Reyes Would Love to Play for the Angels

Hardball Talk references a Tim Brown article in which Reyes has told friends he would love to play for the Angels next year. You hate to hear that the Angels supposedly have the inside track to sign the best upcoming free agent. Then again, the Angels wouldn't pony up the cash to sign either Crawford or Beltre, but wound up trading for Wells. They are a hard team to figure out. As it stands now, the payroll for 2012 is at $80 million. There are some key players that the Angels need to make a decision on:

  • Pinero - Free agent. May not want him back, but will need another starter.
  • Weaver - Final year of arbitration.
  • Aybar - Would be traded to make room for Reyes I would assume. If not, final year of arbitration.
  • Callaspo - 2nd year of arbitration.
  • Abreu - Option to return for $9 million or $1 million buyout.
  • Kendrick - Final year of arbitration.
  • Morales - 2nd year of arbitration. Rules allow for 20% reduction of salary, but I doubt Boras would let this happen.
  • Mathis - Final year of arbitration. For some odd reason, the Angels will pay to keep him as a starter.
  • Rodney - Doubt they will resign him, but will need another bullpen arm.

There are other guys who will enter arbitration of course, but these are the big decisions the Angels will have to make. I have no idea what the Angels will want to spend on payroll next year, and I am not smart enough to come up with viable estimates for the above arbitration cases. Another problem for the Angels is that their farm system, while good given Law's preseason ranking of sixth, doesn't have much to fill the holes. Conger could replace Mathis, but this teemingly will never happen. There are holes in the rotation and bullpen, but Walden and Chatwood are already pitching in the majors. The rest of their high ceiling talent is in the low minors.

For the sake of argument, let's assume the Angels keep the payroll where it was at this year - $141 million. This gives them $60 million to spend. There is enough money, I would think, to fill their holes, sign their arbitration players, and sign Reyes. Also, Aybar could bring back a useful piece if traded. So the monetary side, it seems, can work with Reyes on the payroll. But it would have worked out with either Crawford or Beltre on the team for this season. Looking back on some comments made by Reagins after the Wells deal was consummated, it seems the Angels were gun shy with respect to the years required to sign Crawford and Beltre. To wit:

The shorter commitment to Wells apparently made it easier for Angels owner Arte Moreno to swallow.

"We look at Vernon's commitment as a four-year commitment and that was tolerable for us and made sense for both teams," Reagins said. "When we got near the finish line (on the trade), I made a call to ownership and the answer was very quickly, 'Yes.'

"In this situation, the number of years was attractive to us. The contract expires when he's 35. That's attractive to us. Beyond all of that, he's a very, very attractive player – a Gold Glove centerfielder, a 30-home run guy – and a leader."

Reyes is currently 28 and has an injury history. How many years would it take to sign Reyes? 7 years? I honestly have no idea. However, I am starting to think that Reyes-to-Anaheim has more to do with the length of his pricey contract as opposed to the totality of the payroll; the dollars will work, but the Angels don't want to commit to the years. As such, the Angels don't look to have as much interest in Reyes as Reyes has in them. At least this is what I hope is the case.

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