As I was driving down the 57 freeway on Friday through Los Angeles of Anaheim, I gazed to my right and observed Slegna Stadium in it's most radiant state: completely empty of rally monkey-ing, stat-hating, water bottle-launching, belligerent and foul-mouthed Angel fans.
My first thought was: "God, I hate that place with every fiber of my being." My second thought was, "But it's sure going to be nice to go there next season and NOT see K-Rod throw a single pitch." My third thought was, "But I'm a little scared that Reagins and Moneybags Moreno will re-sign Teixera and/or trade for Jake Peavy and/or sign Manny Ramirez and/or Brian Fuentes and completely nullify the positive vibes I developed about the A's 2009 chances after the Holliday trade." My fourth thought was, "Should I even really care about what the Angels do with their roster this off-season?"
That fourth thought was the one that stuck in my head as I progressed deeper and deeper into the congested and smoggifed heart of the OC. As monkeyball pointed out yesterday, it's now known that the Angels have upped their offer to Mark Teixera into the 8-year, $160 million range and have at times been described as "desperate" to re-sign the slugger this off-season. While the Angels have to compete with a couple East Coast teams that are (probably) closer to Teixera's heart, there's no question that the Halos have the resources and willingness to over-pay for Mark's services. Given how much his presence improved and solidified the 2008 Angel offensive attack, the thought of seeing him in drab Angel red for the better part of the next decade should be of concern to us A's fans, right?
Beyond the Teixera front, there are rumblings that the Halos could make a play for Jake Peavy if Kevin Towers opens up negotiations with other teams (and Peavy's agent, Barry Axelrod, recently indicated that Jake would probably lift his no-trade clause to go to Anaheim). The Angels have also expressed interest in Brian Fuentes to fill the void that K-Rod's departure left in their bullpen and have even kicked around the idea of signing Manny if the Teixera negotiations fall through. With plenty of cash to spend and at least a few prospects that might pique the interest of the Padres (Brandon Wood, Nick Adenhart, Jordan Walden, Peter Bourjos) it's entirely possible that the Halos re-sign Teixera AND trade for Peavy, and maybe even add Fuentes for good measure. Those moves would fortify pretty much every perceived weakness of the Angel team and would presumable make them very tough to beat in 2009.
My question is: should the A's base any of their moves on what the Angels do? I mean, say the Angels end up making all of the above moves and look unbeatable in 2009...should the A's forget about Rafael Furcal and/or Giambi/Dunn/Burrell, play Crosby's contract out at short, roll with Barton at 1st and invest their current budget surplus into the 2009 draft/overseas signings? Should they even consider trading Holliday or Duke before or during the 2009 season?
Personally, while it may seem I'm like concerned about what the Angels do, I'm really not. The stated goal for the A's front office this off-season was to improve the A's offense for the benefit and development of the team's young pitchers. Those young pitchers are going to need run-support no matter what the division standings look like...and to that end, I would hope that the A's front office continues to focus on adding offense without overpaying and also continues to see if a veteran starter might be available on a short-term deal to improve the 2009 rotation and provide even more breathing room to the young starters.
While baseball rosterbations don't occur in a vacuum, A's brass has never really yielded to the temptation to make reactionary-based decisions, and I think that's a good thing. The A's will live and/or die in the coming years depending on the development of their young pitching and every reasonable effort should be made to support the efforts of that young pitching, regardless of what the competition may or may not do with their own roster.