08 December 2011

Angels Alter AL West Landscape, Sign Pujols, Wilson

Pujols at Angel Stadium in 2010
The Miami Marlins may have gained all the early headlines of the 2011 Winter Meetings but thus far it is the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim that have may the biggest moves in signing the top bat, Albert Pujols, and top arm, C.J. Wilson, today. These huge moves show a new trend of business in Orange County as well as setting up some epic battles in the American League West.The big kahuna is the signing of Pujols, arguably the finest hitter in baseball and fresh off a second World Series championship in St. Louis, the only organization he has ever known. Now he is headed to Anaheim with one of the biggest contracts ever, ten years at an estimated total at $250 million, much more than owner Arte Moreno paid for the club in 2003 ($180 million). Moreno has said in the past his disdain for long and expensive contracts, particularly after their pursuit of Carl Crawford last offseason. Not to mention that Pujols  is 31 years old. But of course this is a tremendous move for the Angels, even with Mark Trumbo's strong season at first base last year as well as Kendrys Morales returning from a leg injury. Any time you can add a bat like Pujols into your lineup, you don't hesitate. Besides the team says Trumbo can either play third or outfield (and then they could try to dump Bobby Abreu) and once Morales is healthy, he'd probably be the DH. That's a pretty impressive middle of the order.
With regards to Wilson, the Angels got him at the right price for him as there were whispers that he would get up to $100 million, including his agent saying he "easily" could have gotten that, but to get him for five years, $75 million, considering he is not an ace, is the right price. Wilson, a native of California, pitched really well last year and who knows how much better his numbers would be if he didn't pitched his home games at Rangers Ballpark. Wilson is a solid addition to a rotation that is pretty good as is.
But the major recuperation of these moves is how the Angels are not going to stand pat and let the Rangers take dominant control of the division. The Rangers have now won the AL two years in a row and have solidified themselves as a power thanks to a huge TV contract. Now the Angels are poised to make to turn themselves in the Western versions of the Yankees and Red Sox. 

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