Tag Archives: Joe Saunders

Trade Retrospective – Dan Haren to the Diamondbacks


On December 14th, 2007, the Arizona Diamondbacks acquired SP Dan Haren and RP Connor Robertson from the Oakland Athletics for pitchers Brett Anderson, Dana Eveland, and Greg Smith, 1B Chris Carter, and outfielders Aaron Cunningham and Carlos Gonzalez.

The Background

Dan Haren had been in Oakland since the start of the 2005 season, and had established himself as one of the top pitchers in the American League. Following the 2005 season, he had signed a contract extension which would keep him under team control at very reasonable prices through the 2010 season (it would have covered the 5 seasons at a total cost of $19.15 million overall). Haren was also being asked to fill the role of the staff ace, with Barry Zito having departed via free agency after the 2006 season. Haren had his best season with the Athletics in 2007, going 15-9 with a 3.07 ERA in 222.2 innings pitched, and a 138 ERA+. However, the team did not perform well, going 76-86 and finishing 3rd in the division despite going to the ALCS in the 2006 season.

The Diamondbacks had finished in first place in 2007, with a 90-72 record. However, they had been swept in the NLCS by the Rockies, and it appeared that they could use another starting pitcher behind 2006 Cy Young winner Brandon Webb. They did have, however, an extremely deep farm system available to them to go out and acquire what they would need to help in the 2008 season.

The Moving Pieces

In Phoenix, Haren slotted into the starting rotation between 2 former Cy Young award winners in Brandon Webb and Randy Johnson. Connor Robertson was sent to AAA Tucson, to be used mainly out of the bullpen.

In Oakland, Greg Smith and Dana Eveland both slotted into the back end of the starting rotation for the Athletics. OF Carlos Gonzalez was sent to AAA Sacramento to play every day. OF Aaron Cunningham was sent to AA Midland, and 1B Chris Carter and P Brett Anderson were both sent to High-A Stockton.

What Happened Next

The Diamondbacks were fairly happy with the performance of Haren, who went 16-8 with a 3.33 ERA and topped the 200 strikeout threshold for the first time in his career. Robertson made some spot appearances with the big club, but was essentially a non-factor on the team’s performance in 2008. Unfortunately, the team regressed a fair amount, and went 82-80 to finish 2nd in the NL West that season.

The Athletics were in full rebuilding mode, but did get some useful performances out of Dana Eveland and Greg Smith in 2008, who provided a lot of innings. Carter finished the season as one of the California League’s top hitters, clubbing 39 homers and driving in 104 runs in only 137 games. Carlos Gonzalez (BA’s #22 overall in 2008) hit fairly well in AAA, posting a .283 batting average and getting a midseason callup to the big club. Unfortunately, his performance in the Majors left a lot to be desired, hitting .242 with 4 homers and 4 steals in 89 games. Brett Anderson (BA’s #36 overall in 2008) posted an 11-5 record between High-A and AA, striking out 118 in just 105 innings. Aaron Cunningham hit .329 between AA and AAA, and also added 17 homers, 66 runs batted in, and 15 steals to those totals. He got into 22 games with the Athletics in 2008, hitting .250 with 1 homerun.

The Net Moves

Diamondbacks – First Level

  • Dan Haren made 2 All-Star appearances with the Diamondbacks, and posted a 37-26 record with a 3.56 ERA. He threw 586 1/3 innings over 3 seasons, and struck out 570 to just 107 walks. He was traded on July 25th of this season to the Angels for Joe Saunders, Rafael Rodriguez, Patrick Corbin, and Tyler Skaggs.
  • Connor Robertson went 0-1 with a 5.14 ERA in just 7 Major League innings for the D’backs. On December 12th, 2008, he was traded to the Mets for Scott Schoeneweis.

Athletics – First Level

  • Carlos Gonzalez appeared in 85 games at the Major league level for the Athletics in 2008, posting an underwhelming .242/.273/.361 line with 4 HR, 26 RBI, and 4 SB. He, along with Greg Smith and closer Huston Street, were traded to the Colorado Rockies on November 10th, 2008 for OF Matt Holliday.
  • Greg Smith went 7-16 with a 4.16 ERA in 190 1/3 innings pitched in 2008, but had a rather pedestrian 111 strikeouts compared to 87 walks. He was a part of the trade mentioned above.
  • Aaron Cunningham appeared in 45 games with the Athletics, posting a .211/.271/.338 line with 2 HR, 20 RBI, and 2 SB. He was traded on January 16, 2010 to the Padres along with Scott Hairston in exchange for 3B Kevin Kouzmanoff and minor league 2B Eric Sogard.
  • Dana Eveland went 11-13 with a 4.92 ERA in parts of 2 seasons. He threw a total of 212 innings, and had 140 strikeouts compared to 103 walks. He was traded to the Blue Jays on February 7, 2010, but no player was received in return.
  • Brett Anderson made his debut with the Athletics in 2009, and has posted a 14-14 record with a 3.79 ERA so far. He’s thrown 225 innings and has a very solid 184 strikeouts to 52 walks. He also recently signed a contract extension as well.
  • Chris Carter recently made his Major league debut, and was up for a cup of coffee so far. He was recently sent back to AAA, but is likely to be up for good by the end of the season.

Diamondbacks – Second Level

  • Scott Schoeneweis went 1-2 with a 7.13 ERA in just 24 innings pitched in 2009. Sadly, he was dealing with the death of his wife Gabrielle, who died in May of that season. He was a free agent after the season.

Athletics – Second Level

  • Matt Holliday played in 93 games for the Athletics, posting a .286/.378/.454 line with 11 HR, 54 RBI, and 12 stolen bases. The team fell out of contention, and he was traded on July 24, 2009 to the Cardinals for prospects Brett Wallace, Clayton Mortenson and Shane Peterson.
  • Kevin Kouzmanoff has played in 111 games, and hit .259/.2984/.390 with 10 homeruns and 55 runs batted in.
  • Eric Sogard has been the starting 2B for the Rivercats, and is more of a glove than a hitter. He’s hit an empty .296 with 2 homers and 13 stolen bases so far.

Athletics – Third Level

  • Shane Peterson has spent time at AA, hitting .263/351/.361 with 5 homers, 50 rbi and 9 steals.
  • Clayton Mortenson has had some success at AAA, but not a lot at the Majors yet. His line with Oakland is 2-4 with a 7.22 ERA in 33 2/3 innings pitched.
  • Brett Wallace finished the 2009 season with the Rivercats, and was traded to the Blue Jays as a part of the group of trades involving Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee. The Athletics acquired OF Michael Taylor in the trade.

Athletics – Fourth Level

  • Michael Taylor has spent the 2010 season at AAA Sacramento, hitting a disappointing .264/.342/.387 with 5 homeruns, 64 RBI and 12 steals. It was thought he would be called up before the end of the season, but I’m not sure that will happen this year.

Overall Reactions

I was extremely annoyed at the time of the trade, because I thought that the A’s were giving up an up and coming ace starting pitcher, and while they got a lot of good prospects back for him, they were still just prospects. As the 2008 season progressed and we saw the pieces that played at the Major League level (Smith, Eveland, and Carlos Gonzalez) all play to average levels, it just sounded that much worse for the Athletics. Over time, I think this one has become a bit more evenly matched to both teams. The Diamondbacks got 3 very solid seasons from their acquisition, and while they ended up trading him this season, there is some hope for the players that they received in return.

To me, the Athletics are going to end up winning this one, as the players they got back are going to help to lead them to their next good run. Brett Anderson has become a bona fide top of the rotation starter, and would be for a lot of teams in the Majors. Chris Carter needs to show more at the Majors before he can be really viewed as a great part of the trade, at least in my opinion. The one downfall of this trade was the move that they made to try to compete in 2009, which sent Carlos Gonzalez to the Rockies for what ended up being 93 games of Matt Holliday. Gonzalez has really exploded onto the scene this year in Colorado, while Holliday went nuts after being traded to St. Louis and drove in nearly a run per game. Michael Taylor has some upside to be sure, but the luster has kind of fallen off of his top prospect status.

Overall, I think that this trade is going to end up beneficial to both teams, and it really gives the A’s an definitive advantage as the winner of last week’s trade retrospective, with Mark Mulder going to the Cardinals.

Original Draft Series – #14 – Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim


For those that missed the guidelines I am using for this series of posts, you can find them here.

Team #14: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

General Managers(since 1994)

Bill Bavasi (1994-1999) 387-405
Bill Stoneman (2000-2007) 703-593
Tony Reagins (2008-Current) 197-127

Team Performance

Playoffs Division Finish
WC League Playoff App 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th
1 1 6 5 5 3 3 0

All information is drawn from Baseball Reference.

Position Name Acquired Years with Org.
Stats with Organization
Left?
C Mike Napoli 2000 – 17th Rd 10 454 gm, .257/.352/.495, 84 HR, 225 RBI, 20 SB Currently with Org.
1B Kendry Morales Int’l FA – 2005 5 330 gm, .284/.336/.502, 57 HR, 192 RBI Currently with Org.
2B Howie Kendrick
2002 – 10th Rd 8 454 gm, .295/.3238/.427, 29 HR, 220 RBI, 42 SB Currently with Org.
3B Alberto Callaspo Int’l FA – 2001 5+1 1 gm, 1-3 Currently with Org.
SS Erick Aybar Int’l FA – 2002 8 436 gm, .285/.328/.378, 12 HR, 136 RBI, 41 SB Currently with Org.
LF Garret Anderson 1990 – 4th Rd 18 3 All Star Appearances, 2 Silver Slugger Awards
2013 gm, .296/.327/.469, 272 HR, 1292 RBI, 78 SB
Left via FA (2009)
CF Jim Edmonds 1988 – 7th Rd 12 1 All Star Appearance, 2 Gold Gloves
709 gm, .290/.359/.498, 121 HR, 408 RBI, 26 SB
Traded to STL – 3/23/00
RF Sean Rodriguez
2003 – 3rd Rd 6 71 gm, .203/.276/.333, 5 HR, 14 RBI, 3 SB Traded to TAM – 9/1/09
DH Troy Glaus 1997 – 1st Rd (3) 7 3 All Star Appearances, 2 Silver Sluggers
827 gm, .253/.357/.497, 182 HR, 515 RBI, 49 SB
Left via FA (2004)
SP Jered Weaver 2005 – 1st Rd (12) 5 1 All-Star Appearance
60-33, 3.64 ERA, 805 2/3 IP, 693 K, 228 BB, 1.223 WHIP
Currently with Org.
SP Ervin Santana Int’l FA – 2000 10 1 All Star Appearance
67-52, 4.40 ERA, 975.1 IP, 794 K, 309 BB
Currently with Org.
SP Joe Saunders 2002 – 1st Rd (12) 8 1 All-Star Appearance
54-32, 4.29 ERA, 692 IP, 392 K, 229 BB, 1.392 WHIP
Currently with Org.
SP John Lackey 1999 – 2nd Rd 10 1 All Star Appearance
102-71, 3.81 ERA, 1501 IP, 1201 K, 441 BB, 1.306 WHIP
Left via FA (2009)
SP Sean O’Sullivan 2005 – 3rd Rd 5 5-2, 5.15 ERA, 64 2/3 IP, 35 K, 20 BB, 1.345 WHIP Traded to KCR – 7/22/10
RP Trevor Bell 2005 – 1st Rd (37) 5 2-3, 7.84 ERA, 39.2 IP, 30 K, 15 BB, 2.143 WHIP Currently with Org.
RP Scot Shields 1997 – 38th Rd 13 46-44, 3.15 ERA, 682 2/3 IP, 21 SV, 621 K, 266 BB Currently with Org.
RP Bobby Cassevah 2004 – 34th Rd 6 7 gm, 5.56 ERA, 11.1 IP, 7 K, 4 BB Currently with Org.
RP Ramon Ortiz Int’l FA – 1995 9 59-9, 4.60 ERA, 893.2 IP, 590 K, 325 BB Traded to CIN – 12/14/04
RP Bobby Jenks 2000 – 5th Rd 4 No Major League Appearances with Org. Selected by CHW – 12/17/04
CL Francisco Rodriguez Int’l FA – 1998 10 4 All-Star Appearances
23-17, 2.35 ERA, 451 2/3 IP, 587 K, 198 BB, 208 SV
Left via FA – 2009
BN Casey Kotchman 2001 – 1st Rd (13) 7 351 gm, .274/.337/.426, 31 HR, 165 RBI Traded to ATL – 7/29/08
BN Bengie Molina Int’l FA – 1993 11 2 Gold Gloves
716 gm, .273/.309/.397, 65 HR, 362 RBI
Left via FA – 10/27/05
BN Brandon Wood 2003 – 1st Rd (23) 7 143 gm, .206/.275/.481, 10 HR, 31 RBI Currently with Org.
BN Alexi Casilla Int’l FA – 2003 2 No Major League Appearances with Org. Traded to MIN – 12/9/05
BN David Herndon 2006 – 5th Rd 3 No Major League Appearances with Org. Rule 5 Draft (2009)

June Amateur Draft

The Angels appear to have done reasonably well in the draft. They have had quite a few of their first round selections make it to the Majors, and have even had a lot of them see that success with the Angels. Clearly, the best players that they have gotten out of the draft who are still active are Troy Glaus, Jim Edmonds, and Jered Weaver. However, they have also managed to get some late round values in Bobby Cassevah and Scot Shields. Overall, they have done a good job of not squandering their draft picks.

International Free Agency

The Angels have done very well in the international markets, and have signed players from Cuba, Venezuela, and the Domincan Republic among others. They are active down there, but quietly and not too overpowering when it comes to the top names. That said, they have still found a lot of value players there, and some high value players like Francisco Rodriguez and Kendry Morales.

Overall Grade

B. The Angels are lacking in some areas of the team like the bullpen and the strength of their bench, but overall the team that would be fielded could do very well in the Majors in my opinion. There aren’t too many players who have turned into Major League regulars who they didn’t have play for the Major League team at some point at least, and I think that’s a credit to their player development department. They have been active in the free agent markets in past seasons, making big splashes with signees like Torii Hunter and Vladimir Guerrero, but they are pieces to help fill in the gaps in their developmental system, which is really well done.

Trade Review – Dan Haren to the Angels


We got a bit of a surprise on Sunday afternoon when the Diamondbacks moved SP Dan Haren, but not to one of the previously mentioned suitors. Not to the Cardinals, or the Yankees, but the Angels.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim acquire SP Dan Haren
Arizona Diamondbacks acquire SP Joe Saunders, minor leaguers Patrick Corbin, Rafael Rodriguez, and a player to be named later (reported to be Tyler Skaggs)

The Angels

The Angels were really in need of another stabilizing force in their starting rotation to slot in behind Jered Weaver. Ervin Santana has been solid this season, but Joe Saunders has been hit or miss, and Scott Kazmir has been a complete mess out there. If the Angels were to have any hope of competing this season, they needed another arm to help them out.

This trade was made really though with next season in mind as well, as Haren is under contract for each of the next 2 seasons along with an option for a 3rd. Haren can really help to give the Angels a very potent 1-2 punch at the top of their rotation.

In terms of an impact on his performance, we could see improvement from him with returning to the AL West and the weak teams at the bottom of the division and also with being a lot more comfortable as he is now with the team closest to where he grew up. In addition, he has already shown that he can pitch very effectively in the AL West, having done so with the Athletics prior to being with the Diamondbacks.

The Diamondbacks

The only major league ready piece that the Diamondbacks received was starting pitcher Joe Saunders. Saunders is currently 6-10 with a 4.62 ERA and 64 strikeouts to 45 walks in 120 2/3 innings pitched. He has been an All-Star previously, but overall I’m not that impressed with what Saunders has done in the Majors. He doesn’t really strikeout a lot of hitters (5.1 per 9 innings for his career), and while he should see a slight bump from going to the National League and seeing the pitcher 3 times a game, it’s probably not going to be all that substantial. Saunders is going to provide the Diamondbacks with an innings eater, and not a lot else in my opinion.

Looking at the minor leaguers:

Patrick Corbin is currently sporting a 13-3 record this season, as he has split time between Low A and High A. He has posted a solid 106 strikeout/28 walks rate in 118 2/3 innings pitched over the season, and looks like a reasonable prospect. Still just 20 years old, I want to see him continue his performance at High A for the remainder of the season. He was not in Baseball America’s Top 10 Prospects at the start of the season, but I could conceivably break into that for the Diamondbacks.

Rafael Rodriguez has made 1 appearance this season at the Major League level for the Angels, but has been used primarily as a late inning reliever at AAA for the Angels this season. He has appeared in 37 games, finishing 27 and recording 10 saves. The part that really, really concerns me about his ability to get hitters out at the major league level is the lack of strikeouts. In 50 1/3 innings this season at AAA, he has only 30 strikeouts, and also 15 walks. This season is also his 3rd one with AAA Salt Lake City. All in all, a very underwhelming player.

The player to be named later appears to be one of last year’s top draft picks, Tyler Skaggs. Skaggs was ranked 8th in the Angels’ system by Baseball America coming into 2010, and has pitched reasonably well in the Midwest League despite being only 18 when the season started. To date, he has an 8-4 record with a 3.61 ERA and 82 strikeouts in 82 innings. Skaggs seems to be the only player going to the Diamondbacks that any of the experts seem to think will do anything at the Major League level.

Overall, this trade looks like it was made way too quickly by the Diamondbacks. There were clearly some concerns with the performance of Dan Haren this season, to go along with the large contract that the previous GM had given the pitcher, but this return isn’t nearly enough for what Dan Haren can be in these next 3 seasons. Think about what the Diamondbacks gave up to get Haren (along with Connor Robertson) from the Athletics 3 years ago: Carlos Gonzalez, Brett Anderson, Dana Eveland, Greg Smith, Chris Carter and Aaron Cunningham. Granted that Haren was on a much more team friendly contract then, but even still this trade seems like a near waste for the Diamondbacks.

Even with the potential injury that Haren may have suffered last night off the bat of Kevin Youkilis, Haren is still likely to provide way more value to the Angels than the other 4 players ever will to the Diamondbacks.

WINNER: Angels

Week in Review – July 19 to July 25


If the Playoffs Started Today

Tampa Bay Rays (59-38) vs. Texas Rangers (58-41)
Chicago White Sox (53-44) vs. New York Yankees (62-35)

San Francisco Giants (56-43) vs. Atlanta Braves (57-41)
St. Louis Cardinals (55-44) vs. San Diego Padres (58-39)

League Leaders

Batting Average – Josh Hamilton (TEX) .357
Runs – Mark Teixeira (NYY) 75
Home Runs – Jose Bautista (TOR) 27
Runs Batted In – Miguel Cabrera (DET) 88
Stolen Bases – Juan Pierre (CHW) 35

Wins – Ubaldo Jimenez (COL) 15
Saves – Heath Bell (SD) and Brian Wilson (SF) 29
ERA – Josh Johnson (FLA) 1.61
Strikeouts – Jered Weaver (LAA) 147
WHIP – Cliff Lee (TEX) 0.92

Roster Movement

To the Disabled List: Ben Sheets, Aaron Laffey, Luis Atilano, David DeJesus, Ryan Doumit, Manny Ramirez, Andy Pettitte, Dustin Nippert, Scott Kazmir, Ryan Sweeney, Orlando Hudson, Carlos Guillen, Magglio Ordonez,

Return from the Disabled List: Mat Latos, Ryan Ludwick, Sergio Mitre, Brian Roberts, Josh Beckett, Asdrubal Cabrera, Shin-Soo Choo, Yovani Gallardo, Ramon Hernandez, Kevin Millwood, Nate McLouth, Jed Lowrie, Will Venable, Mike Gonzalez, Oliver Perez, Clay Buchholz, Luis Castillo, Luke Scott, Maicer Izturis, Matt Wieters,

To the Minors: Jhoulys Chacin, Andrew Oliver

Called Up: Cedrick Bowers, Alex Gordon, Jose Arredondo, Scott Sizemore, Armando Galarraga

Trades:

Top Stories and Weekly Links

  • The Hall of Fame induction ceremonies were held on Sunday afternoon in Cooperstown, with Andre Dawson and Whitey Herzog being enshrined for their performances. Back in December, I wrote up my thoughts on whether Dawson was a Hall of Famer or not. (I thought he was)
  • Alex Rodriguez hit his 599th homerun of his career this week, and will earn $6 million extra when he hits #600 due to a clause in his contract. Good for him.
  • The Mariners are really looking like a mess, and I am thinking it is probably going to cost manager Don Wakamatsu his job before the end of the season. On Friday night, he got into a shouting argument in the dugout with Chone Figgins over Figgins’ lack of effort on a play in the 5th inning of that night’s game. I actually agree that Wakamatsu did the right thing by yanking Figgins from the game, but teams don’t fire players very often for this kind of stuff.
  • The Moneyball movie has begun shooting finally, with Brad Pitt set to play GM Billy Beane, Jonah Hill to play Paul De Podesta, and Philip Seymour Hoffman playing manager Art Howe. Having been through the 2002 season as an A’s fan, and having read the book, this one’s going to be interesting. I’m wondering if the movie reopens the stats vs. scouts argument wounds again.
  • Major League Baseball, very quietly, announced that minor leaguers will now be tested for HGH in addition to all the other things they are already tested for. I’d be shocked if the next collective bargaining agreement doesn’t have this test in it for Major Leaguers as well.
  • The Angels made the big moves this week with acquiring 3B Alberto Callaspo first in the week and then making the huge splash with acquiring SP Dan Haren from the Diamondbacks for 4 prospects. Really like the trade for the Angels, hate it for every other team in the division (including my A’s).

From the Twitter Followers and Friends

If you aren’t yet, you can follow me over at Twitter here. These are some of the better reads I found from the previous week.

From the Hall of Very Good: HOVG posted a series of articles looking at the next group of players to be eligible for the Hall of Fame voting in 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015 (so far). Excellent reads from all of them.

From the Daily Something: Bill had a guest post from Jeff Polman which went ahead and played out the remainder of the 1994 season via Strat-o-Matic baseball. It’s a really interesting read, and Strat-o-Matic is something I keep reminding myself that I might enjoy when I have some more time.

Upcoming Posts This Week:

Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday: A series I had not finished up from earlier in the month, the Original Draft Series, is a group of posts where I look at what an organization’s major league team could have looked like had they held onto every player that they either drafted or signed to their first professional contract. There may be 3 posts this week on this, or there may be 6 if I am feeling ambitious.

Friday:  Trade Retrospective of Johan Santana to the Mets. This one’s a bit newer than a lot of the trades I have reviewed previously, but the players in the deal have pretty much finalized what their value in the trade is going to be, so it’s ready to be looked at I believe.

One Other Thing

Lastly, I wanted to bring up a charity that the Baseball Bloggers Alliance has taken up. Here’s the official word, and what you can do:

Pitch In For Baseball is delighted to have been selected to participate in State Farm’s ‘Go To Bat’ campaign.  Now we need your
help!

‘Go To Bat’ was launched nationally during the State Farm Home Run Derby.  ‘Go To Bat’ gives entrants a chance to win tickets to the upcoming World Series and selected charity partners the chance to receive significant financial support.

Here’s how to play and how to help Pitch In For Baseball:

* Go to  www.statefarm.com/gotobat to register for your chance to win World Series tickets.
* As you register, you will get a chance to designate a charity that could win up to $25,000/week.
* To designate Pitch In For Baseball as your charity, select PUBLIC GOOD as the charity category and then choose Pitch In For
Baseball from the drop down list.
* Revisit www.statefarm.com/gotobat each day and play the ‘Go To Bat’ online game to increase your chances for tickets and Pitch In For
Baseball’s chance at financial support

Thanks to all the readers who help out with this. You can find a lot more information about Pitch In For Baseball at their website

Team Preview – Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim


Roster Makeup
Lineup Pitching Staff
Pos Name Role Name
C Mike Napoli SP 1 Jered Weaver
1B Kendry Morales SP 2 Scott Kazmir
2B Howie Kendrick SP 3 Joe Saunders
3B Brandon Wood SP 4 Joel Pineiro
SS Erick Aybar SP 5 Ervin Santana
LF Juan Rivera Bullpen
CF Torii Hunter CL Brian Fuentes
RF Bobby Abreu RP Fernando Rodney
DH Hideki Matsui RP Scot Shields
Bench RP Rich Thompson
C Jeff Mathis RP Sean O’Sullivan
IF Maicer Izturis RP Sean Palmer

Additional roster information can be found at MLB Depth Charts.

Off-Season Transactions
Key Additions Key Losses
Pos Name How Pos Name How
RP Fernando Rodney Free Agency DH Vladimir Guerrero Free Agency
DH Hideki Matsui Free Agency SP John Lackey Free Agency
SP Joel Pineiro Free Agency 3B Chone Figgins Free Agency

Top Prospects: Trevor Reckling (P), Hank Conger (C), Peter Bourjos (OF), Mike Trout (OF)

2009 Review

The Angels were the class of the AL West last season, winning the division by 10 games. They were led on the offense by Torii Hunter (.299/.366/.508, 22 HR 90 RBI, 18 SB), Bobby Abreu (.293/.390/.435, 15 HR, 103 RBI, 30 SB), and Kendry Morales (.306/.355/.569, 34 HR, 108 RBI). The pitching staff was led by Jered Weaver (16-8, 3.75 ERA), Joe Saunders (16-7, 4.60), and John Lackey (11-8, 3.83). The Angels met the wild-card Red Sox in the division round of the playoffs, and swept them pretty handily. This led them to the AL East Champion Yankees, and unfortunately were eliminated in 6 games.

Morales finally showed the promise that had been talked about, and actually performed similarly to the man he replaced in Mark Teixeira. Free agent signee Bobby Abreu brought another solid performance as well, and first-year closer Brian Fuentes led the league with 48 saves. Late season acquisition Scott Kazmir rebounded from his poor performance while in Tampa with a 2-2 record and 1.73 ERA in 6 starts.

Team Outlook for 2010

The Angels needed to address some rather glaring holes during the offseason, most notably with free agents John Lackey and Chone Figgins signing with other teams. They started before the season even ended by acquiring SP Scott Kazmir from the Rays. I think that they did very well to get DH Hideki Matsui to replace some of the production of outgoing DH Vladimir Guerrero, and adding Joel Pineiro to their rotation should also give them some solid innings toward the back-end of the rotation.

The one need that I think that they didn’t really address was the loss of Chone Figgins. Brandon Wood is currently slotted in to replace Figgins at 3B, and should provide some excellent power now that he’s being given the chance to play full time. But I don’t think that the Angels have really got a player that can hit at the top of the order and provide that type of production like Figgins.

The pitching staff is now led by Jered Weaver, and slots in solid started behind in Joe Saunders, Scott Kazmir, and Joel Pineiro. The bullpen I believe will be the same strength, as they have signed Fernando Rodney to help fill the innings that Jose Arredondo was throwing, and could potentially close if something were to happen to Brian Fuentes.

I don’t think that they will see a lot of promoted prospects from their top lists, as many of their best prospects are still at AA or below. Brandon Wood should be really exciting to see with full-time playing time, and has the potential to hit 30 homers at some point.

Fantasy Outlook for 2010

Top players for the Angels for fantasy purposes include 1B Kendry Morales, C Mike Napoli, CF Torii Hunter, RF Bobby Abreu, and SP Jered Weaver. In deeper leagues, SS Erick Aybar, 2B Howie Kendrick, and DH Hideki Matsui should all provide some value as well. The Angels have two high-upside players available in my opinion: SP Scott Kazmir and SP Ervin Santana. Both of them have the potential to strikeout a batter per inning, and post solid numbers. They have both done it in their past, and could definitely do it again.

Prediction for 2010

The AL West has gotten better, and while it hasn’t been a huge jump forward, that coupled with the slight step back of the Angels, leads me to think that this division is really wide open. The Angels have become known for outperforming the Pythagorean expected win-loss record, so it wouldn’t really surprise me for them to outperform it again. I think that they will finish extremely close to the top, if they don’t win it all. As of right now, I think the Angels will finish 2nd, but it’s going to be extremely close.

86-76, T-2nd in the AL West