We could sit around all day and wait for the Adrian Beltre negotiations to resolve themselves, but that could take forever. Since there isn’t a whole lot else going on right now for the Angels, let’s take a peak into the future to see what storylines we’ll have to look forward to if/when Beltre ever gets around to picking a team.
Look into my crystal ball and see the future… because the present is pretty damn boring right now.
- Waiting on Beltre…: Yeah, I know. Unfortunately, this little piece of unfinished business is holding up just about everything else. This whole saga with Beltre and the Rangers at least seems to suggest that a resolution is coming before long. Then again, the last time a free agent target of the Halos dragged out his free agency decision, the Angels got screwed and the entire city of Anaheim declared jihad on Carl Crawford (not that we’re bitter or anything).
- ,,,and then Soriano: Oh, did you really think the waiting was over? Not bloody likely. Scott Boras seems to have his hands full trying to generate a market for Adrian Beltre, neglecting his other remaining top client, Rafael Soriano. Once Beltre is off the market, Boras is going to lather, rinse and repeat the whole process with Soriano. And guess which team he is going to be pumping the most for a free agent offer? Yup, that’s right. The Angels are pretty much the only team left with money to spend and a closer slot to fill. This is going to be a loooooooong off-season.
- Arbitration mania: Is it weird that I am secretly excited about arbitration? As much as the Beltre talks are gumming up the free agent works for the Angels, the arbitration process is doing even moreso to complicate matters for the Angels and the trade market. The Halos have the most arbitration cases in the league, which is leaving their final payroll esitmate for 2011 looking rather nebulous. They know it is going to be high and that they need to cut some dead weight and reduce some roster duplication, but there is no real way they can come up with an action plan to do that until they know what everyone is going to be making. There is also the added level of intrigue in that arbitration time is also usually when young players get signed to long-term contract extensions. Can the Angels talk Scott Boras into a rare extension for Morales or Weaver? Will the Angels commit to Howie Kendrick or Erick Aybar or make them prove themselves?
- Gale force trade winds Finally, some good stuff. Once the aforementioned arbitration cases are resolved, Tony Reagins is going to be a busy little boy. Four catchers on the roster is far too many, even for Mike Scioscia. Alberto Callaspo, Maicer Izturis and Howie Kendrick are all far too similar to stick on one roster for too long. Juan Rivera has no role and is being paid too much money to sit on the bench. Scott Kazmir, well, he just sucks and the Angels are undoubtedly going to be eager to dump him.
- Crazy trade rumor central: One slight problem with all of the stuff above, no matter how well it works out, people are still going to want the Angels to make a “big splash.” What that means to you, the fan, is that the Angels are going to be linked to trade talks to just about every big name talent that might be so much as slightly available and most of those rumors will have absolutely no basis in reality. Prince Fielder? Jose Reyes? Albert Pujols? Hanley Ramirez? Roy Hobbs? Rick “Wild Thing” Vaughn? Yup, those are just a few choice faux rumors we can all expect to be bombarded with before the season actually begins.
- Intermittent Mike Trout Hysteria: It doesn’t make much sense to me, but a certain subset of fans is going to clamor for Mike Trout to be rushed to the big leagues to start this season. That might make some sense if the Halos were a beleaguered franchise that was desperately in need of generating some fanfare, but for an established team with a great fanbase and a competitve roster, rushing their best prospect to the majors at the tender age of 19 without him playing so much as an inning above A-ball is just plain foolish. I know we are all excited to see the guy who could be a true superstar, but let’s not screw with him just because we are impatient with the free agent process.