The Angels and Dodgers Have Plenty to Look Forward to Next Year + LAA Payroll in ’13
Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer): Follow @chuckbooth3024
I know that the playoffs are going on right now and that everyone is captivated by the 4 games that are being played today. Which leads to me to ask the question? Do you think any of the Dodgers and Angels fans are watching these playoffs without a horse in the race? I am here to tell you and these said fans-that I believe both of these teams will be a playoff factor in 2013 . The Angels and Dodgers spent a fortune on new players in the last 365 days. Almost a Billion Dollars was added in player contracts between the two clubs. Albert Pujols, C.J. Wilson, Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett and Hanley Ramirez are amongst the players traded or signed.
Lets start off with the Angels. I was there in Anaheim on opening weekend in April and witnessed the struggles of the club early and most notably Albert Pujols. As I was tweeting and talking to everyone, I could see that Pujols was not himself. I predicted a slow start based on seeing him play. The same thing could be said for the team. The Angels started out of the gate 8-14 before calling up Mike Trout. Soon after they fired hitting coach Mickey Hatcher and all was not well. Albert went into the May with 0 HRs and 4 RBI and was hitting near the Mendoza Line.
The Dodgers won 8 out of their last 10 and fought injuries all year to barely miss out on the playoffs. They have most of their revamped team all coming back next year and should add a healthy Carl Crawford to the fold in early spring. I believe they will add another starting pitcher such as Zack Greinke or Shaun Marcum. To see my entire breakdown of their impending 2013 Contracts situation and Team Payroll, please click here :
On May.24, I saw Albert and the Angels play in Seattle at Safeco Field. Trout blasted the ball that night and Pujols hit a moon beam homer. He was comfortable at the plate. My next tweet was sent out “Get ready for the Real Pujols to stand up!” He has started to make great contact on the ball in the few days before arriving in Seattle. I am not one to get 100 percent of prognostications right, however this season I have fared alright. The Angels took off and ended the year 81-58 with Trout and Pujols. That is .583 baseball. This would equate to be about 94 wins in one year for a 162 game schedule. I believe this is more reflective of what this team is. Albert Pujols ended the year with 50 doubles, 30 HRs and 100 RBI. He hit pretty close to his career Avg. of .325 for the rest of the year.
Mike Trout still had a MVP type of year with hitting .326 and clubbing 30 HRs and driving in 83 Runs. He also scored an MLB Leading 129 runs in 139 Games and stole 49 Bases. He will win the AL Rookie of the Year Award and has a legitimate shot to win the AL MVP. There is no doubt that if he had those other 23 games of the season under his belt, that Trout would have run way with this honor.
For Pujols, it took him time to convert over from the National League, just ask Adam Dunn, Prince Fielder and a cast of others that have struggled similarly early in a new league. The same can be said for baseball team’s in general when comprised of superstars. Just look at the Detroit Tigers at the start of the season. Next year, all of these teams will be in the list of ‘elite’ ball clubs.
The Angels will make the playoffs next year with Trout and Pujols doing their thing. Added to the year’s transactions, was signing Jered Weaver to a payroll friendly 15 Million Dollar a year extension for the next 5 years. The team also had singed C.J Wilson prior to the 2012 year and will try to re-sign Zack Greinke prior to the 2013 start. There is also talk that they may try to trade Dan Haren and Jerome Williams to free up the necessary cash to do this. Whether or not this will give them enough flexibility to re-sign Ervin Santana past 2013 is still up in the air. Dan Haren. The team will surely pick up the 13.0 Million and 15.5 Million Dollar club options for next season on Haren and Santana respectively. The question is if the Angels will consider trading one or both of them?
The team also must make a decision on Torii Hunter and if they will make him contract offer as a Free Agent. Hunter hit a career best .313 including a stellar second half with his .350 Average. I think the Angels can afford him and it would be a huge hole to fill if he left, The Angels would still be smart to only offer Hunter a 2-3 year deal as he is now 37 . If they have to pay him in the ballpark of the 18 Million Dollars a Year he made in his previous contract, they should do this. Kendrys Morales had a decent DH season and should be kept there as his permanent position, and the team has a plethora of depth from the other positions. What will the club do with Maicer Izturis? He can play 2B, 3B and shortstop and Mike Scioscia loves players like this. In the exact same boat, yet Arbitration Eligible is Alberto Callaspo. I think the Angels will only keep one of these guys as the 4th infielder and then place Mark Trumbo at 3rd permanently. The Shortstop will be Erick Aybar after his 4 YR/35 Million Dollar contract extension and Howie Kendrick will bring his .292 Career Average and 8.8 Million Dollar Salary into 2B for another year in 2013.
Mark Trumbo had an incredible 1st half and is well on his way to becoming a superstar. On the payroll consumption table for next year is still Vernon Wells, as he is due to make 21 Million next year for basically being a 3rd to 4th OF. This will be insurance for the club if they are unable to re-sign Torii Hunter. You still have Peter Bourjos as an option. Jeremy Moore might also get a sniff to land a job on the Opening Day Roster. No matter what goes down, Wells will have to be part of the club based on his salary remaining. You just hope he can hit .260-.280 and show some power by hitting 20-30 HRs. The rest of the team will be solid enough on offense, so he is not key to their success.
Chris Ianetta and Bobby Wilson will probably man the catcher’s position to start another year. This tandem is sufficient enough and will not hurt the teams payroll structure.
Out of the bullpen consists of 4 cornerstone relief pitchers under team control: Kevin Jepsen, Jordan Walden, Ernesto Frieri and Scott Downs. Probably exiting the club will be Jason Isringhausen and LaTroy Hawkins. The team should just build the bullpen from within and be happy with their payroll flexibility to find a true closer in the middle of next year, if any of these gentlemen struggle. It is always the easiest position to fix mid year
The Angels payroll will be somewhere in the 150-175 Million Dollar Range for 2013. You can not discount the fact that the LA Dodgers are going to flood the market with their MLB leading Payroll either. Artie Moreno has shown he likes to fight for respect in the Los Angeles area. While team revenues will not put them in the same stratosphere as the NL club go strive to, the Angels will be amongst the likes of the Red Sox, Tigers and Yankees for total team Payroll Leaders in the American League. This team should and will be the favorite in the AL to start the year.
The Dodgers and the Angels have a definite possibility of meeting in a future all Los Angeles World Series. It will probably even happen as early as next season.
*** The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of mlbreports.com ***
***Thank you to our Lead Baseball Writer- Chuck Booth for preparing today’s feature on MLB reports. To learn more about “The Fastest 30 Ballgames” and Chuck Booth, you can follow Chuck on Twitter (@ChuckBooth3024) and you can also follow Chuck’s website for his Guinness Book of World Record Bid to see all 30 MLB Park in 23 days click here or on the 30 MLB Parks in 23 days GWR tracker at the Reports click here. To Purchase or read about “The Fastest 30 Ballgames Book, ” please click here ***
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Posted on October 11, 2012, in The Rest: Everything Baseball and tagged adrian gonzalez, albert pujols, alberto callaspo, Angel Stadium, bobby wilson, c.j. wilson, carl crawford, Chuck Booth. fastest 30 ballgames, dan haren, Ernesto Frieri, ervin santana, hanley ramirez, jeremy moore, jerome williams, jordan walden, josh beckett, kendrys morales, kevin jepsen, los angeles angels, los angeles dodgers, maicer izturis, mark trumnbo, mendoza line, Mike Trout, mlb, peter bourjos, safeco field, scott downs, Torii Hunter, twitter @chuckbooth3024, vernon wells, zack greinke. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.