Thursday, 8 December 2011
Angels sign Albert Pujols and CJ Wilson, Marlins are on the Backburner.
I knew I shouldn't have gone to bed.
Terms haven't been disclosed yet, but the Pujols deal is expected to be in the $250-260MM range, presumably over 10 years. There is a full no-trade clause. I'm in shock. If that wasn't enough, CJ Wilson will sign a 5-year, $75MM deal to join a rotation that includes Dan Haren, Jered Weaver, and Ervin Santana, assuming none of them get traded. Random thoughts, in no particular order:
Here's what the Angels appear to be expecting out of Pujols (I suppose you could weight production a bit towards the present):
The Angels payroll is set to explode, even after signing Jered Weaver to a pretty team-friendly extension earlier this offseason (or possibly during the season, I don't remember). I'm not sure what the plan is for the rest of the offseason, but look for multiple people in the group of Kendrys Morales, Mark Trumbo, Bobby Abreu, Torii Hunter, and Vernon Wells to be moved in a trade. That would be in the order of likelihood, in my opinion. Morales might not bring back much until he can prove himself to still be useful after missing a season and a half due to injury. Trumbo was a rookie of the year candidate last year, and still has 5 years of team control, so the return would need to be massive. I'm sure they'd be looking for prospects, though they could upgrade their infield to an extent if they really wanted. Hunter and Abreu only have 1 year left on their contracts -- Abreu is worth $9MM, Hunter is worth $18MM with no-trade protection, while Wells is still locked up for 3 more years at $20MM+ per, and none of those three will be worth the full price without a full season of AB's. If Peter Bourjos and Mike Trout get anywhere near regular playing time (fuck Mike Scioscia if they don't), there's nowhere near enough playing time for the Wells-Hunter-Abreu triple, though one could DH (I'd stick Trumbo in the DH spot myself).
I'd predict the Angels to at least explore moving someone from the rotation. Santana and Haren are the obvious choices, with Weaver locked up until '16. Both players are under contract for this season with a club option for next, and both are pretty much locks to have their club options exercised (Santana for $13MM, Haren for $15.5).
By my estimations (and with the help of this spreadsheet on Cots), the Angels have about $78MM committed to their 2014 payroll on Wells, Weaver, Pujols and Wilson alone. Weaver, the youngest, will be 32 at that point. It's probably going to be worth it, as the Angels are a heavy favorite to win the NL West this year, or at least get a wild card spot, but we've seen what can happen with teams like this (i.e. the Red Sox). Let's not count the Rangers out yet, either.
The Angels obviously think that they can stick around until '14 (possibly beyond), so they weighed the risk and reward, and decided to go for it. They obviously didn't think the Vernon Wells deal handcuffed them, but paying 38 year-old Albert Pujols $30MM ought to do the trick, which is why I would front-load the deal a bit, or at least pay the most for the middle of the deal. Until the financial specifics of the deal are released, I'm going to assume that they need to move someone (Trumbo or Santana) for prospects now, or they risk being successful for 3-4 years, then terrible for 5 after that.