Roundup: Wells, Angels an open-ended story
As much as the 2011 offseason will be remembered for Cliff Lee and his suitors, for the Red Sox’s offensive overhaul and for even the Royals and Zack Greinke, it stands to be remembered for the Angels, too.
A week ago, that memory would have been of a team that seemingly sat idle. The Angels’ well-known top target, Carl Crawford, was scooped up in front of their eyes at the Winter Meetings in Florida. Their next free-agent mark, Adrian Beltre — who plays third base, a position where they sorely needed improvement — went to a division rival that seemingly had less of a need at the hot corner, Texas.
Then came Friday, when Los Angeles struck a deal with the Blue Jays to bring in outfielder Vernon Wells. Wells, 32, thus far hasn’t lived up to a seven-year, $126 million deal thus far, and $86 million and four years remain on the deal. The Angels are assuming all of that contract, with Mike Napoli and Juan Rivera sent away in the deal.
On Wednesday, Wells was officially introduced in Anaheim, and the Angels have now officially made a significant move.
Whether they’re significantly improved, though, and improved in a cost-effective manner — that’s still unknown, and is probably the most open-ended storyline of the offseason.
Around the league, others were busy around the Hot Stove Wednesday, even with Spring Training less than three weeks away:
? The Reds and right-hander Johnny Cueto finalized a four-year, $27 million contract, allowing them to skip arbitration. The 24-year-old went 12-7 with a 3.64 ERA in 31 starts last season, setting several career high marks.
? Coming off the worst season of his to-be Hall of Fame career, Yankees captain Derek Jeter started working out in Tampa, Fla., with hitting coach Kevin Long. The 36-year-old shortstop signed a three-year, $51 million deal this offseason after hitting a career-low .270 batting average in 2010 — 44 points below his lifetime mark of .314 — with 10 home runs and 67 RBIs in 157 games.
? Adding another veteran, the Yankees inked right-hander Bartolo Colon to a Minor League deal that reportedly could pay him as much as $900,000 if he makes the Major League club out of camp. Colon, 37, did not pitch in the bigs in 2010, but pitched well in the Dominican Winter League.
? Left-hander Andy Pettitte, could be on his way back to New York. Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said that the door remains open as Pettitte works out in Texas, and according to SI.com, the club’s latest contract offer stood at one season for $12 million. This season would be the 17th for the 38-year-old Pettitte.
? One of the Mets’ marquee names, Johan Santana, has not begun his throwing program as part of his rehabilitation from left shoulder surgery last September, general manager Sandy Alderson said. Santana was cleared Jan. 14. “I think the [physical therapists] recommended that he continue to do certain exercises, and when he feels like he’s ready to toss, he will,” Alderson said. “He’s medically cleared, but to my knowledge, he hasn’t actually started throwing yet.”
? The Mets introduced Chin-lung Hu, a utility infielder on Wednesday, a move that got more attention than might be expected because of the cultural draw. Hu, 26 and acquired from the Dodgers in a trade last month for Minor League pitcher Mike Antonini, would become the Mets’ first Taiwanese-born player if he makes the team. There have only been six Taiwanese-born players in Major League history.
? The Angels and ace right-hander Jered Weaver are discussing a contract extension. Weaver, an All-Star for the first time in 2010 while leading the Majors in strikeouts, has requested $8.8 million in salary arbitration, with the Angels offering $7.3 million. Weaver is eligible for free agency after the 2012 season. Scott Boras is his agent.
? Yasiel Balaguer, an 18-year-old Cuban outfielder, is to work out for the Marlins. Balaguer arrived in Miami in November after leaving Cuba while traveling to Mexico. His athleticism and defense have drawn comparisons to Andruw Jones.
? The Astros and right-hander Wandy Rodriguez, who turned 32 last week, avoided arbitration with a three-year deal that guarantees him $34 million. It also contains a vesting option for 2014 that could bring the total value to $44.5 million.
? The Twins added another experienced arm to their bullpen competition by claiming left-hander Dusty Hughes off waivers from the Royals. Hughes, 28, was 1-3 with a 3.83 ERA, 24 walks and 34 strikeouts over 56 1/3 innings for KC in 2010.
? The Rockies brought back utility man Alfredo Amezaga on a Minor League contract with an invitation to big league camp. The Rockies also signed veteran catcher Chad Moeller to a Minor League deal as a non-roster player.
? San Diego signed Jorge Cantu and also reportedly signed right-handed reliever Greg Burke. Burke is on a Minor League deal.
? The D-backs and catcher Miguel Montero <a href="" http:="" arizona.diamondbacks.mlb.com="" news="" article.jsp?ymd="20110126&content_id=16514398&vkey=news_ari&c_id=ari"avoided"" arbitration="" with a one-year, $3.2 million contract.
— Evan Drellich