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Report: With $140 million payroll, Angels all capped out

Jun 16, 2011, 7:12 PM EDT

Arte Moreno, Vernon Wells, Tony Reagins Reuters

Angels owner Arte Moreno is done spending for the moment, sources told Mark Saxon of ESPNLosAngeles.com.  According to the report, Moreno has told GM Tony Reagins he won’t be allowed to take on any additional salary this summer.

Including the $12 million they’re paying Scott Kazmir and the $11.4 million due to Gary Matthews Jr. in the final season of his 68-year deal, the Angels are spending just over $140 million on a 33-37 team this year.

$18 million of that is going to their big winter acquisition, Vernon Wells.  However, Wells is hitting just .193/.235/.317 with six homers and 16 RBI in 171 at-bats for his new club.

The Angels are also paying $8.8 million to relievers Scott Downs and Hisanori Takahashi after signing them as free agents.  Downs has been exceptional, but he has served two stints on the DL.  Takahashi has a 4.08 ERA and isn’t much more than a mop-up man at the moment (18 of his last 19 appearances have come in Angels losses).

Despite their struggles, the Angels are still very much in the AL West race.  They’re just three games back of the Rangers, who have lost five in a row.  However, without reinforcements, they’ll be at a definite disadvantage as the year goes on.  They have little pitching depth beyond their current rotation, and while their offense could get a little better if Wells and Torii Hunter rebound, the team doesn’t figure to finish any higher than ninth or 10th in the AL in runs (it’s 11th right now).

  1. SmackSaw - Jun 16, 2011 at 7:35 PM

    They’re still in the A.L. West race. They were in better shape when they were a division of Disney.

  2. royalsfaninfargo - Jun 16, 2011 at 8:01 PM

    Didnt ESPN just name them the #1 organization in baseball? And arent the Mets paying Matthews Jr also? That guy must be loving life right now!

    • pisano - Jun 17, 2011 at 1:18 AM

      royalsfaninfargo…Espn did just say they were the #1 org. in baseball, but they didn’t qualify the statement, what they meant is the Angels are the # 1 horses a$$es in baseball for some of their moves.

  3. jimatkins - Jun 16, 2011 at 8:26 PM

    The Mets are only on the hook for minimum, I think. The Angels gave a gigantic contract on the basis of one decent year and one web-gem catch. I guess Tony Reagins bases player personnel decisions on the late rerun of Baseball Tonight. When they were a Disney division, they had the stupidest uniforms in the last 30 years and stank, consistently, except for 2002.

  4. pauleee - Jun 16, 2011 at 8:27 PM

    Good God, we’re STILL paying Matthews!?

  5. proudlycanadian - Jun 16, 2011 at 8:51 PM

    Trade Weaver for prospects. That will reduce the financial problem.

    • Kevin S. - Jun 16, 2011 at 9:14 PM

      You hoping AA can dip into that well twice?

      • proudlycanadian - Jun 17, 2011 at 8:17 AM

        Yep!

  6. 4d3fect - Jun 16, 2011 at 10:51 PM

    hopefully marks the beginning of the end for Reagins, the moron.

  7. kmgannon - Jun 16, 2011 at 11:00 PM

    Wow. The Mets of the AL, apparently.

    I’m sure Toronto’s front office is still giddy that they got V-Wells off their books.

  8. pisano - Jun 17, 2011 at 1:13 AM

    In the Angels defense you never know when a pitcher will go south, but for Christ sakes you give Gary Matthews 10 + mil a year and then you pick up the rest of Vernon Wells contract, what the hell were they thinking.

    • henryd3rd - Jun 17, 2011 at 1:50 PM

      That’s just it! They weren’t thinking. J. P. Ricciardi lost his job in Toronto because of that bad Wells contract and then The Angels goes and trades for him. Gary Mathews Jr. was a known PED User and they should have voided that contract; but were frighten off by the prospects of having to fight it out in court with the Player Association. Think Moreno would like a do over on both of those deals?

  9. purdueman - Jun 17, 2011 at 1:20 AM

    Angels are getting exactly what they deserve after over paying Torii Hunter both in terms of guaranteed years and money for a player sliding down hill faster then an avalanche and then trading for washed up Vernon Wells and eating the $14.5M remaining on Scott Kazmir’s bad contract.

    Bottom line? Angel owner Arte Moreno needs to keep his nose in the cable business and get his beak out of meddling in the Angels baseball operations, where he’s batting .000!

  10. indyralph - Jun 17, 2011 at 9:01 AM

    There were plenty of people who defended the Wells trade (generally not as much on this site – as usual the comments here are much more level-headed) by using the argument “They have the money, they should spend it to get better.” This is why that logic is a load of bunk. There is always, always, always opportunity cost.

    • henryd3rd - Jun 17, 2011 at 1:54 PM

      The Wells’ contract was stupid from the very beginning. He was a nice player; but that didn’t justify that humungous contract. Hence JP Riciarrdi is no longer GM in Toronto. If Moreno knows what we all know he’d hire a competent baseball man and attend to what he knows best cable TV

      • patsandsox - Jun 17, 2011 at 4:10 PM

        I feel badly for both LA teams and the muts. Three big market teams that have been ruined in the short term by bad managment and even worse contracts.

        Their poor fans. I just read a post on SI and they said these teams should rob Theo Epstiens minions to get up coming talent. I am not totaly sold on that idea but it couldnt be worse than what they have been doing lately

    • purdueman - Jun 17, 2011 at 9:19 PM

      indy… you are so-oooo right, but few ever think in terms of the opportunity cost lost on such deals, because it’s always about winning (and rushing to judgement about trades), in the here and now. We are a society of instant gratification, driven by the overexposure by the media.

      JMO, but the Wells deal was as much about Scioscia wanting to rid himself of Angel fan pressure to play the defensive challenged Napoli at catcher and he had given up on Rivera. So I’m sure that the way the Angels looked at the Wells trade is that the cost was only the difference between Wells salary and those of Rivera and Napoli’s.

      The damning part for Angel fans though is that Well absurdly high salary (right now he’s the 2nd highest paid player in all of baseball and is struggling just to get to the Mendoza line), is that Wells deal has three more years to go after this one.

      Lots was made of the White Sox picking up Rios’ big contract off of waivers, but Rios’ makes less than half of what Wells does and still plays an excellent defensive center field (whereas Wells is no better than a corner outfielder anymore).

      Wells, Abreu (who’s big option is about to automatically vest for next year), and Torii Hunter are all just mere shells of what the players that they once were, yet the Angels are stuck with them. For once Arte is finally being smart realizing that he’s better off letting these three bad contracts run their course and focus on retooling instead of throwing more bad money after good.

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