Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Angels Must Love Inaction

I'll be frank with ya'll: I hate what the Angels off season thus far. Better yet, I hate what the Angels have not done so far this off season.

For reasons unbeknownst to me, the Angels have played second fiddle to most of the major free agents on the market and have refused to engage in any sort of bidding war with any of the other big market clubs. Even though the Angels have the money and an owner who seems to want to win at all costs, the Angels have not pulled out all the stops this off season to make their team better.

And it's not that I don't like Brian Fuentes or Juan Rivera. I think both guys, especially Fuentes, can be major contributors to the Angels in 2009. Rivera is a solid player will likely play outfield and DH, while Fuentes will assume the closer's role vacated by Francisco Rodriguez. The Angels are a better team with both guys on board then they would be without them.

But here's the deal: Fuentes and Rivera are nice players, but they fail to address the Angels major weakness. After losing Mark Teixeira and Garret Anderson, the Angels have failed to pick up a big bat to hit in the middle of their lineup. For whatever reason, GM Tony Reagins seems content to stick with Juan Rivera, Gary Matthews, and Kendry Morales instead of pursuing a big name free agent.

It's not like Reagins has any shortage of options on the free agent market either. Even with spring training only two weeks away, Manny Ramirez, Adam Dunn, and Bobby Abreu are are stranded on the free agent market looking for a place to play. There is even a chance that Dunn and Abreu would only require one year pacts, which would mitigate most of the risk in the contract.

For a big market team like the Angels, it is unfathomable that they have not taken a chance on signing a big name outfielder. The market is playing so ridiculously in their favor right now that they are probably doing a disservice to these players and the organization by not making a play for any of these guys. What a shame.

The sense of urgency to win needs to be there right now. Star OF Vladimir Guerrero will be a free agent at the end of the season and at this point, who knows where he could wind up after 2009. This might be the Angels last chance to win with their star, who is still a great player, but no longer in the prime of his career. It would be a shame if the Angels did not win a title during Vlad's tenure with the club.

So for Angels fans, consider the 2009 season as a turning point in the club's history. They can either go for broke and try to win it all by signing a big name free agent to what will probably be a very club friendly contract. Or the Angels can continue to sit on the sidelines and hope that they have enough offense in 2009 to supplement their fantastic pitching and defense.

In the end, teams who lose in the first round of playoffs every year are not the ones that are remembered. Teams who win championships cement legacies that last a lifetime with fans. The Angels off season has been frustrating because the Angels right now are missing out on the chance to cement their legacy. They have a great ball club, but they are still a big piece away from competing for a title.

Now it's up to you Tony Reagins. Now is not the time to be frugal, instead now is a time to be aggressive and make the big push the Angels need.

Luckily for you, there is still time.


Antone said...

I agree that the Angels have taken a big L this offseason. I think they are making a mistake by relying on Rivera:

The Angels re-signed Juan Rivera to a 3 year contract. The same Juan Rivera that has played just 104 games combined in the last two seasons and when he has played has been below average with OPS+ numbers of 91 & 86. I don't know why the Angels would give him a 3 year deal, when he hasn't proven he can stay healthy or even be productive lately. I think the Angels are headed for a decline next season, because their offense has gotten much worse and I don't think their starting pitching will match what they did last year. They might want to look at signing Derek Lowe and Adam Dunn in my mind, but at this point it doesn't look likely.(MLB Weekly)

They need another bat badly and it's silly for them to not go after Dunn or Abreu as DH's at least. They have pretty much assured that the Yankees, Rays, or Red Sox will be in the World Series next season.

Josh said...

Antone: totally agree with everything you wrote. I think Abreu or Dunn would be great for the Angels, but we'll see if they can make it happen.

thanks for the comment.

Anonymous said...

I wholeheartedly agree the Angels should pursue Dunn. But, I think a little clarification is needed about Rivera.
Rivera does not have a history of injuries. He broke his leg one time in Winterball on a play at first. This accounted for his lack of ABs in 2007. In 2008, he was healthy, but blocked by both G. Anderson and G. Matthews Jr.-it wasn't until GMJ utterly failed that Rivera saw some ABs.
With consistent ABs Rivera should be able to put up numbers around his 2006 season: .310/.365/.525, 23 HRs, 126 OPS+.
This doesn't mean the Angels shouldn't go after Dunn, because they should, just that the Rivera deal isn't as bad as it may seem.

Josh said...

Anon: Great points about Rivera. It feels as thought he has been MIA for the past few seasons because of that injury. I'm skeptical about giving him a three year contract especially in this market, but the Angels must really like him.

thanks for the comment.