2 Anaheim Angels Jose Guillen looks like the bargain on the best team Arte Moreno could buy

April 04, 2004

During a workout in Tempe, Ariz., this spring Vladimir Guerrero
cracked a bullet of a line drive that cleared the leftfield wall
of Diablo Stadium and bounced on the street beyond it before
landing among the cactuses. It was an impressive blow, at least
until one of Guerrero's new teammates, Jose Guillen, stepped up
two batters later and launched a ball that soared even farther.

Maybe it was Guillen's way of reminding everyone that Guerrero
isn't the only slugging free-agent outfielder the Angels added
during new owner Arte Moreno's off-season spending spree.
Splitting last season between the Reds and the Athletics, Guillen
hit 31 homers, drove in 86 runs and batted .311, numbers that
stack up well against Guerrero's 25 homers, 79 RBIs and .330
average (though Guerrero had 91 fewer at bats). While there's no
question that Guerrero (five years, $70 million) is the prize
catch, he isn't the only reason Anaheim is expected to bounce
back from last year's 77-85 debacle to make a run at its second
World Series in three years. The Angels also signed free-agent
starting pitchers Bartolo Colon (four years, $51 million) and
Kelvim Escobar (three years, $18.75 million), with Guillen the
least expensive of the bunch (two years, $6 million). If he can
replicate his breakout season, Anaheim will have an imposing
collection of power hitters.

Guerrero is slotted to hit third, followed by Garret Anderson,
Troy Glaus, Guillen and Tim Salmon. All five have had at least
one 30-homer season--Glaus and Guerrero have broken the 40 mark
twice each--and last season they hit a total of 120 homers, even
though Guerrero and Glaus missed 121 games combined. With that
group behind him, Guerrero should see far more strikes than he
did with the Expos. "I've never had this many good hitters around
me," he says. Although Guerrero doesn't always wait for a good
pitch--he's one of the best bad-ball hitters in the game--seeing
better pitches can't hurt. "He's a tough guy to pitch around,"
says manager Mike Scioscia. "The only sure way is to
intentionally walk him."

With Guerrero, Anderson and Guillen, Anaheim has arguably the
best-hitting outfield in the game. And while Guerrero and
Anderson are two of the quietest stars in the game, Guillen is
talkative, some would say, to a fault. Part of the reason the
Angels are Guillen's sixth team in six years is that he has
clashed with management and worn out his welcome at various
stops. When he was with the Pirates in 1999, he reported late to
spring training without permission from the club. (He was delayed
by visa problems after attending his father's funeral in the
Dominican Republic.) Cincinnati traded him to Oakland last July,
a little more than a month after he threw several bats against
the clubhouse wall upon learning that manager Bob Boone had
scratched him from the lineup. Later in the season he criticized
A's manager Ken Macha in the media for not telling him the night
before that he would get a day off. It all contributed to
Guillen's growing reputation as a player who is gifted on the
field but trouble in the clubhouse--a label he refutes.

"When you have a bad rap in baseball, the hardest thing to do is
get rid of it," he says. "There were teams who told my agent that
they wouldn't sign me because they didn't want troublemakers. But
I know I'm not the kind of player who causes problems for his
team."

Guillen certainly did Oakland more good than harm. Over the last
two months of the season he was one of the team's most productive
hitters, and he continued to play with a broken hand that was
originally considered a season-ending injury. Despite the pain he
felt on every swing, Guillen hit .455 in the A's five-game
Division Series loss to the Red Sox.

Guerrero also was not at 100% last year, suffering from a
herniated disk that sidelined him for 39 games and limited him to
394 at bats. He wore a brace this spring but said it was just a
precaution, and he showed no signs of lingering pain. Poor health
may be the only thing that can keep the Angels out of the
postseason; Glaus, Salmon, first baseman Darin Erstad and
shortstop David Eckstein all battled injuries last year. But if
Anaheim's regulars can stay out of the trainer's room, who knows?
Guillen might even stay happy. --P.T.

COLOR PHOTO: JOHN BIEVER FAT CITY With a fearsome foursome of sluggers behind him, Guerrero is looking forward to seeing some better pitches.
COLOR PHOTO: HARRY HOW/GETTY IMAGES GUILLEN

IN FACT
For the second straight season the Angels were the majors'
toughest team to strike out (838 times last year).

ENEMY LINES
an opposing team's scout sizes up the Angels

"I've always liked Bartolo Colon. People remark about his
weight, but he's just a big man. He's not out of shape. Kelvim
Escobar has great stuff--power fastball and power slider--but
he's going to have to make the adjustment to full-time starter
and change speeds more.... With Brendan Donnelly and Frankie
Rodriguez, their bullpen is as good as anybody's in the league
even if they don't have any lefties.... Anaheim has the best
throwing arms in the outfield of any team in the majors. Jose
Guillen and Vladimir Guerrero have cannons.... Guerrero has
looked great. You know you're something special when the other
team's players stop what they're doing to watch you take
batting practice, and that happened all spring. The guy put on
some monster exhibitions.... Adam Kennedy is an average
fielder, but he makes up for it with his bat.... The scouts
have a nickname for David Eckstein--Just Enough--because he
does just enough for the Angels to keep running him out there.
His skills aren't up to any other shortstop's in the league,
but his makeup is off the charts."

THE LINEUP
projected roster with 2003 statistics

BATTING ORDER

SS Eckstein
1B Erstad
RF Guerrero
CF Anderson
3B Glaus
LF Guillen
DH Salmon
C Molina
2B Kennedy

GARRET ANDERSON

B-T PVR BA HR RBI SB
L 23 .315 29 116 6

JOSE GUILLEN [New acquisition]

B-T PVR BA HR RBI SB
R 60 .311 31 86 1

VLADIMIR GUERRERO [New acquisition]

B-T PVR BA HR RBI SB
R 9 .330 25 79 9

DAVID ECKSTEIN

B-T PVR BA HR RBI SB
R 183 .252 3 31 16

ADAM KENNEDY

B-T PVR BA HR RBI SB
L-R 122 .269 13 49 22

TROY GLAUS

B-T PVR BA HR RBI SB
R 64 .248 16 50 7

DARIN ERSTAD

B-T PVR BA HR RBI SB
L 162 .252 4 17 9

BENGIE MOLINA

B-T PVR BA HR RBI SB
R 202 .281 14 71 1

BENCH

CHONE FIGGINS

B-T PVR BA HR RBI SB
S-R 303 .296 0 27 13

SHANE HALTER [New acquisition]

B-T PVR BA HR RBI SB
R 377 .217 12 30 2

DESIGNATED HITTER

TIM SALMON

B-T PVR BA HR RBI SB
R 123 .275 19 72 3

ROTATION

PITCHER PVR W L IPS WHIP ERA

RH Bartolo Colon 18 15 13 7.1 1.20 3.87
[New acquisition]
LH Jarrod Washburn 46 10 15 6.5 1.25 4.43
RH Kelvim Escobar 62 13 9 6.3 1.48 4.29
RH John Lackey 145 10 16 6.2 1.42 4.63
RH Ramon Ortiz 134 16 13 5.6 1.51 5.20

BULLPEN

PITCHER PVR W L S WHIP ERA

RH Troy Percival 39 0 5 33 1.14 3.47
RH Francisco Rodriguez 147 8 3 2 0.99 3.03
RH Brendan Donnelly 157 2 2 3 1.07 1.58

(R) Rookie
B-T: Bats-throws
IPS: Innings pitched per start
WHIP: Walks plus hits per inning pitched
PVR: Player Value Ranking (explanation on page 142)

2003 RECORD
77-85
third in AL West

MANAGER
Mike Scioscia
fifth season with Anaheim

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)