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Last year, the Angels went into the Winter Meetings telling everyone who would listen that they didn’t have any money, and couldn’t make a big investment. The left the Winter Meetings with both Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson.

So, I guess we shouldn’t have listened again this year when, after missing out on Zack Greinke – with reports saying they weren’t seriously in the race given the price – the Angels cried poor, and suggested they wouldn’t be involved in any big names on the free agent market.

Because now, multiple reports say they are close to signing the top positional player on the free agent market, Josh Hamilton – a guy to whom they haven’t even remotely been attached all Winter.

(UPDATE: Multiple reports (example) say this is happening, and Hamilton is going to get five years.)

(UPDATE 2: It’s done, and it’s reportedly for five years and $25 million per year. Holy crap that’s a huge amount given his unique issues (but obviously unique talent).)

If the deal goes through, the implications here are so wide-ranging that it’s hard to track them all down immediately …

(1.) The Hamilton signing, itself, will push the outfield free agent market along. A lot of guys are waiting until he’s off the board to seriously entertain the decision-making process. Now, with Hamilton going to a team that “wasn’t looking for an outfielder,” the Michael Bourn/Nick Swisher/Cody Ross types have to be pretty happy. The Rangers may have to swoop in on one of those three, with the Indians, Mariners, Phillies, and Orioles fighting over the remainder (among other teams). This makes it slightly less likely that any of the better free agent outfielders will find themselves without a home, and fall into the Cubs’ lap.

(2.) Does this make Alfonso Soriano’s trade market a little better? You could make that argument, given the above, but you’ve got to consider that the Angels might put one of their surplus outfielders on the market now (they’re already shopping Vernon Wells, who’s got an ugly contract, but, unlike Soriano, doesn’t have any production to match it). Peter Bourjos? Mark Trumbo? The Cubs would definitely be interested in either one, but so would a dozen other teams.

(3.) The Angels could instead try to move Trumbo back to third base, allowing them to shop, for example, Alberto Callaspo, who might have a lot of value given the third base market.

(4.) Maybe the Rangers now, aside from losing out on their free agent targets this year, will feel compelled to upgrade significantly. Can the Cubs help? Well, I don’t really see a Soriano fit there unless he loosens up on his geographic restrictions, and I still don’t think Matt Garza yields fair value until the Spring. But it’s interesting.

(5.) Related to 1 and 2, above, this could slightly increase David DeJesus’s trade value by reducing the free agent outfield pool with respect to teams that were expected to be seeking an outfielder.

  • Cub Style

    Mystery team strikes again

  • kmr1453

    5 year deal per Morosi

  • EQ76

    wow… apparently both LA teams have more money than they know what to do with.

  • sdcoddi

    Can see the Cubs trading Marmol to Angels for Bourjos now.

    • terencem

      I would be very surprised if that happened without a ton of cash going to the Angels since DiPoto hates closers already and Bourjos makes the league minimum.

      • sdcoddi

        well, yeah. cash was assumed.

    • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

      I think you’re more likely to see RA Dickey to the Angels for Bourjos.

    • Spriggs

      For Bourjos’ similarity scores – Felix Pie is the 3rd match.

  • Matty V

    I’m curious as to why you think the Rangers wouldn’t have some interest in Soriano. If the Napoli and Hamilton signings go through, the Rangers will have lost 3 significant bats from last year’s lineup (Young to Philadelphia being the 3rd). If they aren’t able to fill their OF/DH needs (which I do see them stepping up their efforts to do so with the remaining free agents available), I think Soriano would make good sense for them. If Hamilton indeed does sign with the Angels, the Rangers starting outfield has just become a combination of Nelson Cruz, Julio Borbon, Craig Gentry, Leonys Martin and David Murphy. Outside of Cruz, not a very formidable group.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I mean from Soriano’s geographic preference perspective (updated to make that clear). He hasn’t indicated a willingness to head south and west. He wants to go east, if at all possible. I simply said I wasn’t sure if there’s a fit there, not that he definitely wouldn’t.

      • Matty V

        Ah, I completely forgot about Soriano’s say in all of this. You’re right. He does seem to be very picky about where he might eventually end up. It makes sense now why it might not be a fit. If I’m the Rangers, and the market dries up, I’d think about trying to convince him to come play there again.

        • Muck

          I think he’d give up his rights for going east to go to Texas. He’s played there before as i recall and the ballpark there should definitely benefit him. And a team thats been to the world series twice in the last 3 years i think he wouldn’t mind going there.

      • North Side Irish

        Isn’t Soriano’s preference to be closer to his home in the DR? Isn’t that why he doesn’t want to go west? Because the distance between Dallas and Santa Domingo is only about 10 miles more than between Chicago and SD. Obviously not closer, but not really further either.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          I’m sure that’s a big part of it – a lot of his games would be played on West Coast, though, for whatever that’s worth. He hasn’t laid it out perfectly clearly.

    • TC

      Well, Young was one of the worst players in baseball last year, so they’re certainly not going to miss him. To replace Napoli and Hamilton, they definitely have options.

      There have been talks of moving Kinsler to 1B so Profar could play 2B to start the season. They could also move Kinsler to the OF, bring up Profar to play 2B, and hope that Moreland hits just enough at 1B until Olt is ready to come up and play 1B.

      They might have some small interest in Soriano if they move Kinsler to 1st, but their overall loss isn’t quite as bad as it seems, and I can’t imagine they’d move big-time prospects to get a Soriano type into their lineup

      • Matty V

        You’re probably right about them not wanting to move big time prospects for Soriano unless there were more parts to the trade. I’ll also admit that I’m way ahead of myself because there are still some quality OF names on the free agent board. I guess anytime I see team possibly needing some OF help, my mind instantly jumps to, “We should trade them Soriano.”

        • TC

          Yeah, I do the same thing too, lol

  • Justin

    Angels wont trade Trumbo unless they get another teams entire top 20 prosects(overexagerated of course)

    • Patrick W.

      I think you’re closer to the truth than you think. Trumbo would cost 3 top 25 prospects, but man would he look pretty sweet in pinstripes.

      • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

        Trumbo seems to me a pretty overrated player because of his power.

        • Justin

          Well think about what he did in the AL and just imagine what he would do in the NL and especially with the Wrigley winds

        • Patrick W.

          His power is special. The “I am not remotely qualified to judge but to my eye” test over the course of watching him about 15 times last year suggests the power will last for awhile. He crushes the ball and is getting better at hitting breaking balls. His walk rate has improved as well. He did have a jump in his BABIP. Let me put it to you this way: The Angels interest in trading him is probably much lower than the Cubs interest in getting him.

          • Justin

            That’s what I am saying that there is no way the Angels think about it unless another team throws their top prospects at them.

            • Patrick W.

              In no way are we disagreeing.

  • CubsFanBob

    How happy am I that both the Rangers and Angels have games vs the Cubs at Wrigley this year !!!! :)

  • Lou

    Actually, the Cubs could benefit if they could get in on a three-team trade with Rangers and Diamondbacks for Upton, because, now the Rangers have to be SERIOUSLY motivated to get him. Especially, since the fell short of winning the whole enchilada not ONCE but TWICE.

  • http://thecubcontrarian.blogspot.com/ Kyle

    Pretty surprised someone went five on Hamilton. Maybe more surprising than Fielder getting eight last year.

    • terencem

      Not to mention that doesn’t do anything for their pitching staff so I guess a trade must be coming.

      • Eric

        Maybe we could interest them in Garza or Shark for a gold mine haul?

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Maybe, but we might be letting our NL blinders affect us: that deal is nuts for an NL team as Hamilton probably will not be able to play OF in 4-5 years. However, he can still DH then.

      I’ve focused on how poorly Texas has done this off-season, but the Angels had not done much while the cross-county Dodgers have done a ton. I wonder if that was a motivation.

      • Lou

        Oh, it’s gotta be.

        • Brian

          Yeah, but now when he and Pujols are both defensively inept you have a problem on who to DH with.

      • KidCubbie

        I dont think the are going to put Hamilton in CF with Trout there.

  • Patrick W.

    Soriano would make a lot of sense for the Rangers, but they have less in their system to match up with the Cubs. Soriano would make even more sense for the Mariners and they have a lot of talent in the Cubs wheelhouse. Trouble is, Soriano seems to be suggesting he doesn’t want to go to either place, based on his request for an eastern half of the country team (forget Mariners for sure, Texas probably) and ready to contend (forget Mariners). Too bad, I think Soriano and Seattle were meant for each other. I for one would love to see him suit up 150 times in the new, smaller left field at Safeco.

    • terencem

      The Angels have 6 outfielders in their depth chart now with Hamilton. If anything, they’ll be sending outfielders away.

      • Patrick W.

        Oh yeah, no chance to move an outfielder to the Angels. Texas and Seattle however need one each (at least). I could see the Mariners making a play for David DeJesus. They have seen him a lot and had interest in him in the past. He’s the kind of guy Jack Zduriencik likes. Sold defense, good team guy.

        • Lou

          Or the Phillies might take a flyer on DeJesus since they’re looking for a LF with some OBP.

    • http://facebook #1cubsfan2013

      trade sori and marmol to mariners for SP:James Paxton and C: Jack Marder

  • BWA

    The Angels lineup will be terrifying!

  • http://bleachernation.com someday…2015?

    And another domino falls. :)

  • Muck

    Alright as soon as I heard this now that Hamilton took an outfield spot we go for Peter Bourjos now. I know Brett has talked about it in previous posts.

    • cjdubbya

      That’s probably the OF they’re more likely to move (as compared to Trumbo), but not the OF they want to move (Wells…yeesh).

      • Muck

        I would love to have Bourjos out there. Another minor deal but i don’t care i love the sound of that.

        • terencem

          I would definitely kick the tires but I think the rumors are already swirling that they’d like to use Bourjos and Trumbo to chase a pitcher.

  • morgan

    wish the cubs would of got hamilton for a 5 year deal

    • Brian Peters

      Sooooo, morgan……like so many on this site, you want the Cubs to bankrupt their future like they have with Soriano, Bradley, Zambrano, etc.? THE CUBS ARE NOT GOING TO COMPETE FOR AT LEAST A COUPLE YEARS. WHY WOULD HAMILTON, WHO HAS BEEN SO CLOSE TO ATTAINING THAT MAGICAL RING WANT TO COME TO A TEAM THAT ISN’T AT THAT POINT YET? And why would the Cubs want to throw good money after bad to pick up a player with the kind of baggage Hamilton is toting around??? Think about it……..

    • Morken

      Morgan -

      A lot of fans on here are going to bash your post. Why? The thought is that Josh Hamilton deviates from “the plan”. Expensive, aging free agents don’t make sense for the Cubs in their current position.

      In wanting Hamilton, you aren’t totally wrong, Morgan(At some point, the Cubs are going to have to upgrade their dreadful roster). The hope is, however, that Theo and company have a much younger, cheaper option, up their sleeve.

      • Morken

        Let me add:

        Fans on here who are so blindly invested in the Cubs’ “plan” are similar to people who are afraid to honestly express their opinions of a highly reviewed movie. People want to seem smart, so the safe thing to do is not question, otherwise, it seems as if they are unable of understanding it.

        Example:

        “The Master”, “Killing Them Softly” and “LIncoln”

        They stunk! However, you will continuous hear people wax poetically about them.

        • TWC

          People want to seem smart, so the safe thing to do is not question…

          Jeeeeezus, and you were accusing Ace of being patronizing? What a load of condescending crap.

          • Morken

            After a while, it grows tiresome watching anyone who’s opposed to the pan, be bashed.

            I can openly admit to being patronizing. It was my intent.

            • Cubbie Blues

              You don’t think listening to Negative Nancys all the time doesn’t grow tiring? You basically call anyone who agrees with the FO a lemming and then get mad that they don’t think the same way as you do. By the way, differing in opinion is not the same as bashing.

            • TWC

              After a while, it grows tiresome watching anyone who’s opposed to the pan, be bashed.

              Well, boo-fucking-hoo for you, Merken.

              So go ahead and bash those who support “the plan”. Because, like, an eye for an eye, and all that. Don’t bother trying to elevate the discourse, just entrench yourself on one side and lob bombs at the other.

              • hansman1982

                It’s amazing how often I see “those against the plan” rail about being mocked for being opposed to the plan by mocking “those with the plan” for being so stupid as to be unable to comprehend that there are other options out there.

                • Cubbie Blues

                  [img]http://dl.dropbox.com/u/77510188/G-G/Ears%20in%20Armpits.gif[/img]

                  • Cubbie Blues

                    well dangit it got cut off
                    It said

                    Would we have to raise our hands to hear people talk?

                    • beerhelps

                      Garfield minus Garfield … good slightly twisted stuff. I like it.

          • Pat

            That’s nowhere near as condecending as what Brian wrote above. Or any of the other people who claim thayt those who disagree with parts of the plan simply don’t understand it.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          “Fans on here who are so blindly invested in the Cubs’ “plan” are similar to people who are afraid to honestly express their opinions of a highly reviewed movie. People want to seem smart, so the safe thing to do is not question, otherwise, it seems as if they are unable of understanding it.”

          I guess I’m just a dope. Thanks again for clearing it up for me – and all without being patronizing or hypocritical. Great chat.

        • bbmoney

          People who speak in such broad generalities typically don’t know what they’re talking about.

          Wait…..

  • Cubbie Blues

    Guess this means the Cubs didn’t try to get Hamilton.

    • TC

      ….can’t tell if you’re serious, Tim

      • Spencer

        He isn’t

        • Cubbie Blues

          Not even a little bit.

          • Pat

            I’ll bet we hear at some point about how they came in second in the bidding. No really, they did. Ask Jed to see his participation medal if you need proof.

  • Brian Peters

    AGGHHHHHHHH!!!!!!! Brett, help me out here….I’m losing my sanity banging my head against my computer screen. Why can’t people just CHILLLLLL the F out and be PATIENT…………………??????

    • Eric

      I KNOW OMG I WISH PPL WOULD JUST FN RELAX GGGGGGGGGGGGGGDMMMMM.

    • Danny Ballgame

      Calmer than you are

    • hansman1982

      At this point their anger is only making me stronger and stronger. Soon I will be able to bring my dead wife back…

  • Morken

    Theo and company should have Jerry Dipoto on speed dial(Peter Bourjos, Mark Trumbo).

  • Justin

    Texas was all worried about giving Hamilton more than 3 years, but didn’t know that their division rival would be stealing him. I wonder if Hamlton did what he said he was going to do and let Texas match or compete with any offer? Don’t see any reports if he did or not. Any word?

    • Lou

      Apparently, Hamilton never gave the Rangers a chance to match Angels offer per Twitter….so that ended well. PFFT!

    • TC

      The reports are saying that Hamilton’s agent simply called the Rangers and said “He’s gone”

      • Stevie B

        For the love of everything holy, I hope he didn’t throw a Hawk at them and say….

        “HE GONE!!!!”

    • Justin

      Wow can’t wait until he visits Arlington, that will be interesting. I don’t blame him though. He gave Texas enough chances and they didn’t want to give what he wanted, so why not jump all over this offer? I think Texas is dumb for letting him go and not giving him what he wants. They get Angels draft pick and that’s it. Now they have to find a replacement for him, but that person is not going to be an MVP cantidate every year.

  • Chase S.

    I’ve heard some talk that the Cubs should pursue Trumbo but, meh. He has a high K rate, low walk rate, his UZR at 3B is scary (given a very short sample size, but is OF uzr is telling enough)… I’m not sold. That, of course depends on if the Angels would even move him. Please for the love of Dawson get Bourjos!

    • Njriv

      I agree with you, but besides Rizzo and if they do trade Soriano the Cubs are really not going to have a power threat in the line-up, that’s why I like Trumbo, but his K/BB rate is a problem.

    • Patrick W.

      Honest question, why Bourjos over Trumbo? You mention BB%. Boujos, lifetime in pros (majors and minors): 6.3%, Trumbo, lifetime in pros: 6.8%. K% for Bourjos, lifetime: 19.3%. Trumbo, lifetime 20.4%.

      Is it all defense?

      • Chase S.

        I think, yes, given where Trumbo plays and given the Cubs’ needs I’d take Bourjos over him any day. I’d much rather have an average hitting good fielding 3rd baseman as opposed to a mashing iffy defensive natural 1st baseman playing 3rd base. I’m not terribly keen on Bourjos but if it came down to those two I’d take him over Trumbo, definitely.

        • Chase S.

          Well assuming the Cubs can get an average hitting good defending 3B…

          • Patrick W.

            I wouldn’t take Trumbo to play 3B. I would take him for the OF. I think he’s below average defensively anywhere, but I think his power makes up for defense more than Bourjos’ defense makes up for his lack of power.

  • Spencer

    Five years is one more than I would’ve been comfortable with the Cuba signing him for. The money per is lower than I expected.

  • Lou

    MLBtraderumors is up to 504 comments….that’s got to be record. Yeah, Brett, this definitely has a major ripple effect.

  • Curt

    Wish the cubs were as broke as the angels.

  • David K-luv

    The Angels rotation is horrible. After CJ Wilson, who is not great but good at best, there really is noone else. The Cubs should try to package Garza for possibly Kaleb Cowart (3B) and some pitching prospects? What do you all think?

    • Lou

      Here’s the thing, though, people are already speculating on a RA Dickey trade with Mets.

    • kranzman54

      Really? Weaver is horrible? What are you talking about?

    • HateDempMore

      Weaver?

    • kranzman54

      Plus, they just traded for Tommy Hanson, Jerome Williams is fine for a 4 and Garrett Richards is okay for a 5 but he is just 24. I would argue they have the 2nd best or best rotation in the west?

    • Seth

      Ummm what about Jered Weaver? but besides that yes they could use a pitcher or 2.

  • Lou

    Red Sox sign Dempster. 2 yrs $26.5.

  • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

    WHY would the Angels go for Matt Garza instead of RA Dickey??

  • cRAaZYHORSE

    Wow if the Angels sign Hamilton for 5 years is bold . I did not think that the Angels would sign him ,overall angels fans must be happy . I am sure their must be a few thousand fans screaming that Angels are over paying too compete in the West and they are giving up their future to succeed. but i am sure their front Office will compensate if and when that time happens just like the way Cub front Office fans are sure that all our minor league stars will be super stars .

    • BWA

      The difference is the Angels are ready to win now and signing Hamilton makes them a legitimate world series contender. Signing Hamilton for the Cubs would make them a 75 win team. 3-4 years down the road, when the Cubs have a bigger core signing older guys like Hamilton and overpaying makes sense. Until then, we need to stick to long-term assets. Hopefully Sanchez is a Cub before the offseason is over.

      • David

        They’re already probably a 75 win team (as constructed – not factoring in a sell off).

      • cRAaZYHORSE

        . If you take all the payroll that the Angels have added these past two years and subtract those players and replace them HMO players I think the Angels would look like the Cubs

  • AB

    wow, look at Hamiton’s career numbers at SafeCO, Oakland, Anaheim vs. Arlington

  • David K-luv

    Clearly Weaver is the #1 but I’m saying after CJ Wilson who is the #2, the Angels don’t have much. Sorry for the confusion but I feel that at this point the Angels are clearly built to win and they need starting pitching. We could possibly offer them Garza and now might be the best time to get the best return possible for him.

  • EQ76

    a Garza for Trumbo package could be nice.

  • B_Scwared

    Rather than Trumbo or Bourjos, will we take on Wells and his awful salary if the halos provide prospects in the deal? We would have to give someone back to make it look somewhat legitimate but they have to be itching to get that contract off the books.

    To be clear, I do not want Wells. I know he is done. The point would be to use our available money in a creative way to “buy” prospects.

    • JR

      I think that’s a good idea. It would be the same as buying prospects. A way to go around the CBA spending limit on the draft. Hey Angels will take that turd contract on if you give some young talent back. I like it..

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