One of the first things new Los Angeles Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto said in his introductory press conference was that he felt the club didn't need to make significant moves for the Halos to contend. Then came word on Friday that the club has been in contact with starting pitcher C.J. Wilson.
Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register noted, "Dipoto characterized the contact as very preliminary, just letting Wilson's representative know the Angels 'are intrigued by' the Orange County native," so there's no need to schedule that press conference just yet, but the thought of adding Wilson to an already formidable staff is intriguing.
The Angels big three of Jered Weaver, Dan Haren, and Ervin Santana combined for 2.99 ERA and averaged seven innings per start in 2011, and the club was 58-42 in their 100 combined starts. In the other 62 games, Angels' starters had a 4.83 ERA and averaged five and a half innings per start, and the Halos were 28-34 in those contests.
Adding Wilson would certainly bolster the starting staff, but there is also the question of cost. Wilson is the top free agent starter on the market, and will command a high salary, perhaps similar to the five-year, $82.5 million contracts John Lackey and A.J. Burnett signed. The Angels have $99 million committed to nine players in 2012, including $40 million for Weaver, Haren, and Santana.
With a projected payroll currently around $125 million and a budget of $130-140 million based on what owner Arte Moreno has said this offseason, it seems like a Wilson signing wouldn't leave room for much else. But then again maybe a four-headed monster pitching staff would do wonders in the division.
There is also the question of workload. Wilson has been very good in his two years as a starter with a 31-15 record, 3.14 ERA and nearly eight strikeouts per nine innings. But including postseason, nobody in baseball has made more starts in the last two seasons than the 76 by Wilson, and Wilson's 7,961 pitches thrown in 2010-2011 are second only to the 8,046 pitches thrown by Justin Verlander.
Wilson is also a Type A free agent, which under past rules would mean the Angels would forfeit their 2012 first round draft pick if they sign the left-hander. However, a new collective bargaining agreement could come down the pike at any moment that could include "significant changes in draft-pick compensation for free agents" per Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports.
The GM meetings get underway on Monday in Monday, and the owners meetings start Wednesday, so this is the likely week a new deal gets done. Once the CBA is signed, expect the hot stove season to heat up.
To discuss Dipoto and Angels baseball, head to Halo's Heaven.