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Improving with No Major Trades (long read)


gotbeer

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What does this team need to be competitive in 2014?  I am taking a look back to 2002.  

 

I see constant posts about wanting to trade big pieces of our team, in the hopes of getting young starting pitching.  Santana is asking for over $100 million, Nolasco $75 million.  Pitching isn't cheap right now.  It's a sellers market.

 

In 2002, the Angels starters had 1077.2 IP, a 1.22 WHIP, and a 4.00 ERA.  In 2013, the Angels starters had  964 IP, a whopping 1.39 WHIP and a 4.30 ERA.  

 

But you look at who should be in the rotation next season.  

 

Weaver.  He had a fluke injury that kept him out 1 month.  People will say his fastball is decreasing, and he doesn't K people much.  Maddux, the pitching coach of the Rangers had a saying I read once.  A pitchers perfect inning isn't throwing 9 pitches and getting 3 k's.  It's throwing 3 pitching and getting 3 outs.  This is Weaver.  2013 1.14 WHIP, 3.27 ERA.  Career of 1.14 WHIP, 3.24 ERA.  Next season, I expect him to have a 1.14 WHIP and 3.27 ERA over 200 IP.  

 

CJ.  He had one of his best seasons ever.  And yet, his WHIP was still a 1.34 with a 3.39 ERA.  His career average is a 1.31 WHIP with a 3.60 ERA.  For 2014, take the low and high and go with a 1.34 WHIP and 3.60 ERA over 202 IP.

 

Richards.  Giving him the nod for a starting postion.  He had a 1.34 WHIP and 4.16 ERA over 145 IP last season.  Career of 1.43 WHIP 4.42 ERA.  He has improved his WHIP and ERA each year, so I'll say he will match his numbers and be pleasantly surprised hopefully in 2014, so a 1.34 WHIP, 4.16 ERA over 175 IP.  

 

Williams.  No he isn't going to get a starter spot.  But he will start some games due to injury.  He was a 1.39 WHIP 4.57 ERA guy last year.  We will go worse case, and give him his same stats as starting last season, 1.49 WHIP, 5.06 ERA. He averaged 5.52 IP Per start last year.  I am going to figure 10 emergency starts for a total of 55.2 IP.  

 

Math time.  632.2 IP, 814 Walks and Hits, 1.28 WHIP, 3.78 ERA.  

 

So for starting pitching to match around the 2002 total, we need to find 2 pitchers that can pitch around 400 IP, 4.34 ERA, 1.11 WHIP.  In this case, ERA is a more important stat than WHIP because it's much more realistic to get 2 guys with a 4.34 ERA, and 1.30 WHIP than 2 guys like Weaver.  

 

So the list will comprise of, just going off of 2013's ERA numbers in order

Tanaka (posting)

Colon

Santana (1st Round Pick)

Burnett

Jimenez  (1st Round Pick)

Kuroda (1st Round Pick)

Lewis (Coming off injury)

Nolasco

Arroyo

Garza

Feldman

Hudson

Vargas

Kazmir

 

With the 'perceived' budget constraints.  For instance a Vargas may cost $10-12 million a year, a Lewis might cost as low as $5 million a year, Kazmir (while I don't want him) could cost under $10 million, Colon (with his steroid cloud) could be under $10 million.  

 

Point being, this team doesn't need aces.  It doesn't need to get younger, if it means signing a vet that won't cost us a trade or a pick, and only money for a short deal.  

 

Also it means, that if we spend under $20 million for 2 starters, it would put our estimated opening day salary at $167 million and luxury tax salary around $175 million.  This is without making any other moves.  

 

With a $189 perceived cap, that gives us $14 million annual average value to spend on 2-3 relievers.  And talking of relievers, we can spend half to nearly all of that on a closer, since great closers top out over $12 million, and good one's can be $6-10 million.  But why, when we have a guy with a 1.24 WHIP, 3.80 ERA, 37 saves with 4 blown saves, and is 28 years old with 3 more years of control left.  Relievers/setup men top out at $5 million.  Heck Burnett, as unfortunate as his situation was last season, was still a top reliever in the offseason and we got him for an escalating $3.5 million.  So that means we can significantly improve our pen on $14 million.

 

As the Boston Red Sox showed us last year.  It's not the big splash that you make in the offseason that wins you a championship.  But assembling a competitive team top to bottom.  IMO, the Angels, with all it's 'perceived' budgetary constraints can still do that, without changing much of the makeup of team.  

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2 of Haren, Vargas, and B. Arroyo can be had for under $20 M combined. Adding that to what's currently committed plus adding a legit reliever, (possibly a closer) is better than swapping a major young piece for an unproven or average starter. That being said they do have depth at 1b/ DH, 2nd, and at C means they can likely get good pieces back.

My thoughts on bringing in a few veteran guys and then trading for a higher potential starter or two who won't contribute next year is a valid one.

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Also, just saying if you sign Vargas for say 3/$30, and add him into the counts.

 

Vargas.  Had that blood clot thing.  But he still pitched 150 IP, 4.02 ERA, 1.39 WHIP.  Career average, he had 4.30 ERA, 1.32 WHIP.  He should have 200 IP, and going off the highs a 4.30 ERA, 1.39 WHIP.  

 

That would put our 4 starters at 832 IP, 1.31 WHIP, 3.91 ERA.  

 

Take it a step further.  Say you trade for Buerhle.  (Yeah, I really like the idea of trading for him, which is why I bring him up a lot)  Jays owe him $18 and $19 million.  Jays had a $119 million payroll last year and finished in last.  This number was also $36 million more than 2012.  And their committed payroll is already $119 million for 2014.  They may be looking to shed some payroll. 

 

Then you say the angels can't take all that payroll on.  Iannetta $4.98 + $5.3.  Net of $13.02 million for 2014.  Then if they take Blanton (not likely at all), or Hanson (which they might take a chance on) so Hanson.  And even so, some will say they won't take him.  Ok, so Buerhle for Iannetta straight up.  Jays save $13 million for 2013.  Angels increase by $13 million, and we non tender Hanson.  So there, we get the figure to $9.1 million.  

 

Now you add in Buehrle's numbers.  203 IP, 1.35 WHIP, 4.15 ERA.  That brings the team total to 1035 IP, 1.32 WHIP, 3.99 ERA.  

 

Does it set the world on fire?  No, but a 1035 IP/1.32 WHIP/3.99 ERA vs a 964 IP/1.39 WHIP/4.30 ERA gets us a lot closer to Texas, who had a 3.99 ERA, 1.30 WHIP last season and Oakland's 3.72 ERA, 1.21 WHIP.  Consider the park factor of Texas 0.985, Anaheim 0.968, Oakland 0.889 and our starters are pretty close.  

 

Spend the money on the pen and a healthy Pujols.  And we got a season.

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I've never been keen on trading Kendrick or Aybar and creating another hole in our infield. The team still has a big hole at third base. Yea, maybe we can fill in our infield with rookies and hope for the best.

 

Trumbo could still be traded for a pitcher if you believe that Calhoun is the real deal. btw I love the Calhoun grit! I also sense a comradeship between Trout and Calhoun on the field.

Edited by Troll Daddy
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I'm on the Hudson bandwagon.  Same pitcher now as he was 10 years ago - the stats are nearly identical.

 

Haren had a good second half and was solid away from the park in Washington, his velocity while still not impressive did return to where it had been in 2011.  

 

Bartolo Colon might be available cheap.  

 

Last guy I'd consider and yes, I know he's not popular here but Phil Hughes' numbers away from Yankee Stadium were respectable.  He didn't allow an earned run in either Seattle or Texas last year.  He's actually got a career ERA of 1.52 in Texas, 0.82 in Seattle -- 5 games at both parks.  Given that people seem down on him, that he's a local kid and the Angels struggles Vs those teams -- he might be an interesting buy low option.

 

FA pitching market is awful.

Edited by Inside Pitch
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Vargas and Haren gives you five starters capable of 210 IP and 32-33 starts. And I'd bet on 3-3.5 ERA for Haren, Wilson and Weaver. Plus a 3.5-4.0 ERA for Vargas and Richards.

That's 210/32 is roughly 6 2/3 IP each, meaning their regularly pitching into the seventh.

Adding those two plus a closer in Brian Wilson would be a playoff caliber rotation with no holes offensively except at third. Where I think Green and Jimenez may be quite capable.

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Last guy I'd consider and yes, I know he's not popular here but Phil Hughes' numbers away from Yankee Stadium were respectable.  He didn't allow an earned run in either Seattle or Texas last year.  He's actually got a career ERA of 1.52 in Texas, 0.82 in Seattle -- 5 games at both parks.  Given that people seem down on him, that he's a local kid and the Angels struggles Vs those teams -- he might be an interesting buy low option.

 

 

 

Hughes is an interesting buy low.  2013 splits 6.32 ERA, 1.55 WHIP at home vs a 3.88 ERA, 1.35 WHIP away.  3 year total of 5.35 ERA 1.39 wHIP home vs 4.34 ERA 1.35 WHIP away.  

 

Big difference.  45 HR home, 23 Away.  Last year 17 vs 7.  Just looking at last year, those 10 home run difference, assuming they were all solo, would have dropped his ERA down to 5.18.  

 

Yankee Stadium is at a 1.086 park factor compared to a 0.968 at Anaheim.  A +0.118 difference from us.  In comparison, Rangers is a 0.017 difference, and Oakland is -0.079 difference from us.  

 

So yeah, he might be a perfect buy low candidate.  

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I have no issues going this route (signing 2 starters like Hudson, Colon, Haren; signing 2-3 relievers) IF we cannot find a trade partner that brings us significant young, controllable assets/pitching in return for Trumbo, Kendrick, Aybar, etc.  DiPoto should not feel like he has to part with our pieces.  Not that he has to be blown away but the deal needs to be solid.

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I'd still trade Trumbo for one young starter and maybe a prospect or two ( any combo of a bullpen arm, another starter or a position player.) Sign Tim Hudson to a 1, even a 2 year deal if necessary, trade Trumbo for a young pitcher, sign a bullpen arm, and sign a part time position player (maybe like Eric Chavez) and call it an offseason. 

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I like the article, but I think it focuses solely on 2014.  I think what Jerry Dipoto is focusing on is building a winner in 2014 AND BEYOND.  Taking the salary off the books that guys like Trumbo and Kendrick make will give the Angels some breathing room financially.  We need two legitimate #2-4 SP and have Weaver and Wilson under control for 3 more years and Richards for 5.

 

Right now you have to wonder how much longer Weav will remain effective.  The Angels have a little longterm depth in Mark Sappington and potentially Michael Roth in AA but that doesn't make anyone comfortable.  So now, the Angels desperately need pitching that's going to be here 3-4 years from now AND is a solid mid-rotation starter, and two of those will be just enough to cover their basis, meaning in a year or two they'll need more than that, which places the pressure on a lot of the newly drafted pitchers to climb the ladder successfully.  Which means guys like Hunter Green, Key Middleton, Yency Almonte, Elliot Morris and Kyle McGowin need to climb the ladder at a constant pace.  

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Ok, after finding that link on fangraphs, here are the starting pitcher graph.  Again, google docs Chuck.  

 

also I noticed that they are including option players, since I know Shields has a 2014 option, so some of these pitchers have to be excluded.  

 

so just simply going on IP of 170 or more, and an ERA of under 4.40.  I have 200 IP and 4.34 ERA above, but just to see who makes the cut.  I think Shields has an option, Lincecum was re-signed, and Santana and Jiminez we would lose a draft pick over.  

 

So for just 2013

Bartolo Colon James Shields Ervin Santana A.J. Burnett Ubaldo Jimenez Hiroki Kuroda Ricky Nolasco Andy Pettitte Jon Lester Bronson Arroyo Scott Feldman Tim Lincecum

 

And for 2011-2013

James Shields Hiroki Kuroda Tim Hudson Ervin Santana Dan Haren A.J. Burnett Jon Lester Tim Lincecum Jason Vargas Bronson Arroyo Ricky Nolasco Joe Saunders

 

Notes.  Bartolo missed it by 3 games.  

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While you can never predict injuries and it's always nice to have a back up just in case, to me you have maximize your win potential with the players that are going to play the most.  You don't want to leave 3 wins on your bench.  So going the free agent route with starting pitching is fine but you still have holes at 3b and the pen to address and you are better served upgrading those areas with everyday players. 

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Good piece, gotbeer, but its got one big (and perhaps fatal) flaw: You're comparing 2002 ERAs to 2013-14 ERAs. The AL ERA in 2002 was 4.46, while in 2013 it was 3.99 - almost half a run lower, or 89.4% of 2002. This means that if you want to come close to the Angels' 3.69 ERA in 2002, you're really talking about an ERA around 3.30 in 2013, which would have been the best in the AL last year (KC was first with a 3.45 ERA). The Angels were 2nd in the AL in 2002, just behind the As at 3.68, so even if you want to go with comparable ranks, you're talking about an ERA of 3.46.

 

The Angels, a 4.24 in 2013, are very far from a 3.30-3.50 ERA, and I think its going to take more than some mild positive regression and a mediocre veteran starter or two to come close to that.

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Good piece, gotbeer, but its got one big (and perhaps fatal) flaw: You're comparing 2002 ERAs to 2013-14 ERAs. The AL ERA in 2002 was 4.46, while in 2013 it was 3.99 - almost half a run lower, or 89.4% of 2002. This means that if you want to come close to the Angels' 3.69 ERA in 2002, you're really talking about an ERA around 3.30 in 2013, which would have been the best in the AL last year (KC was first with a 3.45 ERA). The Angels were 2nd in the AL in 2002, just behind the As at 3.68, so even if you want to go with comparable ranks, you're talking about an ERA of 3.46.

 

The Angels, a 4.24 in 2013, are very far from a 3.30-3.50 ERA, and I think its going to take more than some mild positive regression and a mediocre veteran starter or two to come close to that.

nice.  I was about to look that up.  thanks for doing the leg work AJ. 

 

I will say that the upside is that there were a select few players that were super awful, a bunch of others pretty good, and a few that were mediocre. 

The team ERA sans Blanton, Hanson, Gutierrez, Williams, Jepsen, and Roth was 3.75 because those five guys accounted for 417ip and a 5.3era.  So the good news is that we can get a pretty big improvement with about 5 additional players.  Still a lot of work, but doable.  If you replace those innings with a 4.0era, that's about 68 runs less than the pitching gave up last year

 

Also, if we are talking run prevention, defensive regression should account for a significant improvement as well.  They were at -63.  If you allow for even decent improvement, thats is about 32 runs better. 

 

So on the prevention side, you could see a 100 run swing.  So even with the same offense you are looking at about 90 wins.

Edited by Dochalo
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I like the article, but I think it focuses solely on 2014.  I think what Jerry Dipoto is focusing on is building a winner in 2014 AND BEYOND.  Taking the salary off the books that guys like Trumbo and Kendrick make will give the Angels some breathing room financially.  We need two legitimate #2-4 SP and have Weaver and Wilson under control for 3 more years and Richards for 5.

 

 

They can sign two short term guys for now and still trade Trumbo for long term value.  If anything they may even be able to get a better guy lower in someone's system by thinking long term with the return.   Although the lower you go, the greater the risk..

 

Angels lose Wells money in 2014.  Kendrick's 9.25 mil the next two years is also not a long term deal.  If they move Trumbo they avoid his expensive arbitration years..  If they also move Aybar, they rid themselves of his three remaining years 

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Last year's goal wasn't a bad one. 

 

They picked the wrong players. 

 

Offensively they were over 100 runs scored from competing on the season. That's due to Pujols, Hamilton's ineffectiveness, but also a lack of a qualified hitter to hit 2nd. Trout is either a leadoff guy or should hit 3rd.

 

In my 2014 "sick lineup" Trout leadsoff, Calhoun or Bourjos hits 2nd (bc they're likely in a platoon), and Pujols hits third followed by Hamilton.

 

1 Trout

2 Calhoun/Bourjos

3 Pujols

4 Hamilton

5 Trumbo

6 Kendrick

7 Conger / Iannetta

8 Jimenez / Green

9 Aybar

 

This is with no trades. With Trades:

 

1 Trout

2 Calhoun

3 Pujols

4 Hamilton

5 Headley

6 Green

7 Conger 

8 Izturis

9 Bourjos

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