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.
MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick reports that the Dodgers plan to tab ace Clayton Kershaw for Game 1 of the World Series. Nothing is set in stone yet ahead of Tuesday’s Game 1 of the World Series. In the event Kershaw can’t start Game 1, Rich Hill would start. Otherwise, Hill would start Game 4.
Kershaw, started Game 1 and Game 5 of the NLCS against the Brewers, then closed out Game 7 with a flawless inning. He was hit around to the tune of five runs (four earned) over three-plus innings in Game 1, but rebounded for seven innings of one-run ball in Game 5. He struck out two en route to sending the Dodgers to the World Series in the ninth inning of Game 7.
Kershaw also tossed eight shutout innings against the Braves in Game 2 of the NLDS. Overall, he has a 2.37 ERA in 19 innings this postseason. There was no doubt who would be the Dodgers’ first choice to start Game 1, but it’s a relatively recent situation where the ace of a team also closed out the final game of the previous series.
Hill has put up a 2.61 ERA in 10 1/3 innings this postseason. While he doesn’t have Kershaw’s pedigree, the Dodgers would be confident having him lead off the series. Hill was excellent down the stretch last year, helping the Dodgers reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Astros.
The Red Sox plan to start Chris Sale in Game 1 now that he’s recovered from a brief stint in the hospital due to a stomach ailment. The lefty has a 3.48 in 10 1/3 innings in the playoffs this year. He’s among a handful of candidates for the AL Cy Young award after posting a 2.11 ERA in the regular season, but his lack of innings (158) may hurt him.