INF Maicer Izturis (trade); OF Juan Rivera (trade); RHP Dustin Moseley
(trade); SS Orlando Cabrera (free agent – 4 years); RHP Paul Byrd (free-agent
– 1 year); RHP Esteban Yan (free agent – 2 years); OF Steve Finley (free
agent – 2 years with option for 2007); INF/OF Kendry Morales (free agent – 6
years); 2B Lou Merloni (free agent – minor league contract).
OF Jose Guillen (traded to Washington); INF Alfredo Amezaga (claimed off
waivers by Colorado); RHP Ramon Ortiz (traded to Cincinnati); 3B Troy Glaus
(free agent – Arizona); Right-handed Closer Troy Percival (free agent –
Detroit); SS David Eckstein (free agent – St. Louis); 1B Andres Galarraga
(free agent – Mets minor league contract); 3B Shane Halter (free agent –
Tampa Bay minor league contract); OF Raul Mondesi (free agent – Atlanta); 2B
Adam Riggs (free agent – Japan); RHP Aaron Sele (free agent – Seattle).
1: 2B Chone Figgins/Adam Kennedy
2: 1B Darin Erstad
3: RF Vladimir Guerrero
4: LF Garret Anderson
5: CF Steve Finley
6: SS Orlando Cabrera
7: 3B Dallas McPherson
8: C Bengie Molina
9: DH Robb Quinlan
Chone Figgins will be filling in at second base for the recovering Adam
Kennedy, who had reconstructive knee surgery. Figgins made a name for himself
last season as the Angels "super sub," filling in quite successfully
wherever he was needed. The Angels, who are always finding room for Figgy in
their lineup, will need to find a new place for him once Kennedy returns.
The American League Gold Glove winner at first base, Darin Erstad, is back to
defend his title. Ersty’s role will be the same as it always was: playing
all-out on the field, and setting the table at the plate. No one defends the bag
like Erstad, but the Angels have 1B Casey Kotchman and 1B Kendry Morales waiting
What is there to say about Vladimir Guerrero? The guy is a monster! He lived
up to every expectation in 2004, carrying the team on his back most of the way.
He was the Angels MVP and the AL MVP. He will prove to be the same steady right
fielder with awesome defense and powerful offense.
Garret Anderson is looking to come back from his first injury-ridden season.
He will make the move from center field back to left field, which will hopefully
take some pressure off his arthritic body. Anderson is said to be feeling great
with little or no pain. The team is hoping that he can return to his consistent
success at the plate.
Former Dodger, Steve Finley, will be filling the hole at center field.
Finley, a 16-year veteran, brings experience and success to the position at
center. He is a four-time Gold Glove winner and leads all active players in
career triples with 109. His walk-off grand slam in the 9th inning vs. the
Giants on October 1 clinched the NL West for Los Angeles. The Angels are excited
to see what Finley can do for them behind Guerrero and Anderson in the lineup.
When the Angels signed Orlando Cabrera, the acquisition left no room for SS
David Eckstein, and the Angels did not offer him a 2005 contract. The fan
favorite’s departure shocked Angel’s fans, as the St. Louis Cardinals
quickly scooped up the free agent. Eckstein’s departure left a hole in some of
the fan’s hearts, but he won’t leave a hole at shortstop. Cabrera is known
for his nice range on the field and has a career .977 fielding percentage as a
shortstop. The Angels expect him to be a great asset on the field.
Cabrera’s nice range should help out the rookie third baseman, Dallas
McPherson. McPherson proved himself nicely with a bat last season, filling in
for the injured Troy Glaus. The Angels liked his performance so much that they
decided to give him his chance at third by not signing the free agent Glaus.
McPherson has a good eye at the plate with plenty of power, but it is his
defense that needs some practice. The Angels hope that he can follow in Glaus’
successful third baseman shoes.
The two-time Gold Glover, Bengie Molina, will continue to provide direction
as the Angel’s backstop. Molina will continue to be one of the best catcher’s
in baseball and hopefully provide consistency with his bat. The only downfall to
Bengie is his base running speed, but that is no surprise to anyone.
Robb Quinlan also proved himself last season with his glove at third base and
his bat. Quinlan made no errors at third and had a 21-game hit streak, before
his season ended with a torn oblique muscle. He was also named Rookie of the
Month for July. The Angels have plenty of other choices at DH, but Quinlan will
fit in nicely here. If McPherson doesn’t do well at third, Quinlan could be a
contender there as well.
OF Juan Rivera
OF Jeff DaVanon
DH Tim Salmon
1B Casey Kotchman
SS Maicer Izturis
INF/OF Kendry Morales
C Jose Molina
C Josh Paul
The Angels have always been known for their great depth on the bench. If
someone gets hurt, there will always be a backup. Rivera is a new addition to
this depth and will be competing with DaVanon for at bats and playing time in
the reserve role.
Tim Salmon is coming off of knee and shoulder surgery, so it is likely that
he will only see time at DH. How much time he will see at that position is yet
to be determined. It is likely that he will miss most of the season, not
returning until possibly August, September, or later. However, with Quinlan and
all of the new additions, DH will be a stacked position.
Casey Kotchman came up from AA last year to fill the shoes of the injured
Erstad. During that time he proved that he was ready for the big leagues. He and
Maicer Izturis will probably fill most of their time coming in off the bench as
late-inning replacements and might start games when Scioscia wants to give his
starters a day off. If Kendry Morales makes the major league team, then he too
would factor in as a utility player or a pinch hitter.
The Angels will never be out of catchers with two on the bench. Last season,
Jose Molina split time with his brother Bengie in the catcher role. Jose is just
as effective as Bengie and brings a little bit more speed to the plate. Josh
Paul mostly saw time last year as a pinch hitter, but held his own in the
catcher role as well.
RH Bartolo Colon
RH Kelvim Escobar
LH Jarrod Washburn
RH Paul Byrd
RH John Lackey
Bartolo Colon had some ups and downs in 2004, but he is still considered the
number one pitcher and will more than likely be the Opening Day starter.
Kelvim Escobar deserves the number two slot, as he was the most consistent
pitcher the Angels had during the 2004 campaign. You wouldn’t know he was the
most consistent pitcher from his win-loss record, but there were many games
where he pitched 1 run baseball and still lost.
Jarrod Washburn, once considered the ace of the staff, still holds his own on
the mound. He serves as the only lefty starter on the mound, which gives him
some leverage. Last season, he pitched his first complete game shutout, proving
that there’s still plenty more where that came from.
Paul Byrd and John Lackey will be vying for the fourth spot. Lackey had some
ups and downs in his second complete season. He too pitched a complete game
shutout in 2004, and won 11 of his last 17 decisions of the season.
Paul Byrd came back from Tommy John surgery on June 19 of last season while
he was with the Atlanta Braves. He made 19 starts and had a record of 8-7. He
allowed three earned runs or less in 15 of his 19 starts. The Angels are looking
to him to add more consistency in their rotation.
Closer Francisco Rodriguez
MR Brendan Donnelly
MR/LR Scot Shields
MR/LR Kevin Gregg
MR Scott Dunn/Matt Hensley
MR/LR Esteban Yan
The Angels decided not to sign free agent Troy Percival in favor of Francisco
Rodriguez (K-Rod). K-Rod filled in for the injured Percival quite a bit last
season, thus proving that he was ready for the closer role. K-Rod was lights out
in 2004, with 123 strikeouts in 84 innings of work, and will only get better in
the closer role in 2005.
Brendan Donnelly missed the first half of the season due to an injury
sustained during Spring Training. When he did come back in June, he did not have
the command and velocity that he is known for. However, he pitched better in the
second half. In 2005 he looks to reassume his role as the setup man.
Scot Shields was a great middle relief pitcher in 2004, and almost had as
many strikeouts as K-Rod with 109. He is also known to spot start when needed,
and can be a long relief pitcher. Shields is expected to continue his role as a
dependable and exceptional relief pitcher.
Kevin Gregg also filled in nicely last season as both a middle reliever and a
long reliever. He proved that he could be effective whether he’s pitching for
4 batters or 4 innings. He had a 5-2 record in 2004, with 84 strikeouts. He
should continue to be able to pitch effectively when he’s needed.
Scott Dunn and Matt Hensley are still young pitchers learning the ropes in
the big leagues. They will probably see less time than the other pitchers in the
pen. Hensley did well last season, pitching in 16 games with 30 strikeouts in
27.2 innings pitched. However, he also gave up 15 earned runs. Scott Dunn only
pitched in 3 games and 3 innings in 2004, giving up 3 runs and striking out 2.
With more experience in the majors, these two have the stuff to be good relief
Esteban Yan brings more depth to the bullpen. In 2004, he filled every relief
role from long man to closer at sometime during the season. His versatility will
be welcomed on a team that prides itself on depth.
BIGGEST QUESTION MARK:
Can the starting pitching hold up? The Angels didn’t have much difficulty
with their offense last season, with players like Vladimir Guerrero and Jose
Guillen. It was mostly the starting pitching that gave them trouble. If the
offense keeps up the good work, and the pitching keeps the score close, the
Angels should have no problem.
McPherson all ready broke into the big leagues last season, but is looking to
show his talent on the field. He has the power to hit big numbers like his
predecessor Glaus, but he will need to prove that his defense is just as solid.
The Angels are always looking to get to the playoffs, and their chances are
looking good for 2005. They look to be atop the AL West standings, with the A’s
losing two of their "Big Three" pitchers. Texas still has a potent
lineup, but somehow couldn’t get it done last season, and Seattle did a great
job beefing up their lineup this off-season. However, if the Angels can somehow
regain the magic they had in 2002, and if everyone stays healthy, they have a
great chance of making it to the playoffs. The rest will be up to them.