With the World Series on the verge of beginning, that means we are mere days away from the free agency market opening for business and the Angels sure have themselves some business to get done if they want to end their playoff drought. To prep you for the ensuing craziness, we're previewing how the market could unfold for the Halos, position-by-position.
Up next, we take a look at the middle infield because… well, because I didn't want to leave them out. Really, the Angels are pretty set up the middle for the next few years, but just humor me and pretend that you are interested, ok?
Who we got?
Time for one of my favorite games: Guess the Slash Line! For this episode, I give you two players. Player A went .290/.324/.416 in 2012, Player B went .287/.325/.400. Those lines are nearly identical, but one of them was considered a key player for the Angels last season, the other other spent the year inadvertently antagonizing the entire Angel fan base. I assume you've surmised by now that one of the players is Howie "The Human GIDP" Kendrick and the other is Erick Aybar. Whose slash line is whose doesn't really matter (but A is Aybar, B is Kendrick). The point is that as disappointing as Kendrick was last season, he was still a very acceptable performer. I mention that solely because there are bound to be calls from the fans that he be traded this off-season. Now is probably also a good time to mention that Kendrick can block a trade to 12 teams in 2013. So there's that too.
The only real intrigue in the middle infield is whether or not the Halos will bring back Maicer Izturis for another tour or hand over the utility infielder reins to Andrew Romine. Given that Maicer just turned 32, is injury-prone, expensive for a reserve and coming off the worst season of his career, the smart money is on him being ushered off to Seattle, where Angel players go to die, so that the younger, cheaper, slappier Andrew Romine can finally secure a full-time big league job instead of racking up frequent flyer miles on the SNA-SLC Delta jet.
Who we want?
It is entirely likely that the Angels will just ignore second base and shortstop in free agency. It just isn't a need and they don't need to be chewing up budget by over-spending on a luxury like a better back-up infielder. I'd imagine that the only thing they will do in this area is extend a spring training invite and a minor league contract to a washed up veteran, just in case Andrew Romine falls in his face in spring training. It also wouldn't hurt to have a warm body stashed away at Salt Lake in case Kendrick or Aybar go down to injury at some point. Given Jerry Dipoto's predilection for former D'Back scrubs, Cody Ransom might want to keep his cell phone handy come February.
Why we care?
Umm, we don't. I'm pretty sure I just spend the last few hundred words saying just that. The only way we care is if Kendrick or Aybar get hurt, because Romine may have a great glove, but the dude can't hit and the Angels have virtually no viable MLB infielders in Salt Lake or Little Rock right now. But that's a concern for down the road, during the season. We'll cross that bridge if/when we come to it.