How Much Does Arte Really Want To Win?
Now we finally get to find out about Arte Moreno.
The general opinion of the Angels owner is that he will do whatever is necessary to win.
Really? OK, it’s time to show us.
The Winter Meetings are about to explode in Florida, and now that Jayson Werth has signed for a mind-boggling $126 million, the next big name on the marquee is Carl Crawford.
Everyone this side of Disney World knows he is No. 1 on the Angels’ list. Here is the problem, though: The Red Sox, Yankees, Tigers and maybe even the dreaded Rangers are also in the mix for the game’s most versatile free agent outfielder.
And if Werth, generally considered the No. 2 most coveted every-day player, received $126 million for 7 years, what will it take to sign Crawford, the No. 1 guy?
Maybe $160 million for 8 years. Or $180 million for 9, or even — gulp! — $190 million for 10. How do you like those numbers, Arte?
One thing we know about Moreno. He hates getting into bidding wars. He doesn’t want to be used by agents to bump the price up on a player he is interested in. So look for the Angels to make a significant bid for Crawford, maybe by the middle of this week.
How much is “significant”? Well, that’s an interesting question. Moreno has to decide how high to go. It has to be high enough to tempt Crawford to sign right now, and that will be difficult, when he knows those other teams might be ready to go even higher.
Here’s another intriguing question: Do the Angels have a Plan B? If they make an offer to Crawford and it gets turned down, where do they go from there?
They should go to Adrian Beltre, who would at least solve their third base problem and add some badly needed power to their lineup. Except Beltre is represented by — you guessed it — Scott Boras, and he’s the same guy who whisked Mark Teixeira away from Moreno a couple of years ago for mega dollars in New York.
There are people on the internet who seriously believe the Angels will sign Crawford, Beltre and Rafael Soriano, another Boras client, who is the No.1 closer among current free agents.
Let me address that possibility quickly and succinctly: No chance.
No way he puts out the money it would take to sign all three.
But at the same time, if Moreno REALLY wants to win, as his admirers claim, he could sign two of the three, especially if the two wind up being Beltre and Soriano.
The man in charge in Florida supposedly is GM Tony Reagins, and what he must be careful about is monitoring the Rangers this week. If, for instance, Texas wins the duel with the Yankees for Cliff Lee, the Angels better get on the stick and sign some kind of combination of Crawford, Beltre and Soriano.
And what if Crawford winds up with the Rangers? Again, the Angels better have a counter attack in mind, considering that Texas, at this very moment, already has a vastly superior lineup to the one in Anaheim.
And what about Mike Napoli? Everyone knows the Angels want to trade him. What can Reagins get in return? It should be a pretty good player, considering power hitting catchers don’t exactly grow on Southern California palm trees.
The Dodgers already have been baseball’s busiest team and seem well on their way to establishing themselves as the new favorites in the National League West (and yes, we know the Giants still live there.)
So it is the Angels’ turn. It’s time, Arte. You keep saying you’ll do anything to win.
Now all you have to do is take out your wallet and prove it.
— STEVE BISHEFF