What an oddly worded headline.
Anywho, as you’ve probably heard by now, Josh Hamilton has signed a five-year contract to play for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Getting Blanked has all the details you’ll need on the surprising deal– which, according to a tweet from Danny Knobler, the Rangers didn’t even get a chance to match, which it was widely reported that they would be given.
It’s yet another rather hilarious spurning of the Texas Rangers, who were reportedly very interested in both Zack Grienke (now a Dodger) and Justin Upton (seemingly staying in Phoenix), among others they’ve failed so far to land. The off-season is far from over, of course, and surely the Rangers will strengthen their team before spring, but for the moment there certainly seems to be a recalibration of the American League West that just might help a plucky all-in upstart looking to compete with such clubs for one of the two Wild Card berths– you know, the Kansas City Royals.
And the Toronto Blue Jays.
I don’t want to go too terribly nuts here, especially since we’re far from the off-season’s end, but as a legitimate competitor with these clubs for a playoff spot, you’ve got to like that the Rangers are now down Hamilton, Mike Napoli, and still in need of at least one, maybe two more starters. And the Angels? Hamilton is a fantastic get– their lineup looks ridiculous, plus they could spin off Peter Bourjos or Kendrys Morales to help them in other areas– and they’ve strengthened their bullpen, but I don’t think they’ve done too much more than tread water, given that their rotation has seen Zack Greinke and Dan Haren (albeit the one who struggled mightily in 2012) be replaced by a pitcher as middling as his name, Joe Blanton, and the guy they used to call Tommy Hanson.
The Rangers have some work to do to replace the talent they’ve lost– though their system, with guys like Mike Olt and Jurickson Profar ready to either step in or be traded for a huge bounty, will help. And the question for the Angels is, do they have the money to still go out and add a big piece to their rotation?
Maybe Anaheim can add through trade– though it’s probably not via the path a lot of people are first going to think:
I felt like the idea of Bourjos as a centerpiece of deal for a Cy Young pitcher was insane. Quickly checked in w a Mets person who agreed.
— Andy Martino (@MartinoNYDN) December 13, 2012
If they can pull of something even close to that, it’s a whole different story. But if they’re only going to add someone to squeeze between Blanton and Hanson, you’d have to think the Blue Jays must feel pretty OK about matching a rotation like theirs– at least on paper, and with everybody healthy.
Of course, as anyone who has paid attention to this club has been constantly reminded lately, you don’t play the games on paper, but right now, with New York’s quiet-ish winter, and Boston’s underwhelming additions of Napoli, Shane Victorino and Ryan Dempster, my sense is that the Jays moves from the early going are still holding up as potentially decisive. At the very least, they’re easily in the conversation– and even that is a welcome change.
Maybe I’m being a little too naive here– the Angels and Rangers are still both ridiculously tough teams, and so are the Sox, Yankees, Rays, Royals, Tigers, White Sox and A’s. Ahhh… maybe even the Orioles, too.
Point is, in my view, there doesn’t appear to be anything on the level of an unstoppable force. It’s going to be a fantastic year for baseball– and finally this city is invited to the party.
Oh yeah, also this:
vernon wells, at $21M, is currently the #angels 5th OF. if they trade 1, he could move up to 4, tho.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) December 13, 2012
Ha! Um… this too:
Melky Cabrera’s 2011-2012 fWAR: 8.8, Josh Hamilton’s 2011-2012 fWAR: 8.5.I’d say the Jays got themselves a bargain with 2/16M.
— Stephen Gray (@BFullmer_Fan) December 13, 2012