For several years, people inside baseball have looked at the Angels as the team that could bring the hammer down and scoop up several big name free-agents because owner Arte Moreno has and, more importantly, is willing to spend a ton of money. It looked like last year would be that year as they were connected to several high profile free agents such as Carl Crawford.
But they were not able to sign any of them and settled for trading away underappreciated Mike Napoli and Juan Rivera for the widely considered untradeable contract of Vernon Wells. Obviously, that did not work out too well for the Angels.
So they fired the previous GM Tony Reagins and hired up and comer Jerry Dipoto. Immediately the results showed as Dipoto was able to nab both the premier free agent position player in Albert Pujols and the premier free agent starting pitcher C.J. Wilson.
Pujols’ accomplishments speak for themselves. He will most likely go down as the Mickey Mantle or Ted Williams of this generation.
So the next few years of Albert Pujols will give the Angels more value than any other player in the league possibly could. Unfortunately, the contract is not for five or six years, it is for 10 years and $254 million.
The contract reminds me of the second 10-year contract Alex Rodriguez signed. The one that has the Yankees as cash-strapped as they possibly could be considering their income.
Does that make it a bad contract? Not necessarily. It just makes it that much more vital that the Angels take advantage of the next five to six years.
That makes the C.J. Wilson signing that much more logical. With a rotation of Jered Weaver, Dan Haren, C.J. Wilson and Ervin Santana as your #4 starter, it’s exciting for the Angels and their fans. It instantly becomes the best pitching staff in the AL, with the possible exception of the Mariners.
And I also like the fact that the Angels were able to keep away from a six-year deal for Wilson. That sixth year likely would have meant close to the $100 million mark for a pitcher that is still relatively unproven.
The fact that Buehrle received a four-year $58 million contract also makes me like this contract a bit more as I think Wilson will be the better pitcher over the span of the contract (even though I was surprised to learn that Buehrle is only one year older than Wilson).
So the lesson here is the AL continues to be the premier league in MLB as the money spent in that league continues to dwarf every NL team not named the Phillies.
However, that does not mean the NL missed out on all the big-time free agents as the Marlins inked both Jose Reyes and the aforementioned Mark Buehrle.
I do not like either of these deals for the Marlins. Yes, the Marlins just had a new stadium built and they need to capitalize on that by fielding a winning team, but I am not sure these two will take them to the playoff appearance they are going to need.
Reyes is an injury liability as he has not made it through an entire season each of the past three seasons. He is not as good defensively as you would think and Reyes’ game, which is built entirely on speed, will go the minute his legs start to go. And according to recent history, ‘speedsters’ legs start to go early.
Meanwhile, Buehrle, who I do believe has been underappreciated during his time with the White Sox, is not the ace the Marlins need. Yes, I know, the Marlins have Josh Johnson who is more than capable of being an ace but he is a walking injury at this point.
So combine that with a disgruntled Hanley Ramirez, and you have the makings for a disaster in Miami.
It has been a crazy couple of days for baseball during the winter meetings in Dallas but there is sure more to come. So in the meantime, what are your thoughts on the moves so far? Any under the radar moves that should be catching more headlines?