The Winter Meetings have reached a fever pitch here in Day 2. The Angels have been linked to a lot of different players and moves, but what are the odds that they actually complete any of those deals either now or after the meetings come to an end? Let’s take a look at each rumor and handicap the odds of it happening for the Halos:
John Lackey is going to catch a big payday, but with who?
Re-Signing John Lackey – Angel fans had all but scheduled a going away party for John Lackey after the season ended, but Big John’s salary demands combined with the failing economy have scared off most of Lackey’s suitors. The Yankees want to reduce payroll, Boston is looking mostly at cheaper alternatives, the Mets probably don’t have enough money to meet Lackey’s price and Seattle is probably only interested for the sake of jacking of Lackey’s price for everyone else. That pretty much just leaves the Angels as the only team that definitely wants to sign Big John and has the money to do it. Since it seems like Roy Halladay is going to be too costly for the Halos, expect them to turn their full attention to bringing Lackey back. 50% Probability.
Signing Jason Bay – I never thought Bay would interest the Angels much since he is a poor defender and strikes out a ton, but after letting Chone Figgins go, the Angels sure seem interested in spending all the Figgy money on a power bat with Jason Bay at the top of their list. It is because of Bay that Lackey is only listed at 50% since Arte Moreno can only afford to sign one big name free agent. Not a lot of other teams seem to be interested in Bay and I suspect the Red Sox don’t really want him back but are posturing as if they do just for the sake of appearances. So, unless Bay (who is from the northwest) can convince Seattle to jump into the race, Bay should be ripe for the Angels’ taking. 75% Probability.
Trading for Roy Halladay – No matter how much Angel fans want this to happen, it just doesn’t seem to be in the cards. Halladay has a no-trade clause and seems to prefer staying on the East Coast. Moreover, the Angels lost their biggest trade chip now that Brandon Wood is going to be expected to start. It is possible that Toronto could suddenly decide that they don’t want to trade Halladay within the division, in which case his price will come into the Angels’ zone, otherwise he should probably just start shopping for a home in Cape Cod right now. 20% Probability.
Dealing for Curtis Granderson – Granderson would be a perfect fit for the Angels, especially since he has a decent salary for this season. The Tigers are asking a lot for him though which could be a problem for the Angels. The bigger problem though is that the New York Yankees seems to have locked in on acquiring him and we all know that whatever the Yankees want, the Yankees get and that is just too bad for the Halos. 10% Probability. (UPDATE: turns out the Yankees actually DID get him. See, I told you so.)
Why is this man smiling? Because he is about to be a Yankee… bastard.
Getting rid of Gary Matthews – If there is one thing that is a virtual certainty to get done during the off-season it is Tony Reagins ridding the roster of Gary Matthews. Private Matthews insists on complaining about playing time despite the fact that he is terrible and the Angels are tired of his act, and rightly so. Expect Reagins to package GMJ with a mid-level prospect to bring back some relief help and hopefully save the franchise a few million over the next two years. If he can’t even get that in return, Reagins might just find some other bad contract to trade Matthews for. 95% Probability.
Signing Adrian Beltre – I don’t know where these rumors keep coming from, but Adrian Beltre has been linked to Angels since the end of season. Let’s get this one straight though, he will not be an Angel. The Halos are going to commit to Brandon Wood at third, making Beltre superfluous. Even if the Angels end up trading Wood or something, the Angels won’t touch Beltre with a 100-foot pole as long as the hated Scott Boras is his agent. 0.0000000000000000001% Probability.
Moving Juan Rivera – The Angels would actually be pretty stupid to not trade Juan Rivera since consistently productive and affordable power hitters are sure to be hot commodity in this climate. Tony Reagins should capitalize on Rivera’s value while it is a high and pick up a nice piece for the bullpen or to add another young starter to the rotation. He can then go out and use the money he saved to sign a similarly priced outfielder who can actually play defense at a high level (for example, Mike Cameron, Marlon Byrd or Coco Crisp). 80% Probability.
Rivera might be throwing his helmet in for a new one from a different team soon.
Picking Up Hideki Matsui – Matsui is a name recently linked with the Halos, but he seems like a Plan C to me even though Tony Reagins acknowledged having interest in the former Yankee. The problem is that the Angels aren’t going to want to get stuck with a roster that has Matsui, Juan Rivera and Bobby Abreu all rotating through the corner outfield spots and DH. Scioscia value defense too much to allow that. Matsui is only going to come to Anaheim if they lose out on Jason Bay and fail to trade Juan Rivera for a more defensive-minded left fielder. However, if those things happen, then Matsui is perfect for the Angels because of his power and his relatively low strikeout-rate. 15% Probability.