For some reason, Americans love Black Friday, unless of course they work in retail in which case Black Friday is a moronic consumer based holiday that should be nixed from the calendar henceforth. However, in our consumer driven society we holiday shoppers flock to stores in huddled masses fighting the lines and aggressive bargain hunters to find that one deal that makes the season of gift giving so worth it. It’s in that spirit (and the much deeper and more meaningful holiday spirit, after all, they are the Angels) that the Halos could find themselves braving the crowds to find the deals that might crave.
1B/DH Paul Konerko – Do the Angels need a 1B? No, but then again did you need the extra-space age toaster when your old Kenmore (I have no idea if they make toasters) still works perfectly fine just because it was $50 off? If the Angels do indeed trade both TRubo and Kendrick, they could look toward Paul Konerko as a possible replacement. He’s old and coming off a down year from injury and no longer has a spot in Chicago. If he doesn’t hang up the spikes he could provide the Angels with a little pop and more importantly the ability to reach base and veteran leadership.
RHP Phil Hughes – Hughes is a So-Cal product, as is just about every player not from Latin America or Japan, but more importantly he’s a young pitcher with upside. Hughes was always a terrible fit for Yankee Stadium (both the old and especially the new) and would have benefitted greatly had he been traded years ago. Still, looking at Hughes splits it’s easy to see where the appeal is for this potential bargain. ERA under 4.00 away from Yankee Stadium, lots of K’s, not too many BB, 28 years old, may be interested in coming back to California and still comes armed with a 94+ mph fastball.
RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka – If the Angels are willing to sign Chris Volstad and pay Joe Blanton 7.5 million dollars a year to be themselves then I’m absolutely stunned we haven’t already signed this guy. Came over to the U.S. with tremendous hype and has always displayed plus offerings with mixed results. Dice-K is now 33 years old, had a solid year in Cleveland’s AAA system and even pitched for the Mets where his results really weren’t terribly worse than what the Angels would’ve gotten out of Vargas or Williams in the back end. The difference with Dice-K is that he strikes out a TON of hitters and still has the potential upside for something more.
RHP Suk-Min Yoon – There really isn’t a ton to go off of with this kid, but what we do know is that he was great in Korea and is only 27 years old. He did however have shoulder surgery just over a year ago and spent the 2013 season in relief. Still, he’s performed beautifully on the international stage by leading his team to gold in the Beijing Olympics and a silver at the World Baseball Classic. Scouting reports suggest that pre-surgery as a starter, Yoon had a low to mid-90’s fastball with movement, change up, slider and cutter. As of last season he sat solely in the low 90’s with again, a solid array of effective off speed pitches. There are some scouts that see him in the middle or end of a rotation if his shoulder recovers, while others project him into middle relief. Regardless, he may come relatively cheap to any team willing to take a chance on this kid.
RHP Ryan Vogelsong – Last year, Vogelsong wasn’t very good. But the previous two seasons he was all-star caliber and even garnered some Cy Young votes. At age 36, it’s anyone’s guess as to whether or not he’s still a major leaguer, but he does have some things going for him. First, he was dealing with a pinkie injury last season, which certainly affected his ability to throw. But he was also coming back from a World Baseball Classic performance back in March, which for some reason really messes with pitchers, I’m not exactly sure why it just does. If Dipoto thinks Vogelsong truly is better than what he showed last year, he could land himself a mid-rotation starter for practically nothing.
LHP Tsuyoshi Wada – Wada came over from Japan with a considerable amount of hype himself. Never viewed as an ace but more of a mid-rotation to back-end lefty, Wada’s career with the Orioles was doomed from day one. He needed Tommy John surgery in 2012 and 2013 was his rehab year. Still, his numbers weren’t exactly terrible in AAA and he did show the uncanny ability to keep the ball in the yard and miss bats. Wada has a high-80’s fastball with solid side-to-side movement with a plus-change up and plus-slider, all of which he can locate. He showed last season he can easily stay in a rotation where he’d profile favorably to a Jason Vargas type, but if the Angels wanted the option, they could also move him to the bullpen where his stuff would play out very well as a Scott-Downs type of RP that can serve as a specialist or set-up man.
Honestly, if I were the Angels I’d be looking at Dice-K and Wada, because I believe there’s a good chance one or both will end up being solid #4/5 starters in 2014 for a team that likely paid either of them only a million dollars. In the mean time Joe Blanton costs 7.5 million, or more accurately, back end starters such as Jason Vargas are landing four year deals worth 8 million a year.