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What’s next for the Angels?

Dec 8, 2011, 1:00 PM EDT

Jerry Dipoto, Arte Moreno AP

So, the Halos added a bit to their payroll today, committing $250 million to Albert Pujols and another $77.5 million to C.J. Wilson. Not clear at the moment is whether is they’ll have to make some tough choices to squeeze both in. After acquiring Vernon Wells, the Angels opened last year with a $141 million payroll, up from $121 million in 2010.

As for the 2012 payroll, the Angels opened today with $106 million committed to 11 players. Pujols and Wilson would add another $40 million to that if their salaries are constant throughout their contracts, but there’s a good chance those deals are backloaded somewhat. So, let’s instead say $32 million, bringing the total to $138 million.

The Angels have five players eligible for arbitration: Erick Aybar, Howie Kendrick, Alberto Callaspo, Kendrys Morales and Jerome Williams. Those five should combine to make $17 million-$18 million in 2012, upping the Angels’ payroll to $155 million. Throw in another seven players making barely more than that minimum and that brings the total to $159 million for 2012. Which doesn’t seem like a completely unmanageable total for Arte Moreno. Still, the Angels could scale it back to $145 million-$150 million with a few moves. Such as…

- Non-tendering Morales – This looks like the obvious one. Morales missed most of 2010 and all of last season with a broken ankle, and while there’s some hope he’ll be ready for 2012, there’s no guarantee at all. Also, he happens to play the same position as Pujols. Non-tendering him would shave about $3 million off the payroll.

- Trading Ervin SantanaTeams were calling the Angels about Santana in anticipation of a Wilson signing. He’ll make $11.2 million next year, so he’s the one who would have to go if the Angels want to get back to a $140 million payroll. However, the whole point of signing Wilson was to give the Halos four great starters and the team still lacks starting pitching depth in a big way. I think he stays put.

- Trading Maicer Izturis - Izturis is a nice player, but at $3.8 million, he makes for an awfully expensive utilityman. The Angels could slide Alexi Amarista into his spot next year and save $3.3 million. With so many teams looking for an experienced backup shortstop, they might even get a pretty good prospect in return.

The Angels also have the option of trading Rookie of the Year runner-up Mark Trumbo, but since he’s making the minimum, that wouldn’t do anything for the payroll. If someone offers a quality reliever or a young starter for him, the Angels will surely listen. However, it looks like they intend to keep him as a part-time third baseman/outfielder/DH.

  1. Jonny 5 - Dec 8, 2011 at 1:03 PM

    An easy AL west championship of course…

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Dec 8, 2011 at 1:14 PM

      I would have went with robbing a bank, but your comment seems more likely.

    • WhenMattStairsIsKing - Dec 8, 2011 at 1:40 PM

      Nolan Ryan disagrees.

      • antlerclaws - Dec 8, 2011 at 1:47 PM

        Easy division champs….exactly what Red Sox and Phillies thought when they stacked the deck last year….

      • Jonny 5 - Dec 8, 2011 at 1:49 PM

        Huh, he must have missed the news that his best starting pitcher just ended up with his division rivals.

      • Jonny 5 - Dec 8, 2011 at 1:52 PM

        Antler claws, The Phillies were the champs of their division. The NL east. And I expect the Angels to take the AL west now.

      • WhenMattStairsIsKing - Dec 8, 2011 at 1:54 PM

        Nolan got the memo. He’s okay not overpaying for a guy who will not be successful for the entirety of his deal.

  2. proudlycanadian - Dec 8, 2011 at 1:09 PM

    Long term, I see bankruptcy as a possible outcome. Pujols might end up with partial ownership of the team.

    • hep3 - Dec 8, 2011 at 1:18 PM

      Bankruptcy? Arte Moreno is worth a couple of billion or more. He bought the Angels from Disney for $184 million and they are now worth at least $800 million. He also owns the radio station the Angels are broadcast on. He is everything that the other baseball owner in Los Angeles was not.

      • paperlions - Dec 8, 2011 at 1:25 PM

        Tom Hicks was a billionaire once.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Dec 8, 2011 at 1:31 PM

        Carl Pohlad was one of the richest owners in sports and tried to have MLB contract his team [Twins]

    • dannymac17 - Dec 8, 2011 at 1:52 PM

      Frank McCourt, even after his Divorce is still worth as much as Moreno.

      • pauleee - Dec 8, 2011 at 3:33 PM

        [Citation Needed]

    • cintiphil - Dec 8, 2011 at 2:07 PM

      I have to agree with you somewhat. I don’t think they will go bankrupt, but they are paying way too much for Albert. This should being the annual player payroll over 165 MIl. I would guess the total revenues are at 220-240 Mil. They will have to boost T-V or luxury box prices by a lot to get anything out of this deal. This can’t be about making money, because they probably will not. They must win and win big (W-S). Any poor annual performance by Albert and/or CJ will cost them plenty.

  3. kcfanatic - Dec 8, 2011 at 1:17 PM

    Is this a dream team similar to the Heat? Uh, I mean the eagles? Oh no, wait I mean…

    • joshftw - Dec 8, 2011 at 2:18 PM

      Any team with current Vernon Wells on it is automatically disqualified as a dream team.

  4. WhenMattStairsIsKing - Dec 8, 2011 at 1:34 PM

    What’s next for the Angels? Shanking Oakland & Seattle, and meeting Texas’ call to arms for the best team in the division.

    “Okay Texas, you had your two years. Time for a comeback.”

  5. uyf1950 - Dec 8, 2011 at 1:38 PM

    Matthew, I think your estimate of the Angels payroll might be a little light at least according to Buster Olney in this clip.

    http://espn.go.com/los-angeles/mlb/story/_/id/7330066/st-louis-cardinals-albert-pujols-join-los-angeles-angels

    He may not be factoring in backloading contracts and perhaps unloading someone.

    • Matthew Pouliot - Dec 8, 2011 at 1:46 PM

      It’s possible $32 million for Pujols/Wilson next year is a bit on the low side. Might be $35-$36. Doubt it will be the full $40.

  6. sdelmonte - Dec 8, 2011 at 1:51 PM

    I am still going to say that the Rangers win out. They looked like a great young team in the playoffs (again), and I bet they replace Wilson with Garza.

    But at least on paper, the AL West just got a lot more exciting. It’s silly to make predictions in December, but I am fully expecting tight races in all divisions.

  7. pauleee - Dec 8, 2011 at 1:53 PM

    Send the Rally Monkey to Miami for cash and a PTBNL. Throw in Wells for good measure.

    • WhenMattStairsIsKing - Dec 8, 2011 at 1:54 PM

      Nothing about Wells is a good measure.

      • pauleee - Dec 8, 2011 at 2:04 PM

        Point taken. Just throw him then. Anywhere.

      • wlschneider09 - Dec 9, 2011 at 8:29 AM

        Still gotta pay him, no matter where you throw him

  8. Gardenhire's Cat - Dec 8, 2011 at 2:00 PM

    Matthew, there is not a reliever in baseball who is more valuable than Mark Trumbo (based on his age, salary, potential). The Angels would be nuts to listen to such an offer.

    • pauleee - Dec 8, 2011 at 2:13 PM

      Agreed. Maybe they give him a shot at 3rd.

    • Matthew Pouliot - Dec 8, 2011 at 2:28 PM

      Sorry, but I just don’t see a whole lot of potential with Trumbo. He was an asset last year despite the low OBP, but I wouldn’t be surprise to see him wash out. I think a lot hinges on whether he can handle third base or not.

      • Matthew Pouliot - Dec 8, 2011 at 2:36 PM

        Out of curiosity, I generated a list of all players to hit a least 20 homers and finish with K/BBs over 4:1 in their age 25 seasons (Trumbo had 29 homers, 120 K, 25 BB). Just eight other players. Two of them went on to nice careers: Torii Hunter and Geoff Jenkins. Five washed out: Butch Hobson, Jim Presley, Pete Incaviglia, Daryle Ward and Melvin Nieves. The other was Bo Jackson.

      • Gardenhire's Cat - Dec 8, 2011 at 3:04 PM

        While I completely agree his OBP last year was troubling, I would still hold off on dealing him at this point for relief pitcher simply for 2 reasons: (a) given that he was only a rookie, his plate discipline can really go up, and (b) now with Pujols signed I think the Angels can start him in AAA to start the season where he work on his patience

      • clydeserra - Dec 8, 2011 at 5:49 PM

        But Trumbo’s stock will not be higher. He is blocked at DH, OF and 1B.

        He may be worth more than a major league releiver, and I bet he is traded for more than that. Regardless, he has no real spot on the team.

      • wlschneider09 - Dec 9, 2011 at 8:38 AM

        I don’t think the baseball world outside of Southern California thinks as highly of Trumbo. I would suggest that the Angels keep him because they won’t get value that represents what fans would approve of, and because he’s backing up some players that are likely to miss some time. I really can’t see him succeeding at 3B.

  9. kpow55 - Dec 8, 2011 at 2:16 PM

    It has to suck to be an Astros fan in general, but 2013 is looking bleak for them

    • stex52 - Dec 8, 2011 at 3:19 PM

      No kidding! The town is about 80% against going to the AL already. Now we find out we have Albert waiting for us again.

      Astros can compete with the Rangers on salary, but I don’t think they can throw 150MM$/yr at a team. Management stated goal is to copy development the way Tampa Bay and St. Louis do it. But easier said than done.

  10. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Dec 8, 2011 at 3:01 PM

    Trumbo + Santana for Hellickson?

    • WhenMattStairsIsKing - Dec 8, 2011 at 3:17 PM

      The Rays couldn’t afford the salary differential. Also, cheap, potentially-elite starting pitchers are probably the most valuable commodity in baseball. Throw in $10 million and Bourjos, and they’d listen.

  11. jimatkins - Dec 8, 2011 at 5:34 PM

    Bobby Abreu, probably gone for a warm body. Kendrys Morales, non-tendered and gone. Vernon Wells, nobody in their right mind would trade anything for him unless the Angels cover all but the minimum, so no help. At the end of the day, The OC has the number one hispanic superstar in a pretty hispanic market- new TV deal coming up with Fox, looks like Arte Moreno makes out pretty good.

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