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OC Register: Angels Offseason Options: Daniel Descalso


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(This is the latest in a series of quick profiles on players who fit for the Angels to add over the winter. They are purely “informed speculation,” based on what we know about the Angels’ roster needs along with General Manager Billy Eppler’s preferences and history. We’ll have a new one every weekday, until the GM Meetings, which are the unofficial start of the hot stove season.)

DANIEL DESCALSO, UTILITY, Arizona Diamondbacks

The basics: Descalso spent his early years with the St. Louis Cardinals but has played for the Colorado Rockies and Diamondbacks recently. He will be 32 this week.

2018 season: Although he hit .238, Descalso posted a .353 on-base percentage, which was the best of his career. He also hit a career-high 13 homers in 423 plate appearances.

Contract stats: Descalso is a free agent, having just completed a two-year, $3.35-million deal that proved to be a steal for the Diamondbacks. He has never made more than $2.1 million in a season.

Why he makes sense: Versatility is going to be vital for the Angels. With Shohei Ohtani likely taking up one position player spot, even though he won’t be able to play a position, the Angels could use as many players as they can find who can play multiple positions. Descalso played first, second, third and left field last season. Although first base is the infield spot at which Descalso has played the least – 62 games, and 29 starts in his career – that could be where he would help the Angels the most. Albert Pujols is not going to be able to play first every day, so the Angels might want to get an experienced player to complement him. They could use someone who had the skill set that Luis Valbuena had – ability to play multiple positions, including first – but would perform better than Valbuena did. Descalso also hits left-handed, making him a good complement to right-handed hitters Pujols, Zack Cozart, David Fletcher and Taylor Ward. If the Angels want an inexpensive, experienced safety net for youngsters like Fletcher and Ward, Descalso could be the someone who could be productive in a variety of spots. The Angels need to improve their on-base percentage, and Descalso has a .344 on-base percentage over the past three years. According to Statcast, Descalso also made better contact last season, with a higher launch angle, than he’d made in previous years.

Why he doesn’t: Although Descalso won’t cost much, the Angels might want to use almost all of their resources on pitching or a catcher, which are their most dire needs over the winter. Billy Eppler has said he has confidence that players such as Cozart, Fletcher, Ward, José Fernández and prospects Matt Thaiss and Luis Rengifo could be sufficient to fill out their infield needs. Also, if the Angels are going to add someone to the infield mix from outside, they might want someone with more experience at first base, as insurance in case Pujols misses significant time with injury or Ohtani is slow to return, moving Pujols to DH.

Previous players: C J.T. RealmutoRHP Nate EovaldiRHP Sonny Gray, LHP Patrick Corbin, LHP CC Sabathia.

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- Less than stellar defense at positions where we already have depth. 

- Career .240 hitter.

- Career .324 OBP.

- 32 years old, and will require more money than the league minimum options we already have in place. 

- Would effectively block prospects in AAA or on the fringe roster from logging valuable major league experience like Fernandez, Thaiss, Ward, Rengifo, Walsh and Fletcher. 

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I realize he’s not a star, but he made $2M last season. Valbuena made $8M. 

And he’s got a .340ish OBP over the last three years. If you look at his statcast numbers, there was some hard contact and launch angle stuff in there to indicate he may have figured something out. 

I think if they could get him for 2-3M a year, he’s a safer bet than the young guys, and if the young guys are performing, you can easily release him. 

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8 minutes ago, Jeff Fletcher said:

I realize he’s not a star, but he made $2M last season. Valbuena made $8M. 

And he’s got a .340ish OBP over the last three years. If you look at his statcast numbers, there was some hard contact and launch angle stuff in there to indicate he may have figured something out. 

I think if they could get him for 2-3M a year, he’s a safer bet than the young guys, and if the young guys are performing, you can easily release him. 

Also, a guy like him doesn’t “block” anyone because he plays so many positions. He’s just s security blanket for wherever the hole springs up. 

For not much money. 

Also..... OBP OBP OBP OBP

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34 minutes ago, Jeff Fletcher said:

Also, a guy like him doesn’t “block” anyone because he plays so many positions. He’s just s security blanket for wherever the hole springs up. 

For not much money. 

Also..... OBP OBP OBP OBP

.324 .324 .324 .324

I feel like a move for Descalso would be one of those where Eppler is trying to prove how smart he is by assigning value to someone who isn't necessarily that valuable. You don't have to get overly creative or fancy and unearth anything.  Just spend money on the guy that has the numbers and is likely to get the job done. 

Just because something is on sale doesn't mean you should buy it, For all we know, Descalso is about to take off the same way Daniel Murphy did later in his career. Sure. But just because other GM's aren't spending money on him doesn't mean you should. 

And yes Fletch, he would block someone, namely Fletcher and Fernandez. Those two, along with Ward, Rengifo, Thaiss, Walsh and Jones are the safety net. They don't need a safety net to protect the safety net. 

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4 minutes ago, Scotty@AW said:

.324 .324 .324 .324

I feel like a move for Descalso would be one of those where Eppler is trying to prove how smart he is by assigning value to someone who isn't necessarily that valuable. You don't have to get overly creative or fancy and unearth anything.  Just spend money on the guy that has the numbers and is likely to get the job done. 

Just because something is on sale doesn't mean you should buy it, For all we know, Descalso is about to take off the same way Daniel Murphy did later in his career. Sure. But just because other GM's aren't spending money on him doesn't mean you should. 

And yes Fletch, he would block someone, namely Fletcher and Fernandez. Those two, along with Ward, Rengifo, Thaiss, Walsh and Jones are the safety net. They don't need a safety net to protect the safety net. 

They’d be getting him as a bench player. I’m not suggesting they get him to be an everyday player anywhere.

I think he could be the backup everywhere. 

Do you not think he’d be better than Jefry Marte was? And he plays more positions.

If Fletcher is holding down 2B, great. If Ward is holding down 3B, great. If JMF is at first, great. 

But some of those guys are going to flop.

Im just throwing out ideas with this series, but it’s become clear to me that many fans don’t want to hear about anyone but Harper or deGrom. 

I think you’ll like tomorrow’s better.

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7 hours ago, Scotty@AW said:

.324 .324 .324 .324

I feel like a move for Descalso would be one of those where Eppler is trying to prove how smart he is by assigning value to someone who isn't necessarily that valuable. You don't have to get overly creative or fancy and unearth anything.  Just spend money on the guy that has the numbers and is likely to get the job done. 

Just because something is on sale doesn't mean you should buy it, For all we know, Descalso is about to take off the same way Daniel Murphy did later in his career. Sure. But just because other GM's aren't spending money on him doesn't mean you should. 

And yes Fletch, he would block someone, namely Fletcher and Fernandez. Those two, along with Ward, Rengifo, Thaiss, Walsh and Jones are the safety net. They don't need a safety net to protect the safety net. 

Your right, he should have just signed a guy like Carlos Santana, the most consistent performer and most predictable free agent this past off season, he’s sure to perform.  Oh wait, he was a bad signing too.  Or a guy like Neil Walker who was pretty damn consistent.  

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I actually think Descalso makes a lot of sense.

I totally get what @Scotty@AW is saying about how he blocks playing time from Rengifo, JMF, Thaiss, Walsh, etc...but, at the same time, how much playing time are those guys really going to get the first half of 2019? Realistically? It took like two-plus months of Fletcher OPSing damn near 1.000 in AAA before he got a call-up, and nearly four months of Taylor Ward doing the same before he got a shot. It's not that hard to cut ties with Descalso if he sucks or if he's getting pushed out by a red-hot prospect. It's another layer of depth. It might be another deadline deal to pick-up a useful prospect. 

And while his career OBP is .324, it's a little skewed by some poor numbers his first few seasons. Over the last three years, his OBP is .344, his OPS is .762, and his OPS+ is just a tick below league average at 94. 

I picture him filling a role like Pennington did, or like an option-less Cowart might in 2019 if they keep him inexplicably like they did Marte this year. 
Pennington had a .287 OBP and 66 OPS+ as an Angel, so he could be a big upgrade in that regard.

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Fletcher, Fernández and Ward were all below .700 OPS last year. Fernández by a little and Ward by a lot. Obviously, the book is not written on those guys because it was their first season. Maybe they’ll be good. Maybe they won’t. Maybe they’ll be good but not till 2020.

Rengifo and Thaiss haven’t set foot in the majors. Who knows what they’ll bring.

A guy like Descalso costs $2-3M (about the same as José Álvarez) and gives you a fallback if the other guys need more time at AAA (they all have options).

If you’re trying to contend, you can’t just have someone like Fletcher play 50 games in a row OPSing .600. The Angels have done that with Espinosa, Calhoun, etc. when they had no depth and fans went ape shit over it.

Having a guy like Descalso also means you don’t need a young guy rotting on the bench instead of getting every day ABs in AAA. 

As of this moment, the most likely scenario is Fletcher is the everyday 2B and Cozart is the 3B. Simmons and Pujols are there too. So you need 1 more guy (or 2 if can also play OF), and he’s got to be able to play 1B. He may have to play 1B a lot if Pujols can’t. JMF (who is going to be 31, btw) is the guy right now. Wouldn’t you like a little insurance for if he stinks? And what if Ohtani isn’t ready or Pujols gets hurt so JMF has to play everyday for a month? What if Fletcher gets hurt? What if Cozart gets hurt?

 Descalso is easily acquiarable and he’s easily releasable if it doesn’t work. Guys like Marwin Gonzalez and Mike Moustakas could also fit, but they are going to cost a lot more. 

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9 hours ago, Jeff Fletcher said:

They’d be getting him as a bench player. I’m not suggesting they get him to be an everyday player anywhere.

I think he could be the backup everywhere. 

Do you not think he’d be better than Jefry Marte was? And he plays more positions.

If Fletcher is holding down 2B, great. If Ward is holding down 3B, great. If JMF is at first, great. 

But some of those guys are going to flop.

Im just throwing out ideas with this series, but it’s become clear to me that many fans don’t want to hear about anyone but Harper or deGrom. 

I think you’ll like tomorrow’s better.

You're saying OBP and I am too.  .324 OBP.  Not the answer, not even as a back up.  And I don't care about Harper and DeGrom.  Those guys are going to cost too much.  I'm in favor of the Angels spending money where it actually matters.  2-3 million on a guy that takes AB's away from the youngsters, and doesn't move the needle is a waste of 2-3 million, especially when these young guys need major league AB's in order to properly develop. 

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I don''t think Jeff Fletcher is actually advocating for Descalso, he's just throwing out realistic options.  I think the Angels are likely to do something that isn't going to resonate with the fans, but makes sense from a practical point of view.  I'm not expecting a "big splash" at all.  Moustakes could be back with the Brewers if they exercise the mutual option.  Marwin G. is more likely to return to Houston, I would think.  His post season performance probably elevated his price for other teams...

The Angels don't have the luxury of giving the young guys all the AB's they need to get comfortable. They either will sink or swim.  Descalso "feels" more like an Eppler move.  It doesn't get me excited at all, but it does seem realistic. 

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5 hours ago, Scotty@AW said:

You're saying OBP and I am too.  .324 OBP.  Not the answer, not even as a back up.  And I don't care about Harper and DeGrom.  Those guys are going to cost too much.  I'm in favor of the Angels spending money where it actually matters.  2-3 million on a guy that takes AB's away from the youngsters, and doesn't move the needle is a waste of 2-3 million, especially when these young guys need major league AB's in order to properly develop. 

324 OBP would have qualified as the 5th best on the team last year.

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2 hours ago, Kevinb said:

324 OBP would have qualified as the 5th best on the team last year.

While we're at it...

Jefry Marte .273

Jose Fernandez .309

David Fletcher .316

Taylor Ward .245

Angels team .313

AL Average .318

And, Descalso's last 3 years ... .344

----

Also, I was told today by a member of the front office that my choice of players so far in this series was "pretty good." Not to pat myself on the back, but just to let you know that I'm trying to find realistic options, not fantasyland scenarios.

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