The Angels: Recoup Or Reload?

Now that it's been confirmed that Kendry Morales' ankle surgery will sideline him for the rest of the season, the flurry of rumors connecting the Angels to various available first basemen will only intensify.  It's possible that the likes of Lance Berkman, Paul Konerko, or maybe Derrek Lee could be wearing Anaheim red before the season is out, but Mark Saxon of ESPNLosAngeles.com has another suggestion: none of them.

Rather than give up prospects and money to pick up a big-name first baseman, Saxon thinks the Halos should instead use the resources to get starting pitching, bullpen help or a third baseman.  Getting a first baseman wouldn't help the club get any further in the postseason.

"Even with, say, Konerko hitting home runs fairly regularly in the second half, was this team ever going to make any noise in October?" Saxon asks.  "How do you like the Angels' chances against the New York Yankees again?  How about the Tampa Bay Rays, even the Minnesota Twins?  In their current incarnation, the Angels would be first-round fodder and, these days, their fans don't get too worked up about making playoff appearances. They have higher aspirations, and so does the organization."

Saxon doesn't say L.A. should wave the white flag on the season; indeed, it might be hard to do that given that a .500 record might be good enough to compete in the AL West.  The Angels had won 12 of 15 games heading into today's action to move a half-game behind Texas for first place.  Rather, Saxon is suggesting that a first baseman is a needless addition given that he believes at best, such an acquistion would just net the Halos the division title (which they could win anyway).

It's a reasonable argument to make given that the Angels are coming off some significant offseason losses — John Lackey, Vladimir Guerrero, Chone Figgins, etc. — and already have over $80MM in committed salary for 2011 (thanks to Cot's Baseball Contracts).  Adding a high-priced bat for a late-season rental can cost the Angels a lot of money and valuable prospects.  Los Angeles has worked hard under Arte Moreno's ownership to turn itself into a franchise that is perpetually in contention and never "gives up" on its quest for a World Series, but there's no reason why Morales' freak injury should potentially wreck more than one season if L.A. overpays to fill Morales' spot.  


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61 Comments on "The Angels: Recoup Or Reload?"


5 years 1 month ago

this might surprise…but how about aquiring chris davis from the rangers?

jdub220
5 years 1 month ago

I doubt the Rangers would want to help their rival.

bjsguess
5 years 1 month ago

Sure sounds like he is advocating waving the white flag.

The Angels are playing exactly like they did last year. They suffered through injuries last year. They then went on to win 97 games and cream the Red Sox. I’m not suggesting that things will turn out the same way but this crawling into a shell mentality is absurd.

Anything can happen in the post-season. I want my team to do whatever it can (within reason) to make it to October. If you get bounced in the first round so be it. But all you have to do is look at recent WS winners to realize that the best team does not always come out on top.

I am all for making as many moves as possible that require only additional salary. Berkman would come for no prospects + the Stros would pick up a portion of the contract. Konerko may cost a B level prospect – nothing more. The team has money and should leverage that flexibility. Now is the time to buying contracts that teams want to shed. Of course, we should be targeting only guys that have expiring contracts after this off-season. So, the $80m or so next season isn’t impacted at all.

Finally, who cares if you plug a problem at 3rd base or 1st base or pitcher. The fact is you want to add the best talent available. I could care less where the help comes from so long as it comes. This obsession with filling one hole over the other just doesn’t make sense.

bjsguess
5 years 1 month ago

I do want to be very clear though – I would NOT advocate trading away significant future pieces for success at the big leagues this year. This is not the time to bet the farm. However, if we are only talking about money then the team should explore those options.

RGV84
5 years 1 month ago

So you are saying that the Astros would just give away Berkman to the Angels and still throw in money lol Ha! funny stuff

Yankees420
5 years 1 month ago

Berkman has reportedly said that he would require his option for next year to be picked up in order for him to approve a trade.

cookmeister
5 years 1 month ago

i have a few problems with what this guy is saying..

i dont think getting one of these guys will cripple the farm system by any means.. im sure teams will want to dump salary and wont cost much i prospect.

It sounds like he is saying we should wave the white flag. if this were the red sox or something losing Youk lets say, im sure this guy would be suggesting that they go get a first baseman, not a left fielder or something like that.

The part about making the playoffs signals that he thinks they should wave the flag. Saying that the fans and organizations want to get further in the playoffs is fine, but making the playoffs and winning the division is the first goal. last year nobody thought they could beat the red sox either.

One last thing i already touched on is the prospects, and now couple that with the money. does he really think that adding a bat will cripple the farm AND our budget? im pretty sure Lee and Konerko are free agents at the end of the year, not really sure how that affects next years payrol…. just a few thoughts.

mrsjohnmiltonrocks
5 years 1 month ago

If something falls their way, they should take it because it doesn’t look like any one team in the west can completely pull away. One thing the Angels always seem to be able to do is survive and thrive. They did last year when their pitcher died in the middle of the season; they seem to be rolling along without Morales right now. They’ve got time to wait and see what easily comes their way, but cashing in all of their chips this year is probably not the wisest move.

5 years 1 month ago

Well put. The Angels started off as slowly as any team in baseball. They are just now beginning to heat up and they’re already within 1 game of first place. Texas and Oakland had their chance to run away with the division while the Angels were down and they couldn’t do it. Don’t be surprised if the Angels run away with this one by September. Let’s not forget, the Angels still won the West by 10 games last year, dealing with death and the worst string of injuries in the majors. There’s nothing indicating thus far that they won’t do the same thing this year.

johnny5alive
5 years 1 month ago

They seem to be rolling without Morales right now, but that won’t continue b/c they won’t be playing Seattle, Oakland and KC the whole season…plus one more injury to this team and they are dust. They can get a replacement at first for money and nobody prospects that won’t impact the 2011 payroll (meaning they can sign one or two people like a Carl Crawford or a Cliff Lee in the off season to help the pitching and offense ALONG WITH Morales), and they can trade prospects that they probably would have traded anyway this season (even if Morales was healthy) for a real deal starter to help them in the play-offs. They can make more then 1 move. I doubt the Angels will, but if you can make a play to get to the playoffs THIS YEAR without giving up the farm then you make it…and if you need to give up a prospect or two to get another front line starter to help you win in the playoffs THIS YEAR then you do it. Who knows if you will be able to get to the playoffs again in 2011…maybe someone else gets hurt, or maybe someone is another year older (Torii, Abreu, etc), and maybe the Rangers get Cliff Lee or Oswalt and they’re even better…The fact is that the Angels can win the division again THIS YEAR, and with a move or two they can excel in the playoffs THIS YEAR. The key to that though, is to first win the west and get to the playoffs…and to do that they need a replacement for Kendry so that is order of business number one. Period.

johnny5alive
5 years 1 month ago

and yeah – the key is to wait and see what they can get. They have money and the ability to sit around and wait until we get closer to the deadline. They don’t have to rush and overpay or give up too much for a rental. There will be a lot of available dudes with teams wanting to ditch contracts and get something for some of these guys and the Angels will be right there waiting. The main thing is we aren’t in a rush, and worst case scenario we don’t make a move…but I feel confident that enough teams will be wanting to get rid of someone to help shed their payroll and the Angels are a team that guys will waive no trade clauses for b/c they have a chance in the post-season…and that guy might realize how important he could be to that chance giving him a shot at proving he deserves one more big contract. Once Kendry is replaced for the second half, then you can consider trading prospects for one of these big deal pitchers.

bk324
5 years 1 month ago

First it is quite obvious that the argument that (fodder for the playoffs is garbage). In a short series the pirates beat can beat the phillies and the mariners can beat the Yankees. The goal of the regular season is never to win the World Series, because the best outcome you can have is make the playoffs.

The Angels really ought to grab a bullpen arm and if Pinerio sustains his awful pace, possibly go after another pitcher. Keeping Napoli at 1st base all year is a fantastic idea. Not only does it keep Mathis and Napoli in the lineup, but next year if the Angels decide they want to trade Napoli before he is a free agent they can shop him as a capable Catcher/1st Baseman with power and not terrible contact.

As someone else said, unless an amazing deal falls out of the sky dont be the aggressor on the trade market. It aint that good.

BK
5 years 1 month ago

First it is quite obvious that the argument that (fodder for the playoffs is garbage). In a short series the pirates beat can beat the phillies and the mariners can beat the Yankees. The goal of the regular season is never to win the World Series, because the best outcome you can have is make the playoffs.

The Angels really ought to grab a bullpen arm and if Pinerio sustains his awful pace, possibly go after another pitcher. Keeping Napoli at 1st base all year is a fantastic idea. Not only does it keep Mathis and Napoli in the lineup, but next year if the Angels decide they want to trade Napoli before he is a free agent they can shop him as a capable Catcher/1st Baseman with power and not terrible contact.

As someone else said, unless an amazing deal falls out of the sky dont be the aggressor on the trade market. It aint that good.

5 years 1 month ago

How about Wood, Sandoval and Bo. Wilson for Berkman? Mathis will be back real soon, the Astros would get a couple players that are a little younger and make the Angels pickup almost all that contract. At the very least the Astros would be fun!

BK
5 years 1 month ago

Great idea. We should throw in Napoli, Burjos and Trevor Bell. We can take on Carlos Lees contract too.

Berkman with his contract is an albatross. For a reloading team like the Astros, it would be belssing if we sent Bobby Wilson and paid half his deal.

cookmeister
5 years 1 month ago

Trevor Bell is going to be a really solid pitcher, i dont like moving him. plus, Carlos Lee already made it clear that he is very comfortable in Houston and will not waive his NTC

BK
5 years 1 month ago

It was all sarcastic. That trade sucks and it is substantially favoring the Astros.

5 years 1 month ago

It’s nice to see the typical Eastern Idiocy turn out for yet another Angels thread. What is with you guys, don’t your own teams have anything going on worth talking about?

Angels baseball is a system built on winning through what? PITCHING AND DEFENSE. It’s really simple, but that’s the beauty of it. If the Angels starting pitchers throw to their ability and the defense does its job, the Angels win. Does losing Kendry hurt? Sure it does, but that doesn’t mean the Angels need to replace his production.

Why on Earth would the Angels trade away any of their considerable minor league talent (4 first round picks last year, 5 this year, added to an already loaded system) for an expensive, aging 1B to rent for less than half a season? Konerko, Berkman, Lee….NOTHING. It’s all the byproduct of uneducated or misinformed (in terms of the Angels as an organization) East Coast media.

Do you guys want the straight facts? I’m not the only one that has them, any decent fan knows these truths. The Angels CAN win the West with what they have. Don’t pretend like Abreu, Hunter, Matsui, Napoli and Rivera aren’t formidable. The Angels have a solid pitching staff, and improving bullpen, a strong core of young talent and they have the best manager in baseball.

Will they make a move? Maybe, but it won’t be a deal breaker between the Angels winning or losing the division. You all forget, they won this division by 10 games last year. That’s not a little, they won it by a lot. But there’s no difference between winning by one game or 10. The Angels don’t need to be better than they were last year, they just have to be better than the Rangers, which they are.

Now let’s examine the simple logic in it. How is Konerko at 1B, Mathis at C, Napoli on the bench, the Angels on the hook for 10 million more dollars and out a couple prospects better than Napoli at 1B, Mathis at catcher, with a controllable team salary and all it’s prospects intact? It’s not. Napoli is as good if not better offensively than Konerko.

Just stop.

cookmeister
5 years 1 month ago

besides having that many first round picks the past few year, you do know that the angels system isnt loaded right? (and im an angels fan so dont think that i am some east coast guy). First, the angels wont have to give up any great prospects for any of these guys, probably guys that could make a club but never be a really productive major leaguer. second, the angels wouldnt be on the hook for all the salary, the other team would probably want a salary dump plus many of these options are free agrents at the end of the year so there isnt any committment.

5 years 1 month ago

Other teams wouldn’t let the Angels take their vet 1B for free. Konerko, plus his salary for a meaningless prospect? That’s not something the White Sox, even though they are stupid, wouldn’t do.

Secondly, yes the Angels system is pretty stacked and under rated. Anywhere else, Bourjos, Trumbo and Conger would all be top of the line blue chip prospects, but because they don’t play for the Skanks or Sux, they remain nameless. How about Reckling and Smith, two 20 year old phenoms in AAA? Michael Kohn, google that guys stats and tell me he’s not the best reliever in the minor leagues. Tyler Chatwood, Lucho, Baird, Trout, Grichuk, Richards, Martinez, Skaggs. They are loaded. Go ahead and add Cowart, Bedrosian and Clarke into the mix too.

cookmeister
5 years 1 month ago

angels right now dont even have a top 15 system right now and have two prospects in the top 100 if i remember correctly (Trout, Conger). i know your an angels fan but you have to be realistic. other fans can run off names like you just did so it doesnt really matter. and im not saying that the sox are going to just give up konerko, but they are not going to ask for a reckling or Conger, more like a couple lower prospects with some upsdie

5 years 1 month ago

this might be the most uninformed post by a supposed fan of a team ever. Napoli is a better hitter than Konerko? No dude, just no.

Please stop, youre making the Angels fanbase look even dumber than it already does.

BK
5 years 1 month ago

Uh Yes Dude Yes. For a second forget his pace on Home Runs. Career wise the dude is a HR or nothign guy. He is not a solid hitter anymore. Napoli on the other hand has hit as long as he has been healthy. Moving him off the plate should only stand to improve that factor.

5 years 1 month ago

If the Angels DONT reload this year they will be left in the dust for the next 5. The tide has turned in the AL West and the Rangers, A’s and soon Mariners will all be putting forward very good contending teams, if they arent already. The Angels have an awful farm (is their best prospect really Hank Conger? ouch.) and many of their vaunted prospects such as Wood & Kendrick are looking like flops right now. They have a terrible bullpen and a very uneven rotation. Trading Abreu, Matsui, Hunter, Mathis & Rodney this July and reloading would be an utter masterstroke from them, one that would make the AL West a 4 headed beast over the next 5 years instead of a 3 headed one.

BK
5 years 1 month ago

Mike Trout is a top 10 prospect now. The Angels will continue to win as long as Socissa is at the helm.

xSenorChucklesx
5 years 1 month ago

Trading away any of the players you mentioned would be a poor decision. Although the Angels aren’t stacked–farm wise–they have their home-grown talent up in the bigs already with others waiting in AAA to make the club (Reckling, Conger, Smith, Bourjous, Trumbo, Kohn). Most of the talent is in single A, so the Angels aren’t as “screwed” as you think. The future is bright my friend, so go buy a pair of sunglasses and relax…

Halosfan777
5 years 1 month ago

Reckling and Bourjos are our top prospects at the moment and Conger sits third at best. Not to mention the past 2 seasons the Angels have had a surplus of early picks, our farm will be fine. Wood may not be what the Angels were hoping for, but Kendrick has done just fine and should not by any means be considered a flop. Our rotation has not been as consistent as it can be but every arm will show their worth by the end of the season. Our bullpen is improving, but still stands as our weak spot right now. Either way, as long as we Scioscia running the team the Angels will be contenders easily for the next five years.

cookmeister
5 years 1 month ago

as of now, Trout and Trumbo are the top prospects i would say. not MLB ready but still

neifiisgreat
5 years 1 month ago

How about Aramis Ramirez to the Angels? He’s 1.5 year contract. Obviously he has to come off the DL and hit, but there is still enough time for that.

xSenorChucklesx
5 years 1 month ago

offense isn’t a problem. The Angels need pitching whether that’d be an elite SP–Lee, Haren, Oswalt, I doubt they get one of the three–or BP arm, they need it and they need it fast.

5 years 1 month ago

Here’s the Angels’ problem: They’ll never make a good trade because they overrate the hell out of their crappy prospects. This is the same team that balked at Joe Saunders and Erick Aybar for ROY HALLADAY. The worst pitcher in the AL in 2009 and an average shortstop for one of the best pitchers of the past decade, and they laugh at such a preposterous suggestion because they think all of their prospects and players are future HOFers.

xSenorChucklesx
5 years 1 month ago

no, the Jays basically laughed at that offer. Saundo/Aybar/Bourjous for Halladay, but the Jays didn’t bite. Then again it was a speculation that it was the offer the Angels proposed. Stop embarrassing yourself with your, “Saunders is the worst pitcher in the AL in 2009″ comment. God, I hope your not an Angels fan.

johnny5alive
5 years 1 month ago

If that were true, yes, it would be a problem, but that was a rumor about Saunders and Aybar for Roy Halladay…it wasn’t true. Trust me, when I first heard that I flipped out and was going to drive to Anaheim and beat up the GM myself, but it turns out that was a totally unsubstantiated rumor and completely false. There was a lot more holding up Halladay to the Angels then Aybar and Saunders and it had a lot more to do with what the Phils and Halladay wanted versus what the Angels would/could or would/could not do. Regardless, your point about putting too much value on prospects is true. I mean, the list of players the Angels could have had if they gave up any of the following (Kendrick, Saunders, Aybar, Wood, either Mathis or Napoli…and remember that guy Dallas MacPherson) is ridiculous and they would have looked like champs had they done so, but they have won the west and gone to the ALCS twice in 8 years so who’s to say they were wrong. My point is that hindsight is always 20/20 and you never know what could have been…but yeah, they need to be a little more willing to TRADE PROSPECTS FOR GOOD SOLID PROVEN PLAYERS…after all THEY ARE JUST PROSPECTS.We’ll see how it goes…but at least with Scioscia we’ll always be in the conversation.

johnny5alive
5 years 1 month ago

If that were true, yes, it would be a problem, but that was a rumor about Saunders and Aybar for Roy Halladay…it wasn’t true. Trust me, when I first heard that I flipped out and was going to drive to Anaheim and beat up the GM myself, but it turns out that was a totally unsubstantiated rumor and completely false. There was a lot more holding up Halladay to the Angels then Aybar and Saunders and it had a lot more to do with what the Phils and Halladay wanted versus what the Angels would/could or would/could not do. Regardless, your point about putting too much value on prospects is true. I mean, the list of players the Angels could have had if they gave up any of the following (Kendrick, Saunders, Aybar, Wood, either Mathis or Napoli…and remember that guy Dallas MacPherson) is ridiculous and they would have looked like champs had they done so, but they have won the west and gone to the ALCS twice in 8 years so who’s to say they were wrong. My point is that hindsight is always 20/20 and you never know what could have been…but yeah, they need to be a little more willing to TRADE PROSPECTS FOR GOOD SOLID PROVEN PLAYERS…after all THEY ARE JUST PROSPECTS.We’ll see how it goes…but at least with Scioscia we’ll always be in the conversation.

Guest
5 years 1 month ago

I have to agree with Mark Saxon’s thought process. I don’t know much about the Angels farm system, but Mike Sciocia is a great manager and he has a lot of the tools in place to keep this team competitive, especially in that division. I do agree with some of the commenters here, that pitching depth may be the most intelligent route before the trade deadline.

xSenorChucklesx
5 years 1 month ago

+1000 for believing in Soth and realizing that pitching is our greatest need.

Johnbird39
5 years 1 month ago

The Angles really need to get a power hitting 3rd baseman. Getting a 1st baseman is a short term fix and getting a 3rd basemen is long term fix. The Angels haven’t had a power hitting 3rd baseman since Troy Glaus and they won the World Series with him. Any ideas? Wright? Zimmerman? LOL (I wish)

Sinatrasratack
5 years 1 month ago

Also I love how analysts and forcasters nect picked the Angels to win anything when they had Vlad, Lackey and Figgins. But, when they leave all of a sudden it cripples the team?—sounds like East Coast bias to me.

1b is such an easy position to replace. I even think their spare parts of Frandsen and Itzturis will be fine at 3b. I think shoring up the bullpen is far more important

TradeYouk
5 years 1 month ago

You are right, a major publication never picked the Angels to make it to the World Series while they had Lackey, Figgins and Vlad. link to nydailynews.com
link to sportsillustrated.cnn.com

xSenorChucklesx
5 years 1 month ago

The Angels let the mothership down in ’08.

JTThompson
5 years 1 month ago

Actually, the analysis here at TR with respect to the Saxon column and what he was saying is inaccurate, IMO. Sure, Saxon is critical of the play at 3B, the absence of a leadoff hitter, a bad pen and an iffy starter. But I don’t see Saxon saying that the Angels should go out improve any of these areas prior to getting a 1B to replace Morales for the season.

Saxon is saying something that should be obvious, i.e. – that Moreno, Scioscia and the Angels should focus their resources on future seasons – “higher aspirations” – because one or even two changes here and their aren’t going to help this particular team make a post-season splash, even if they manage to get there. I personally want to see the Angels focus on and rebuild their minor league talent, which has been sorely lacking in recent seasons. I don’t want to see them trade what little talent they have there now or money that can be used for their latest draft crop in exchange for a shot at 2010. It just likely isn’t going to happen for them this year. As the anonymous scout quoted in the article asks, ‘are they really just one player away?”

ReverendBlack
5 years 1 month ago

It’s just not a strong enough to division to give up on the season. Mark Saxon just moved up a few ranks on the Idiot List. Everyone with half a brain in baseball will tell you it’s all about getting to the playoffs because anything there can happen.

Yes, be the best you can be for when you DO get there (why does this even need to be said), but wtf – we’re a playoff team but we might be the worst playoff team so let’s rebuild? Die.

Writer creating controversy where there is none. Now THAT’S news!

xSenorChucklesx
5 years 1 month ago

beautifully said, good sir…

ze3
5 years 1 month ago

I still think an Oswalt/Berkman trade would be ideal for the Angels if Berkman would change his mind on the pick up option on his contract for the trade to be accessible. The Angels need pitching to make it in the playoffs, and an extra bat wouldn’t hurt at all. The infield and the rotation would be much more solid