Basically, my goals are this:
1. SP – obviously, we need to target SP. My plan involves acquiring two and trading one, but the one I am trading only has one year of control remaining, so my plan is to increase the amount of years of control we have moving forward.
2. Strengthen our catching situation, both today and in the future. This is part of the “run prevention” strategy that Minasian has discussed multiple times.
3. Improve our bullpen.
4. Fill other parts (2B, corner OF) cheaply, but also target the middle infield future, too.
I am using the 26mil of available luxury tax AAV that has been outlined by the editors on this website.
And with that, here are the moves I would make:
1. DFA Robles. Projected payroll space remaining = 26mil + 4mil = 30mil.
2. Trade LF Jo Adell to LAD for C Ruiz, SP Gonsolin. We acquire an SP3 and our new starting, cost-controlled catcher. LAD gains a possible star LF that they can keep in AAA and give him time to develop properly. No impact on payroll.
3. Trade LHP Heaney and 3B/1B Thaiss to the Braves for LHRP Maztek, SS/2B Shewmake. Might as well use his strong ties to Atlanta to make a trade, right? This may seem like a step backwards since we are trading a SP, but this move is done to strengthen our bullpen and, more importantly, give us a SS/2B option on the immediate horizon in Shewmake, who could make his debut in 2021. Atlanta gains a solid mid-rotation SP as they are in win-now mode as well as a possible platoon partner for Riley at 1B (and insurance at 1B if Freeman leaves as a free agent). Projected payroll space remaining: 30mil + 6.5mil (Heaney) = 36.5mil.
4. Sign Trevor Bauer (6/150). We get our ace for years to come and someone who can anchor the rotation effectively. Projected payroll space remaining: 36.5mil – 25mil = 11.5mil.
5. Sign Cesar Hernandez (1/5). Gives us a solid 2B option for this year to help bridge the gap to Shewmake. Projected payroll space remaining: 11.5mi – 5mil = 6.5mil
6. Sign Tevor May (2/12). Projected payroll space remaining: 6.5mil-6mil = 0.5mil remaining.
Lineups: vs RHP: SS Fletcher, 1B Walsh, CF Trout, 3B Rendon, DH Ohtani, LF Upton, RF Schebler, C Ruiz, 2B Hernandez
vs LHP: SS Fletcher, 1B Walsh, CF Trout, 3B Rendon, LF Upton, DH Ohtani/Pujols, RF Ward, C Stassi, 2B Hernandez
Bench: C Stassi, 1B/DH Pujols, IF Rengifo, IF/OF Ward
*Lineup by end of 2021: SS Fletcher, 1B Walsh, CF Trout, 3B Rendon, RF Marsh, LF Upton, DH Ohtani, C Ruiz, 2B Hernandez. Marsh will come up at some point and displace the Schebler/Ward combo as the starting RF, while Schebler will become the 4th OF and Ward will play RF/LF/3B/etc.
**Lineup notes: Given Ohtani will only hit around 4 days per week, revolving around his starts, that leaves plenty of opportunities for guys like Pujols, Rengifo, and Ward to rotate into the lineup and get ABs.
Rotation: Bauer, Bundy, Gonsolin, Canning, Barria, Ohtani*. Suarez and Sandoval are both in AAA, stretched out and serving as immediate depth.
Bullpen: May, Mayers, Maztek, Pena, Andriese, Buttrey, Ramirez, Middleton *(for now, I will include him until he is actually non-tendered). In AAA, we will have various depth options: Reyes, Milner, Quijada, etc.
I feel like, looking at the overall team, our rotation is significantly improved, as we now have an ace (Bauer) and a really solid mid-rotation starter (Gonsolin) for years to come, in addition to having Canning (and Detmers soon). We have acquired our catcher for the present and future (Ruiz), and very likely a good middle infielder (Shewmake) for the future, too.
These are all fun to read, thanks for making the effort. Hopefully a few of you will wait a couple of weeks and post your plans based on the non-tender FA list, or edit your previous contributions. This is what Front Offices do every day as players are added to/removed from their “boards”.
Minasian persuading/hiring a few of the Atlanta braintrust (pitching eval/contract negotiation critical in particular) means their pro “boards” should be substantially developed by this time, and they should also benefit from Cashman not “doing what it takes” this year.
I loved your first move…sign Bauer. Maybe we grab him for a $120$-$125M three year deal. Keep the contract window small. I was concerned previously about him but not any longer. The staff needs a horse and someone who plays with an edge. Dude Has the mentality of a Jered Weaver when on the mound. Then grab two flyers on DeScalfani and Richards. Maybe Tyrone Walker too. I’m always worried about Canning. Besides the homers he gives up, The guy is built like Jared Goff, no muscle mass with a small frame. Don’t think his arm will hold up. TJ within 2-years is waiting. Calling doctor Jobe, line 7.
I’ve thought about Puig on a contract laced with performance incentives. Guy plays goofy sometimes but goes full throttle and with an edge. I think the Angels need that injection of edginess and aggression. Trout and Rendon are cool customers and the opposite approach. Might be a bad idea but remember, the Braves has signed him last year before he came down with COVID. Then cut his ass loose. Perry and Alex’s signing…just throwing it out there.
If we sign Bauer I think that would be enough edginess. I do think that would help us, but not from Puig.
Dude has a lot of issues.
Looking back on my proposals, it’s basically moot now, as I wrote this before the Braves signed Morton. They don’t need another SP at this point, so they wouldn’t be a team interested in trading for Heaney. Still – my goal would be to use Heaney in a trade and, likewise, see if we can acquire a catching prospect in the process. I do feel Minasian will work hard to improve our catching talent pipeline.
I don’t know if it will get posted, but after looking around on other teams rosters to turn in my “If I Were A Platypus” I kind of soured on my earlier contention that, if we can sign Bauer, then we should go ahead, pay up and do it. Sure, it would be a real banana in the pants as far as our owner showing off his huge desire to win and making the frothier Angels fans happy but I’m just not sure he’s going to continue pitching like he did last year. Even with last year’s stats to sweeten the pile, I found several pitchers who basically have Bauer’s lifetime stats, or a couple ERA+ points higher with fewer K/9, who cost 1/10 what Bauer is going to demand. Our team’s got holes to fill, holes that I don’t want to take AAA flyers to deal with so we can afford a pitcher who is barely better than Joe Musgrove but multiple times more expensive (and a douche).
I’m still not gonna be unhappy if we get Bauer and look a little more championish but I think we can do a lot more for the entire roster and get basically the same rotation upgrade with other moves. But the moves listed here would be fine. We certainly have had far worse off seasons and we can always add more depth as the season goes if we are contending and it looks like we need it.
I am usually all in for big splashes , but this is true(and TB is a douche).
Something which I keep coming back to is the past bad blood between Bauer and Callaway. That is a reason for Bauer to elect to sign elsewhere.
Also, while Pujols salary comes off the books after this season, Upton’s salary jumps to $28M in 2022, so backloading any salary isn’t as simple as keeping it low for just 2021.
Finally, while Bauer had three good seasons in 2018-20, I am reluctant to believe that he will continue to be as successful over the next 5 years—Injuries, regression to the mean, call it what you will. Will he evolve into a pitcher like Greinke, who is just giving a PhD dissertation in every start? Maybe, but that is an expensive bet for 5 seasons. 2020 has scrambled the equation for estimating FA salaries this offseason, but 5 years of $32M to $35M/yr is a hell of a gamble.
I am more an acolyte for quantity, getting two SP for the cost of 1 Bauer. Given the rise of bullpen usage, along with the past experience of SP on the IL, I would think two of Tanaka/Odorizzi/Paxton/Kluber/Happ/Richards would provide sufficient depth and in-game length for less than Bauer alone. After watching Richards, Heaney, Skaggs, Shoemaker, Tropeano, and Ohtani al fall to arm injuries in the last 5 seasons, I think betting all $30M+ on 00 is a poor strategy.
Spot on re: strategy and Bauer/Callaway. Read a reference to the “incident” a few weeks ago. I don’t want Trev’s contract.
If Bauer is a $30+ million AAV, we could sign an Odorizzi/Happ/Paxton and still have money for 2 proven relievers, if not a closer; or sign one and trade for a Lynn/Snell, if a match is there. Interested in Kluber on a buy-low.
Generally want to supplement a young, cost-controlled staff with a few judicious trades/FAs. That’s where Canning, Barria, Sandoval, Detmers and hopefully Ohtani come in.
The Braves elevated prices by jumping out on Smyly and Morton, but that’s how they roll. Waiting on the updated, non-tender FA list.
Well, if you are saying signing Bauer to a big contract is a risk, then you are correct. But all big contracts are risks. And all big pitching contracts are especially so. But that does not mean you don’t do them. How does the old saying go “No risk, no reward.” There’s also “not up, not in.” And Wayne Gretzky said “the only bad shot is no shot.” In the world of the stock market they said “scared money is dead money.” I think you get the picture.
The point is that in life you have to risk if you want to achieve anything significant.There is not glory without risk, so let’s stop this non-sense of playing scared and acting like risk is the enemy of winning. With very few exceptions the WS winner has an ace on the roster. They may have two legit aces, but they have to have AT LEAST ONE. And no, two number two’s do not equal a one and a three. This is not simple math. This is Gestalt psychology, meaning the the whole is greater than the sum of it’s parts. Or something like that.
So much meat on this bone…
Let’s start with the premise that the Angels have $26M to spend before cutting loose current players, and Bauer is widely believed to cost $30M to $35M. Yes, part of the 2021 salary can be sloughed off to later years in a long-term contract, but that backloads the contract and makes it more difficult to trade in later years, and more of a handicap on future budgets.
Then the very real fact that Bauer and Callaway had horrible chemistry in Cleveland as SP and pitching coach. Unlikely either personality has mellowed with the passage of time.
Furthermore, even if the contract for Bauer can be manipulated to keeping his 2021 salary within the $26M budget, none of the other positional requirements have been met. The team won’t be offloading the salaries for Pujols or Upton, so there is no major salary dump possible. There will be players who will be DFA’d, but those “savings” will be immediately reinvested in the other players needed to fill out the roster holes—like the bullpen, and resolving the question at SS/2B.
I am resigned to the team trading Adell or Marsh away for someone like Snell or Gray, which would be a more cost-effective way of adding a FOR arm than signing a top FA SP. It would be nice to add Bauer to the rotation, but making him the only substantial add to the team would be major miscalculation, and the financial limitations for this offseason have been widely stated.
While I appreciate all the quotes from the Spencer’s Gifts motivational poster section, that doesn’t really change anything I wrote previously. Unless Arte breaks with tradition and splurges up to the Luxury Tax limit (providing additional $15M), it would be foolish to spend nearly the entire amount of salary available on one player, especially noting the issues listed above and prior.
Well, you made an assumption that I didn’t make, namely that we are limited to 26mil to spend. Yes, I know that was the limit set up to play the platypus game. But I am not playing that game. Whether Arte is willing to go into luxury tax territory or not only he knows. You and I don’t know that. I would not assume that is an impossibility.
Further, as you stated the contract could be back-loaded. If that effects our ability to sign new guys in 2023 or 2024 so be it. That is not an issue for me since I am proposing pushing our chips to the center of the table right NOW.
If Arte, and by extension, the team is not willing to do that then why go out and sign an Anthony Rendon? If that is merely for show, a flashy toy to sell season tickets and our owner actually does not really care about winning, then we truly are lost and there is no hope until Arte croaks.
I don’t believe that is the case however.
In conclusion, I don’t mind you and other prudent folks looking to build pitching depth. I am onboard with that. I like Sonny Gray and he would be a great addition. But let’s not put the cart before the horse.
Depth is important. It is just that I would looks for ways to add depth AFTER we have procured the most important foundational piece, which in this case is our true # 1. It doesn’t even have to be Bauer (Snell would work for me too, though I value Bauer a tad more).
But we have to find a way to get that guy, and no cheap short-cut or clever machinations are likely to get it done. The Trout/Rendon timeline won’t allow us to slowly develop that guy from within.
The common denominator among all these posts for hypothetical 2021 solutions is matching the 2020 payroll, which Moreno said he would be meeting (more or less) in 2021. Nothing was ever said about exceeding it.
The folks who have labored over these scenarios have adhered to the requirement to stay within the boundaries of Moreno’s comment. Nowhere was it said, “just write what you would want to see in a perfect world with no limits”.
It is vitally important for you to remember to bend from the knees when you start moving those goalposts.
First, Warfarin’s post DID adhere to the parameters set up by CTPG, and he added Bauer to our roster. It is in this post we are commenting and this is the one to which I originally responded. So seemingly, it is possible to do it, even within the budget of 26 million.
Second, I simply said that I did not see the need to artificially limit ourselves to 26 mil. The quote I saw from Arte said “We won’t be cutting payroll in 2021” or something like that. Now, before you come back at me, I realize that does not mean he is willing to go spend more than last season. I just pointed out that making that number a hard stop point is somewhat artificial.
But this is not even the point. My main contention is that the Angels are set up to win NOW, or would seem to be. Of course pieces needs to be added, but we just signed two highly paid superstars ostensibly because Arte wants to win.
My point is that it would be stupid to stop a little short of putting the needed pieces in place just to save a little money on luxury tax fees. If the little bit of money (relatively speaking of course, for us it would be a lot, for Arte not so much) it would cost to go into LT territory would stop Arte then he should not have invested all that money in Rendon. Do you disagree with this logic?
You also did not address my point about the current composition of the roster and the necessity of investing now while your top assets are in peak performance mode.
These are logical points that would support the adding of a high ticket pitcher. If Arte is unwilling to do this then he is not only being inconsistent but is wasting his own money.
I haven’t taken a poll here, but I would be willing to bet just about everyone here knows (A) there is a narrowing window for the Angels vis-a-vis “Trout’s prime”, (B) good pitchers make a difference in a season, and (C) blank check shopping is fun.
This annual feature is an exercise in trying to make the team dream come true while working under constraints and parameters.The top of the budget is announced as the $196M. If one assumes Bauer is going to get bidding up to the $30M to $35M mark with 30 teams initially in the hunt, then that leaves little room to add the other pieces which are also needed.
Anyone could assume Arte is possessed by the spirit of 2005-era George Steinbrenner and runs the budget for 2021 up to $250M. Easy to solve problems when the money flows from the tap. But that isn’t the premise of this exercise. And yes, while everyone knows the win-now mode is here, there are many needs to be addressed. One really good SP doesn’t matter if the bullpen blows 1/3 of the games from the other 4-5 SP. Bauer may be out of the price range, unless the team ignores the other needs.
Speaking of “other needs”—this team won the 2002 WS without a pitcher who could be termed an “ace” (a term which means less with today’s pitcher use and metrics).Ortiz and Washburn had career years, but weren’t like Scherzer or Verlander with seasons upon seasons of consistency. What the team DID have was a lock-down bullpen, and guys like Percival, Donnelly, and Weber (along with the emerging Shields and Rodriguez) could deliver the win with nothing more than a strong 5-6 IP.
There is more than one path to the postseason.
I totally agree about the value/importance of the bullpen. There is no argument there. For me it is need # 2 after acquiring an ace starting pitcher.
Where we differ is that I believe quality BP pieces can often be acquired and/or developed without investing a lot of money.
The Brewers showed that, and now those same guys command top dollar. Unlike others here I still think Robles can be good to very good in a high-leverage late inning role. Same goes for Buttrey. I mentioned a few times during this past season that we need to give Callaway a little time instill his philosophy and make key changes to approach. For that reason, and because relief pitcher performance can be very volatile from year to year, I am not ready to give up on our guys ( Hoby Milner and Bedrosian notwithstanding; and CB is already gone).
I do think we need one stud for the back end and would probably trade Adell for Hader if the opportunity arose. Hader is only 26 and I see him bouncing back big in 2021. Because of the slight drop off he could possibly be wrested from Milwaukee.
I liked Eppler’s philosophy of building a bullpen from within, and thought he made some good pickups over the years. But the drop-off on Robles from 2019 to 2020 speaks to the volatility of that role. I don’t think spending money on a Hendriks is the answer, but less money for a role arm like Darren O’Day to me screams “do it now!”
People around here seem to always state Rendon’s position as “flashing free agent hitter”. We signed a third baseman. A very good one. It was a position that has sucked for this team for a very long time and we have no real answer in the pipeline for. That’s what we signed. Not a big splash distraction after Cole dissed us for NewYawk.
It is refreshing to have an offseason where “someone to play 3B” is no longer on the list.
Yes, it was a position of need, but we signed the “best” 3B in all MLB.
And yes, I put Rendon above Arenado. For the record, I am happy we got Rendon, but he was a luxury. Taylor Ward may not have been the long term answer at 3B but he could have been stop-gap and nothing would have stopped us from trading for a middle of the the pack 3B.
Arte the talent judge had identified Rendon as a future star while he was at Rice and “always liked him.” As much as anything else Rendon was an Arte “ego signing.”
Aren’t you one of the guys that’s constantly demanding “championship caliber” FO moves and what not? But when it comes to signing a 3B, because it’s a 3B Arte liked at Rice (along with 99.9% of scouts), it’s an ego move and we’d have been totally ok with Taylor Ward? Taylor Ward? Your Arte derangement syndrome is showing.
Ha, I got you! Let’s flip this around — YOU are happy to pay top dollar for Rendon but balk at paying a stud starting pitcher a big contract.
Offense was not the most pressing need of this team when Arte signed him. Pitching was. Get it?
Really clever and interesting. But I think Bauer is going to cost north of $30m per year. Of course the contract could be backloaded with Pujols gone after this year.
given that Cole’s contract pays $36mil per year I think Bauer’s will be north of $35mil.
Yeah – it’s possible. We’ll see how the market plays out. Bauer had a fantastic year, but his track history isn’t quite as strong as some of the other recent aces we’ve seen.
Agree. I don’t think he’ll command quite as much as Cole did.
Though Bauer’s ERA was sub-2.00 this year his FIP was 2.88 which tells us he was helped a lot by his defense. He doesn’t strike out quite as many guys as Cole does either.
That said, he’s still a stud and would be just what the doctor ordered.
I like this. In particular I love #4 and #5 since Bauer and CH would be my two key acquisitions if I did this. I like the fact that you did not compromise on SP by saying something like “We can’t afford Bauer so I decided to grab Tanaka” or something to that effect. Getting a REAL ace is our biggest need and you did not give up and settle.
Congrats on that. You are a GM with the courage and determination to get it done Warfarin!
I’m not crazy about Gonsolin, but since you added Bauer I can accept it.
Also, I would choose to keep Robles and find the 4 mil somewhere else.
Thank you! Yeah – that’s my thinking. Bauer is a difference maker, and while he’ll be expensive, I’d love to see this rotation with him in it.
As for Gonsolin, he had a bad postseason, but I liked what I saw out of him during the regular year. Regardless, he’d be SP3 in our rotation, or possibly SP4 if Canning takes a leap forward. Getting Ruiz was a huge part of that deal for me – he’s a top prospect at catcher, and the Dodgers are loaded with so many catchers that they can part with him.
I know that Barreto is forgettable but he seems to be the one that everyone forgets. You either non-tender or trade, either you get what you can for him or you free up roster spot and a little cash.
Ah, my bad, thanks for bringing that to my attention. I’ll just go ahead and assume he’ll be non-tendered
Wow! That is some kind of wheelin’ and dealin’ and I like it a lot. Being real Bauer is not coming here for 25 when others will go 30 imho. But this is the best yet and keeping Trouty 3rd too. And we give Ward another shot, like that also.