The offseason is finally upon us and with that comes some hot, hot, errr… Hot Stove League action! Because it is a long offseason full rumors and speculation, I’m going to help make things easy on you and track all the Angels-related rumblings right here. What are you going to do? Google stuff and read it yourself? Like anyone has time for that.
As the Hot Stove (wait for it)… heats up, we’ll update the tracker every day, maybe even multiple times per day so long as Dipoto is keeping himself busy. So go ahead and bookmark this page and check it, constantly. Or at least every five minutes. It’s the least you can do to repay me for all my hard work*.
*EDITOR’S NOTE: The work really isn’t very hard at all.
Rumor Type: Pure speculation
12/12 Update – Haren was recently dealt to the Marlins in the Dee Gordon deal. However, Haren had previously stated he would retire if he was traded to any team other than the Angels. The Marlins are not the Angels. Haren is still deciding whether or not to follow through on his threat, but it has raised the specter of Haren returning to Anaheim, an idea Dipoto has thrown cold water on. Still, Haren is basically free to the Fish since the Dodgers ate his salary. If they can get even a small something for him, it is just gravy. If the asking price is low enough, Dipoto has to at least think about adding Haren, right?
Rumor Type: 100% factual
12/11 Update – With Kendrick gone, the second base job is suddenly up for grabs with the Halos. That should make the Angels a much more attractive destination for Beckham and the Angels clearly have interest in bringing him back. He should be cheap and is a defensive upgrade over Rutledge and Green, so bringing Beckham back makes a lot of sense for the Halos.
12/9 Update – Apparently the only free agent that Dipoto has even talked to is Gordon Beckham. The Halos have said over and over again that they wanted to bring Beckham back at a lower price, which could happen. However, Dipoto has also said he wants to have the reserve infielder role filled by the end of the Winter Meetings. Beckham isn’t likely to sign before then when there is still a chance that he could find a starting gig in place like Toronto, Oakland and Miami.
Rumor Type: Informed speculation
12/11 Update – With the Angels clearing a lot of luxury tax flexibility, they theoretically could go after a big salary now. Even team president John Carpino said that the Angels aren’t necessarily committed to staying below the tax line. That could put them in play for Scherzer. However, they still have shown no public interest and have a pretty full rotation as it is. They’d have to trade someone away to make Scherzer fit.
11/11 Update – In a recent radio interview, Yahoo’s Jeff Passan dropped the bomb that he think the Angels not only will end up paying the luxury tax but that they would do so to go after a frontline pitcher, specifically one Max Scherzer. That goes against just about everything that is being reported on the Angels, so this is quite story, though it reads more as Passan’s own reading of the tea leaves rather than information gathered from well-placed sources. As such, The Monkey remains skeptical. In any event, Passan doesn’t see this master plan unfolding until the Winter Meetings, so there is nothing for us to do but wait and see what happens.
Rumor Type: Pure speculation
12/11 Update – Shields is a more affordable arm than Scherzer and a guy they could theoretically fit into the payroll without paying the luxury tax. They haven’t met with Shields as far as we know, but the math at least works. Again, the rotation is crowded, so they’d have to move someone out, so this doesn’t seem like a real fit.
11/4 Update – A few sites and “experts” have the Angels landing Big Game (sort of, but not really) James. I’m sure the Angels would like to add Shields, but the deck is stacked against that happening. He should be cheaper than Lester and Scherzer, but he isn’t going to be cheap. Signing Shields can only happen if the Halos salary dump Kendrick. That’s not entirely out of the question, but it still doesn’t make inking Shields much of a possibility. The big hang up is that Shields will cost the Angels their first round draft pick. They were staunchly opposed to surrendering that last offseason and there is no indication that the stance has changed this season despite it being a less desirable draft slot.
12/10 Update – Jerry Dipoto stated that the player he has received the most calls on is prospect catcher Carlos Perez. They only just got him from the Astros, so GMs are probably hoping that Dipoto doesn’t value him the same as the Astros did and can thus maybe steal him away. Then again, Dipoto just acquired him on purpose, so there is obviously something there he wants. Seeing how Drew Butera is hardly a stud backup catcher, there is no reason for Dipoto to trade Perez and weaken the organizational catcher depth.
12/11 Update – There is a crazy theory circulating that because the Angels now have more financial breathing room, that they’d be able to eat some of C.J.’s salary in order to move him. By doing that, they’d be able to clear a rotation spot and enough tax room to go after Scherzer. This is pretty far-fetched, but it is out there.
12/9 Update – Dipoto issued a very flat denial that Wilson is on the trade market. Despite reports yesterday that he had been involved in talks, Dipoto dispensed with his usual doublespeak and said he only ever had one call about Wilson, which came right after the World Series and was a call from another team that he quickly shut down. This is a real break in form for Dipoto, so I tend to believe him, but Wilson also seems like the sort of personality that might be wounded if he thought the front office was shopping him around, so it may be more damage control than anything else.
12/8 Update – Apparently the Angels have been letting teams know that C.J. Wilson is available, only they aren’t willing to keep any of his contract. I’m sure teams are falling all over themselves to get their hands on a 34-year starter coming off a career-worst season and owed $36 million over the next two years. This almost certainly isn’t going to result in anything, but it goes to show that Dipoto is working to find a way to clear payroll so that he can make a run at a big time pitcher like Scherzer or Lester.
Suitors: Giants, Indians, Yankees
12/11 Update – With Kendrick now traded, the Angels got the financial wiggle room they wanted. There is no longer motivation to move Freese, especially since it would only thin out their infield even more. He is almost certainly off the trade block, not that he was ever generating much interest.
11/25 Update – With both Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez heading to Boston, the third base market should be opening up. Keyword being “should.” Right now, it seems all the attention is going to swing towards Chase Headley, so no trade market for Freese has even begun to form. In fact, it may never form. Freese is a league average third baseman, but that isn’t really going to blow anyone’s skirt up, especially as a one-year stopgap. There is a chance that a market could come together late in the offseason, but by then the Halos will likely have parted ways with Gordon Beckham, and thus no longer have a fallback option behind Freese.
11/4 Update – All that stuff I just said about Kendrick and the need for pitching, it applies here as well. Freese is the guy the Angels would rather trade because he just isn’t as good as Howie, but he is going to earn close to $7 million next year. The rub there is that what makes him more desirable for the Angels to trade makes him not so desirable for other teams to trade for. The Angels can afford to lose him with Grant Green or Gordon Beckham in place to take over at the hot corner, but the most he might be able to bring back in a trade is salary relief. There just aren’t many suitors for Freese, especially with Pablo Sandoval, Chase Headley, Aramis Ramirez and Hanley Ramirez on the open market already.