The Hot Stove League is officially open for business. That can only mean one thing: PREDICTION TIME! I actually kind of took a crack at this a few weeks ago, in a more general sense, but the Joomla monster ate that post, so only a small amount of you read that already. So now I shall bravely attempt the exercise again, only with a lot more specifics and with more information. As The Dude once said, some new shit has come to light.
As always with these predictions, I can't emphasize enough that this is really more for entertainment purposes. National media analysts, sabermetric wizards, the bloggiest of blogger types all attempt to make these predictions and only end up looking like fools. Well, I am anything but a conformist so get ready for some predictions that are going to make me look like a downright buffoon.
Why am I doing this? Because it is fun (and because if I nail even one of these big moves, I will never stop gloating about it). So, once again with the caveats, this is just for fun and nothing but guesses based on information that has leaked publicly about the team's plans, my analysis of how they like to operate, gut feelings and hopefully not much of my own personal biases unwittingly filtering through. I apologize in advance if the trade or signing I suggested involves the Angels giving up too much and/or not enough or you just don't like the idea because it involves a player you like or just think that I am big doodyhead.
As you can tell, I'm very confident in all of this, so let's start simple.
Jerome Williams will be non-tendered
He is going to make over $3 million in arbitration. There is no way the Angels are going to pay him that kind of money to be a swingman, not when they have to deal with luxury tax concerns. Oh, and this next guy.
Joe Blanton will NOT be released or traded
As a result of not keeping Williams, Blanton will be kept as the swingman. As much as everyone has soured on him, the Angels still lack pitching depth in the system, so they can't really afford to give Blanton away or release him even if his only virtue at this point is that he has a pulse. I'm sure they'd dump him if someone was willing to pick up even a small chunk of his salary, but it is hard to see that happening. Then again, Dipoto did unload Vernon Wells, so never say never.
Tommy Hanson will be non-tendered
I wish it were possible to get Hanson to come back on a cheap one-year deal to serve as a reliever, but that just isn't how the system works. Instead, Hanson is set to be paid far too much money to be retained or even traded. He is definitely getting non-tendered.
The Angels will lose out on the Masahiro Tanaka sweepstakes
I want the Angels to sign Tanaka so badly, but it just isn't going to happen. If the posting system were to stick with the highest bidder format, they'd have a shot, but with rumors that Tanaka would get to choose from two or three of the highest bidders, I don't see how the Halos stand a chance. They aren't an internationally famous team. They don't have a long history of Japanese players (like the Mariners). They aren't viewed as World Series front runners. Frankly, I am beginning to doubt that they will even make a serious bid.