Great Day to Be an Angels Fan

The double-coup the Angels pulled on Tuesday was easily one of the peaks of the baseball season. First, things got exciting when reports in the morning said the Angels were warming to the idea of acquiring Mark Teixeira from the Braves. Later in the day, the dream became reality and the Angels all of a sudden had the three-hitter they so desperately have needed the last three years. As soon as I heard that it had happened, I began to worry about who the Angels had lost. It was obvious that Casey Kotchman was gone, but I also figured maybe prospects like Adenhart or Wood, or one of the spare outfielders like Willits or Rivera would be gone, too. I wasn’t too happy to think about life without Kotchman since he’s a solid all-around player, delivering clutch hits and playing a Gold Glove first base. But come on, it’s Mark Teixeira — a guy who can produce the way Vlad did during his MVP years with the Angels. It didn’t take long for me to get pumped up and celebrate like the Halos just signed Jack Parkman.

As if the Teixeira acquisition wasn’t enough, John Lackey went out and slayed his Fenway Park dragon by almost throwing a no-hitter. Even though he allowed a hit and home run back-to-back in the 9th, the statement was bold — the Angels are no longer chumps in Fenway Park — they can beat the Red Sox anywhere. The Angels have now gone 7-1 against the Red Sox this year and are going for their second sweep of Boston this year on Wednesday night. Now the irony would be if the Angels turned the corner on the Red Sox — a team that’s owned them and eliminated them from the playoffs recently — and all of a sudden couldn’t beat the Yankees. The Yanks are the exact opposite from the Red Sox for Anaheim — a team they’ve owned in the regular season and knocked out of the playoffs on a regular basis. Now if they could just combine the two, they’d be set.

Of course there are two more elements here at work. First of all, the Angels finally pulled the trigger on a deadline deal that will hopefully put them over the top. Perhaps they’re slightly closer than they’ve been the last few years when they failed to make a deadline deal, but they’re not much different in terms of the talent in their organization. Initially I was inclined to say that Reagins was able to pull the trigger on a deal that Stoneman couldn’t last year, but the Angels also got Tex for a much cheaper price than what the Braves had to give up to Texas last year. Still, I’m just pleased that GM Tony Reagins made it happen and I’m even more pleased to hear him say they’re “in it to win a World Championship.” Does it get much better than that? Some GMs are content just being in it to win the division or make the playoffs — Reagins wants to win it all. Gotta love that.

The other element in play is the “rental” aspect of Teixeira. Sure, I’m not too happy that we won’t have a first baseman in all likelihood entering the off-season, but I’m sure we can cross that bridge when we get there. Kotchman was an easy-enough price to pay for three months of Teixeira. And do I think the Angels will sign him in the off-season? They’ll make an offer I’m guessing, but they won’t have anywhere near the money Boras is making it sound like will take to sign Tex. You have to figure the Yankees will have a big say in matters, especially will all the money they have coming off the books this year. Now they could venture into the $150+ million range for Teixeira which is something I doubt the Angels will do (especially with offers to K-Rod and Lackey looming). Sometimes you just gotta say “What the ___ and make your move.” That’s pretty much all that matters at this point, and that’s exactly what Reagins did. Everything else will come in time.

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  • Anders(on) Varejao

    I’m always a little questioning of these rental type deals, but this seems to be a good gamble, especially if they can somehow manage to resign him.

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    Very solid move from a team that is very quiet around the trade deadline time. I like rooting for the Angels (indians fan) and its too bad for all the yankee fans because now tex, vladdy, and crew get to smash the yankees heads in for 8 games which should be fun. I root for the Angels because the can consistently beat the Yankees.

    If they weren’t the front runners to win the AL pennant, now after this trade, they have to be considered the best shot at winning the World Series imo. Deep, solid starting pitching, very good bullpen, best closer in baseball and a solid hitting lineup throughout.

    I wonder why the Braves didn’t ask for Gary Matthews Jr. back? Such a reasonable contract…

  • http://obscuresportsquarterly.wordpress.com Gilbert

    Amazing Day. That was fun.

  • Gene

    A great day for Angel fans for 2008. Texeira gives them the bat they need to win the World Series this year.

    The obvious risk is to catch a bad break and somehow not win the World Series and the subsequent failure to sign Texeira to a long term contract. The latter is a real possibility, with Scott Boras being his agent.

    If that happens, what is the Angels’ Plan B for a first baseman after this season, now that Casey Kotchman is gone?

  • http://larrybrownsports.com Larry Brown

    You know, I’m really scratching my head on this one why the Braves didn’t want Matthews’ contract in return. Seemed like a bargain.

    As for the Angels future, they could look to Kendry Morales internally … or there are some real gang busters becoming free agents in the offseason — Jason Giambi (club option at $22 mil), Richie Sexson, Sean Casey, Carlos Delgado (club option at $16mil) … and a few other yawners.

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