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World Series champions rotations (and how much do the Angels need to improve to be comparable?)


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How good does a rotation have to be to win the World Series? Let's look at the four best starters of the last ten World Series champions, with their cumulative fWAR for quick comparison. Why only four? Well, there's a common adage that you only need four good starters (say, #3 or better) to win the World Series, and any team should be able to cobble together decent enough starters to fill the 5th slot.

2019 Nationals: Scherzer 6.5, Strasburg 5.7, Corbin 4.8, Sanchez 2.5 = 19.5 WAR

2018 Red Sox: Sale 6.2, Porcello 2.4, Price 2.4, Rodriguez 2.1 = 11.1 WAR

2017 Astros: Verlander 4.1, Peacock 3.2, Morton 3.1, McCullers 2.8 = 13.2 WAR 

2016 Cubs: Lester 4.2, Hendricks 4.1, Arrieta 3.5, Lackey 2.9 = 14.7 WAR

2015 Royals: Ventura 2.7, Volquez 2.7, Cueto 1.1, Duffy 0.9 = 7.4 WAR

2014 Giants: Bumgarner 3.6, Hudson 1.7, Peavy 1.4, Vogelsong 0.9 = 7.6 WAR

2013 Red Sox: Leser 3.3, Buccholz 2.7, Lackey 2.5, Doubront 2.3 = 10.8 WAR

2012 Giants: Cain 3.2, Bumgarner 2.7, Vogelsong 1.9, Zito 1.0 = 8.8 WAR

2011 Cardinals: Carpenter 4.5, Garcia 3.2, Lohse 2.2, Westbrook 0.7 = 10.6 WAR

2010 Giants: Lincecum 4.3, Cain 4.0, Sanchez 2.2, Zito 1.8 = 12.3 WAR

(In the case of pitchers that were traded for within the season, like Verlander in 2017, I've calculated with their full season WAR as it is more indicative of their ability).

OK, let's look at those WAR totals in a descending list: 

19.5, 14.7, 13.2, 12.3, 11.1, 10.8, 10.6, 8.8, 7.6, 7.4

Average: 11.6

Median: 10.95

It is worth noting that only the last two WS champs--that is 2 of 10, or 20%--had starters with WARs of 5 or higher. The Nationals rotation was by far the best, and truly great with three pitchers that most teams would call their staff ace. The worst were the 2015 Royals and 2015 Giants; the former had no pitchers reach 3.0 WAR, and the latter only one above 2.0.

Now there are other factors to a good rotation: health and ERA, most notably. So perhaps if we added more data points like IP (or games started) and ERA, some of these rotations would look a bit better. But not that much better.

The main takeaway for all of us is this: World Series champions do not always--even usually, at least in recent history--have a true #1 starter. At least according to WAR. In fact, some of them don't even have any starters better than a #3 caliber.

Now let's look at the same team and give them a subjective #1-5 starter ranking, depending mostly on ERA, but also WAR, IP, and my own judgement as to their talent level, with an average of their top four starters:

2019 Nationals: 1, 1, 1, 3 = 1.5 average

2018 Red Sox: 1, 2, 3, 3 = 2.25

2017 Astros: 1, 3, 3, 3 = 2.5

2016 Cubs: 1, 1, 2, 3 = 1.75

2015 Royals: 3, 3, 4, 5 = 3.75

2014 Giants: 1, 3, 3, 3 = 2.5

2013 Red Sox: 2, 3, 3, 4 = 3.0

2012 Giants: 2, 2, 2, 4 = 2.5

2011 Cardinals: 2, 3, 3, 4 = 3.0

2010 Giants: 2, 2, 3, 3 = 2.5

When you take ERA and IP into account, many of the rotations look a bit different. But again, the 2019 Nationals were ridiculously good, but they are somewhat of an outlier, with only the '16 Cubs being close.

The outlier on the other side of the spectrum were the 2015 Royals, who had a truly mediocre rotation. Consider that Bundy in 2020 was only 0.7 WAR shy from their top two starters, and all while starting only 11 games. How did they win the World Series? Well, they were known for having a great bullpen, great defense, and playing small ball really well (remember the ALDS series the year before?). So as a side point to this topic, it is important to realize that WS champions aren't necessarily strong in all areas.

If we ignore the outlying '19 Nationals, '16 Cubs and '15 Royals, we get seven rotations (or 70% of the ten) in the range of 2.25 to 3.0 averages. The one commonality all seven teams share is that they have at least one pitcher that was a #2 or better, and three pitchers that were #3s or better. 

But again, it is worth noting that only half of the ten teams had true #1s, and that's including career years from Lester and Hendricks for the Cubs in '16, and Bumgarner in '14 for the Giants, who may have been a borderline #2 who pitched like an ace in the postseason.

The point of relevancy to us: You don't have to have a #1 pitcher to win the World Series. You don't even need to have a great rotation. It doesn't hurt, and you probably need a good to very good one, but not a great one. And again: you don't need a #1. A #2 will do just fine, and you can even get away with your best pitcher being a #3, if you have several of them and are really strong in other areas.

All of this is my way of saying that the "Bauer or Bust" crowd is just flat-out wrong. Half of those teams don't have a Bauer. But on the other hand, almost all of them have someone better than anyone the Angels currently have.

So what does the Angels 2020 rotation look like, in terms of WAR projected over 162 games and # rankings? 

2020 Angels WAR (projected to full season): Bundy 5.4, Heaney 3.8, Canning 2.2, Barria 1.6 = 13.0 WAR

Now given performance trajectories and games started, I think Bundy and maybe Heaney would be a bit lower, and Canning and Barria a bit higher, but 13 for all four sounds about right. That would put them above the median and average for WS champs over the last decade, and better than all but three.

Now maybe we should think more in terms of # rankings, and I would think Bundy, Heaney, and Canning are all #3s, and Barria a #4. Bundy pitched like a #2 in his 11 starts, but the trajectory was going more towards a #3. That would put them as an average of 3.25, worse than all but the 2015 Royals and close to the 2013 Red Sox and 2011 Cardinals.

What about next year? Can we guess? Well, let's assume that Bundy and Heaney continue as 3-4 WAR, #3 starters. Canning should continue to improve and join their ranks. Barria is probably more like a #4, as should Sandoval be. Those five probably aren't quite WS caliber, but they're close. If we consider the two criteria we discovered above--that 9 of 10 WS champions over the last ten years had both a #2 or better and at least three #3s--then one of their number has to have a really good season and establish himself as a #2. Not #1, just #2 gives them that "good enough" ace. The most likely candidate is Bundy, but it is conceivable that Canning or Heaney have that kind of year.

But we shouldn't forget about a fourth candidate: if Shohei Ohtani is healthy and pitches to his talent level. He has the ability to be a #1, but if we estimate his likely IP, probably 100-120 at most, especially if they want him to make it to the postseason, then we can call him a #2 or #2/3.

So one of the three, not two or all three. If two of them reach that level, not only would they have a WS caliber rotation, but a pretty decent one. Not upper echelon, but middle of the pack.

Of course signing Bauer gives them a serious jump. Bauer at his 2020 level, plus just one of the other pitchers jumping to a #2, gives them a 1, 2, 3, 3, or an average of 2.25, comparable to the third best rotation up there. Even if Bauer drops to #2 form and none of the others jump to #2, they'll have a 2, 3, 3, 3, or an average of 2.75. Still pretty good - and good enough.

Now if they sign a Stroman, Ray, Odorizzi, or Gausman, they might end up with a 3, 3, 3, 3 rotation, which is in the bottom third, but still viable. Which brings me to my conclusion:

TLDR

- Signing Bauer would give the Angels a staff ace, three or four #3 types (or possibly better) in Bundy, Heaney, Canning, and Ohtani, and two solid back-end types in Barria and Sandoval. That's a very good starting rotation, with some depth.

- Signing a mid-rotation type doesn't give the Angels a staff ace, but a solid borderline championship-caliber rotation, especially if one of the mid-rotation types takes a big step forward.

- Standing pat gives the Angels a solid rotation, but probably not quite championship-caliber, unless one of their current pitchers takes a step forward to being a legit #2, then it becomes borderline.

So while I came on hard against the Bauer or Bust crowd, the truth is that he is--like Gerrit Cole last year--the type of signing that would instantly make this team jump into relevancy, even WS relevancy (well, Bauer plus other refinements). But it isn't "or Bust." It is "Bauer would be great, but there are other ways to be good enough."

 

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How good does a rotation have to be to win the World Series? Let's look at the four best starters of the last ten World Series champions, with their cumulative fWAR for quick comparison. Why only four

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55 minutes ago, Angelsjunky said:

How good does a rotation have to be to win the World Series? Let's look at the four best starters of the last ten World Series champions, with their cumulative fWAR for quick comparison. Why only four? Well, there's a common adage that you only need four good starters (say, #3 or better) to win the World Series, and any team should be able to cobble together decent enough starters to fill the 5th slot.

2019 Nationals: Scherzer 6.5, Strasburg 5.7, Corbin 4.8, Sanchez 2.5 = 19.5 WAR

2018 Red Sox: Sale 6.2, Porcello 2.4, Price 2.4, Rodriguez 2.1 = 11.1 WAR

2017 Astros: Verlander 4.1, Peacock 3.2, Morton 3.1, McCullers 2.8 = 13.2 WAR 

2016 Cubs: Lester 4.2, Hendricks 4.1, Arrieta 3.5, Lackey 2.9 = 14.7 WAR

2015 Royals: Ventura 2.7, Volquez 2.7, Cueto 1.1, Duffy 0.9 = 7.4 WAR

2014 Giants: Bumgarner 3.6, Hudson 1.7, Peavy 1.4, Vogelsong 0.9 = 7.6 WAR

2013 Red Sox: Leser 3.3, Buccholz 2.7, Lackey 2.5, Doubront 2.3 = 10.8 WAR

2012 Giants: Cain 3.2, Bumgarner 2.7, Vogelsong 1.9, Zito 1.0 = 8.8 WAR

2011 Cardinals: Carpenter 4.5, Garcia 3.2, Lohse 2.2, Westbrook 0.7 = 10.6 WAR

2010 Giants: Lincecum 4.3, Cain 4.0, Sanchez 2.2, Zito 1.8 = 12.3 WAR

(In the case of pitchers that were traded for within the season, like Verlander in 2017, I've calculated with their full season WAR as it is more indicative of their ability).

OK, let's look at those WAR totals in a descending list: 

19.5, 14.7, 13.2, 12.3, 11.1, 10.8, 10.6, 8.8, 7.6, 7.4

Average: 11.6

Median: 10.95

It is worth noting that only the last two WS champs--that is 2 of 10, or 20%--had starters with WARs of 5 or higher. The Nationals rotation was by far the best, and truly great with three pitchers that most teams would call their staff ace. The worst were the 2015 Royals and 2015 Giants; the former had no pitchers reach 3.0 WAR, and the latter only one above 2.0.

Now there are other factors to a good rotation: health and ERA, most notably. So perhaps if we added more data points like IP (or games started) and ERA, some of these rotations would look a bit better. But not that much better.

The main takeaway for all of us is this: World Series champions do not always--even usually, at least in recent history--have a true #1 starter. At least according to WAR. In fact, some of them don't even have any starters better than a #3 caliber.

Now let's look at the same team and give them a subjective #1-5 starter ranking, depending mostly on ERA, but also WAR, IP, and my own judgement as to their talent level, with an average of their top four starters:

2019 Nationals: 1, 1, 1, 3 = 1.5 average

2018 Red Sox: 1, 2, 3, 3 = 2.25

2017 Astros: 1, 3, 3, 3 = 2.5

2016 Cubs: 1, 1, 2, 3 = 1.75

2015 Royals: 3, 3, 4, 5 = 3.75

2014 Giants: 1, 3, 3, 3 = 2.5

2013 Red Sox: 2, 3, 3, 4 = 3.0

2012 Giants: 2, 2, 2, 4 = 2.5

2011 Cardinals: 2, 3, 3, 4 = 3.0

2010 Giants: 2, 2, 3, 3 = 2.5

When you take ERA and IP into account, many of the rotations look a bit different. But again, the 2019 Nationals were ridiculously good, but they are somewhat of an outlier, with only the '16 Cubs being close.

The outlier on the other side of the spectrum were the 2015 Royals, who had a truly mediocre rotation. Consider that Bundy in 2020 was only 0.7 WAR shy from their top two starters, and all while starting only 11 games. How did they win the World Series? Well, they were known for having a great bullpen, great defense, and playing small ball really well (remember the ALDS series the year before?). So as a side point to this topic, it is important to realize that WS champions aren't necessarily strong in all areas.

If we ignore the outlying '19 Nationals, '16 Cubs and '15 Royals, we get seven rotations (or 70% of the ten) in the range of 2.25 to 3.0 averages. The one commonality all seven teams share is that they have at least one pitcher that was a #2 or better, and three pitchers that were #3s or better. 

But again, it is worth noting that only half of the ten teams had true #1s, and that's including career years from Lester and Hendricks for the Cubs in '16, and Bumgarner in '14 for the Giants, who may have been a borderline #2 who pitched like an ace in the postseason.

The point of relevancy to us: You don't have to have a #1 pitcher to win the World Series. You don't even need to have a great rotation. It doesn't hurt, and you probably need a good to very good one, but not a great one. And again: you don't need a #1. A #2 will do just fine, and you can even get away with your best pitcher being a #3, if you have several of them and are really strong in other areas.

All of this is my way of saying that the "Bauer or Bust" crowd is just flat-out wrong. Half of those teams don't have a Bauer. But on the other hand, almost all of them have someone better than anyone the Angels currently have.

So what does the Angels 2020 rotation look like, in terms of WAR projected over 162 games and # rankings? 

2020 Angels WAR (projected to full season): Bundy 5.4, Heaney 3.8, Canning 2.2, Barria 1.6 = 13.0 WAR

Now given performance trajectories and games started, I think Bundy and maybe Heaney would be a bit lower, and Canning and Barria a bit higher, but 13 for all four sounds about right. That would put them above the median and average for WS champs over the last decade, and better than all but three.

Now maybe we should think more in terms of # rankings, and I would think Bundy, Heaney, and Canning are all #3s, and Barria a #4. Bundy pitched like a #2 in his 11 starts, but the trajectory was going more towards a #3. That would put them as an average of 3.25, worse than all but the 2015 Royals and close to the 2013 Red Sox and 2011 Cardinals.

What about next year? Can we guess? Well, let's assume that Bundy and Heaney continue as 3-4 WAR, #3 starters. Canning should continue to improve and join their ranks. Barria is probably more like a #4, as should Sandoval be. Those five probably aren't quite WS caliber, but they're close. If we consider the two criteria we discovered above--that 9 of 10 WS champions over the last ten years had both a #2 or better and at least three #3s--then one of their number has to have a really good season and establish himself as a #2. Not #1, just #2 gives them that "good enough" ace. The most likely candidate is Bundy, but it is conceivable that Canning or Heaney have that kind of year.

But we shouldn't forget about a fourth candidate: if Shohei Ohtani is healthy and pitches to his talent level. He has the ability to be a #1, but if we estimate his likely IP, probably 100-120 at most, especially if they want him to make it to the postseason, then we can call him a #2 or #2/3.

So one of the three, not two or all three. If two of them reach that level, not only would they have a WS caliber rotation, but a pretty decent one. Not upper echelon, but middle of the pack.

Of course signing Bauer gives them a serious jump. Bauer at his 2020 level, plus just one of the other pitchers jumping to a #2, gives them a 1, 2, 3, 3, or an average of 2.25, comparable to the third best rotation up there. Even if Bauer drops to #2 form and none of the others jump to #2, they'll have a 2, 3, 3, 3, or an average of 2.75. Still pretty good - and good enough.

Now if they sign a Stroman, Ray, Odorizzi, or Gausman, they might end up with a 3, 3, 3, 3 rotation, which is in the bottom third, but still viable. Which brings me to my conclusion:

TLDR

- Signing Bauer would give the Angels a staff ace, three or four #3 types (or possibly better) in Bundy, Heaney, Canning, and Ohtani, and two solid back-end types in Barria and Sandoval. That's a very good starting rotation, with some depth.

- Signing a mid-rotation type doesn't give the Angels a staff ace, but a solid borderline championship-caliber rotation, especially if one of the mid-rotation types takes a big step forward.

- Standing pat gives the Angels a solid rotation, but probably not quite championship-caliber, unless one of their current pitchers takes a step forward to being a legit #2, then it becomes borderline.

So while I came on hard against the Bauer or Bust crowd, the truth is that he is--like Gerrit Cole last year--the type of signing that would instantly make this team jump into relevancy, even WS relevancy (well, Bauer plus other refinements). But it isn't "or Bust." It is "Bauer would be great, but there are other ways to be good enough."

 

How do you measure a #1 ranking, a #2 ranking, #3 ranking for pitchers?

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28 minutes ago, stormngt said:

How do you measure a #1 ranking, a #2 ranking, #3 ranking for pitchers?

I start with ERA, and then adjust for other factors.

#1: <3.00 ERA

#2: 3.00-3.49

#3: 3.50-3.99

#4: 4.00-4.49

#5: 4.50+

I might give them a bump up or down, depending upon innings pitched, track record, and WAR, but ERA is the base. It is subjective, but based on something.

 

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3 minutes ago, Angelsjunky said:

I start with ERA, and then adjust for other factors.

#1: <3.00 ERA

#2: 3.00-3.49

#3: 3.50-3.99

#4: 4.00-4.49

#5: 4.50+

I might give them a bump up or down, depending upon innings pitched, track record, and WAR, but ERA is the base. It is subjective, but based on something.

 

Thanks.  I have seen thus used before but couldn't remember the figures 

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3 minutes ago, Angelsjunky said:

I start with ERA, and then adjust for other factors.

#1: <3.00 ERA

#2: 3.00-3.49

#3: 3.50-3.99

#4: 4.00-4.49

#5: 4.50+

I might give them a bump up or down, depending upon innings pitched, track record, and WAR, but ERA is the base. It is subjective, but based on something.

 

Why do you have Heaney as a 3 when his career ERA is over 4?

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4 minutes ago, stormngt said:

Why do you have Heaney as a 3 when his career ERA is over 4?

He's really a 3.5 or 3/4. Maybe I'm being optimistic. Better than a #4, but not as good as most #3s.

I'd also add that I tend to look at FIP for projection. ERA is more volatile, but FIP is fairly good at predicting future performance. Heaney had a bloated 4.46 ERA, but a 3.79 FIP, which tries to chisel out bad luck and is more representative of his performance on a batter-by-batter basis, as well as what we might expect next year. Chances are he has an ERA next year somewhere in the 3.75-4.25 range, but I'd bet quite a bit lower than this year's 4.46.

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3 minutes ago, stormngt said:

How would you breakdown WAR in the rankings of a pitcher?

See two posts up. Just a rough estimate, really.

One thing to note is that while innings pitched are lower in recent years, I think WAR stays roughly the same - even IP are contextual, as each player in a sense has a "WAR share" of the league total. So 220 IP today might be the same WAR as 260 IP in the 90s, with exactly the same peripherals and such. Not 100% sure about that.

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I don't have a clear formula, just more of an eyeball thing. Start with ERA as a base, average it with WAR, but weighted towards ERA, then adjust for IP. 

So a pitcher with a 3.50 ERA and a 4 WAR (averaging to good #3 in both measurements) who pitches 200 innings regularly, might be more of a #2. But a pitcher with a 3.50 ERA and 3 WAR, who is frequently injured and pitches 150-170 IP is a #3.

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2 minutes ago, Angelsjunky said:

I don't have a clear formula, just more of an eyeball thing. Start with ERA as a base, average it with WAR, but weighted towards ERA, then adjust for IP. 

So a pitcher with a 3.50 ERA and a 4 WAR (averaging to good #3 in both measurements) who pitches 200 innings regularly, might be more of a #2. But a pitcher with a 3.50 ERA and 3 WAR, who is frequently injured and pitches 150-170 IP is a #3.

since WAR is cumulative then it sorta takes innings into account already.  

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just adding this, but unless we believe that this is the new bauer from now on, and remember he only pitched 70 innings this year, then he's really been a 2 at best and really a 3 by your standards over the course of his career.

i like bauer, but i don't know if i'd trust 70 innings to set the new expectancy. 

 

edit: i would totally give him the cj wilson contract though. i think that's a relatively safe contract.

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We didn't have an ace in 2002 but our bullpen was ridiculous and we got timely hitting. Of course Lackey allowing only 1 run in game 7 was huge. All the pitching was bad this year. I agree that we don't need Bauer but we need to improve. Getting a GM that actually knows how get good pitching will be huge. It's why I purposed a co GM. That's obviously not happening so the new GM just needs to be able to understand how to get better pitchers.

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4 minutes ago, ukyah said:

just adding this, but unless we believe that this is the new bauer from now on, and remember he only pitched 70 innings this year, then he's really been a 2 at best and really a 3 by your standards over the course of his career.

i like bauer, but i don't know if i'd trust 70 innings to set the new expectancy. 

 

edit: i would totally give him the cj wilson contract though. i think that's a relatively safe contract.

Yep, which is why I was suggesting two outcomes for him, either as a #1 or #2. I think the breakthrough is legit, though; for one, he's had untapped potential for years, and just two years ago he had a 2.21 ERA. So two of his last three years have been clear #1 performance, with a #3 season sandwiched in-between.

I think the hope is a #1, but even if he's "just" a #2, he's clearly the best free agent starter out there. But yeah, I'd be hesitant to give him Cole/Kershaw/Scherzer/Verlander money.

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two scenarios, he does the one year thing he talks about or he signs a multi year deal.

one year scenario, there's no way he signs for less than the QO, which will be just under 18 million. if he prefers the one year route, then i think he makes a run at and gets the record deal which josh donaldson set at 23 million, especially considering his performance this year.

if he goes for years, then i think he pretty realistically gets the zach wheeler deal. but i could be wrong and he could eclipse that.

for what it's worth, i know i'd give him the one year deal, and i'm pretty sure i'd give him the wheeler deal pretty quickly.

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2 hours ago, ukyah said:

two scenarios, he does the one year thing he talks about or he signs a multi year deal.

one year scenario, there's no way he signs for less than the QO, which will be just under 18 million. if he prefers the one year route, then i think he makes a run at and gets the record deal which josh donaldson set at 23 million, especially considering his performance this year.

if he goes for years, then i think he pretty realistically gets the zach wheeler deal. but i could be wrong and he could eclipse that.

for what it's worth, i know i'd give him the one year deal, and i'm pretty sure i'd give him the wheeler deal pretty quickly.

at first I thought you were on the low side for both the 1yr and multi but I think the Wheeler comp is a good one when you take into account a drop in revenue from not having fans.  

I also think there is a third scenario where he splits the difference and does like a 3/90.  

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2 hours ago, Dochalo said:

at first I thought you were on the low side for both the 1yr and multi but I think the Wheeler comp is a good one when you take into account a drop in revenue from not having fans.  

I also think there is a third scenario where he splits the difference and does like a 3/90.  

I don't know.  I think Bauer, if he indeed takes a multi-year deal, will get a lot of money.

MLB financials got hit by COVID, and a number will feel it, but I feel the elite/stars will still get paid nicely.  The top SP in the market will still get a huge deal, and for this year, the clear #1 is Bauer.  I think he'll get something in the 150-200mil range.

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I’ve said it before, but I think our best route for the immediate future is to simply build a solid, consistent rotation of #3 types, and bank on a hot offense and strong pen to win a championship. At least for the foreseeable future. 

We don’t have the internal options to develop like the Giants or Royals, the money like the Nationals, or the trade currency like the Astros or Red Sox. That could change over the next year or three, but for now you have to look at what you have to work with, and our best bet going into 2021 is reinforce the rotation with strong, affordable, reliable depth, flush the crap from the pen and add some high-reward cheap arms, and build some safety nets for the young bats if they fall by way of cheap vets. If they play like they did the last half of ‘20, they’ll compete in 2021. By the deadline, the GM should be able to pivot by either doubling-down and buying with what they can afford to spend without cannibalizing the MLB team, or can tear-down by dealing Heaney, Bundy, relievers, letting Pujols bucks come off, and going into the ‘21 winter shopping very aggressively in FA and trade. 

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1 hour ago, totdprods said:

I’ve said it before, but I think our best route for the immediate future is to simply build a solid, consistent rotation of #3 types, and bank on a hot offense and strong pen to win a championship. At least for the foreseeable future. 

We don’t have the internal options to develop like the Giants or Royals, the money like the Nationals, or the trade currency like the Astros or Red Sox. That could change over the next year or three, but for now you have to look at what you have to work with, and our best bet going into 2021 is reinforce the rotation with strong, affordable, reliable depth, flush the crap from the pen and add some high-reward cheap arms, and build some safety nets for the young bats if they fall by way of cheap vets. If they play like they did the last half of ‘20, they’ll compete in 2021. By the deadline, the GM should be able to pivot by either doubling-down and buying with what they can afford to spend without cannibalizing the MLB team, or can tear-down by dealing Heaney, Bundy, relievers, letting Pujols bucks come off, and going into the ‘21 winter shopping very aggressively in FA and trade. 

Yeah, I'm kind of in the same boat - or at least that's my preferred route. Sign a mid-rotation type (Gausman etc), and kick the tires on a trade for someone like Musgrove or even Mize/Manning, as others have suggested. Keep building and strengthening that solid core, and then you have Detmers and Chris Rodriguez not far off, either of whom could become that #2.

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43 minutes ago, Angelsjunky said:

Yeah, I'm kind of in the same boat - or at least that's my preferred route. Sign a mid-rotation type (Gausman etc), and kick the tires on a trade for someone like Musgrove or even Mize/Manning, as others have suggested. Keep building and strengthening that solid core, and then you have Detmers and Chris Rodriguez not far off, either of whom could become that #2.

Bingo. Bauer is gonna cost too much and as good as he is, he still lacks track record. One great arm won’t tilt the needle enough, especially if it chews up all of our spending money.

Gausman would be good, Stroman is one to watch. DeSclafani has been quietly decent and consistent. Quintana. I think we have the farm depth to dabble around a trade for a cheap, mid-rotation type too, or take a gamble via trade on someone who had an awful season like Boyd or Junis or Means. That’s one of the biggest things about Walsh and Ward ‘emerging’ in thst neither had any real trade value coming into the year...they probably both have some now, and Thaiss is more expendable than ever. There are several guys who I think are worth watching for a flyer #5 in the event the GM trades away someone like Barria, Suarez or Sandoval too in one of the above mentioned targets too. Guys like Porcello, Arrieta, Minor, Lester, Odorizzi...Robbie Ray is probably forced into a rebound one-year deal now. 

If we get a minor league season next year, we have a lot of prospects who could vault up their trade value with strong starts, making it a lot easier to deal for a high-impact arm midseason. Truth is, aside from Bauer, there aren’t really any easily identifiable #1 types available right now. 

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3 minutes ago, totdprods said:

Bingo. Bauer is gonna cost too much and as good as he is, he still lacks track record. One great arm won’t tilt the needle enough, especially if it chews up all of our spending money.

Gausman would be good, Stroman is one to watch. DeSclafani has been quietly decent and consistent. Quintana. I think we have the farm depth to dabble around a trade for a cheap, mid-rotation type too, or take a gamble via trade on someone who had an awful season like Boyd or Junis or Means. That’s one of the biggest things about Walsh and Ward ‘emerging’ in thst neither had any real trade value coming into the year...they probably both have some now, and Thaiss is more expendable than ever. There are several guys who I think are worth watching for a flyer #5 in the event the GM trades away someone like Barria, Suarez or Sandoval too in one of the above mentioned targets too. Guys like Porcello, Arrieta, Minor, Lester, Odorizzi...Robbie Ray is probably forced into a rebound one-year deal now. 

If we get a minor league season next year, we have a lot of prospects who could vault up their trade value with strong starts, making it a lot easier to deal for a high-impact arm midseason. Truth is, aside from Bauer, there aren’t really any easily identifiable #1 types available right now. 

There aren't any, at least via free agency. As I said in the other thread, though, maybe the Nationals trade Scherzer and/or Corbin to rebuild. But Scherzer is old, and frankly Corbin was a bit overrated - more of a #2/3, although still good enough to be the Angels ace. And of course there's the riskier Syndergaard option, who I'd only trade for on the cheap(ish).

My findings suggest that a WS champ "needs" at least a #2 and three #3s. The Angels have the latter, and a chance at the former from within - but probably unlikely, and the single move they can make to be truly competitive next year is, once again, acquiring a #1-2 in some way. But as I said, I don't think it is Bauer or Bust, and I don't want them to overpay for a year of Scherzer or a dubious Syndergaard. If they're going to overpay, it should be for a young cost-controlled guy.

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