If I Was Perry Minasian Part I, Jeff Joiner

Welcome to this year’s series. The Angels face a tough challenge in a pretty stacked AL West. The bad news is the payroll is still very top heavy and the farm is pretty thin. The good news is there are young pieces to build around and if I play my cards right I might have a decent team in 2024 with room to grow into something really special.

Here are the ground rules for those who need a refresher.

The stretch from where we are to an AL West title is steep. I need to get younger, build a team that can take advantage of the new rules by putting the ball in play and running, finally put an ace atop my rotation and give Trout plenty of days off his feet. Here’s my plan

Sign Yoshinobu Yamamoto 7 years $175 million

Every team needs an ace, especially a young one that is looking to create another competitive window. At age 25 Yamamoto is far younger than the average free agent. His stuff is absolutely filthy, he’s done it at the World Baseball Classic and the NBP Championship Series. I have no doubt this kid will be a stud at the MLB level and we get him during his prime years.

Sign Jung Hoo Lee 5 Years $50 million

I mentioned I want the team to get younger and here’s another 25 year old who has torn up an Asian league and is ready to jump to MLB. Lee’s contact skills with the bat are impeccable. High contact, low strikeout, ready to cover center or right field and let Mike Trout get off his feet and DH several times per week. He could very well be the Angels leadoff hitter by the All Star break but ideally I’d hit him behind on base machine Mike Trout, setting up hit and run opportunities with the bat whiz lefty at the plate.

Get to know the kid:

Trade Taylor Ward to Guardians for Sam Hentges

In this trade I pick up 4 years of a very good reliever in exchange for 3 years of one of my favorite Angels. Cleveland grows pitchers like the Emerald Triangle grows trees but needs bats so this is a good fit. I also exchange Ward’s $4.5 million for Hentges $1.1 million and give myself a little more financial flexibility.

Hentges is best with runners on and features a great fastball to go with a really nice curveball. At only 27 years old, Hentges is both experienced and in his prime; the perfect combination for a pretty young bullpen anchored by Carlos Esteves.

Sign Lourdes Gurriel Jr. 3 years $36 million

I opened a hole in left field now I fill it. The bottom line offensive numbers between Ward and Gurriel are very similar but Gurriel strikes out less often and has an absolute canon for an arm in left field. He’s also a better fielder and this pitching staff needs all the help it can get.

Sign Jeimer Candelerio 3 years $36 million

The current corner infielders for the Angels are Anthony Rendon and Nolan Schanuel. One is constantly hurt and the other is unproven. Candelerio has put up wRC+’s of 117 or higher in 3 of the last 4 years while primarily playing third base and occasionally sliding across the diamond to first. Most likely he’s my third baseman for the next three years while Rendon cycles through injuries. If not, he gives Rendon a couple of DH/rest days per week and lets Schanuel sit against lefties. Real teams have depth and this is how you get it.

Sign Whit Merrifield 2 years $18 million

The roster is thin. Having a guy capable of playing on the dirt or the grass, pinch hit, and steal bases is massive if we hope to compete at all this year. Anthony Rendon can’t be counted on to stay healthy and I want Mike Trout to get plenty of days at DH to keep him healthy. And at age 35, Whit could use plenty of off days himself. I’m not sure exactly where he plays but he’ll get into several games per week in some capacity. He might not be young, but he’s another high contact guy. I considered bring back Gio Urshela, but Merrifield can do so many more things than Gio.

At this point using straight math I’ve used up all but $300,000 of my dough. I need one more addition so I’ll backload the first four deals ever so slightly and move $2 million from everyone other than Merrifield from the first to last year.

Sign Nick Martinez 2 years $18 million.

Is Nick Martinez a starter, long reliever, or one inning reliever? Yes. And he’s very effective when on the mound. Last year he put up 110 innings across 63 appearances. Martinez gets a ton of ground balls (53.8% last year) while really limiting walks. There isn’t a ton of depth in the rotation or in the bullpen. Martinez single handedly makes up for a lot of that. He’ll be in the bullpen when the rotation is healthy and in the rotation when it needs help. But he’ll put up 100+ innings of well above average pitching throughout the year.

Conclusion

This team has a lot of youth, upside, versatility, and question marks. It gives manager Ron Washington a lot of flexibility to play match ups and situational baseball. It keeps the farm intact and does not cost a draft pick. It also opens up the DH spot to keep guys fresh. My focus on contact rate and speed also allows Washington to play a more aggressive style of baseball, harkening back to the game he played and taking advantage of the current rules.

The rotation goes Yamamoto, Detmers, Sandoval, Canning, Anderson with Chase Silseth, Sam Bachman and AFL standout Davis Daniel in AAA as depth.

Esteves anchors a bullpen with a bridge of Hentges, Jose Soriano, and Joyce for high leverage situations, Nick Martinez as a jack of all trades and Andrew Wantz for the middle innings. I kept Jose Suarez and Jimmy Herget so they get mop up duty. I’d love to add more here but at some point guys like Luke Murphy, Kelvin Caceres, Eric Torres and others need to step up; after all I drafted them to get here quickly and help. Sam Bachman is also expected to be full strength by Spring Training and could again be bullpen depth.

How to construct this lineup?

Against a righty Schanuel, Trout, Drury, Gurriel, Lee, Rendon/Candelerio, Moniak, O’hoppe/Thaiss, Neto would probably be the way to go. This leaves the third baseman and catcher who didn’t get the nod on the bench along with Luis Rengifo and Whit Merrifield.

Switch to a southpaw and we put Trout in the outfield instead of Moniak, put Candelerio at first for Schanuel, and have Rendon DH. In that case Washington is working with a bench of Schanuel, Neto, Merrifield, and a catcher.

Does this team chase down the West? I don’t know. And that’s the fun.

The team is younger, faster, more contact oriented, capable of stealing more bases and has a nice mix of veteran leadership to go along with a very young core. There’s a legitimate ace atop the rotation, a nice late innings mix in the bullpen, better overall defense, and versatility that allows the coaching staff to make multiple adjustments per game.

I’ll take my chances at a Wild Card with this team, which is the best one can hope for given the circumstances.

66 Comments
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matthiasstephan
Super Member
7 months ago

I am all on board with the first three moves. I can quibble from there, but a great opening bid. Well done.

JackFrost
Super Member
7 months ago

Jeff, you won me over with one line :

“Every team needs an ace.”

I whole heartedly agree and with Shohei’s coming departure Yamamoto fits the bill.

Not sure I am on board with trading Ward, but the issue with bad luck/bad health does make it understandable. Gurriel is a productive bat but I might rather put those resources into a bullpen piece esp since R.Lopez won’t be around.

Last edited 7 months ago by JackFrost
Biggiswrth
Trusted Member
7 months ago

Did all the writers make one this year? Will you be posting one a day?

Charles Sutton
Editor
Super Member
7 months ago
Reply to  Biggiswrth

We are still figuring that out. I just survived five hard days of the respiratory crud, so it will be at least a few days before you see one from me.

MarineLayer
Super Member
7 months ago
Reply to  Charles Sutton

Feel better!

Cowboy26
Legend
7 months ago

Great Job Jeff but It looks like the Plumber fell through the cracks.

HalosFanForLife
Trusted Member
7 months ago

Neto, not everyday SS? Jeff? C’mon man. LOL

Angelz4ever
Super Member
7 months ago

Well, it’s not like Rendon won’t be manning 3B for his usual 19 games or so…..

h27kim
Trusted Member
7 months ago

I like many of the moves, but two that seem superfluous to me are Merrifield and Gurriel. Both are solid, but not great players and not that young either. We do have some in house assets that are much riskier, but are cheaper or already paid for. I’d like to shift the money to another arm or two.

JakeTaylor
Trusted Member
7 months ago

Good stuff! I like the Merrifield signing but Hentges is not enough to fix the bullpen issues. That will still be the Achilles heel of this team next season.

GrandpaBaseball
Legend
7 months ago
Reply to  JakeTaylor

One or two Relief Pitchers will not turn the Pen into a top 5 Penh. But a trade of Walsh for a relief pitcher is a good deal because of need, money, and age. After all we didn’t ever have a winning record with Ward, time to shake things up.

JakeTaylor
Trusted Member
7 months ago

I don’t disagree with the move – I’m just saying it’s not going to make the pen that much better. Every aspect of this team needs to be improved but the bullpen is the biggest weakness.

Fansince1971
Legend
7 months ago

Jeff – very well thought out and the team would be decent.

One question- where do you get the numbers from? For example, what is the Yamamoto projection based on. Is there a reliable source for this info?

Given the signings this far, I could see a bidding war for a 25 year Yamamoto.

red floyd
Legend
7 months ago
Reply to  Jeff Joiner

Maybe update the ground rules to have posters indicate their sources?

Fansince1971
Legend
7 months ago
Reply to  red floyd

I like that

red floyd
Legend
7 months ago
Reply to  Fansince1971

Just double checked, the rules already said to use FG or MLBTR for numbers, and to sanity check trades with the trade simulator.

2GA2Join
Super Member
7 months ago

I liked this approach.
The one other thing that I think about is that perhaps Rengifo is at the peak of his trade value and now is the time to make a trade there.

Angelstan
Trusted Member
7 months ago
Reply to  2GA2Join

You have a point. It will be interesting to see what they do.

Roy Hobbs
Super Member
7 months ago

This is a very well thought out and intelligent approach and I really like the overseas acquisitions. My fear is they do something like this minus Lee and Yamamoto. Nicely done.

Biggiswrth
Trusted Member
7 months ago

I’ll take my chances at a Wild Card with this team, which is the best one can hope for given the circumstances.”
Greater words have never been spoken. This is the 2024 Halos now.

Biggiswrth
Trusted Member
7 months ago

Did you DFA Stassi?

Cowboy26
Legend
7 months ago
Reply to  Biggiswrth

And Fletch.

Cowboy26
Legend
7 months ago
Reply to  Jeff Joiner

Id prefer to keep Stassi then just release him. Especially with a young pitching staff and a young catcher . In fact if Stassi wasn’t available I’d to acquire Machete.

matthiasstephan
Super Member
7 months ago
Reply to  Jeff Joiner

His concussion should be healed by now. He has a good reason to be out, so it will be interesting if he can make it back to in shape, and at MLB level (and if he has the focus for it). We do neet a veteran presence there – Thaiss did ok in the back-up role, but he can’t mentor O’Hoppe, so if not Stassi, someone.

Angelstan
Trusted Member
7 months ago
Reply to  Jeff Joiner

Why is everyone so down on Fletch? Yes, I understand in hindsight his contact is less than ideal. And he hasn’t been lighting it up at all. But he is a “glue” guy that works hard and is a team player. There are worse guys to overpay and his contact is only about $5 million a year. Certainly he’s capable as a utility guy. Go back and look at some of the names they kept in that role in prior years. They should keep him and hope he plays well.

BannedInLA
Super Member
7 months ago
Reply to  Jeff Joiner

You’re nice so I’ll go ahead and be blunt. Merrifield is a far more productive baseball player than Fletcher – even a past his prime Merrifield – and yet some people hold onto to the myth of Fletch like a death grip.

Whit gives us better Avg., OBP, RBI and SB than Fletcher. Make the deal for a solid baseball player.

matthiasstephan
Super Member
7 months ago
Reply to  BannedInLA

I agree, Merrifield is an upgrade over the version of Fletch we have.

I do wonder, however, whether the role available might be well-filled by someone cheaper than Merrifield though. Plus, we already have brought in Candelario for the corner IF backup and still have Rengifo there, plus Gurriel, Moniak and Lee plus Trout in the OF. I really don’t see that final bench spot warranting the cost (which could go into improving the pen more).

GrandpaBaseball
Legend
7 months ago

Merrifield imho has very little to offer. We need a catcher too, maybe Garver? I love the idea of signing the two Asians to the team with one a legit starter and the other able to play both CF and RF. I’d also like to see Trout at DH too, but also work him in at 1B. Cleveland trade makes a lot of sense also as they need some pop in their lineup. Great job Jeff.

Angelz4ever
Super Member
7 months ago

Good article Jeff, nice catch on Jung Hoo Lee

Angelz4ever
Super Member
7 months ago
Reply to  Jeff Joiner

Lee could be a master signing w/o breaking the bank.

Biggiswrth
Trusted Member
7 months ago
Reply to  Angelz4ever

Now that the Yankees are involved I don’t see him flying under the radar

Angelz4ever
Super Member
7 months ago

At what game is Shohei’s MVP bobble (Goodbye) hand collectible going to be given away?

2002heaven
Super Member
7 months ago

comment image
Either banish him to the BP or trade him……..he’s proven to be a enigma.
I’m a enigma as well!!!

Last edited 7 months ago by 2002heaven
Cowboy26
Legend
7 months ago
Reply to  2002heaven

Then get a room.

Biggiswrth
Trusted Member
7 months ago
Reply to  2002heaven

For once I agree with you. But Gritch and I are still waiting for your 2021 IIWPM. You’re a bit behind there sunshine

Angelstan
Trusted Member
7 months ago
Reply to  2002heaven

Sandoval can only be replaced when better options exist. He’s not the only starter in MLB who seems to have better stuff than his record indicates. That happens. Teams hope for the light finally to come on. Sometimes it does.

BTW the Angels don’t have better options.

h27kim
Trusted Member
7 months ago
Reply to  2002heaven

I’m AN enigma.

BannedInLA
Super Member
7 months ago
Reply to  2002heaven

What’s the return at this juncture?

This dude is hella’ frustrating, I agree, but I think we’d be selling low?

Biggiswrth
Trusted Member
7 months ago

Who’s getting DFA’d with all these moves?

Angelstan
Trusted Member
7 months ago

Whit Merrifeld is a good signing. The Angels need another solid bullpen arm. Yasiel Rodriguez from overseas might do the trick for 3 years and $30 million. He is established and only 27.

Those would be two good pieces. Most other options are overpriced. I’m unsure they take the big swing at Yamamoto. But if they lose Shohei, he would keep them in the Asian market.

Gurriel is kind of what they have already as to OFs in Moniak and Adell albeit coming off a good year. It might behoove the Angels to stick with what they have. If Ward is healthy, it’s worth keeping him too.

Angelstan
Trusted Member
7 months ago
Reply to  Jeff Joiner

Understood. The Japanese guy I mentioned was me buying a bullpen arm while keeping Ward. In general, I don’t want to trade him at a low point before the season coming off the injury. If the season doesn’t pan out, he will be valuable at the all-star break if he plays well.

BannedInLA
Super Member
7 months ago
Reply to  Jeff Joiner

I’m an affirmed Ward supporter, but I would support your suggested move.
That said, I’m not confident that Ward draws what you assume considering down year + blast to the face.

Cowboy26
Legend
7 months ago

We should trade Ward back to the Blue Jays since whatever he becomes is on their hands.

red floyd
Legend
7 months ago

I’m not sure about the math. It looks like you’re spending $73MM?

Never mind, I missed the backloading, but I thought the cap was AAV to avoid backloading tricks?

Last edited 7 months ago by red floyd