Monday, December 5, 2011
Wilson still on the Angels' radar
By Carlos A. Nava
Special to ESPNDeportesLosAngeles.com
DALLAS -- The Angels started their offseason movements before coming here for the winter meetings, but that doesn’t mean they are simply watching the “winter market” while they're here.
Front office officials for Angels arrived 18 people strong, according to two sources, ready to strengthen the team that wound up second in the AL West.
The Angels filled one of their main needs last week with the addition of catcher Chris Ianneta from the Colorado Rockies in exchange for pitcher Tyler Chatwood.
Saturday, they sent catcher Jeff Mathis to Toronto, after Mathis never achieved what was expected from him offensively and one of the reasons the Angels decided to move Mike Napoli in 2010 to those same Blue Jays.
Ianetta batted .238 with 14 homers and 55 RBIs in 112 games for the Rockies last season. Mathis had a .174 average with three homers and 22 RBIs in 93 games.
Now, the Angels are trying to get a fourth or fifth starter who can work behind Jered Weaver, Dan Haren and Ervin Santana in the rotation, maybe ahead of veteran Jerome Williams.
Jerry Dipoto, the Angels' new general manager, said they are still interested in left-hander C.J. Wilson, who in the past two seasons was a starter for the Texas Rangers, the two-time AL champions.
“We have expressed our interest in improving certain areas,” Dipto said Saturday. “And we are no different than the other 29 teams in the major leagues; starting pitching is our priority.”
The Angels spoke with Wilson on Nov. 21, though the pitcher has spoken with several other teams. The Rangers were scheduled to have dinner with Wilson on Monday night in their quest to re-sign their top starter from last season.
Another area in which the Angels look to improve is by adding a right-handed reliever, someone who can be the setup man for closer Jordan Walden or even take his spot, after the second-year player wound up blowing 10 of 42 save opportunities.
The third area DiPoto has emphasized is the infield, specifically third base, where the Angels are looking to improve their offensive production, something that starter Alberto Callaspo had problems with. Callaspo hit for .288, with six homers and 46 RBIs.
DiPoto has denied he has interest in free agent Aramis Ramirez, who has been mentioned insistently in L.A. media reports as someone the Angels would be after.
“We want to be deeper and more stable in the lower part of our rotation,” DiPoto said. “We would love to fix our bullpen to give [manager] Mike [Scioscia] as many options as we can.
“And if we could get on base more effectively, that would be a plus. Those are our objectives.”