Major League Baseball is over [congrats team from Boston] and it's time for teams to make moves for next season - I may not be accounting for the actual resources it would take to make these moves happen for my home team, but it's not like I'm saying the Angels should go out and acquire everybody.
Things always seem fairly reasonable when I'm looking for something to blog about and playing around with ideas - the obvious need for the Angels is plugging their leaks on the pitching staff and the team needs all the help they can get.
1.) Trade Erick Aybar and perhaps a 'prospect' to the St. Louis Cardinals for Carlos Martinez - the Cardinals need a shortstop with Pete Kozma overextended [he's more of a utility guy] and as decent of player as he has shown at times, maybe Aybar hasn't really gotten any better in the three years.
Martinez has a big arm and he's sort of been hyped up [Lil' Pedro anyone?], but because the Cardinals always seem to have a lot of pitching in-hand - Martinez maybe seen as someone that can be traded for talent as opposed to a pitcher that is deemed untouchable.
2.) Sign Stephen Drew or at least someone to replace Aybar at shortstop - he may just give some 'lucky' team three good seasons in his early 30's as a player with some pop and ability to play defense.
He looks like he has some idea of what he's doing at the plate - and may offer just a bit more than Aybar.
3.) Sign Masahiro Tanaka - the Angels needs to add a pitcher who may not be quite an ace, but certainly has the arm and pedigree through his pro career in Japan to be at least a No. 2 in the States.
I really think the Angels offseason would be a failure if they don't land Tanaka - but Tanaka maybe the most sought after free agent pitcher this off-season, so how much will the Angels really bid to even get to talk to him?
4.) Sign Ricky Nolasco - not exciting but someone who should pitch close to 200 innings per year and add stability to the Angels rotation; Nolasco would be making his home starts about an hour away from his hometown, so that can be a superficial bonus for the veteran pitcher.
5.) Trade Peter Bourjos to the New York Mets for Jeurys Familia - maybe I'm selling Bourjos short, but Mike Trout maybe the center fielder for the Angels for the next 15 seasons, Josh Hamilton will be around for four more years and Kole Calhoun looks like he might be more than just a fourth outfielder.
A healthy Bourjos' talents plays infinitely better in the National League - free the guy and at least get back an arm that maybe molded into a Major League commodity, even though Familia was out for much of 2013 and maybe more of a project at this point.
6.) Sign a 'proven' bullpen arm - the Angels gambled on Ryan Madson and Sean Burnett last off-season and got bupkis from neither one, with Madson being cut before throwing an actual pitch for the Angels and Burnett ending his season after pitching in only 13 games.
It may take at least a two year commitment to sign Grant Balfour - but he might be someone to look at as far as giving the Angels perhaps a better option to close out games.
Ernesto Frieri slides over to be the set-up man with pitchers like Dane De La Rosa/ Kevin Jepsen / Michael Kohn being more seventh inning guys - Balfour's age is a concern, but he's had a rubber arm and maybe a guy who leads by example.
When was the last time the Angels had a 'personality' coming out of the bullpen to close out games [?] - Balfour just might be the guy to bring some swagger when things are sort of aimless.
7.) Trade for Milwaukee Brewers third baseman Aramis Ramirez - I don't want to be the guy saying the Angels should go out and pick up an older [past 35 years old] player, but Ramirez maybe worth the gamble; not a long term solution, he maybe sort of a veteran a potential contender can coax a couple of good years out of before he is put out to pasture.
8.) Trade Mark Trumbo to the St. Louis Cardinals for Allen Craig or David Freese - trading Craig might not be a priority for the Cardinals but they would be freeing up some money and allowing their younger players to get an opportunity at the Major League level.
Though Craig maybe damaged goods at this point and is locked up to a long term contract - he has shown to be quality hitter the Angels can be put at first base to spell Albert Pujols or slot at DH.
I have my own reservations about Freese and getting injured, driving into trees and all - but he maybe a younger alternative to Ramirez and maybe he can be the answer at third base, for at least two or three seasons.
Trumbo maybe too much of a swing and miss slugger - but has legit power and may not be such a stiff that he can't play the field [either at first base or in the outfield] for a National League team.