Welcome to my first ever IIWPM. Before I begin I would like to say after playing with the trade simulator, I think the values are pretty crappy, so I’m not sure the trade packages will actually work in this regard, but I tried my best.
The biggest elephant in this tiny room of the internet is obviously Shohei Ohtani and the decision he is going to make. In this version of IIWP I took my approach based on two assumptions:
- Ohtani will sign with another team
- Angels will still try to contend and not rebuild
Not saying that is the correct decision, but for the sake of this plan, that’s what I’m going with. My plan focuses on both pitching and offense, as I think as fans and media, we focus so much on our poor pitching, that we forget our offense wasn’t very good either. Based on the projected $68 million available under the rules, here is my plan:
Take these trades with a grain of salt, as I don’t trust these trade values at all
- Trade award Taylor Ward for Justin…. I mean Shane Bieber and RP Sam Hentges (projected salary increase of $10.25 mil)
This is where I get a bit weirded out by the trade values. Ward has 3 years left vs. Bieber’s 1, both were injured last year, so maybe that’s the catch. Cleveland has always struggled to find offense from their outfield, so this gives them a nice piece with some control left, while the Halos bring back a former Cy Young arm with some question marks. (Also FWIW, my buddy was his pitching coach in college summer league and said he is a cool dude).
- Trade Griffin Canning, Luis Rengifo, Jack Kochanowicz, and Victor Medieros for Corbin Burnes (projected Salary increase roughly $8 mil)
Again, I’m not sure about the value here, but this is a good opportunity. Good pitcher, grew up an Angels fan, already had beef with Milwaukee. The tricky part here is what do the Brewers want. I’m under the impression in a weak division that they will want to compete, so giving them two MLB players with control at affordable rates plus a couple lottery ticket arms seemed somewhat fair for 1 year of Burnes.
After the projected trades, we have about $50 mil to work with. The goal here is to create some flexibility and get some depth.
Sign– 3b/1b/DH Justin Turner Contract: 2 years/$18 mil (2nd year is a vesting option based on plate appearances). I played around with Jorge Soler for the DH spot, also considered Rhys Hoskins as well, but went with Ole Red. CSUF roots, great looking facial hair, and a veteran that can impart some wisdom and bring playoff winning attitude to the club. Plan is for him to DH some, play some first and some 3rd
Sign– OF/DH Joc Pederson Contract 1 year/$10 mil
Championship pedigree, experience, and mashes righties. Will primarily DH, but can spell Adell/Moniak in the outfield when needed. Bonus that his brother Champ loves Pujols, so maybe Albert will be around more to help.
Sign- IF Tim Anderson Contract 1 year/$10 mil
This one is a bit controversial for some, but when Anderson is healthy, he rakes. This is under the assumption that Anderson would play some 2b, and maybe even some 3b. Washington being manager could help with this one, not only the infield pedigree, but let’s be honest with ourselves, having a black manager might be appealing to someone like Anderson. He would take the Urshela role, and be insurance for Neto if/when he gets hurt.
Sign- LHP Matt Moore Contract: 1 year/$6 mil (would look into an option if needed)
Moore was great for us last year. No explanation needed
Sign- RHP Robert Stephenson Contract: 2 years/$17 mil
He’s a bit all over the place through his career, but he was really good last year and could have found his groove with the Rays.
Projected $ remaining after trades and Free agency: $6.5 mil
What else could we do?
The more I thought about this team and sustained success, the more I realized that good teams that continue to be good make not only good contract decisions, but good contract extension decisions. I would look into extending Neto, O’Hoppe, and maybe even Detmers (I’m a big Detmers fan). Lock them up at “cheap” rates for the long haul, giving us flexibility moving forward (a la Acuna/Albies)
Open to feedback, discussion, etc on this one. I have a few other plans in mind too based on the Shohei decision and the way the Angels go.
Photo credit: Rex Fregosi