What the Anaheim Angels Should Do


The Angels came in to today’s games trailing the Rangers for first place in the AL West by 5.5 games. They are also fifth in the Wild Card a half game behind Minnesota, two behind Chicago, four and a half back of Boston and seven and a half behind Tampa. Given the strength of the Twins, Red Sox and Rays, the Angels should not hold strong hopes or capturing that particular title. Their best bet to qualify for the postseason is to win the West from the Rangers.


Realistically, the Angels should treat 2010 as a year to sell. They will be hard pressed to pass Texas, even if the Rangers do not make any further moves to bolster their team. Chasing that hope could cost them dearly in future wins if they deal off players that would help down the line. Of course, there is no reason to make that decision now; they can afford to wait out the month of July to see how the team holds up. In the meantime, I would hold off on making any major additions at the cost of prospects as difficult as it might be to effectively concede the division to Texas.


Mike Trout is the name on everyone’s tongues with his performance to date in 2010, an insane .448 park-adjusted wOBA that he’s put up in Cedar Rapids. It just A-ball, but Trout is only 18 as well giving him plenty of time to continue growing. Closer to the majors, Hank Conger entered the year as perhaps the Angels most touted prospect and while he has done fine at Triple-A this season, there is still a lack of power.

Trevor Reckling was projected as a pitcher with possible breakout potential if he managed to harness some control. Starting the season with a promotion to Triple-A’s rotation, Reckling walked 50 in 69.2 innings with just 46 strikeouts. Needless to say, that was a disappointment and he’s since been pushed back to Double-A. The Angels have some interesting players in their farm system now, but for the most part will need some years to see the fruits of the more recent crops.


Entering the season with their highest payroll of all time, it is hard to imagine the Angels having much room to add payroll for this season. With over $80 million already committed to 2011, the budget looks a bit tight for this coming winter as well. Keep in mind that the Angels have several players such as Mike Napoli, Howie Kendrick and Jered Weaver that are second or third–year arbitration players without long term deals so they are not counted in that $80 million yet.

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Matthew Carruth is a software engineer who has been fascinated with baseball statistics since age five. When not dissecting baseball, he is watching hockey or playing soccer.

26 Responses to “What the Anaheim Angels Should Do”

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  1. ryanfea says:

    I agree, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim should be sellers at this point.

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  2. Ben says:

    Angles came into today 5.5 games back of Texas, not 3.5

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  3. Rev Halofan says:

    First fact of the article is wrong in not even getting the team’s name correct. Hope you are not compensating these blogging contributors.

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  4. Eric Cioe says:

    Looks like the Angels’ dynasty is coming to an end, and not a season too soon.

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    • Rally says:

      If they take a year off, they’ll be back stronger than ever in 2011.

      Right now, I stand pat. Avoid making a terrible trade like the Kazmir one, keep the prospects we have, and do the best you can to catch Texas.
      There really isn’t much to sell on the Angels. I can’t see anybody wanting Abreu, Matsui, Kazmir, or the bullpen vets. Kendrick, Aybar, Napoli, Weaver, Santana, and Pineiro are guys you want next year, so no trade there.

      Maybe Juan Rivera. He’s cheap enough a team like the Padres might be able to use him, and have the bullpen arms to spare. If he’s traded get Peter Bourjos into the outfield.

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      • Rally says:

        Oh, and Torii Hunter. Having a great year, but untradeable. Angels will want to keep him because he’s the big star on the team. Nobody else would want the contract.

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  5. stolenbases says:

    At this point I think it’s apparent that the Angels have way too many holes to have a realistic shot at the AL West…weak offense, weak bullpen, old outfield, etc. More worrisome is that there doesn’t seem to be much help coming next year from the minors since the best prospects seem to be a few years away from making it to the big club. The question then becomes do the Angels have anything of value that can bring back a decent prospect that can potentially be MLB ready by next year? Looking at the roster it seems that Joel Pineiro might be the best candidate to trade. Not sure what he would bring back though.

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  6. Michael Lorri Scioscia says:

    Time for my team to get back to the basics. I know that I am the manager. I should know my team. I don’t want to seem as if I know little about my team but we need a little better than average replacement level pitcher than Kazmir and Saunders (I’m sick of defending Kaz in the media , sorry Kaz) or at least more replacement level starts to support Pineiro, Ervy(Ervin Santana), and especially Weavy(Jered Weaver). We need more than replacement level or underperforming at bats than the ones that Woody(sorry Brandon), Johnny Rivers(Sorry Rivera), Bobby, Mcnaulty among others have been giving us.(sorry if my grammar isn’t the best, I do my best) Sorry if I am calling anyone out but you know what if we get hot and maybe get more at bats from Izzy and back of the rotation help, maybe we can make some magic. I hate to echo these sentiments from fellow Angels supporters but this team is playing with no Heart. That is what angels baseball(sorry sabermetricians, I know this may be overrated but I am a manger and i believe in cliches.). Anyway, until this team figures it out, I will have to weep sadly. Goodnight and good day.

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  7. Scottathan says:

    There’s a lot of season left to be played. 5.5 game lead can disappear in under a week. Texas has fell off every year after the all-star break, does anyone think this year will be different than the last 5? The Angels always get hot after the all-star break, does this year look any different than any of the last 8 seasons?

    In the end, this should be a very close race. Texas has the offense, Angels have the rotation, Texas has the bullpen, Angels have the management and history on their side. It should be an interesting end to the season. I think the Angels will make a low cost move for LaRoche and promote from within (Thompson and Kohn) in an attempt to fill in the gaps.

    I have the Angels winning a close race still.

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    • Michael Lorri Scioscia says:

      I agree. Things could get interesting again. Our team may not be as good as the Twins, Rays, Yankees, Red Sox, Braves, among many other clubs but if we can overachieve in 2009 and win 97 games, why can’t we do it at least one more time. I know that my team can’t “overachieve” every year but stranger things have happened in my years in baseball.

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  8. TheJoeFrom1993 says:

    While the Angels have a rather hefty $80.9 million of payroll obligations in 2011, this figure significantly declines in 2012 to $37.2 million. The Angels’ 2012 payroll commitment is on par with the Rangers’ 2012 obligations ($30 million) and those of the Mariners ($54 million).

    Given the much better financial outlook after the 2011 season, the Angels best course of action is to:
    1) Do nothing. The Angels are terrible when it comes to trades. Let the bad contracts roll off the books.
    2) Spend smarter (i.e. stop overpaying for relief pitching). The success of the 2002-2009 Angels was based on a solid farm system supplemented by free agent acquisitions.

    payroll source: http://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?key=tWBCtH8eoSECZxhX-dRCHIw&output=html

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  9. Schlist says:

    Could you be any more childish – presumably you know what the name is?

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  10. Chris says:

    Silly aside, but the Angels do like their fish-named homegrown players?
    Tim Salmon -> Mike Trout.
    Heck, even Conger is a type of eel!

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  11. Cidron says:

    Well, it is semi close to Seaworld.. though SanDiego is closer, Chris..

    Overall, Angels are.. in that no-mans land. Jus good enough to compete, but, jus bad enough not to realisically. They got some up-and-comers, as well as some over-the-hill types. Pack all the olders and send them away for whatever prospects or youth you can. Pick 2012 or 13 for a real run. There may some useful pieces to the right people. But, if you go in for “sell” go in fully. Make it a true fire sale. Everybody (who isnt a part of the 2012 future) must go.

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  12. marshen says:

    I love a hard core Mariners fan interpretation of what the Angels should do. Because the promising Mariners season went down the drain faster than the train that passes Safeco Field, they just can’t stand to see the Angels yet again hoist the American League West flag over Angels Stadium once again.

    Mike Scioscia is the wheel that will get this team to the end just fine.

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    • Michael Lorri Scioscia says:

      I don’t mean to be a homer for the team that I manage but thank you! I agree with you. Now looking at Texas, they are a competitive ball club that did win 87 games last year. I know that their rotation might have seen suspect last year at times and I am not saying that they compare to the Yankees, Blue Jays, White Sox or many other rotations, but that team is still pretty darn good. Depending on we play the next few days, that could obviously tell my team what we should do the rest of the season. Maybe we(Angels) should stay in between. Obviously, it would be silly to just buy on big guys, but as I said before, if we could acquire at least a few replacement or around average guys along with a consistently healthy Izzy(even though that is hard to ask for), in addition to taking a look at maybe Bourjos (Hat tip to Mr. Sean Smith) and just change several things around without doing anything desperate, then that would be better long term than trading for a risky deal. This is not deep analysis but as you know I tend to buy into not advanced stats(especially with bullpen usage sometimes). I still respect advanced stats and Fangraphs. Great website.

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  13. Michael Lorri Scioscia says:

    By the way, I am the Angels manager but I think you did a good job on this piece, Matthew. I think I will see where the team’s patterns lead me around July 1st while monitoring my current situation.

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  14. Astromets says:

    especially after the Lee trade, I think they need to sell. Any chance Howie Kendrick is available?

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    • Alireza says:

      The Angels have essentially no one at the position of any note in the system. Izturis is still out, which doesn’t help. Kendrick might be the toughest guy to move, unless they get someone back to play 2B.

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