|Angels Rebuild in a Big Way||| Print |||Send|
Written by Jonathan Leshanski (Contact & Archive) on December 12, 2011
The Angels are rebuilding in a big way and finally spending money the way a big-market team can.¬† By adding Albert Pujols they addressed an offensive need that has bogged them down for almost a decade.¬† By adding C.J. Wilson, they made one of the stronger rotations in the AL into what could be the strongest.
Those signings marked a transformational moment, not just for the on-field balance of power, but for owner Arte Moreno and his organization, which until this moment were a large market team more in name than deed.¬† The Angels, a team purchased for $182.5 million back in 2003, on Thursday committed approximately $330 million dollars to two players.¬† But not just any two players -- the two gems available on this year's free agent market.
The difference there is that the Angels always came out second best.¬† Not this time.¬† The team has been transformed by a number of factors, including the rise of the Texas Rangers and, most importantly, a new television contract coming up for the immediate future. ¬† That contract will give them the financial strength to compete with any team in baseball.
That money will pay for both Pujols and Wilson and then some.¬† And in the short term those moves will pay solid on field dividends.¬† Pujols will give a the Angels a solid center of the lineup threat which they can build around and should turn an offense that ranked 10th in the AL in Runs scored into a powerhouse, especially if Kendry Morales returns to form as well.
The addition of Wilson to the pitching staff is a big one.¬† Wilson was the No. 1 pitcher for the Rangers, but for the Angels, he'll be a three or four starter behind Jered Weaver, Dan Haren and Ervin Santana.¬† That will take a lot of stress off him and at the same time give a shot in the arm to a staff that was already as good as any in the American League.
The downside of the deal however is that the Angels paid through the nose for Wilson, giving him frontline starter money when he's not quite that much of an established commodity.¬† Still as long as the Angels feature Weaver and Haren, all Wilson will have to do is eat innings at a better than average level for the deal to pay dividends.
Long term you have to wonder about the smarts of the Pujols deal.¬† Barring injury you'd expect that the deal will appear genius for another 5-7 years, but the last years of the deal could be painful -- much like the A-Rod deal is becoming for the Yankees.
Still, paying for those extra years was the price of poaching Pujols from the Cardinals.¬† Now the Angels will have a decade to see how well it pays them back in terms of championship rings.