So, as a I write this, I notice Matt Vasgersian and John Hart are talking about the exact same thing on MLB Network’s Hot Stove. While John Hart is cooing over the stats of the Angels and Rangers staffs on paper, I’m going to go ahead and translate it all into something that makes sense.
The Angels Changes
The Angels acquired Brad Mills for Jeff Mathis early this month. Sorry, but this means nothing. They did, however, send Tyler Chatwood to Colorado a little later for underappreciated, and possibly un-blossomed Chris Ianetta, and nearly any catcher on the planet provides a greater upside than Jeff Mathis, this doesn’t improve the Angels terribly – especially after that other cather they traded last offseason, who coincidentally fit into their division rivals plans for dominating the West for the next half-decade.
The Angels also signed Albert Pujols and Hipter CJ Wilson for years to come, funded by a heaping bucket of cash handed to Arte Moreno from FOX for another absurd TV contract – the new market efficiency.
Look, this signing looks good right now. Emphasis on…right now. Pujols is signed for a decade. Seriously, a decade. Ten years of baseball is a considerable chunk of time. Chances are, Albert will be the only current Angel left in Anaheim. Wells, Hunter, Abreu; retired, at the very least. Trades here, free agency there. By then, it’ll be Albert’s team – and he’ll be the old man in the rocking chair, blanket over his lap and shotgun in hand, ruling the team with an arthritic iron fist.
Yeah, CJ is good. He’s not great, but he’s…good. He’s left-handed and from Los Angeles and should fit well into a stacked rotation. In reality, this might actually be a better signing than the Pujols one. There wasn’t an extreme overpay (notice, I said extreme, this is more…say, nauseating). CJ should be good in Anaheim, and probably put up the same numbers he did in Texas. However, instead of facing Anaheim’s weak 2011 lineup 5-6 times, he’ll have to face the best one in baseball 5-6 times. Enjoy that.
The Rangers Changes
It’s probably a bit too early to start writing this, but since I am confident that the Angels are done dropping piles of money out of solid gold helicopters, I’m writing it anyway. So far, Texas has spent $51.7 million on one player this offseason without actually signing said player, and extensions and raises are due to Josh Hamilton, Mike Napoli and others.
That $51.7 MM player they haven’t signed yet is Yu Darvish. Chances are, he’s a Ranger. He’ll likely slot into the number 1 or 2 spot in the rotation (not that he’s not a #1, this is just to pattern Left/Right in Texas). In doing so, he makes the Rangers a better pitching team. And by the way, they already have the best offense. Yu Darvish gives them an ace. CJ Wilson was not an ace. Yu wore #11 in Japan, the number denoted to your team’s best pitcher, so yeah, he’s done this before.
There’s been whispers that the Rangers are not done yet. And honestly, aside from upgrading the serviceable Mitch Moreland to the mashing machine of Prince Fielder, there really is no need for another move (with a signing of Prince being more a spoil of riches than a necessity).
The fact of the whole situation in the AL West is that the both teams got better, and both addressed their needs, whether those needs were pressing or not is up to them to figure out. Unfortunately for Anaheim, the Rangers did a better job of doing it.