The Anaheim Angels had a 2007 payroll of $109 million.
They aren't the Yankees. They aren't even the BoSox or the Mets. They are a high payroll team, but not an unlimited payroll team.
Let's assume that the Angels are aggressive, and bump payroll by $10 million per year each of the next three years. That's about $140 million payroll in 2010.
With a $140 million payroll, Torii Hunter and GMJ will combine to take up over 20% of the Angels' payroll.
And that's what we should be concerned about. What happens in 2010. Because 2010 is when the Rangers' should be expecting to be ready to make some serious noise, when we should have Brandon McCarthy and Eric Hurley and Edinson Volquez in the rotation and Chris Davis and Ian Kinsler and Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Taylor Teagarden solidifying the lineup and C.J. Wilson closing games, with a free agent signing or two mixed in.
Does adding Hunter make the Angels better, in 2008, than they would otherwise be? Probably.
Not definitely, because the Angels suddenly have a logjam in the outfield, with Garret Anderson and GMJ and Hunter and Vlad Guerrero and Juan Rivera and Reggie Willits, plus Kendry Morales in the mix for time at DH.
If the Angels decide to go with an Anderson/Hunter/GMJ outfield, with Vlad as the DH, I'm not sure they are really a whole ton better off than they would be leaving GMJ in center and Vlad in right with Juan Rivera or Kendry Morales as the DH.
But regardless, the Angels being better in 2008 doesn't worry me a lot. 2008 should be about rebuilding, 2009 about taking a step forward. 2010 is the target year.
Now, could the Rangers catch lightning in a bottle, have their young players progress and be better, sooner, than expected (like, for example, this year's Rockies)?
Sure. That would be great. But I'm not going to get worked up about the Angels possibly going from a 90 win team to a 92 win team in 2008 because of Hunter.
Instead, I'm happy that the Angels have lost another first round draft pick for signing Hunter, making it harder for them to compete down the road.
I'm happy that this sort of win-now mode could see Howie Kendrick, Nick Adenhart, and Brandon Wood shipped to Florida for Miguel Cabrera -- a great player, but one who seems destined to test the free agent market after the 2009 season. And a player who will get $30 million per year, I would bet.
I'm happy that the Angels will have $18 million per year less to devote to the pursuit of Cabrera, or Johan Santana, or someone of that ilk.
I'm happy that the Angels chose to spend this money on Hunter, instead of devoting it towards the pursuit of Alex Rodriguez.
I'm happy that the Angels will be spending around $30 million per year, combined, in 2010 and 2011 for a guy who will likely be a middling corner outfielder, and another guy who will be a 4th or 5th outfielder.
(And for those suggesting the Angels will just deal GMJ now...he's got a full no-trade clause through 2009).
Hunter to Anaheim came as a shock, but sitting here thinking about it, it makes a lot of sense.
Torii Hunter is the typical Anaheim player. Athletic, good (if somewhat overrated) defense, great clubhouse guy, hits for some average, hits for some power, never walks.
Oh, and past 30 and overpaid. And getting worse, not better.
This deal is going to make it harder for Anaheim to succeed in 2010, when the Rangers should (we all hope) be hitting their stride.
Be happy that this happened. This is, in the long run, a good thing for Texas.