The Hot Stove Season Begins....

Friday is a big day for fans of the LA Angels. This Friday - November 11 - is the first day that free-agents are allowed to talk to teams other than their employer from 2005. If you read - and believe - the LA Times, Friday could be the day that Ben Molina and Jarrod Washburn begin negotiating with shiny new organizations about their first post-Angel contract. Additionally, this could be the day that Bill Stoneman picks up the phone in his office to call the agent for Manny Ramirez, Paul Konerko or even Mike Piazza to begin discussions about adding a much-needed right-handed bat to the lineup.

So, in hopes that Bill Stoneman finds this blog (unlikely) and then listens to what I have to say (more unlikely) here is a quick list of what I would want to see him do in the upcoming free-agent market.

1) Let Molina and Washburn walk and be someone else's high-priced acquisition.

I doubt that there is ANYONE left who believes that a four-year contract for B-Mo is a good idea at this point in his career. Why do teams have guys like Jeff Mathis if they are afraid to give them a shot in the show?

Similarly, as good as Washburn was in 2005 there is no way that he is going to sign for less than $8 million per year and that is a lot to pay a pitcher that K's less than 5 batters per nine innings.

2) Avoid Konerko like the plague.

Konerko is a fine player, but not worth the $12-$14 million per year that he might end up with. Additionally, Casey Kotchman is the starting first baseman for this team going into 2006 - or at least he should be.

3) Re-sign Paul Byrd to a one year contract to take the fifth spot in the rotation. This will make for a rotation of Colon, Escobar, Lackey, Santana and Byrd. Expect regression from Colon to be mitigated by improvement from Santana and Escobar. If Lackey v.2005 is the new level of performance we can expect from John Lackey, this rotation has the ability to be down-right nasty.


It seems that Stoneman prepared to make his first free-agent offers today. Also, he has apparently already offered Byrd a contract - as per THIS article at the LA Times.


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