The Angels In The Outfield

Carl Crawford will have suitors lining up for him after the season and we've been assuming for a while that the Angels will be one of them. Owner Arte Moreno doesn't seem to mind spending on his team and Crawford told Mark Saxon of ESPNLos Angeles that he likes Anaheim.

"The weather's great. The grass is really soft. It's one of the best places in the big leagues," Crawford said.

It's not the first time he has said the right thing about a potential free agent destination. Over the weekend, Crawford told Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle that he likes Oakland's young pitching. Both teams could use Crawford, but let's see how he'd fit onto the 2011 Angels. The team has five viable outfielders under team control for 2011:

  • Bobby Abreu – He is showing his typical mixture of speed (17 SB), power (15 HR) and patience (68 BB) this season. He'll be back in 2011 for $9MM.
  • Torii Hunter – Hunter is having another strong season. He'll be back in 2011 for $18MM.
  • Peter Bourjos – The fleet-footed 23-year-old hasn't hit much in 71 major league plate appearances, but his minor league track record (.861 OPS at Triple A this year) suggests he should.
  • Juan Rivera – Rivera has been playing a little first base, but Kendry Morales should bump Rivera back to the outfield in 2011. The Angels will pay Rivera $5.25MM next year, but his production has dropped off (.256/.309/.415 line).
  • Reggie Willits – Willits goes to arbitration for the second time this winter, but he isn't guaranteed a contract offer or a roster spot on the 2011 Angels. 
  • Hideki Matsui hits free agency after the season and seems likely to depart. It's not too early to get excited about Mike Trout, but it is too early to pencil him onto the team's 2011 roster. The top prospect has yet to play in the upper minors.

The Angels do have room for Crawford if they let Matsui walk and move Abreu to the DH spot. That would give the Angels a strong defensive outfield of Crawford, Bourjos and Hunter and could mean the Angels part ways with either Willits or Rivera. 

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