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Angels capped at $140M? Laughable
Earlier this week, the Los Angeles Times reported that the Angels had only $15 million to $20 million to spend, saying that owner Arte Moreno wanted to cap the team's 2012 payroll at $140 million.
The Angels are trying to sign both free-agent left-hander C.J. Wilson and first baseman Albert Pujols, major league sources said early Thursday morning. The package likely would cost them more than $300 million combined.
The information that club officials supplied the Times belongs on the funny pages, in a comic strip called "Masked Intentions." Most teams follow a similar script at this time of year, playing games with the truth and knowing all will be forgiven if a little white lie leads to a big score such as Pujols.
Logic would seem to dictate that the Angels cannot afford both Pujols and Wilson. But the better question might be, If the Angels get one, why shouldn’t they get both?
And for that matter, why shouldn’t they keep rather than trade righty Ervin Santana, who would become an $11.2 million fourth starter next season?
Wilson, who is “more likely than not” to sign with the Angels, according to a major league source, likely will command a deal in the range of Angels right-hander Jered Weaver’s five-year, $85 million contract.
Pujols, who sources say is also negotiating with the Cardinals and a third, unspecified club, almost certainly will land a 10-year deal of at least $220 million.
Yet, a spending spree by the Angels would be more rational than the Marlins’ shopping binge for a number of reasons:
• The Angels, who won 86 games last season, are close to becoming a World Series contender.
The addition of Pujols would transform their lineup, though the Angels might trade first baseman Mark Trumbo, who hit 29 home runs last season. The addition of Wilson would provide a left-handed complement to the impressive trio of Weaver, Dan Haren and Santana.
• The Angels, according to the Times, are negotiating a new local TV contract.
Their current deal with FOX, which expires in 2015, provides $50 million in revenue per season. A new deal, fueled by the star power of Pujols and a successful team, could be worth far more.
• The Angels will face renewed competition in greater Los Angeles once the Dodgers are sold.
The Dodgers, under Frank McCourt, are not currently in position to sign a Pujols or even a Wilson. It would behoove the Angels to press their competitive advantage while they still have it.
Even left fielder Vernon Wells’ deal will expire eventually — he will earn $21 million in each of the next three years, or what would be the first three years of Pujols’ contract.
The Angels’ commitments in 2013, ’14 and ’15 drop from $48 million to $37.2 million to $18.2 million, according to the website Cot’s Baseball Contracts.
Put it all together, and the signings of both Pujols, the best hitter on the market, and Wilson, the best starting pitcher on the market, make sense.
The twin killing is by no means assured — both Pujols and Wilson were said to be struggling with their decisions on Wednesday night. But this is more like it from Moreno, who previously failed in free-agent quests for left fielder Carl Crawford, left-hander CC Sabathia and first baseman Mark Teixeira.
Maybe Moreno will strike out again, but at least he’s up there swinging.
Not bad for a guy who had only $15 million to $20 million to spend.