After one of the most exciting off-seasons in Angels history, there are still some big questions that need to be answered. Here is my list of some of the bigger questions that could determine how the angels do in 2012.
1. Can Mark Trumbo play 3rd base?- After having a terrific rookie season for the Angels last year where he hit 29 home runs and 87 RBIs. With the addition of Albert Pujols means Trumbo will have very limited time at 1st base this year and needs to play 3rd base if he wants to be in the line-up on a regular basis. This would be huge for the Angels adding some much needed power to the Angels line-up.
2. Can Kendrys Morales come back healthy?- Kendrys Morales has only had one season in MLB with 200+ at bats, and that was 2009 when he hit 34 home runs and 108 RBIs. After missing the last year and a half with an ankle injury it really is a mystery if Morales can come back, and if so can he be the player he was in 2009. For the same reason having Trumbo in the lineup, it would absolutely huge if the Angels had a healthy Morales in the lineup on a regular basis at DH. A lineup with Pujols, Trumbo, and Morales all of a sudden has a ton of power, but will the Angels be able to have all 3 in the line up at the same time on a regular basis is yet to be seen.
3. What do they do with Bobby Abreu?- If Morales does come back healthy and take the DH spot that leaves very little at bats for Bobby Abreu, and he really becomes the Angels 4th outfielder. If Morales has a hard time coming back then Abreu will likely be the teams primary DH. The Angels already tried to trade Abreu to the Yankees for AJ Burnett, but Burnett turned the trade down and went to the Pirates instead. It is very possible the Angels attempt to trade Abreu again, and if so it will likely be for a pitcher so they can spread the at bats around a little more with the players they already have.
4. Is Garret Richards ready to be the 5th starter?- Last week it looked like Jerome Williams was in line to be the 5th starter for the Angels, after having a pretty good year for them last season. However Williams has had a set back with a bad hamstring in spring training, leaving the 5th starter spot likely to rookie Garret Richards. Richards had a small taste in MLB pitching in 7 games, with only 3 of them being starts to mixed results. The first 4 starters in the Angels rotation is about as solid as there is in MLB so hopefully that takes pressure off Richards, or whoever else might take the 5th spot in the rotation. Other options besides Williams, and Richards for the 5th starting position are Trevor Bell, Eric Hurley, and Brad Mills.
5. Will Jordan Walden be a dependable closer?- Jordan Walden had a pretty good season his rookie year as closer with 32 saves and a 2.98 ERA. It will be interesting to see if he can handle the closing role for a full year in his sophomore season with the Angels. The Angels did add LaTroy Hawkins, and Jason Isringhausen to an already decent bullpen with Scott Downs, and Hisanori Takahashi so the team does have a few other options if Walden doesn’t perform as well as the need him to.