Next up in our Offseason In Review series, the Angels. Here's what we wrote about them on October 15th. Changes for 2009:
Additions: Brian Fuentes, Bobby Abreu, Juan Rivera (re-signed), Darren Oliver (accepted arbitration)
Subtractions: Francisco Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, Garret Anderson, Jon Garland, Darren O'Day. Midseason: Casey Kotchman
The Angels were 10th in the AL last year with 4.72 runs scored per game. GM Tony Reagins wasn't able to retain Teixeira, but Abreu for less than 3% of the guaranteed money ain't bad. CHONE projections and the lineup analysis tool suggest this team will score 5.16 runs per game in '09. The Angels' offense is better than I realized.
If last year's run prevention holds up, the Angels project to win around 95 games. Let's take a closer look.
The '08 rotation posted a 4.14 ERA in 1012 innings, and they've since subtracted Garland and his 4.90 mark in favor of Kelvim Escobar (once he's ready). Throw in Dustin Moseley as the sixth man and the rotation projects around 4.10. The problem is that Ervin Santana and John Lackey are ailing and may not combine for 56 starts again. Still, if Santana and Lackey can combine for 300 innings the Angels should be fine. Nobody is out for the season currently. The Angels' toughest division rival, the Athletics, have at least as much rotation uncertainty.
Last year's bullpen posted a 3.69 ERA in 439.3 innings. I liked the Fuentes signing. Natural regression probably puts the bullpen closer to 4.00, but that's not too bad.
Defensively the Angels ranked 9th in the AL according to The Fielding Bible II. They may slip a bit further without Kotchman and Teixeira at first base.
All in all I see the Angels winning 90-91 games as presently constructed. Obviously the health of the rotation is a huge variable, but I imagine Reagins will make an acquisition if one of the injuries turns out to be major.
Bottom line: The Angels patched over their free agent losses with more affordable players in Fuentes and Abreu. The Halos again have a strong club barring a rotation catastrophe.