Move 1: Jeff Mathis traded to Toronto for Brad Mills
It could have been Jeff Mathis to Toronto for more of Vernon Wells' contract (I'm sure he has more hiding somewhere). Hell, it could have been Jeff Mathis to Toronto for a bag of baseballs and a hoagie, this was a great deal for the Angels. Even if Brad Mills never steps on the mound at the Big A, neither will Jeff Mathis (at least in Angel red). I liked Jeff Mathis, I really did, and he was a nice guy, but his bat was a cancer to the team. Its unfortunate Hank Conger didn't have a stellar 2011, because he probably could have muscled a few starts away from him. Simply taking away Mike Scioscia's ability to start Jeff Mathis for 100+ games in 2012, I knew I already loved Jerry Dipoto as a GM.
Move 2: Tyler Chatwood traded to Colorado for Chris Iannetta
Is Iannetta the worlds best defensive catcher? No. But lets face it, neither was Mathis. I like this deal for a couple reasons. I don't think Chatwood is quite up to par to be a solid big league starter in the American League, at least not right now. I love the step up from Mathis to Iannetta in terms of On Base Percentage (.220something to .357 over their careers). Plus Iannetta has some pop in his bat, not as much as Napoli did, but he is a 20 HR guy. With Iannetta in the lineup, the only weakness offensively is really Vernon Wells, and considering he hit 25 homers in 2011, that isn't a bad thing.
Move 3: Angels sign Right Handed Reliever LaTroy Hawkins for 1 year, $3 Million
Adding a great right-handed compliment to Scott Downs in an improving Bullpen was a great move on its own, then you throw in the fact that he is a long-time friend of Torii Hunter and a fantastic clubhouse guy? This was a steal at $3 Million. The signing was overshadowed by the signings of Pujols and Wilson (which happened only hours later), but it could just as important in bringing the Angels a World Series title in 2012.
If the Angels don't do anything else this off-season but re-sign all the arbitration guys (Kendrick, Aybar, etc), they are already primed to be among the top contenders in the American League. With the Yankees and Red Sox getting older, and the Rangers pitching in question, it could be a perfect storm for the Angels this October. But lets hold off on any World Series talk until this team wins a few games. Still no reason not to be excited for baseball to return. Only 67 days until pitchers and catchers report!