The buzz this week is mostly about arbitration and who’s avoiding it and signing deals with their respective teams. For the Angels, two of the eight eligible players have signed; Jered Weaver for $4.265 million and Howie Kendrick for $1.75 million. That’s a $3.8 million raise for Weaver and a $1.285 million raise for Kendrick.
Especially nice raise for Kendrick, who has NBC Sports' Craig Calcaterra points out is “a lot of money for a guy they won't let hit against righties.” Stay tuned in 2010 Craig; the Angels are going to get their money’s worth. I’ve got a good feeling. Besides, if Izturis steals AB's away from anyone, it will most likely be Brandon Wood.
I’d really like to see the Angels lock up a few of their guys and buy out some of their arbitration and free agent years. They did this with Ervin Santana last year.
In other Angel arbitration news, Sam Miller posts in the OC Register blog (with credit to Ed Price of AOL) that Erick Abyar is asking for $2.75 million and the Angels are offering $1.8 million. Maicer Izturis asked for $3 million; $2.3 was offered.
And then there’s Jeff Mathis, who asked for $1.3 million and is being offered $700K. Funny thing about Mathis is that most players ask for raises after a great season, but he’s doing that after a great post-season. You have to wonder if he’s turned the corner, in which case he’d be deserving of $1.3 million, but if he reverts back to his regular season batting numbers, even $700K seems like a bit of a stretch (okay, maybe not).
I still don’t get the whole argument that he’s so good defensively. I know all about the pitching ERA thing being lower than Mike Napoli’s, but how many times did he air mail balls into center field when runners stole second base? I mean if the Giants were in the AL West, even Bengie Molina might have stolen a base or two on Mathis.
More arbitration numbers: Joe Saunders asked for $3.85 million and was offered $3.6 million (made $475,000 in 2009). They're so close, a deal is likely to get done soon.
Still waiting on numbers for Mike Napoli and Reggie Willits. Hmm. Now, this is just my opinion, but I find it interesting that their numbers aren’t surfacing. I wouldn’t be surprised if they ended up being replaced by Bobby Wilson and Terry Evans. I’m just speculating, of course.
Speaking of ex-Angel Bengie Molina has turned down the latest contract offer from the Mets (Per Buster Olney on Twitter) and has resigned with the San Francisco Giants for $4.5 million (which is reportedly less than what the Mets offered).
Other ex-Angels still looking for work include: Bengie’s brother Jose, Adam Kennedy, Orlando Cabrera, Robb Quinlan, Garret Anderson, Darin Erstad, Paul Byrd, Jon Garland, Dustin Moseley, Kevin Gregg, Jose Arredondo, Justin Speier, Shane Loux, Jeff Weaver, Bartolo Colon, and Jarrod Washburn.
Baseball America has released their list of the Angels' top prospects. Topping the list is catching prospect Hank Conger. Conger received high marks in their “tools” category ranking him as the Angels’ best hitter for average and plate discipline. Rounding out the top five are outfielder Peter Bourjos (who was a topic of the Roy Halladay trade rumors), outfielder Mike Trout (featured on a previous post here), Trevor Reckling (stud left handed pitcher), and right handed pitcher, Garrett Richards (who BA considers to have the best fastball and curveball in the Angels’ system).
AngelsWin also put out their top 50 list of Angels’ prospects and Trevor Reckling tops their list. The folks at AW project Reckling to start the year in Salt Lake City where he will be of the youngest players in the Pacific Coast League (PCL).
Rounding out their top five are Hank Conger, Peter Bourjos, Mike Trout, and second baseman, Jean Segura (who interestingly enough didn’t make BA’s top 10). Segura is very young, but does show great promise (from what I've read).
The highly respected John Sickels has a list as well.
Mike Trout tops his list, followed by Hank Conger, Trevor Reckling, Garrett Richards and Peter Bourjos. Trout get’s the top grade of the group with a B+ (as does Conger). Sickels really likes the upside of Trout and likes Conger’s bat.
Having never seen any of these guys in person, other than a few of them for just a little bit at Spring Training, I can't offer up any opinions of my own. However, I will say the guy who excites me the most is Trout. It's been a while since the Angels developed an outfielder with his kind of potential. Reckling is also fascinating, given his young age and early success.
Angels sign Mike Napoli for $3.6 million and Reggie Willits for $625,000. Well, so much for my speculation...
January 19, 2010