Dipoto and Moreno bet Angels future on Pujols/Wilson

It was reported two days ago within the course of two hours that the LA Angels had signed both Albert Pujols and CJ Wilson. By doing so, they simultaneously declared themselves favorites to win the AL West and pronounce them the “winners” of the 2011-’12 off-season. The buzz on Twitter the moment of the announced signing was intense and opinions varied immediately. Now that we’ve had time to sit and reflect on the signing, there seems to be a pretty general consensus from talent evaluators that although the Angels will be hurting in the final few years of this deal as Pujols surely will regress, the first 5-6 years of the deal will provide a much needed boost in offense that LA has lacked for several years now.

Arte Moreno passed on several big names (or was outbid) over the past couple of off-seasons. He passed on Mark Teixeira and CC Sabathia in 2010, and last year passed up on Carl Crawford and his recently departed #1 starter in John Lackey. By doing so, he has landed the best hitter of my lifetime and arguably the best hitter of all time in Albert Pujols. At 10 years/$254MM, the Angels are betting that within the next 2-3 years they will be a major threat to win the World Series. By signing Wilson to a 6-year $77MM deal, they provided depth in their rotation that is a fearsome group. Not to mention, there are still rumors that they will look to deal defensive wiz Peter Bourjos in order to bolster their bullpen. This would allow Mike Trout to get a full season of solid defense and base-running for Mike Soscia with the potential that he advances with the bat and provides some pop.

With an excellent rotation, and a solid lineup the Angels look like they’ve leaped ahead of division rival Texas Rangers. Even if Texas goes out and signs Prince Fielder, I’m not sold on their rotation or their bullpen for that matter. Neftali Feliz, although talented, is an arm strength guy at this point in his career and will have some growing pains that will be tough to swallow when the club is built to win now. Texas is hoping that Feliz and Holland develop, and do so quickly otherwise they will not beat the Angels in a 5 or 7 game series.

Let me be clear here: I am not as excited about LA’s lineup as others are. There are still holes and aging players  all through the lineup. Pujols will not be put in many situations to win games single-handedly as there is no real offensive threat behind him. Guys like Torii Hunter, Vernon Wells and Bobby Abreu are on the decline and carry heavy salaries. The window is short, and there will be an enormous amount of pressure on Jerry DiPoto to win and win NOW.

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