The Angels struck out in the free agent signing season but they eventually got a big bat they wanted, sort of. They traded Juan Rivera and Mike Napoli to the Jays for All Star Vernon Wells. Vernon had a come back season last year and he belted 31 home runs while posting his best ERA+ (127) since 2006.
The downside is, Wells is set to make a ton of money beginning this year. He can opt out of his contract after 2011 although I find that doubtful because he’s set to make $86 million over the next four years. This is an interesting, high risk move so it’ll be interesting to see if it pans out. Wells had a few mediocre seasons between 2006 and 2010 so he has been prone to under perform.
The Angels missed out on Adrian Beltre but they can’t be too sad because they’re some top notch talent on the way in the next few years. Kevin Goldstein put out his top eleven Angels prospect list and the Angels have two five stars and three four stars at the top of the list. Coming in at number one was Mike Trout, the Angels first round pick in 2009. This outfielder can rake and while he’s still probably over a year away, he’s moving up the ladder quickly.
Number two is second baseman Jean Segura. Also a couple of years away, this guy can also rake and Goldstein talks about how the Angels relish the idea of Seguara and Archer hitting at the top of the Angels lineup in the future.
Jordan Walden is third and he’s the top pitching prospect. He’s major league ready and got some time with the Angels in 2010. He’s been deemed the closer of the future but this year he’ll probably round out a solid pen. Hank Conger (catcher, major league ready) and Kaleb Cowart (Angels first round pick in 2010) round out the top five.
Overall, Goldstein says the Angels are a top ten system. He seems really high on Trout so he bears keeping an eye on.
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