Pujols and Wilson?!: Jerry Dipoto Announces His Presence With Authority

Ah, Hollywood teen flicks. Is there a more important repository of accurate truths and life lessons for our youth anywhere? …Okay, after the internet, that is? And if there is one truth they have showed us over and over again, it’s the steps the new guy in school must take to become a success:

  1. He must lose tragically/get the crap beaten out of him/have his sensitive little heart broke into a thousand tiny pieces or, preferably, some combination of the above. (Or, you know, fail to make the playoffs two years running while losing the AL West Division Title to the Rangers – okay, Dipoto wasn’t here for this but it still counts. It sets the stage.)
  2. Through pluckiness, guile and his overall superior character (read, lots and lots of money) he must overcome this set back, rise above the bullies/the cliquey in crowd/all of the mean nasty people who told him he couldn’t do it (Every big spending, clever maneuvering team in any given post season) in order to win the ultimate prize, acceptance (or, you know, Albert Pujols).
  3. And, along the way, win the heart of the prettiest girl in school (most eligible starting pitcher) away from the biggest bully (top division rivals, the two years running AL Champion Rangers).
  4. The wisdom of Hollywood also tells us that catchy soundtracks, clever catch phrases, blockbuster budgets and a cast of side character to provide rare moments of wisdom and lots and lots of comic relief have a vague but crucial role to play in all of this. (Hey, baseball has music for every occasion, a popular culture influencing language all its own, don’t even get me started on the budgets and a cast of characters fit to rival that of even a good Hollywood movie, so the analogy stands you hear?)

Based on this important metric Jerry Dipoto is clearly a smashing success! Oh, and the high, and growing higher by the moment, esteem in which Angels fans everywhere now hold him is a pretty good metric too. 😉

So the Angels sign Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson. And don’t think I haven’t been itching to post about this all day!! But there was that work thing, and deadlines in two different time zones so it started early. But, finally, a late afternoon lunch and I can post at last! I went on record in a couple of places as being against the rumors of both of these deals but now that they have become reality I have to say I am pleased…and, for the purposes of today’s post, pleased shall be defined as bouncing all over the house with a big stupid grin on my face. Both are expensive, long term deals, the Pujols deal understandably considerably more so than the Wilson deal. And, based on the Angels old spending habits, I assumed that if we landed either player that deal would be the Angels’ only real deal of the offseason when we have quite a few more holes to fill, thank you very much.

The fact that, between Arte Moreno increasing the budget considerably and Dipoto’s wheeling and dealing, the Angels signed both Pujols and Wilson in addition to putting a potentially nice patch on our catching woes with the Chris Iannetta trade and signing another reliable seeming arm for our bullpen in LaTroy Hawkins? Well, consider my biggest concern laid to rest and then some.

I still have a few other concerns, though they are comparatively minor:

  • 10 years is a loooooong contract for a 31-year old, even for a guy known as the Machine. I am certain Pujols will be great for five of those years and possibly longer. And being in the AL with the DH helps but…well…we’ll cross that bridge when we get there I suppose.
  • Adjustment periods for Pujols and Wilson, both of whom were one-team players before today. This isn’t a huge concern for me. And there may not be an adjustment period, but I would caution fans not to panic if it takes a month or so for either guy (or both) to really get into the swing of things.
  • What about Mark Trumbo? We have a log jam at 1st now. While I don’t doubt for a second that Pujols is a better hitter than Trumbo, I really want to find a way to keep Trumbo in the lineup. It does us very little good to swap our one slugging bat in the lineup for a harder slugging bat. Even with Albert’s considerable prowess we need multiple slugging bats in the lineup. I hope the Angels explore the idea they’ve expressed a lot this offseason of Trumbo at third. I know he wasn’t a good third base his first year in the minors but look at how quickly the analytical, note taking player improved from being kind of bad at first to being pretty darned good. I think this could be a good move.
  • C.J. Wilson’s longevity. Wilson is a former reliever stretched out into a starter and, as such, he faded early in his first year as a fulltime starter…but then he faded even earlier the next season. Foreboding pattern or an aberration of the sort you often get with small sample sizes? Well now that he’s not pitching in Texas I sure hope it’s the latter! Fortunate mitigating circumstances: the weather and stadium dimensions are a lot kinder to pitchers in Anaheim and Wilson is closer to family here, which may be beneficial.

But then I think of our starting rotation to be with three legitimate aces and Ervin Santana and of our lineup with Albert Pujols in it (not to mention the wonderful teaching presence Pujols provides for our rookies) and all I can do is continue bouncing around the house, occasionally pumping my fits and cheering. And the fact of the matter is I like both players. I like their attitude and the way they play the game. I like how Wilson handled the press conferences today in a classy way that paid appropriate respect to both the team that raised him and the team that just adopted him. Yes, Wilson can be a bit of a trash talker, but I’ve always liked the fire and wit behind his comments even when I didn’t appreciate them being directed at my team and, well, I love that traditional aspect of the game. I’ll be interested to watch how Pujols handles his press conferences that are sure to come.

Hot Stove proposed this lineup for the Angels. I'd try Trumbo at 3rd too, but still a lineup fit to bring tears of joy to the eyes of any Angels fan.

So, yes, even with reservations both laid to rest and lingering, I am excited by these deals. After earning two World Series berths in as many seasons, the Rangers are still tough, still absolutely frightening in the lineup department and still the team to beat. But with these Angels moves, forget the division race. I feel we have ourselves an honest to goodness, hotly contested division battle coming and I for one cannot wait!


    • This is a very simple game...

      Maybe so, Bluejaysnest, maybe so. Be it karma or just a crafty GM, I’m bouncy happy with the end result. Oh, and I do love the amount of guilt Jays fans seem to feel over the Wells deal. Hopefully he’ll turn it around this season and you all can stop feeling guity and we all can stop feeling pissy about it. He’s too good of a guy to have this much fan ire directed at him.

      — Kristen

  1. WrigleyRegular

    Wow! What a nice day for the Halos. Time your restroom and food breaks correctly when you are at the park, because you will never want to miss a Pujols at-bat.

    • This is a very simple game...

      Well, there are no guarantees in this game Yossi. I’m very excited and very hopeful for the season but with the recent reminder of the Phillies and the Red Sox fresh in all our minds, I just set to enjoy each game as it comes and, of course, hope. I see a lot of great Angels/Rays pitching duels in the future, that’s for certain. 🙂

      — Kristen

      • This is a very simple game...

        Thank you for dropping by my blog and commenting, Brewer’s today! That’s a tough one, but I think you may be right. Still, I love our rotation and can’t wait to see the latest incarnation in action this season.

        — Kristen

    • This is a very simple game...

      Thank you Jeff. I look forward to getting to see him play live, something I’ve never had the oppotunity to do before. I like what you said on your blog – maybe an Angels/Cardinals WS in the future. That would rock…though at this point I just want the Angels to make it to October again and then worry about the rest.

      — Kristen

    • This is a very simple game...

      I don’t know Brandon, a Red Sox fan and an Angels fan commenting on eachother’s blogs? Whatever would people say? 😉 I am absolutely kidding, of course! Welcome to MLBlogs!! And thank you very much for dropping by my blog. It looks like you have started a fun blog over there and I will be sure to keep checking it out. 🙂

      — Kristen

    • This is a very simple game...

      Sure thing Mark. I just emailed it to you. I should get higher tech and add a blog specific email address to my pages…and a twitter account…and a lot of other things too I suppose but at the moment I just have the personal one. Eh, eventually right? Thanks for dropping by my blog and commenting!

      — Kristen

  2. Emma

    Is going to be odd when the Cardinals are in town at Dodger Stadium and not seeing Pujols in the lineup. From what I heard from other Dodger fans is that he does not like to sign autographs but I would think that would change now.
    I could picture you jumping up and down Kristen and with a big smile. Congratulations. Arte had the money to do this. Big props to him. I wish Arte Moreno would have made the SABR convention in Long Beach where originally he was supposed to be a speaker. I saw him and his wife at the Joe Torre Safe At Home event with Sandy Koufax at LA Live. Is nice to see him supporting events like that. Hopefully the Dodgers get a good owner too.

    • This is a very simple game...

      Thanks Emma! I know this is probably one of the last places you wante to see Pujols land…but, hey, at least it’s not San Francisco! I am rooting for the Dodgers to get a great owner who will lead them back to top of their division. Having quality, well supported teams on both ends of the 5 freeway can only be a good thing.

      — Kristen

  3. Mateo Fischer

    This is certainly a great moment for Mr. Dipoto. I wonder what he must be thinking, “I don’t see what Tony was complaining about, this job is easy. Just sign the biggest Pitcher and position player on the market.”

  4. Pingback: An Angels Season Highlights Review – Don’t Leave 2011 Without It « This is a very simple game…

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