Angels out of Teixeira Derby


The Los Angeles Angels made a surprising move on Sunday evening by pulling their mega-offer to free agent Mark Teixeira. According to sources, owner Arte Moreno determined that Teixeira didn’t want to come back to the Angels, and that his team was just being used to drive up the price. Whether that is true or not remains to be seen.

So since the Angels are out of the “Tex Mix”, what can fans expect now? A few things, actually.

First off, fans need to get used to the name Kendry Morales. Most fans are disappointed at the loss of Teixeira (and rightfully so), and many are still upset about the Kotchman trade. But let me make a bold prediction: Not only is Morales better than Kotchman, but this writer thinks he can approach Teixeira territory. And he’s only 25.

Before you start laughing, hear me out. Take a look at Morales’ career line in the minors: .332/.373/.528, giving him an OPS of .901. Should we expect Kendry to put up those numbers in his first full season? Of course not. But I don’t think he’s far off. Morales showed he can hit each time he was called up to the Majors, and he’s shown he can hit in the clutch (see ALDS, 2008). Have some faith, Angels fans – we may have a younger, much cheaper Teixeira on our hands.

Besides “K-Mo”, I think Angels fans can expect the front office to land at least one bullpen arm and another hitter. As much as I like guys like Torii Hunter, Juan Rivera and Kendry Morales, I don’t think they are the answer to a solid cleanup hitter. If I could do anything, I would want the Angels to land free agent Adam Dunn. While Dunn may not be the typical “Angel-type” player, his bat is exactly what they need.

Dunn has hit 40 homers in each of the last 4 years, and has an OBP through the roof. If Vlad Guerrero’s knees hold up after this last surgery and he’s able to play in right field more, Dunn would make an ideal DH. When Vlad needs a day off or a day to DH, you’d have many options – Dunn can play LF while Juan Rivera plays RF, Dunn can play 1B while Morales plays RF, or Dunn could just jump into RF. Call me crazy, but if the Angels can sign a huge power hitter for relatively cheap, why wouldn’t they?

Lastly, I expect the Angels to sign Brian Fuentes. Why, you ask? Fuentes has made it clear that he wants to play in Anaheim, the Angels tried to get him as last year’s trade deadline, and they could use another lefty arm. Sounds like a perfect fit, right? Well, mostly.

For this to work out, Fuentes’ asking price of 3 years, $30 million would have to drop a bit. Considering his market is pretty weak right now and the fact that he wants to be here, I think the Angels could land him for 3 years, $21-22 million. At that price, you’d be crazy to pass up on one of the best free agent relievers out there.

So while most fans may view this offseason as a total failure should Teixeira depart (which, at this point, is about 99% certain), there’s reason to hold out hope. The Angels have a solid core of young players (Howie Kendrick, Ervin Santana, Joe Saunders and Mike Napoli), they have a few names that could make huge splashes in 2009 (Kendry Morales, Brandon Wood and Nick Adenhart), and they have money to spend on some solid free agents.

Hold to the faith, Angels fans – this offseason ain’t over yet.