The Angels were roundly criticized for taking on one of baseball's highest-paid players (Wells earns $86M over the next four years), but they didn't let that deter them from obtaining a quartet of superstars - Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees, Alfonso Soriano of the Chicago Cubs, Michael Schumacher of Mercedes and David Letterman of CBS - who will earn a combined $374M over the remainder of their respective contracts.
A-Rod instantly becomes the Angels' starting third baseman, a position of weakness for the club in 2010. Soriano and his $18M annual salary moves to the outfield along with Wells and youngster Peter Bourjous. Schumacher and Letterman on the other hand, not being baseball players, have less well-defined roles at the moment.
Schumacher, being the world's fastest driver, is expected to assist the team with transportation-related matters. Angels Director of Logistics Joe Bondy-Denomy spoke to Bottom of the Fourth about the roles he envisions for the seven-time world champion. "You know, Los Angeles traffic is legendarily bad, and every week we have to pick up thousands of scalding vats of nacho cheese, kegs of water, eye-droppers of beer, pounds of hot dog concentrate... you name it."
When questioned further about the timetable of these deliveries, Bondy-Denomy quickly changed his tune. "Every day, I mean. Not every week. We have to get new materials every single day! Nothing but the freshest at Angel Stadium." He went on to explain that having Schumacher behind the wheel could shave "seconds, even minutes" off delivery times, pushing the daily schedule ahead incrementally. "Every second counts," according to the Director of Logistics. No word on whether every second is worth 32 million dollars.
|Michael Schumacher could assist with beer transportation|
Letterman would seem to be a natural fit for the stadium announcer's booth, or perhaps the club can negotiate with their television carrier to get him on the broadcast. However, manager Mike Scioscia doesn't see things the same way. "David played in college, and he's a smart baseball man. He gives 110% and stays between the lines. I'm thinking about making him our everyday catcher."
The Angels, of course, just traded away a catcher to acquire Wells, but Mike Napoli wasn't getting much playing time behind the plate under Scioscia. "Napoli hit homers and stuff, but he wasn't a hustler, he didn't manufacture runs, and I'd say at least 80% he wasn't staying within himself," explained the manager.
Naturally, you have to give up something to get something, and a case can be made that the Angels didn't improve their team at all when all was said and done. To acquire Soriano, they had to give up top prospect Mike Trout. A-Rod cost the team their entire starting rotation: Jered Weaver, Ervin Santana, Joel Pineiro, Dan Haren and Scott Kazmir. The price for Schumacher was GM Tony Reagins' three-year-old son, who will instantly go into Mercedes' F1 Driver Training Program. Finally, to obtain Letterman, the Angels shipped Bobby Abreu to CBS to serve as the new host of the Late Show.