around the league and how they might impact the Halos. Throw in a few juicy interviews from the new general manager, Jerry DiPoto, with those rumors and we finally have some legitimate speculation pertaining to the Angels to address:
Why are you smiling? You haven't done anything yet.
- Any Angel fans hoping for the Halos to bring in an elite closer can go ahead and mail a turd sandwich to Ruben Amaro because he just blew up that part of the free agent market. First, he overpaid Ryan Madson before reneging on that deal so he could wildly overpay Jonathan Papelbon. Both Madson and Heath Bell have to be seeing huge dollar signs in their dreams now. The same even applies to the likes of Joe Nathan, K-Rod and Frank Francisco, just to a lesser degree. If DiPoto really wants to bring in a new closer or elite setup man, he is either going to have to overpay or turn to the suddenly attractive trade market. Hello, Billy Beane? Yeah, this is Jerry DiPoto. I saw your movie, it was pretty great. Anyway, any chance you could send Andrew Bailey our way? That'd be great.
- If you thought the Weaver extension meant a kinder, gentler Scott Boras this off-season, think again. Despite the fact that he is a 34-year old utilityman who has never posted a WAR higher than 0.6, Boras and the Diamondbacks got involved in contentious negotiations over him before he ultimately re-signed. It is almost like the guy is out for blood after having his reputation ever so slightly tarnished by Weaver ordering him into working out that team-friendly extension.
- I have to admit, I was kind of disappointed to see that the Pirates went out and signed Rod Barajas. For one, the Pirates seemed like they were the one team in the entire universe that had any interest in giving the Angels so much as a bag of used baseball for Jeff Mathis. More importantly, Barajas was an ideal veteran backstop for the Halos to bring in as Mathis' replacement as a veteran platoon partner for Hank Conger. Oh well.
- I said it this morning and I will say it again here, I am not buying the Angels having serious interest in C.J. Wilson. OK, that's poor phrasing. They do have serious interest in signing Wilson, much like I have serious interest in spending a night with Jennifer Lawrence. Interest does not have any relation to plausibility though. The Angels admitted that they have $10-20 million to spend this off-season and everyone knows that Wilson is going to get at least $12 million in first year salary and possibly more than $15 million. I'm all for having an incredibly top-four in the rotation, but not at the expense of the Halos blowing their entire budget on one player leaving them with no way to seriously address their lineup and bullpen deficiencies. I'm pretty sure DiPoto is wise enough to realize that too and is only talking to Wilson in hopes that C.J. either offers a hometown discount or, alternatively, to drive the price up on Wilson so that the Rangers have to overpay him or decide he is too expensive and let him go.
- What is really starting to bother me about the Angels is that they haven't yet been associated with a single position player in free agency with the exception of Ryan Doumit, and reports are conflicting about whether or not they have even contacted him. What scares me even more is that after parsing through the round of interviews he gave this last week, his top priorities seem to be adding another starting pitcher and some right-handed late inning relief help. A distant third to those two is adding help offensively. Either Jerry is being very clandestine on that front, or he is somehow OK with the idea of going into next season with essentially the same lineup. Yikes.
- This is the part where somebody is going to say, "You are so wrong! DiPoto said they had interest in Fielder and Pujols!" This goes back to the same point about "interest" I made with Wilson. It also goes to the point that people need to read full articles and interviews and not just the quote snippet some reporter used on Twitter. DiPoto said he wouldn't close the door on either big bat, but he immediately followed that up with a qualifying statement about them not being top priorities. In GM speak, that translates to, "yes, they are great and if they offer us an insane discount, we will be happy to sign them, but otherwise we know we can't afford them so we aren't going to pursue them." Now please shut up about the Angels signing either of them.
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Remember that there's a difference between "want" and "need". I read that somewhere and took it to heart. I always felt like that but never saw it articulated as well as that. So, what position player is out there that the Angels "need"? Not really a first baseman, unless they move Trumbo to third full time. They could trade Trumbo and *create* a need for a first baseman, but why? Not really a third baseman, unless...well, there's no "unless". There are no third basemen on the FA market worth looking at. So face it, if Jerry is using the prioritization Mr. The Monkey suggests then he is using the correct hierarchy of signing "needs".