The Southern California sun is shinning brightly in Dallas Thursday as Orange County is now the belle of the ball at Major League Baseball’s annual winter meetings.
In stark contrast to Frank McCourt and his bankrupt Los Angeles Dodgers, business must be great for cross-county rival Arte Moreno as the L.A. Angels of Anaheim owner dropped just under $330M to sign slugger Albert Pujols and pitcher CJ Wilson on Thursday.
For a bit of context, check out the following tweet from Yahoo Sports writer Jeff Passan:
@JeffPassan: Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson will cost Arte Moreno $147.5 million more than the entire Los Angeles Angels franchise did.
Anyway, the Angels have only one World Series title (2002) and haven’t made the playoffs in two seasons, yet Angel Stadium ranked fifth in the league in fan attendance last season. Let’s take a quick look at the facts and you can decide for yourself whether or not you like the signings.
Pujols, 10 years, $250M: At 31 years old, the former St. Louis Cardinals first baseman has 10 seasons of batting at least .300 with at least 100 RBIs and has 445 home runs under his belt.
Wilson, 5 years, $77.5M: Also 31, the lefty went 16-7 with a 2.94 ERA with the Texas Rangers in 2011. According to the LA Times, “In 10 playoff games, nine of them starts, Wilson is 1-5 with a 4.82 ERA, allowing 46 hits, including 10 home runs, striking out 43 and walking 29 in 52 1/3 innings.”
By the way, huge props to the LA Times for reporting, “Albert Pujols being aggressively pursued by Angels” at 11:19pm EST on Wednesday. I’m not sure if they were the first, but this story seemingly came out of nowhere Thursday morning, didn’t it?
What do you guys think of the Angels new acquisitions? Obviously, time will tell but it certainly is fun to pull out the crystal ball and make predictions. My friend Lee wrote me saying, “Pujols is not a good long term decision, and Wilson has had…1 good year…we’ll see. I’d much rather have Prince Fielder for 6 yrs and Mark Buerhle for 3 yrs.”
Wilson is joining an already outstanding pitching staff and Pujols is one of the best players of all time, so barring serious injuries or a catastrophic collapse (a la the 2011 Boston Red Sox) the Angels should be in good shape, at bare minimum. Whether they win or lose on the field, the organization has won big, at least in the short term as fans will flock to Angel Stadium.
Despite the outstanding seasons of Clayton Kershaw and Matt Kemp at Chavez Ravine last year, the disarray of the Dodgers organization coupled with a strong hispanic fan base and their desire to see Pujols will finally be the catalyst the Angels needed to get some of the Dodger faithful to make the drive to Anaheim.
Jackie Pepper is a sports journalist with nearly a decade of experience. As an anchor and reporter for Comcast SportsNet in Boston she covered the Patriots, Celtics, Red Sox and Bruins for the network's flagship show SportsNet Central and sister station New England Cable News.
In addition to her work with Comcast Boston, Pepper also anchored and reported for CBS affiliate KIDK, covering the Utah Jazz and various sports teams throughout the United States.
Pepper began her sports journalism career as a college radio reporter and talk show host at the University of Arizona. She went on to work for ABC Sports, ESPN and NFL Network. Recently she started her own sports website, www.pepperonsports.com, featuring daily interviews, commentary and articles on the latest sports news.
Pepper also frequently contributes to LIVE radio broadcasts as a guest sports and cultural analyst.
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