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With little payroll maneuverability, Angels may have to trade to bolster rotation

Nov 24, 2013, 10:35 PM EDT

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The Angels signed reliever Joe Smith to a three-year, $15.75 million deal on Saturday, just a day after adding third baseman David Freese and reliever Fernando Salas in a trade for Peter Bourjos and prospect Randal Grichuk. As a result, the Angels have about $8 million left before hitting the $189 million luxury tax threshold, according to’s Alden Gonzalez.

The Angels still need to bolster their starting rotation behind Jered Weaver, C.J. Wilson, and Garrett Richards. Gonzalez suggests the Angels may solve that by making another trade involving second baseman Howie Kendrick, shortstop Erick Aybar, and/or first baseman-slash-DH Mark Trumbo. The Cardinals were reportedly interested in Aybar in the Bourjos deal, but they didn’t want to both take on his remaining salary and give up a quality pitcher such as Shelby Miller.

As they stand right now, the Angels have Tommy Hanson and Jerome Williams at the back end of the rotation, but both could be non-tendered. Joe Blanton is under contract for $7.5 million but he lost his spot in the rotation last July and it doesn’t seem like the Angels are in any rush to move him back in from the bullpen.

  1. flamethrower101 - Nov 24, 2013 at 10:42 PM

    The way this team has operated the last 2 years, they’ll trade Wilson and Richards to the Red Sox for Uehara and then complain about their starters sucking balls all the time.

  2. darthicarus - Nov 24, 2013 at 10:52 PM

    I imagine Dave Dombrowski would somehow be able to trade Pujols & Hamilton to the Dodgers for Kershaw & Puig. As it stands now the Angels will probably just throw a $100 million deal to Johan Santana & call it a day.

  3. losanginsight - Nov 24, 2013 at 10:53 PM

    This team really needs to find a new GM.

    • bender4700 - Nov 24, 2013 at 11:01 PM

      New owner too.

  4. NYTolstoy - Nov 24, 2013 at 11:01 PM

    vvsee this is what I ment on my other post. If they didn’t spend 5 million on relief help they would still have 13 mill before hitting the 189 mark. 5 million can be a huge factor.

  5. sincitybonobo - Nov 24, 2013 at 11:37 PM

    What a disaster. High revenues don’t garuntee success. Weaver signed a below market value to stay, also.

    Pujols didn’t even have surgery for his plantar fasciitis, despite missing the last two months of the season. This is before Trout starts breaking the bank. And the consensus is that the Halos have one of the thinnest farm systems in all of baseball.

    Blanton is making $7.5 mil this year.

    Tough to see a light at the end of the tunnel. Best case scenario is Pujols and Hamilton come close to their 2011 production and they strike gold filling out the back of their rotation. Too many ifs, presently, to predict a playoff berth.

    • quintjs - Nov 25, 2013 at 5:20 AM

      I am sure Weaver is not regretting signing his deal – he really seemed to want to stay but one of the reasons you sign a below market deal is so the team can go out and get help to win – and he ends up with overpaid and underperforming teammates. I am not saying he should create problems and cause trouble but it would be funny the next time he needs a new set of tyres he sends the bill to Pujols and Hamilton.

      • sincitybonobo - Nov 25, 2013 at 6:31 AM

        Weaver’s extension predated both Pujols, Wilson and Hamilton. I’m sure he knows that some of his cash is in their pockets.

        Tough to feel real good about giving a discount to a team that seven months later spends a quarter billion on one player. Perhaps the lesson for like-minded players is offering to defer money instead of taking less of it.

    • sincitybonobo - Nov 25, 2013 at 7:20 AM

      I think I even remember seeing a photo of Pujols’ agent celebrating on Deadspin.

      • cardsman - Nov 25, 2013 at 11:35 AM

        i remembr vividly the incredible joy of angel fans on the internet. if a cards fan told them they overpaid, that albert was starting to slide etc… they smugly said we were just crying sour grapes. i remember angel fans claiming he had won us 2 w s. we said it was our team, not just albert,,,your reply, sour grapes. i recall depito smirking at his announcement, when he said, “well, we got him”. like they won some big battle. the guy had a blank check, and he is patting himself on the back. the smugness of the fans and the orginization was amazing. need i say deserve what ya got….how do you like them grapes?

  6. markofapro - Nov 25, 2013 at 6:10 AM

    And all those young arms in the rest of the AL West!

    Hahahaha hahahaha!

  7. sincitybonobo - Nov 25, 2013 at 6:16 AM

    And the bullpen was 26th in ERA last season. And they agreed to send $28.1 mil to the Yanks to pay Vernon Wells.

    Kendrick is one of the expensive pieces that other teams may want and may bring back some arms. He’s signed for two more years.

    They may have to ask some of the big contracts to defer some money if they want flexibility. That gets dangerous, though. The Dbacks are paying Bernard Gilkey until 2017.

    Hamilton’s diminished production and his past addiction issues make him all but untradeable. But, all it takes is one.

    Pujols and Hamilton also cost the Angels two first round draft picks. Rubbing salt in the wounds, Stl chose Wacha as their compensation pick for losing Albert.

    There are no shortcuts. Restocking their system and shedding contracts may have to be their eventual path. And stop chasing silver bullet free agents for now. Stop digging. Could be some lean years on Katella.

  8. sincitybonobo - Nov 25, 2013 at 9:31 AM

    What do they do during Trout’s last two years under team control, when he could be their 3rd highest paid player? If a long-term deal can’t be reached for one reason or another, and the team is not competitive, would they trade Trout to instantly restock their system? Wouldn’t it be malpractice not to do so? The Yankees won’t be outbid for him and ARod will be history. Trout hits the open market at 26.

    The good news is that Hamilton’s deal expires at the end of 2017, also the last year that Trout is under team control. Those arbitration years are going to be expensive and I don’t see Trout taking a discount. In back-to-back MVP runner-up seasons, the Angels have paid him just over $1 million. Total. That’s about a week and a half of Vernon Wells. Pujols, Hamilton and Trout alone will command $65 million per year for at least a couple of years. Add Weaver and Wilson, and we’re near $100 million.

    A legit quote from Dipoto when they signed Pujols:

    “This is something that changes a franchise.”

    • km9000 - Nov 25, 2013 at 11:19 AM

      A lot of us were in Dipoto’s corner and blamed the Pujols and Hamilton signings on a starry-eyed Arte. But the Bourjos trade made us all turn on him, esp considering trades like Greinke in retrospect.

      I’m so numb I’d almost rather see them trade Trout down the road for the haul they could get. But I have no faith they’d get much of a haul anyway.

  9. sincitybonobo - Nov 25, 2013 at 9:51 AM

    There will be enormous pressure on Pujols to defer a bunch of money if the Halos are trying to sign Trout long-term. His original deal does not call for any $ to be deferred.

    If he doesn’t start raking consistently or continues to get injured, it’ll be very difficult for him to say no.

  10. xjokerz - Nov 25, 2013 at 11:09 AM

    perhaps they can do a Detroit Tiger esk trade and get rid of Pujols.


    • km9000 - Nov 25, 2013 at 11:26 AM

      Hamilton’s a possibility, if the Angels falter again, but Hamilton keeps hitting more like he did down the stretch last year (and stays healthy). Of course, the Angels would have to include cash, as usual.

  11. cardsman - Nov 25, 2013 at 12:01 PM

    i hope you poor little angel fans remember the incredible smugness of both your fan base and that dumb-ass depito after signing albert. sour grapes was the favorite phrase for cards fans who warned you idiots that phat al was starting to slide. he had single handedly won us 2 w s., you said. when we claimed it was our team, not just al, once again you said “SOUR GRAPES’, you midwestern bumpkins. well i guess i must say it…how do you like dem grapes now…we will always love albert and freezer, is bourjos realy that good…hope so

    • forsch31 - Nov 25, 2013 at 12:39 PM

      Bitter much? That’s two comments in a row sayin’ nearly the exact same thing. Yeesh…..

    • theduuuuuuuuuude - Nov 25, 2013 at 9:41 PM

      Blah Blah Blah. What exactly are you so bitter about? Oh yeah, maybe losing the World Series…. JK =) Also, if you’re concerned about coming off as a sour grapes midwestern bumpkin, maybe you shouldn’t repost the same tired post twice with no regard for the rules of spelling, grammar or punctuation.

  12. soundsofsuccess7 - Nov 25, 2013 at 1:37 PM

    Who the hell decided to pay Joe Blanton 7.5 million in a year let alone a career?

  13. tonyz6060chevy - Nov 26, 2013 at 2:24 PM

    El Albert Pujols, el es mi amigo fiel!

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