If not Beltre, why not a reunion?

For argument’s sake, let’s say agent Scott Boras pulls another Jayson Werth out of his hat and convinces somebody – the Blue Jays, Orioles, Rangers — that Adrian Beltre is worth more than the $70 million across five seasons reportedly offered by the Angels.

Where does Team Moreno go from there? Is there a legitimate Plan B moving forward?

At the risk of once again alienating my growing anti-fan base, I have an idea that makes sense to me. Why not make a creative effort to bring back the 2009 Angels offense? You remember that attack, how it mauled opponents from top (Chone Figgins) to bottom (Erick Aybar) with speed and power. The amazing thing is that they continued to roll through the summer with their No. 3 and No. 4 hitters, Torii Hunter and Vladimir Guerrero, sidelined together for an extended period of time.

Figgins is now in Seattle, having endured a frustrating debut season with the Mariners, while Guerrero is a free agent after a blockbuster season in Texas, his big body healed after the multiple injury disruptions of ’09.

I could be wrong – it’s happened before – but it seems plausible that the Angels and Mariners could work out a mutually beneficial deal involving Figgins. It also is possible that Guerrero could be lured back to Anaheim with the two-year deal he is seeking that the Rangers don’t seem to have prepared for the man who made life much nicer for Josh Hamilton, Nelson Cruz and Co. with his presence.

With a need for power, Seattle could acquire power-hitting left fielder Juan Rivera and Alberto Callaspo, a versatile infielder, in exchange for the leadoff catalyst who was missed so badly by the Angels. Yes, Figgins is costly — $26 million guaranteed for three more years, with a vesting option for 2014. And there doubtless are some residual hard feelings that would need smoothed over in the Figgins camp over his exit in the afterglow of a career year in ’09. But couples reunite all the time, and if it serves to benefit everyone involved . . . why not?

If Figgins doesn’t reach 600 plate appearances in 2013, the $9 million vesting option for ’14 does not kick in. That’s a lot of at-bats; to get there, Figgy would have to remain healthy and productive.

Now, on to Guerrero. What would it take to bring him back? Perhaps something in thle $20 million range for two years. Given what he meant to the Angels, that doesn’t seem unreasonable. His return would quiet a lot of fans who are spewing invective these days.

Yes, Guerrero clearly benefitted from the comforts of Rangers Ballpark, and his second half wasn’t nearly as productive as the first. But a .300 batting average with 29 homers and 115 RBIs is a healthy season under any measure. During the American League Division Series against the Rays, Vlad told me his knees felt better than they have in four years, and it showed in the way he ran the bases.

Guerrero’s understated leadership qualities should not be overlooked. He had a lot to do with the emergence of Aybar, who clearly missed his big brother figure. It should be noted that Beltre, much like Guerrero, is a highly regarded clubhouse presence for his calm, easy manner and certainly is capable of filling that leadership role if he comes aboard.

A Beltre signing would be cause for celebration — even if it’s hardly a unanimous sentiment among disgruntled Angels followers who seemingly won’t be satisfied until the club reunites the 2002 offense or acquires Evan Longoria, Joe Mauer and Albert Pujols.

Beltre can play. Boston fans fell in love with him in 2010, but they realize that Adrian Gonzalez is younger with more upside and that Kevin Youkilis is now a third baseman. Otherwise, they’d be incensed in Beantown over Beltre’s departure after a brilliant season.

Much is made of Beltre’s perceived struggles in Seattle after his mammoth season with the Dodgers in 2004, but he didn’t perform that badly considering Safeco Field is notoriously rough on right-handed batters. Fewer home runs were hit there by righties (61) than in any park in 2010, and that’s a fairly consistent stat.

The Angels’ reported proposal for Beltre, at 32, seems more than reasonable. If it’s not enough, so be it. But landing Figgins and Guerrero for a total of five contract years at roughly $46 million – or six years and $55 million if the Figgins option vests – seems to be a viable alternative to five years and $70 million for Beltre.

I’m not saying it’s going to happen or even can happen. It’s just an innocent thought from someone who would like to see some much-needed holiday cheer extending into a new season. – Lyle Spencer


  1. aztronut

    You can’t go home again. “You can’t go back home to a young man’s dreams of glory and fame…back home to the escapes of time and memory.” – T. Wolfe

    You can’t return to your place of origin without being deemed a failure. It’s time to move on, even if it means giving Wood another shot or trying out Trumbo in LF. Figgy and Vlady gave us some good years, the best years of their careers, but their glory days are in the past and it’s time for the Angels to build a better future.

  2. timocypress

    That quote doesn’t apply here. How will Vlad be deemed a failure if he returns? He had a great season and proved the Angels wrong by letting him go and having a monster season. So if anything it’s the opposite. Do you think Vlad didn’t have a “glory” year last year? Sorry but you are mistaken. Would you rather see Wood and third or Beltre there and Vlad back? Or Figgy back and third after a down year (we might be able to give away little for him since he’s coming off a down year) and Vlad back at DH? Sometimes common sense goes beyond any technical quote. And Lyle, you’re the man.

  3. blithescribe

    ?disgruntled Angels followers who seemingly won’t be satisfied until the club reunites the 2002 offense or acquires Evan Longoria, Joe Mauer and Albert Pujols? Funny and all too true in many cases.
    As much as the Angels missed Chone Figgens this year and as much as I wish they?d never let him (or Darren Oliver!) go in the first place, I don?t want him back. From my outside vantage, so many of the problems Figgy had this season were caused or at least exacerbated by attitude. I don?t think bringing him back to the Angles after we let him go and he had a bad season on top of it is going to change the attitude and bring back the Figgy who played so well for the Angels before. Vladdy though is an interesting idea. I think he looked like he was slowing down an awful lot at the end of this season, so I am inclined to say no, but I thought he looked like he was slowing down an awful lot at the end of 2009 and look how great he was for most of 2010, so who knows what he?s going to do. If the plan is no longer moving Bobby to the DH role and we don?t sign anyone else maybe Vladdy is the way to go?I?m still hoping they sign Beltre though. Thanks for the interesting thoughts to mull over.

  4. angelsangelsangels

    Guys, we have to move beyond Figgy and Vladdy. They were a wonderful, WONDERFUL part of our team, but I think chances of Vladdy having another great year are slim. He did well in Texas because he had something to prove, and also because it’s a great hitters’ park.

    Figgy is getting too old. I know that a lot of the game is mental and Figgy has not been in a good mental place in Seattle, but still. His years with us were great, but getting him back is not what will push this team forward. We already have a frighteningly aging squad. No need to exacerbate that.

    We’ve gotta quit looking to the past for our answers just because the front office refuses to look toward the future. I don’t care if 2011 is a building year. I’d rather get young guys out there and actually develop a TEAM. One of the main reasons we stank in 2010 was because of a lack of team cohesion. We can’t keep signing 1-2 year contracts to random guys as a stop-gap measure. You can see that the teams that makes it to the Big Show are ones that play together and with heart. I think we’d be hard pressed to say that was the Angels in 2010, heck if even in 2009. In 2009 we got by on dumb luck.

  5. teachersmiley

    I’ve been singing the Figgins song since the end of the season but I figured it would take Napoli. If the Angels could swing it for Rivera pull the trigger now! Signing Vlad would at least keep him from another AL West team and provide some pop, but it puts Abreu back in the field full time which might not be the best of ideas if you want to keep him healthy. Better Damon I think who can play left some of the time.

    As for Figgins attitude, my understanding is that it all stems from Ichiro not wanting to bat anywhere but leadoff. Their ideal lineup has Figgins leading off and Ichiro hitting 2nd or 3rd. Figgy slashes, Ichirio places. Duh 1-2….

    Time to bring Figgy home, maybe bring Figgy back to play left and sign Beltre to play 3rd.

    Hey, it’s only money.

  6. angellurker

    Mr. Spencer, I don’t know what your actual level of contact with Mr. Moreno is but if these are your actual thoughts and feelings I wish you would run them by Mr. Moreno directly. Email, lunch, phone call, whatever it takes to clarify your thoughts on Figgins and Guerrero to Mr. Moreno. Such moves would be tremendously popular by many fans on this site.
    These are interesting thoughts you have written and represents the first time I have actually thought there might be some hope for getting those guys, especially Guererro. Maybe the Figgins deal would be a drain on the finances due to contractual poblems. Thanks for your thoughts on the issues and please consider taking these ideas straight to Mr. Moreno himself. When you read others on this blog eschewing such ideas, please take it to Mr. Moreno anyway. I speak on behalf of many who would support such moves from the Angels. Guererro especially belongs in Anaheim so he can go into the Hall Of Fame with an Angel Jersey on. And so the Angels can get back to the form of ’09, which was they lost in 2010. This is Angel Lurker, out

  7. bobsac

    I’d much rather have Figgins and Guerrero at any price over Beltre who probably won’t show up until the fifth year of his contract!

  8. go_kendry

    I do not think this is a good idea, Vladdy had a very good year because he finally got his knee problems addressed after a couple of years of refusing surgery and “working it out through therapy”. He reportedly was advised to have surgery at the end of 2007 and 2008 and refused because he could do therapy and exercise to fix his problem. Watching him try to run in 2008 and 2009 was painful and it was obvious that it was also painful for him. In my opinion if he had gotten the knee fixed earlier the team might have tried to keep him after 2009, but he didn’t and they had no faith in his recovery or his ability to continue contributing. Bringing him back would be a mistake, I hear he kept insisting he could play the outfield with the Rangers and we all saw how that worked out when he got the chance. He would make a great DH someplace, but I do not think Anaheim is the right place.

    Figgins shouldn’t be brought back either, he had to know that the Mariners wouldn’t bat him ahead of Ichiro, and if they didn’t tell him they wanted him at 2nd instead of 3rd, then they have only themselves to blame for his poor performance. While he was here he demonstrated his flexibility in where he played in the field and where he batted in the line-up. He thrived as the leadoff hitter, but did nearly as well at other spots in the lineup, so I do not so much think batting second was his problem as much as who was batting third and fourth and how that dictated the way he was pitched to, in Anaheim the batters behind him in the lineup were much better than his Mariner teammates.

    If they do not acquire Beltre, start bringing up some of those youngsters in the minors that we are always hearing about.

  9. snowmatt1@yahoo.com


    Not a bad idea. I was in favor of letting Vlad go at the time, and obviously that looks like a mistake now. However, I’m not sure that’s the best use of 10 million a year.

    A trade to reacquire Figgins is interesting too. Coming off his bad season, we may have to give up a lot less in a trade with Seattle looking to offload the salary.

    I am not interested in Beltre at all. Look at his career stats. He is a mediocre player who has monster years in his contract years. I suspect he’ll revert to his career .273 self once a deal is inked in Anaheim.

    I’ve enjoyed your work in SoCal for over 20 years. Keep it up!

  10. halosreallyneedpower

    That is THE WORSE IDEA EVER!!! And for all you fans that actually like this idead have no clue.. Figgins was awful in the post season and his speed is down 35% FIGGINS IS NOT GOOD!! We already have 3 horrible 3B we need BELTRE!! Not another 5’4 ground ball hitter.. Do you people watch baseball? Vladdy on the other hand woldnt be a bad idea but Beltre is a MUST if you ever plan on winning.. MORALES AND BELTRE PLEASE MAKE IT HAPPEN OR KISS MY MONEY GOODBYE

  11. j_rod

    Well, it appears that Beltre is headed to Texas. Let that one go now, $96M over 6 yrs is way too much for Beltre. Time to bring back Vlad? He might be a good buy at this point with Texas likely not going to bring him back. Give him his 2 yrs at $18M.

  12. sonnyg10

    i didnt want to comment until i saw the comment by “halosreallyneedpower” i suspect that you don’t watch baseball. first off Chone figgins is a versatile athlete who hits for average and ignites an offense, once he is on base, assuming you know what a base is, the pitcher has to focus his attention there, setting up abreu hunter and morales, so your comment is dumb, secondly you want to bring back vlad…vlad is more of a risk than figgins, he cant even move, though i’m personally in favor of him being the dh only! Then you said something about we need beltre? Beltre has had two good years…one last year contract year, aka make my money next year, and in his contract year with the dodgers, Beltre is the most overrated soon to be most over paid athlete in baseball, a rental in Guerrero would be amazing for one year, until next year when mr. puljols becomes available thats the man we need to go after!!! Its interesting that you say the angels need more, but the angels dont play a power hitting style of baseball they rely on speed and timely hitting, i would rather watch brandon wood, keep in mind he has pontential power beyond belief just needs to shorten the swing, play third than over pay an athlete, GARY MATTHEWS JR anyone???? Gosh i hate ignorance more than anything in the world. Thank you

  13. angelfandan13

    Yes bring back Vlad and go get Soriano! Beltre is now gone to the Rangers because Arte lied to all of us fans. Go out and get some help huh? I think if you had signed some free agents like you said you would we as fans would not mind a raise in the beer and seats. As of right now I have not bought my season seats, so Arte go do something or there are many that are fed up and won’t be going to much games this season! Spend it and they will come? Looks more like go cheap and they will stay home. If you don’t get Soriano and get Vlad or a player that can hit 40 homers, I will be staying home. Is this what you want Arte?

  14. angels4ever

    I pray that Vlad comes back. That would instantly improve the pitches to whoever is in front of him in the lineup. i am all for it, but please God PLEASE no Manny. If Manny plays for the Halos, I’ll not be attending any home games for sure. That would be akin to selling the teams soul.

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