Wow, Tony Reagins had a busy week.
After the Rodney signing, things were veeeerry quiet for the Angels and suddenly Reagins drops two bombs. Well at least for me. Both of these transactions were quite shocking to me, even though they really shouldn't have been.
Despite the "reports" that the Angels were interested in Pineiro back in December, and the more recent rumors that the Angels were pursuing him and some funny speculation the Angels were negotiating with him, I never really believed that the Angels were interested. I mean, it seems that the talking heads seem to insert the Angels into any big-name FA (see Holliday, Bay), which isn't necessarily a bad thing. It shows that the Angels have reached big-time status, but also shows their ignorance of the Angels's FO. And I definitely thought the persistant Pineiro rumors were another stupid made-up "there's possibly a match" story from the national media. I thought Pineiro would be too expensive with too thin of a resume to warrant the cost-conscious Reagins to bite. I was thinking along the lines of MSTI that, like the Dodgers, whoever the Angels fill out the rotation with isn't going to matter much - it's gonna be the young guys that will dictate the fate of the rotation - and so why fill it with an expensive question mark? I actually expected Reagins to bring Garland back.
Of course, I was completely wrong about Reagins. And the first words out of my shocked mouth was "NO!" To be fair, that reaction could be due to my prior prejudice of Pineiro and the fact that I hadn't eaten dinner, found out I had wasted time trying to figure out a defective hw problem, and had to walk home in the rain and cold. But the truth is, I don't think its a bad signing. I don't think its a great signing either. In fact, its just as much of a question mark as I had speculated Pinero would be. The good things are that the contract is only for 2years/$16M and if he can continue to be a fantastic groundball pitcher, the fantastic Angels infield defense is gonna shine. The bad things are that the contract is for 2years/$16M and no one can say if he can continue to be a fantastic groundball pitcher. The halosphere was alive with this interesting debate. The primary concern is if he can repeat his 2009 season away from Duncan (the legendary Cardinals pitching coach) after a career of mostly mediocre and awful years. The success of last season is attributed to the use of a "new" two-seam sinking fastball and without a long track record, no one really knows how it will play out next season. So I'm in wait-and-see mode. There's a chance this could be a really great sign, but I think there's a significant chance that he flames out and us fans start to think of the what-ifs. I have to agree though, that he's become quite a divisive figure among Angels fans.
The antonym of the Pineiro signing was today's trade of Gary Matthews Jr. Now, this shouldn't have been a surprise to me. GMJ had made it very clear at the end of the season that he'd moved on. But as the offseason wore on and he remained an Angel, I figured that he (and the fans and the team) would have to bite the bullet (again) cause there was no way Reagins was gonna just give him away for nothing (I'm one of the few fans who actually thinks he makes a servicable 4th outfielder) and it looked like he wouldn't find a willing trade partner. I was wrong again, but the funny thing is that the first word out of my shocked mouth was "YES!" especially when I saw that the partner was the Mets. (The poor Mets. Back-to-back September collapses and now their organization is in shambles and roundly ridiculed - at least by me.) Omar was bound to have done something stupid and taken on a good deal of GMJ's salary! Happy Day!! Alas, I was wrong. It was quite shocking, actually, that the best Reagins could save was $2M. Really. (Pierre got the Dodgers $8M in savings!) Actually, the number is more around $1M if you count in the $0.5M GMJ gets for being traded and the $0.5M to pay the reliever the Angels got in return. Sigh. Let's all hope that this Brian Stokes is above average or at least as amusing as Mets fans found him. Disappointed in the lack of savings, but I'll wait-and-see if Stokes can change my mind.
The good in this trade is that GMJ is outta-sight-outta-mind and that he has an opportunity to be happy in another place. Regardless of his discontent, all signs point to GMJ as a good teammate. He voiced his displeasure to Sosh and Reagins in Spring Training, and then shut up and played his role. I specifically remember after they clinched the AL West, Jose Mota asked him about the difficulties of the season and specifically mentioned his desire for more playing time. GMJ respectfully sidestepped the issue and instead talked about how the team came together after Nick's death and initial injuries. His babbling was hard to listen to, but he knew better than to complain. Seriously, good luck to GMJ, though anyone on the Mets should be wished good luck.
So now this opens a roster spot for one of the youngins. There is one, possibly two, spots available for Willits/Evans/Pettit. It'll also be interesting to see if it changes the decisions made in the bullpen (unlikely, Sosh seems to want to stick with 11 pitchers), the infield (Freddy Sandoval?) and catcher (Bobby Wilson?) in regards to the youngins without any options. Regardless, hope they all come hungry to win a job. Spring Training in less than a month!