After failing to make the playoffs in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 2000/2001 the Angels will be “creative” and “aggressive” this offseason, according to general manager Tony Reagins.
Reagins told Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times that “we’re not going to sit back and let things come” and “we’re going to try to improve the club.”
Of course, that may be easier said than done because the Angels have committed $100 million to just nine players for next season–which doesn’t include big raises for arbitration-eligible guys–and DiGiovanna writes that their projected payroll is around $120-$130 million.
“Creative” and “aggressive” are tough when you only have $25 million to throw around and plenty of holes to fill, but that’s what happens when the GM absorbs Vernon Wells’ massive contract and gives Bobby Abreu a $9 million option for 2012.
DiGiovanna calls it “doubtful” that the Angels will pursue Albert Pujols or Prince Fielder as free agents, instead speculating that they might make a run at shortstop Jose Reyes and then possibly deal an incumbent middle infielder–Erick Aybar or Howie Kendrick–for pitching help.
Free agent outfielder/slugger J.D. Martinez is reportedly seeking an outfield gig, says Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald. According to Silverman’s sources, Martinez’s suitors have been informed that the veteran slugger would give preference to teams that can offer a corner outfield spot, rather than a DH-only role.
That could spell trouble for the Red Sox, who appear to be Martinez’s biggest suitors so far this offseason. Outfielders Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi are firmly established at the corners, and prior reports from club president Dave Dombrowski suggest that center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. is not going anywhere anytime soon (thereby eliminating the possibility of reshuffling the outfield). The DH spot is still wide open for Martinez, who doesn’t seem to be totally closed off to the idea, but any full-time or part-time role on the field is likely off the table at this point.
Of course, the Red Sox aren’t the only ones pursuing Martinez’s services this winter. The 30-year-old slugger has been linked to both the Diamondbacks and Giants in weeks past, and while they have the roster flexibility to accommodate his preferences, they’ll need to clear another massive hurdle: the seven-year, $250 million contract he’s said to be seeking. Both clubs will need to get creative to make such a deal work. The Diamondbacks are rumored to be shopping right-hander Zack Greinke in an attempt to free up some room on their payroll for Martinez, while the Giants appear more inclined to scour the trade market for outfield help than shell out cash for another hefty contract in free agency.