Halo Hangout GM’s end MOCK Winter Meetings with a Flurry of Signings for LA Angels.

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 09: Carlos Santana
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 09: Carlos Santana /
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The past week has been interesting for your Halo Hangout staff.  Thanks to you are loyal  LA Angels fans and readers we have shattered our site monthly record with almost three times the page views as our previous high of 81,000.

In addition over the past week your Halo Hangout co-editors have served the role as mock LA Angels general managers in charge of improving the team for next year.  Now all the moves that we did for the most part were ones that the Angels not only need, but have spoken about sometime throughout the off-season thus far.

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The first big move was trading Angels prospect Jahmai Jones and pitcher Parker Bridwell to the Phillies for lead-off man and second base Cesar Hernandez and reliever Victor Arano.  Later we pulled a deal with Miami to acquire starter Dan Straily and third baseman Martin Prado for pitchers Troy Scribner and Brooks Pounders.

Some may say that move is unrealistic for the Marlins to make, but with the 13 million dollar salary of Prado in the balance it made sense as well as netting two pitchers who have good potential (even though Pounders didn’t show it with the Angels he is a major prospect still).

So with those deals done your MOCK Angel GM’s focused on the free agent market.  We looked at trying to get both Todd Fraizer for third base and Tyler Chatwood for the rotation.  When those efforts failed we made offers to Reds infielder Zack Cozart and lefty starter Jason Vargas.

Our bids were strong but not outrageous and we were able to sign them both to multi-year deals. Vargas was signed for two years and 18 million dollars with club option for a third year.  Cozart was signed for four years 56 million dollars again with a club option for a fifth year.

Vargas is a Long Beach State product who pitched for the Angels in 2013.  He was 18-11 last season for the Royals with a 4.16 ERA and a 1.33 WHIP.  He would be a second or third starter in the Angels rotation and provide some veteran leadership.

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Cozart on the other hand would be the mainstay at third base although he could play shortstop or second as well. Cozart had a break out year for the Reds hitting 24 homers driving in 63 runs and hitting .297.  Cozart also had a .385 OBP and stole three bases.  He is 32 years old so that was the only drawback we saw, but he still seems to be in good shape and this move would solidify the Angels at third base for the foreseeable future.

We also resigned fan favorite and also a very effective utility outfielder Ben Revere to a two-year deal worth nine million dollars (last year he had a one-year deal for four million.) Revere had a great second half finishing the season with one homer and and 20 RBIs as well as a .275 batting average and 21 steals.

We also re-sign reliever Yusmeiro Petit to a two-year deal worth eight million (unfortunately the Angels could not do the same in real-life).

The final moves your Halo Hangout Mock GM’s did was sign first baseman Carlos Santana and closer Brandon Kintzler.  We felt the Angels needed a closer who has been solid the last few years in that role and Kintzler was available for not a very high price tag.  We inked him to a two-year deal for 12 million dollars.  Kintzler went 4-3 with a 3.03 ERA and 29 saves last season for the Nationals after going 0-2 with a 3.15 ERA and 17 saves with The Twins in 2016.  Kintzler solidified Washington’s bullpen in the second half of 2017 which helped the Nationals make their run to the NL East title.

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As for Santana he is both a catcher and first baseman, which the Angels would probably used at first base most of the time.  He would provide the Angels with that coveted left-handed power bat they have been seeking, with an added bonus of a career .365 OBP.  Improving the OBP is something Angels general manager has said the Angels are focused on doing this off-season.

Santana hit 23 homers and drove in 79 runs this season with a .259 batting average and a .363 OBP.  This followed up a great 2016 where Santana hit 34 homers and drove in 87 runs batting .259 and an OBP of .366.

If we had a little more time we would have attempted to deal Luis Valbuena or C.J. Cron (although I like Cron) to get some minor league prospects as they would both be expendable with these signings.  Unfortunately our simulation ended at 9 p.m. Pacific Time last night.

With all the moves that we made we spent somewhere in the neighborhood of 50 million dollars of MOCK payroll.  This may seem like a lot to most fans, but if you remember the Angels lost about 40 million dollars in payroll when they let Ricky Nolasco walk away by not renewing his club option and the 25 million or so that was owed to Josh Hamilton.  So we really only increased the payroll by 10 million dollars which is not unreasonable to make the kind of improvements that I think our moves did.

Next: Halo Hangout MOCK GM's continue improving Angels during simulation

So now we will turn it back over to the real Angels general manager Billy Eppler. Let’s see what Mr. Eppler has in store was this Winter season.  Will the Angels have some big gifts under their Christmas tree to help them make a playoff push in 2018?  Let’s hope Santa Eppler can work his magic.