Angels need Beltre — and Damon

The Angels have lost their sizzle. They’ve made a few nice splashes in the bullpen with lefties Scott Downs and Hisanori Takahashi bringing balance, but that’s not going to appease the disenfranchised fandom. They’re craving some big-name recognition.

The Angels have to do everything possible to make a bold move in the wake of losing Carl Crawford to the Red Sox. The obvious target is Adrian Beltre, a gem defensively with a lively bat. He’s a tough sign, of course, with Scott Boras running the show, but this is important. The Angels need to make a statement, not only to their fans but to their own players. Beltre would do that.

But I wouldn’t stop there. I’d go get Johnny Damon.

Sitting out there in free-agent land, virtually unnoticed, is one of the game’s acknowledged winners and sparkling personalities. Yes, he’s getting up in years, and some Angels fanatics are weary of importing former Yankees in their sunset years. But Damon can still play. He had a solid season in Detroit – 36 doubles, .355 on-base percentage – and would solve the leadoff issue, at last.

Give Damon a one-year deal at fair market value and let him keep left field warm for Mike Trout along with Bobby Abreu, the two former teammates in the Bronx sharing left and the DH role. Damon is not a great defender, but he’s good enough – and, like Torii Hunter, he’d be enormously helpful to Peter Bourjos.

For a team in need of a personality implant, Damon has few peers. He’s universally respected and liked throughout the game as a standup guy, a winner. He’s tough and he’s smart. He would also give Hunter some breathing room in an Angels clubhouse that is not exactly brimming with exciting, articulate leaders.

There’s a reason why a dozen or so reporters mill around Hunter’s locker space for 162 games every year. He has something to say and doesn’t mind saying it. The Angels have some terrific performers, notably in the starting rotation, but they’re not exactly quote machines. They prefer low profiles.

Johnny Damon is high profile, and affordable. I say go get him while you’re busy trying to figure out how to land Beltre. I’ve heard Damon could be on his way to Tampa Bay, but he has to see how difficult and dreary it could be in the Trop this season with no Crawford, no Rafael Soriano, no Carlos Pena, a bullpen that needs reconstructed.

Come on out west, Johnny D. And bring that bright light that follows you around. This team needs to come in out of the darkness. It could use one of the most endearing “Idiots” ever to pass through a Major League clubhouse. – Lyle Spencer
 

14 Comments

When Trout comes up, Bourjos will be the one moving to LF…assuming he’s still here in 2012.

We need Johnny Damon because of his “sparkling personality” and fun quotes? Pass. And a .355 OBP isn’t exactly going to solve the leadoff problem either… How about Jim Thome: someone who knows how to get on base (.412) and, oh yeah, can hit 25 jacks as well.

Honestly, I’d rather see Reggie Willits in LF and hitting leadoff than have Johnny Damon. He can work counts, get on base, steal some bags and play a decent LF.

And while Beltre would be a nice addition, I think it would be foolish to throw the bank at him. You’ve already got 3 guys on the roster who can play 3rd, and while everyone wants to give up on Brandon Wood, I find it impossible to believe he’ll be worse than last year. Call me a dreamer, but I think he still has a chance to get out of his head and just play. If at mid-season he hasn’t, the Cubs will be long out of it and we can trade for the overpaid Aramis Ramirez to make everyone smile.

Not sure about Damon. Good guy, but his noodle arm gives me the willies. He’s got the worst arm I’ve ever seen on an MLB player. It’s almost comical. Landing Beltre and getting Kendry back, in addition to shoring up our horrendous bullpen, is good for 10-12 additional wins next year, as long as everyone doesn’t spontaneously NOT HIT like in 2010. Texas didn’t exactly run away with the West last year. They only had 90 wins last year. In any normal year, they should have been a distant second or third. With Beltre in the mix, we’re looking pretty good. I say make a run at Greinke. Trade a few prospects, plus Mathis, Rivera, and Kazmir. This would give us a rotation that rivals the Phillies. Get us to the playoffs and we’re looking good. Give Willits one more shot in left, and let him lead off.

Not sure about Damon. Good guy, but his noodle arm gives me the willies. He’s got the worst arm I’ve ever seen on an MLB player. It’s almost comical. Landing Beltre and getting Kendry back, in addition to shoring up our horrendous bullpen, is good for 10-12 additional wins next year, as long as everyone doesn’t spontaneously NOT HIT like in 2010. Texas didn’t exactly run away with the West last year. They only had 90 wins last year. In any normal year, they should have been a distant second or third. With Beltre in the mix, we’re looking pretty good. I say make a run at Greinke. Trade a few prospects, plus Mathis, Rivera, and Kazmir. This would give us a rotation that rivals the Phillies. Get us to the playoffs and we’re looking good. Give Willits one more shot in left, and let him lead off.

I dont agree with Damon as an option. Corey Patterson instead??? More speed, and you don’t have Scott Boras to deal with on Patterson. Just a thought, if looking at cheap option.

there was a lot of talk about boston making a move for crawford in order to be able to move ellsbury… that would solve our lead off and outfield problem in a heartbeat… how bout move some of our talent for him to make the splash. damon’s arm scares me too, as does the 15 buhgillion we’re going to have to pay beltre for his .250 average and 20 HRs

I respect your opinion Lyle, but I don’t want Damon anywhere near the Angels’ clubhouse. I think we can find a better/cheaper option elsewhere.

Come on! We need someone who can play defense and who has an arm. Neither of those is Johnny Damon! He went to the Yankees and took advantage of that short porch in RF, but other than that was a bust. We can do without him. We just struggled through a year with the banged up Matsui, only for his bat. Let someone else take on Damon. We need an upgrade!

I agree with getting them both. We need Beltre’s pop and would fit nicely with Morales & Tori in the middle of the lineup. He will play a solid 3rd based as well. Johnny would be the DH and lead off since he has no arm and would not serve well in the outfield.

Let’s see if management pulls the trigger.

why don’t the angels bring back gmj to play left since they are already paying his salary. it would be cheaper and it makes better sense, ha!

The Angels should stay as far away from Damon as possible, he has one of the weakest outfield arms I have ever seen, which is why the Angels always ran on him, instead the Angels should inquire on the availability of Justin Upton who I think has more upside than Carl Crawford would have, or look at Carlos Quentin from the White Sox who could provide some power in the middle to support Kendry, although his defense is probably below average we have Bourjos to help cover for him. Beltre I have mixed feelings as he is one of the best defensive 3rd basemen and decent hitter, I still feel Wood deserves a shot to win the job.

Damon would be a good 1 year contract addition. He can be a DH leadoff hitter, and steal bases as Bobby Abreu does with intelligence, and decent speed in tank. Damon can also hit left handed pitching, so I see no problem with 2 lefties (Damon & Abreu) leading off, actually think about it, they are pros and will set the table. Aybar could be returned to less pressure 9 spot, where he thrived in 2009.

Regarding Beltre, I am still for getting him 70M or 75M over five years, what’s the difference? On other hand, if we want to not do it, or 75 is not enough, how about signing Penny and Millwood for 1M performance contracts (1 or both will do it) and make a major trade for a differnce maker with one of our starters and prospects leading our package. David Wright, Jose Reyes, or with Marlins…Kazmir is in his walk year, don’t worry he is working hard and will produce, it means 75 M to him, Penny or Millwood will be more than a 5 starter.

Angels need to sign Beltre already. What is management waiting for???? With his defensive skills and ability to bat in the lineup with Morales and Tori, he could be a lethal weapon. I mean, considering he played in Seattle’s terrible lineup, he put up overall decent numbers. Now imagine batting with Morales and Tori??? Wow, I can’t believe the Angels are not pulling the trigger on this one.

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