The Angels‘ basis for acquiring Dan Haren was the future, not the 2010 season. However, considering they shouldn’t write off this year, they went in the wrong direction. While a starter would help, they needed to improve their offense and bullpen first, and then move their focus to starter.
I feel this was a bit of a “tit-for-tat” (to steal Christina Kahrl‘s phrase–here is her take on the move) deal. The Angels’ primary rival in the AL West, the Rangers, made a strong move to acquire one of baseball’s best pitchers in Cliff Lee. There was no way the Angels were just going to sit back and let Texas take the division. They had to make a matching trade. In Haren, they have a pitcher signed through 2012 with a club option for 2013. Yet, Haren will have no marking on 2010 unless the Halos can find a power bat they desperately need to replace the injured Kendry Morales.
Remember, this is the AL West we’re talking about, NOT the AL East. The Halos sit 8 ½ games behind the Rangers. It’s a large gap to overcome but not insurmountable as the Rangers are not the Yankees, Rays or Red Sox.
I also question the Angels’ acquisition of Alberto Callaspo. He is nothing but an extra pair of legs, a slap hitter with little pop (.403 SLG, .131 ISO) and certainly not the prototypical third baseman. This was a purely depth move, and if the Angels want to seriously consider chasing down the Rangers, they need to make moves that are more than that. This is the end of July, not the middle of December.
Here are some Angels’ rankings in a few categories that need fixing:
They desperately need a big bat and another reliever wouldn’t hurt, either. The Halos have never really been a slugging club, but to compete with the powerful hitters from Arlington, they’re going to need a big bat. Mike Scioscia could also use another reliever (to move a middle of the road bullpen into the top tier) and a fourth or fifth starter to add to a pool with Scott Kazmir, Trevor Bell, or Michael Kohn as options. It’s worth noting that the Angels are seventh in the AL in runs scored but 11th in runs allowed. Haren should help close the gap there, but adding a veteran presence to the rotation could do wonders.
Here are eight acquisition suggestions I have for the Angels:
RHP Brett Myers, Astros
7-6, 3.24 ERA, 3.99 SIERA, 2.8 SNLVAR, 24.4 VORP
RHP Jake Westbrook, Indians
6-7, 4.65 ERA, 4.43 SIERA, 1.3 SNLVAR, 10.4 VORP
RHP D.J. Carrasco, Pirates
2-2, 3.95 ERA, 3.23 SIERA, 0.70 WXRL, 8.1 VORP
RHP Octavio Dotel, Pirates
2-2, 20 SV, 4.50 ERA, 3.12 SIERA, 1.06 WXRL, 1.3 VORP
RHP Livan Hernandez, Nationals
7-6, 3.12 ERA, 4.80 SIERA, 3.8 SNLVAR, 32.9 VORP
1B Adam LaRoche, Diamondbacks
14 HR, .195 ISO, .450 SLG, .045 MLVr, .269 TAv, 5.5 VORP
1B Lyle Overbay, Blue Jays
11 HR, .163 ISO, .411 SLG, -.020 MLVr, .263 TAv, 2.8 VORP
3B Jorge Cantu, Marlins
10 HR, .150 ISO, 410 SLG, -.026 MLVr, .257 TAv, 4.9 VORP
Jesse Behr is a Baseball Prospectus intern.