Ok we all know the drill. We have holes to fill. You now work for an owner who says “Win, but you only get $26 mil to spend. Oh, and I like my vet’s to be paid more than they are worth, so go get me a piece of metal, OK?”
My priorities are the following:
1. Two starters that can eat innings and have leadership qualities to help with our younger core/playoff experience a plus!
2. An established closer, with a deeper pen to hold leads
3. A vet catcher that can hold the fort down until Stassi is healthy
4. A middle infielder
5. A left handed batter who can play first base and possibly be good enough to make Pujols a true platoon player
6. Keep our young core outfield ( I want to see Trout, Adell, Marsh one day)
This task was actually a lot of fun, and I learned how to actually build a payroll from the ground up. I think I’ve done a decent job at making the offers all legitimate, and I do have one trade that I’d like opinions on. (It involves us cashing in on one of our rookies)
Here we go:
Sign Jon Lester: 1yr/5mil
The Angels need starters and I still think Lester has a lot in the tank. We reunite him with Maddon from the “Good ole’ days as a Cub. My thought here is, we are going to make the playoffs and we need someone who’s been there, knows what it takes, and is a big game pitcher still. Lester gives me those qualities. I think he can share a lot with our young and inexperienced staff. If we make the postseason, not a single Angel pitcher has ever been to the playoffs. (Bedrock was on the 2014 team, along with another former ace….
Sign Garret Richards: 2yrs/18mil
Again going with the rose colored glasses of the Angels making the postseason in 2021, I wanted someone who was there the last time our team made it. It also helps that he’s one of Trout’s best friends, and he still has the quality stuff he’s known for. He is a guy that I think Callaway can work with and get him back to being the ace he once was. At only $9mil a year, I think he is worth a shot here. We don’t need to lean on him, but he’s a quality #3-5 pitcher now.
Sign Cesar Hernandez: 1yr/6mil
Cesar was a target for the Angels a few years back, and I think he fits nicely as a defensive minded MI that pairs well with Fletcher. He is a stop gap player, and allows us to free up a spot to be a player in the SS frenzy that 2022 is shaping up to be. (And grandpa’s $ is finally off the books) He’s also a left handed bat, which we are in need of to help balance out the lineup.
Sign Mark Melancon: 1yr/4mil
Melancon has experience being at the back end of a bullpen, and further makes our pen stronger and deeper. He still has outstanding stuff, and could be our closer if needed, but I still think we need someone even more established to finally end a game and help us “light that baby up”
Trade: Angels receive Josh Hader from Brewers for Jared Walsh, Jose Suarez, and Luis Rengifo (add 5.65mil to payroll)
Okay, hear me out on this one. The Brewers have made it known that Hader is available. They have almost no one set for 1B in their system and they could take care of that problem with a very cost controlled Walsh, plus pick up two other cost controlled pieces, allowing them to fill bigger holes with larger contracts. (Personally I think they go after Kris Bryant for their 3B hole). Did we give the Brewers enough here? You let me know below.
The Angels get Hader. The best closer in the game IMO. He locks down the 9th, and also has playoff experience. He also is on contract for multiple years.
We add payroll here, sell high on Walsh, but don’t give up anything hurting our long term goal. The young OF core stays intact.
Sign Jake Lamb: 1yr/3.75mil
It took me some time, but I found the LH bat off the bench that has the ability and past to be good enough to take over for Pujols at 1B. Lamb could easily be a platoon player and had very good seasons with Arizona. I think he can turn it around again and hold down 1B for a season. In addition I believe Justin Upton needs to start taking reps at 1B to be ready for a late career position change starting in 2022.
Release Hansel Robles, Matt Andriese, Noe Ramirez, and Justin Anderson (saving 8.4 mil)
The Angels shed some payroll here, and I’m sad Robles just lost it. I’d love to offer him a Minor-League contract to try and find it again, but nothing else here is worth what they will cost. Relievers will be cheap this year.
Sign Tony Wolters: 1yr/1mil
Tony is a So Cal guy who grew up in Vista, CA. He been praised for how he works with pitchers and is serviceable both defensively and offensively.
Start Jo Adell in RF
This was the last thing I wanted to do, and if we have any flexibility, I’d try to convince Arte to give me 5 million extra and try to sign someone like Nick Markakis to stop gap one more year to help get Jo ready for the season. I guess another alternative could be to start Ward in RF and keep Adell in the minors, but RF will be manned by someone in the Angels system already as we ran out of cash to fill this spot.
Offseason in review:
Well we did it. We have 5 legitimate starting pitchers and have a bullpen that has a solid 7th, 8th, and 9th inning pitcher to hold leads. We still have the best player on the planet. We still have a good offense. We hope we get a healthy and productive Ohtani back. But my biggest things are we have a good chance in 2021 to get to the postseason, and we are finally setting up a good, long run for 2022 and beyond with our outfield trio coming up and lots of money coming off the books. I like the depth everywhere here (except for RF), and we are putting a lot on Adell to progress this offseason. He will need to have a great spring to be ready. I think the competitor in him will be inspired by his play this year to get him even more motivated to be at his best.
Barreto (Did we all forget about him?)
Stassi(DL) Bemboom until he’s ready
Ohtani #6 RHP