Looking at Cots Contracts for the basics of 2015 Angel overhead, here we go.
The Angels have $123M committed next year. Colon would make it 134. Huston Street's option goes to $141M. There's what, $12M or so that each team owes MLB for pensions, etc. annually, that counts toward the lux tax? (I'm not exactly sure what the 2014 number is, but it was just under $11M for 2013.) That's $153M now. David Freese on his final arbitration year? We'll say that's at $6M for $159M on our count. Other arb cases, by my math, come in at $17M, on a rough guess, for $176M. Let me add $4M, or a bit over 2 percent, to take that up to $180M.
Others? Jason Grilli and Joe Thatcher are gone, if necessary. Even with minor league call-ups, the Angels are below $189M for next year. Other small free agents, like John McDonald, also will be let go.
Plus, if any MLB player is traded for Colon, his pay comes off that total, remember.
It would be tight, yes, but very doable.
Update, Aug. 27: DiGiovanna responds to an email from me.
He's right that he didn't say Colon by himself would push them over the limit; hence the first-graf update.
That said, my response?
Well, a younger pitcher would be nice, yes. That said, Colon's not bad. If he has 1.7 WAR for next year, going on 1 WAR = $6.5M, he's exactly earned his keep. And, is that unrealistic? No. Especially given that the Angels don't have an idea yet on Richards' 2015 time frame, Colon could be desirable well into next season.
True that you say "push right up against," not over, but you note in the next clause that Arte doesn't want to go over. That's why, with my math, there's some flexibility. And why I'm only halfway apologetic for the word "bloviate," especially since a journalist at the mighty L.A. Times had to look up the damned thing and email me the definition, in case I didn't know it.
Dear Mike: I did know it. That's why I used it.
And, even without Colon in 2015, Scherzer or Lester pushes Arte over the lux tax right there. Even a James Shields is going to push you over, in all likelihood.
If he's going to pursue a B-level pitcher, why not just sign Colon now? Looking at the 2015 free agent list, Colon is better than a lot of the dog's breath out there.