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Angels camp report: Likes and dislikes


C.J. Wilson helps form a Big 4 with Jered Weaver, Daren Haren and Ervin Santana. (AP)  
C.J. Wilson helps form a Big 4 with Jered Weaver, Daren Haren and Ervin Santana. (AP)  

TEMPE, Ariz. -- What I like, and don't like, about the Angels:


  The Phillies had their Big 4 starters last year, and it helped them to a big-league high 102 wins. Now the Angels have added C.J. Wilson to a rotation that already included Jered Weaver, Dan Haren and Ervin Santana. Maybe it's not Halladay-Lee-Hamels-Oswalt, but it could well be the best top four in the game this year.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Danny Knobler
Mark Trumbo's switch to third base is key to the season for the Angels. Camp report >>
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  You can argue that the 10-year contract the Angels handed Albert Pujols is a few years too long, or even a lot of years too long. But in the short term, as in this year, Pujols gives the Angels a lineup presence that they haven't had, and that few teams have. He's still right at or near the top of the list of the game's most-feared hitters, and he changes a lineup just by being in the middle of it.

 If the Angels hadn't signed Pujols, the focus this spring could well have been on how soon 20-year-old Mike Trout will be ready to play full-time in the big leagues. Trout, who got a 20-game look last summer, shares space at the top of most prospect lists with Bryce Harper.

  Mike Scioscia is still one of the very best managers in the majors. The Angels' leadership structure is better organized now, with Jerry Dipoto as the general manager, and some may view that as diminishing Scioscia's influence. What it really should do is make the organization run better as a whole. Scioscia can do what he does best, which is run the team in the clubhouse and the dugout.

  The Angels-Rangers battles in the American League West should be outstanding, but the addition of a second wild-card team this year could benefit both those teams. That's especially true if the A's and Mariners are weak, because the unbalanced schedule gives the Angels and Rangers plenty of chances to beat up on both of those teams.


  Will the bullpen be good enough? Jordan Walden was extremely impressive at times last year as the Angels' rookie closer, but he was also inconsistent. There were thoughts at times over the winter that the Angels would shop for one of the many closers available, but they didn't.

  The top four spots in the rotation look great, but the fifth spot and the depth behind it remain a question. Jerome Williams appears likely to open as the fifth starter, but the Angels are also looking at Garrett Richards this spring. They were uncertain enough that they considered trading Bobby Abreu for A.J. Burnett, a deal that had no real chance because Burnett wasn't willing to go to the West Coast.

  Will Mark Trumbo be able to handle third base? Will Bobby Abreu get traded, and if he doesn't, will he get enough at-bats to be happy? Scioscia will need to make sure all the moving parts fit, although he says, "Believe me, it's not going to be an issue."

  Kendrys Morales, in theory, is one of those moving parts, but he hasn't played since breaking his ankle in that home plate celebration in May 2010. Dipoto said Morales is "looking great," but it's an open question whether he'll be the same guy who hit 34 home runs and drove in 108 runs in 2009.


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