TEMPE, Ariz. -- One of the most impressive facets of any team this spring is the depth of the Angels' rotation. For the position of No. 5 starter, which for the vast majority of teams is manned by a journeyman, an unproven kid or worse, the Angels will choose between
Despite the loss of
The Red Sox, Yankees and White Sox rotations probably have stronger cases to be cited as the best overall starting staffs based on their top-heavy strengths. But it's hard to make a case any team has a rotation as solid as the Angels from top to bottom
"One through five, we're as dependable as any team I've seen in a long time,'' Angels manager
Some teams can't get past the idea that the Angels will have a solid or better starter going every day and night, barring injury. The plan is for
"We have some very good interchangeable parts,'' Angels pitching coach
Last year the Angels carried the potential to have similar depth, but things didn't turn out quite that way. They suffered from the great tragedy of Adenhart being killed by a drunk driver and more usual pitching problems, including a season-ending injury to
The Red Sox dived in on Lackey with an five-year, $82.5 million deal while other teams appear to have followed the lead of the Angels, who are only known to have offered a three-year extension for close to $40 million to Lackey sometime before last season. The Angels do have their limits. Yet their rotation, taken as a whole, seems fairly limitless.
The Angels generally aren't a break-the-bank team in free agency. In the past two offseasons, they've lost
The Angels tried hard for pitching superstar
Pineiro eventually got the spot vacated by Lackey when he signed for $18 million over two years, a very reasonable deal considering the year he had in St. Louis. "Lackey was a bulldog, but we picked up Joel Pineiro, who had better numbers. I know it was the National League, but he still had better numbers,'' said Angels star
The depth of their rotation was supposed to be the Angels' big advantage last October, but scheduled off days and rainouts conspired to diminish that alleged edge as they were eliminated in the ALCS by the Yankees in six games. The Angels wound up playing nine games over 24 days, rendering the depth virtually meaningless, as the Yankees, a team with only three dependable starters, and the Phillies, with only two by the end, advanced to the World Series.
The powers at Major League Baseball promised to tighten up the postseason schedule this year, which should play into the Angels' hands. A lot of folks are wondering whether the Angels get that far this year after losing Figgins, and many are making the Mariners, who have co-aces after acquiring
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Both World Series teams from last year have superb infields. But when one team is spending $93 million on these five positions alone (counting catcher), you have to hope they're the best. And they are. That figure represents a slightly higher than average payroll for one entire team. But you still can't quibble with how this money was spent. This is the heart of the best team in baseball. Comprising the fabulous five are two legends (third baseman
The Phillies' lineup is ridiculously good, and was only enhanced by the addition of Polanco, who fits perfectly into the No. 2 hole between Jimmy Rollins and all their big-time bashers, starting with Utley, Howard and
This is a tossup between the Mariners' one-two punch of Hernandez and Lee and the Cardinals' duo of
The Dodgers' bullpen is probably the best-balanced, and will get even better if
The Rockies are the surprise winner here. Considering their payroll, they have done a superb job putting together a deep roster. Nobody has a pair of backup outfielders like the Rockies'
For getting the most out of the Angels year in and year out, Scioscia is my choice. No wonder he's locked up through 2018. Scioscia declined comment about himself when informed he might be the choice, but he talked up several others. "The thing about
Red Sox GM
• While the Mariners have interest in
• The Mariners offered
• The Blue Jays outbid the Yankees and a couple others to sign Cuban defector
• Dominican right-hander
• Astros owner
• Best wishes to top Red Sox outfield prospect