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Everything posted by Angelsjunky

  1. Nice post. I think there's a fallacy here, though, that it is either TTO or smallball. And perhaps a second one, that smallball can't compete (if done well). For the latter, the case in point is the 2014-15 Royals, which lost a seven game World Series and then won the next, with a very smallball/80s approach, and they didn't have a big base-stealer, just a bunch of guys who could play hit-and-run, and of course their secret weapon, Jarrod Dyson. I'll never forget how they won a WS game by getting a single, pinch-running Dyson, and then him stealing his way to a run. Kendrys Morales led the 2015 team with 22 HR and a .485 SLG. But they knew how to manufacture runs, and had very good pitching, especially their bullpen. Yes, TTO is what has proven to score more runs over the course of a season, but I think teams have become overly reliant on it, as if there is only one way to succeed. But more to the point, a team can be based in TTO, but still learn a bit of smallball. Or any variation, really, as long as it is done well. Meaning, I don't think TTO is the problem as much as teams thinking it is the only way, that there aren't other paths to building a good ball team, including hybrid approaches. For instance, I'd love to see an offense built on OBP and speed. It would score a ton of runs and be a lot of fun to watch.
  2. According to fWAR, it was the 11th best season by an Angel in franchise history, behind seven Trout seasons and one each by Ryan (1973), Erstad and Glaus (both in 2000).
  3. Nothing fresher than old dudes who haven't had a hard boner since Clinton was in office, critiquing the attractiveness of women whom they never had a chance with.
  4. No. I don't think the 2002 team had the talent to repeat. You can capture lightning in a bottle once, but generally not twice. The A's were just a deeper, more talented team. The 2004-09 teams were generally better, at least on paper. But they couldn't win the postseason.
  5. One thing the 2022 team has but the 2002 didn't are superstars. That team was good because it was deep; lots of good to very good players, but no great ones. Eckstein lead the hitters with a 4.5 fWAR, but seven other guys were 2.5 or higher. Washburn was the best pitcher at 4.2, with only Appier (2.6) above 2. But the bullpen was really deep, with Percival, Shields, F-Rod, Donnelly, and Weber. People joke, but that team was super gritty, and comprised mostly of solid platoon and average regulars having good years, and depth. Lightning-in-a-bottle.
  6. This got me wondering where he is. Hasn't played anywhere since 2019. Retired?
  7. I thought this thread was going to be about birth control.
  8. Yes, agree 100% on trades. Even more so, when their most tradable assets are all guys with good upside who could help the team for 6+ years (Marsh, Adell, Demters, Rodriguez). Those four should be protected at almost any cost, unless, of course, they could pry an equally high quality young player at a needed position (e.g. I'd be tempted by an Adell for Rutstchman swap, but I don't think it will happen...although it almost should. How about Adell + Barria?).
  9. So how about this: Marcus Stroman for 4/$84M Jonathan Villar for 2/$15M Alex Cobb for 1/$8M Raisel Iglesias for 3/$45M Kendall Graveman 2/$10M = $52.5M AAV Then you have: Catchers: Stassi, Thaiss Infielders: Rendon, Walsh, Fletcher, Villar, Rengifo Outfielders: Trout, Upton, Marsh, Adell Starters: Ohtani, Stroman, Cobb, Sandoval, Suarez, Detmers Relievers: Iglesias, Graveman, Mayers, C Rodriguez, Barria, Warren, Quijada, Herget Or something like that. Lots of pitching depth in AA/AAA, including Canning waiting for a chance to prove himself, and Daniel on the cusp, plus guys like Diaz, Naughton, Tyler, Criswell, Ortega, etc.
  10. So I'm not sure they desperately need a catcher and shortstop, or at least not really good ones. What they need at both positions is someone who isn't a negative, who is of positive value. And preferably guys who can play defense. The free agent pool is rather shallow among catchers, so they could go the route of Thaiss and spend a bit more on shortstop. I'm not saying Correa or even Baez, but someone like Jonathan Villar or Freddy Galvis would be a nice addition. And the same goes for the bullpen and, to some extent, the rotation. But i think they already have all the depth they need among starters, and mainly need a second #2 or better, and/or a reliable #3 (or two).
  11. Good stuff, @Dochalo, with one caveat: there are different routes to fielding a winning team, as far as team composition is concerned. The Rays are a good example of depth - it isn't a top heavy team, with their best position player at 4.5 WAR, best pitcher at 2.6 WAR (and that guy, Tyler Glasnow, missed half of the season to injury). What the Rays have is incredible depth: Among 18 position players with 50+ PA, only two of them produced negative WAR, for a total of -0.8. And 11 guys had 1.4 WAR or higher. Compare that to the Angels, who had 20 position players with 50 PA, seven of whom produced negative WAR for -2.7. And they only had five guys with 1 WAR or higher. As for pitching, the Rays had nine guys of 1 WAR or better and of pitchers with 10 IP or more, only two with negative WAR, for a total of -0.4. The Angels had six 1+ WAR pitchers, and seven guys with negative WAR for -1.2. Just on negative WAR players, the Rays were about 3 wins better. They had more decent guys to plug in as necessary. And, of course, the overall better quality of their players made up the difference between 77 and 100 wins. Now the Angels have three position players that are better than any of the guys the Rays have, and there's nothing wrong with having a "stars and scrubs" lineup if the stars are healthy and the scrubs are decent (better than scrubs). That didn't happen for the Angels in either case, or at least not nearly enough. But they can find a hybrid between the Rays balanced and deep lineup (which was somewhat similar to the 2002 Angels) and an extreme stars and scrub lineup, especially if they get solid performances from their complementary players and rising young players. I mean, it is very possible that the Angels have 8+ players with 2+ WAR next year: Trout, Ohtani, Rendon, Stassi, Walsh, Marsh, Adell, Fletcher, even Rengifo. And at least three of those guys could be much, much better.
  12. Yes, I'm on the same page. The most damage I worry about is trading away the young guys and/or high upside prospects. I don't think Minasian would do that, and hope he gets the "O'Dowd Perspective," but we just don't know him well enough yet. Some damage can be done via free agency though, as well, like handing out another mega-contract to a position player. But given the franchise's history, it is hard imagining them doing that yet again.
  13. Yes, I think you're onto something, which is also why I put the in the "pretender" category in that other thread I started. Related to that, is spending $8-10M on a named veteran who ends up providing mediocre or worse production, vs. filling that spot with a no-name, cheap minor leaguer. I know not all--or most--minor leaguers can translate to the majors, but are Cahill and Harvey and Teheran really better than Barria? And if so, better enough to spend $8M+ on, vs $550K for Barria? That isn't a problem if you have a deep farm, and draw upon the types of players we're just starting to see percolate up to the high minors: Daniel, Criswell, Diaz, Tyler, Naughton, etc. Maybe none of them (aside from Daniel) turns into anything more than an up-and-down guy, or a #6 starter, but they're a cheap option to fill in as necessary. So many of the one-year guys that Minasian and Eppler have plugged in have produced mediocre or worse results, and for far more money, which could be better used elsewhere. I mean, how many scouts would Cody Allen's salary have paid for?
  14. Hmm...nice post, and I hear what you are saying, but think you're fudging the dates a bit, with a touch of revisionist history. Specifically, I don't think Trout being the driving factor really came into play until later. In the 2011-12 offseason, they had no idea how good Trout would become. He looked promising, like a bonafide star, but not one thought he would be a generational player, or at least not on the Mays/Mantle level (I think the hope was more Griffey). I think at that point, the idea was to build a contender around Pujols and Trout, and then Hamilton a year later. They had a nice group of promising young pitchers, every single one of whom went down for a year or more. So as much as we complain about the org, there was some seriously bad luck involved, that intermixed with bad decision making (especially the big splashes of Pujols and Hamilton). The decisions of 2010-13 all seemed based on trying to recapture the glory of 2002-09. Arte's disappointment in 2010, and then the stupidity of going after (and thankfully failing to get) Carl Crawford instead of Adrian Beltre, pushed Tony Reagins to make that terrible Vernon Wells trade, which was the first of three truly horrible franchise-crippling moves in a bit over two years. Despite those moves, in 2014 it seemed to have worked, though at that point it was still based on building around Trout and Pujols. Then they fell back to earth in 2015 and spent the next few years trying to get back there, but wading up-stream with all of those pitching injuries, and the collapse of Pujols as a valuable player. I think Trout started becoming a more of a dominant factor in their decision-making sometime in the second half of that decade, as the "Trout Window" loomed larger, with his 2014 contract's termination date being after the 2020 season. We all breathed a sigh of relief in early 2019 and lauded Eppler as a genius. I mean, the guy nabbed Ohtani just over a year before. But 2019 was their worst record (72-90) since the 90s, and Eppler didn't seem able to crack the riddle. Yet. That was the time of the "N+1" thing, when we saw little glimmers of hope in Eppler's long-term planning and interesting prospects emerging in the minors, but the arrival date of when it would all come together kept being pushed back. The Trout Window was replaced by the question of how could the Angels be mediocre, year after year, with the best player in the game? So that was an influence, although Eppler's approach seemed to be a combination of gradually rebuilding the farm and patching holes, but with no real big splashes, other than Ohtani and the Trout contract, and I suppose Upton. It is hard to make anything of 2020. It really wasn't much of a season, and really, the only good news was that Rendon was as advertised, Bundy was resurgent, and maybe one or two others (Fletch looked legit). But the Rendon acquisition had a certain resonance with the Greinke/Hamilton debacle, and 2021 was a continuation of a decade plus of mediocrity. Now Minasian is in a similar position that Eppler was in his first few years, with an Ohtani Window. Let's hope he looks at the mistakes of the recent past, and doesn't follow a similar approach.
  15. That 2004 team is important to look at, because in a way 2002 was a truly unexpected catching of lightning in a bottle, while 2004 was the beginning of a very strong run, over six years. To somewhat address ALF's question, the best players on the 2004 team were, by WAR. Homegrown players are in bold (I'm including guys like Figgins and Kennedy, both of whom were prospects for other teams when the Angels acquired them; AK had played 33 games for the Cardinals, but was still a rookie): Hitters: Vlad 5.9, Figgins 3.5, Kennedy 3.4, Guillen 2.7, DaVanon 2.1, Erstad 2.1, Eckstein 1.9, Glaus 1.5, Quinlan 1.1, J Molina 1.1, Anderson 0.8, B Molina 0.4 Pitchers: Escobar 4.2, F-Rod 3.7, Lackey 3.1, Shields 2.1, Washburn 1.7, Colon 1.4, Gregg 1.4, Ortiz 0.8, Donnelly 0.7, Sele 0.6, Percival 0.1 As you can see, most of the players were homegrown, many of whom were part of the 2002 team, although most of those players were in decline. It is important to note that the two top players were part of that "Big Splash" free agent crop, Vlad and Escobar, plus Colon as the third. It may be that this is partly why Arte seems to think that big splashes are the key: it worked well the first time he did it, when he was a rookie GM. But even so, it serves the point that the core of 2004 was homegrown players. These would be augmented by homegrown guys like Santana, Saunders, Weaver, Napoli, Kendrick, Aybar, Morales, Mathis, Kotchman, etc, with targeted complementary free agents like Orlando Cabrera, Juan Rivera, Maicer Izturis, Gary Matthews, Bobby Abreu, Brian Fuentes, and Torii Hunter. But the point is, the bulk of the team in 2004-09 was homegrown, with only one real huge free agent in that entire span in Vlad, and the rest being complementary players, with a lesser star or two sprinkled in.
  16. Yes, good point (both you and O'Dowd). I tend to think that fans are biased into assuming that their team does things worse than any other team, so over-exaggerate this sort of thing, but with the Angels, I'm not so sure. It does seem that players underperform with them more often than not, and/or go to teams and play better. Maybe this is where scouting comes in - not just at the amateur level, but in assessing major league talents. A lot of Eppler's "clean peanuts" and bargain bin hunting seemed more based upon scanning Baseball Reference than in actual in-person assessment. It also could be that the Angels scouts are just sub-par. Either way, improvements could be made.
  17. I wanted to tease out a specific element from this thread, specifically a remark from Dan O'Dowd that I addressed in a long post on the second page, but had a follow-up thought that I wanted to develop more fully. Dan O'Dowd said: "It's not just about spending money in this game, it's about developing an organization that operates wholly, from every aspect to make your big league team good." This "holistic approach" is key, and what separates the really successful organizations from the pack. Or rather, I would posit three general types of organizations: The contenders: These are the teams that understand the holistic perspective, who are perennial contenders or, at least, go through cycles of contention and short fallow periods between. The pretenders: These are teams that, on paper, should contend--they have the resources and certainly at least make a show of doing so--but for whatever reason, rarely seem to get there, and only for short periods of time. The fakers: These are the organizations who clearly aren't really trying, with owners for whom their teams are just cash-cows. Now it is really more of a spectrum and not every team can be so cleanly categorized, but think it is clear from the above which category I'd place the Angels in, but just to be blunt, they're a classic "pretender." During the first decade of the century, they looked like they had finally arrived as a "contender," but then that horrible 2010-13 phase occurred in which the front office flailed in trying to get back to previous glory, making moves that proved to be devastating for the next decade. But to return to the O'Dowd quote, what set me off to start a new thread is that I saw several posts discussing whether or not the Angels would be able to attract a top free agent starter. I mean, we all remember losing out to Gerrit Cole a couple years ago, which prompted the Angels to sign Anthony Rendon, and most of us remember losing Zack Greinke to free agency, which led to the ill-fated Josh Hamilton contract. There is an obvious similarity in the two, separated by seven years: You want one thing that your team actually needs, and if you don't get it, you go after the shiniest consolation prize available (another such instance that comes to mind is the Beltre/Wells debacle of 2011). What a I see happening, time and time again, is that fans, including myself, are caught in a vicious cycle that echoes this repeating GM error: We recognize clear needs that the Angels have, and then feel a kind of almost desperation that either the Angels get what they need, or all is lost, which leads to the kind of surrogate compensation like Wells, Hamilton, and Rendon. (As an aside, to be fair to Rendon, he was and presumably still is a very good player, who should be expected to bounce back next year. Meaning, I don't think he's a Wellsian or Hamiltonian blunder, just a very expensive player that the Angels probably didn't absolutely need, and thus those resources--$35M a year--could have been spent more wisely elsewhere) But here's the key point: the problem is not that the Angels don't get the guy they desperately need, it is that they desperately need him in the first place. Meaning, the problem is holistic: that the organization doesn't have the depth to churn out the players it needs from within. If you look at the very top orgs, they often seem to sign big free agents or trade for star players that they don't need. Did the Dodgers "need" MVP-candidate Trea Turner or Cy Young candidate Max Scherzer? Not really, but they're great players and not only solidified their playoff chances, but improve their already very good chances of going deep into the postseason. The point being, they were acquisitions made not out of desperation, but more a sense of augmentation. They added to what was already a very good team. The Dodgers were 62-43 (.590) on July 30, the day they acquired Scherzer and Turner, just three games behind the Giants and 6.5 games ahead of the second wildcard. Meaning, they were probably already going to make the playoffs; Scherzer and Turner just made them even better, and the team went on a 44-13 (.772) run. What we can learn from this, and probably many other similar instances, whether during the season or offseason, is that premier free agents should not be acquired as a way to make a bad or mediocre team good; they should be acquired to improve an already good team. Why? Because they are just one player. I think you could say that almost all of the Angels big free agents and trade acquisitions over the last decade were made from the perspective of hoping that the "big splash" would turn the team from mediocrity to contention. Compound that with the fact that such moves were often made in desperation and/or as consolation prizes and, well, you get Vernon Wells, Albert Pujols, Josh Hamilton, and even Justin Upton and Anthony Rendon, to some extent. SO here's my recommendation for Perry Minasian and even Arte Moreno. No single free agent is going to get the organization to where we all want it to get to. No two or even three free agents. If the Angels make the playoffs next year, the primary reason likely will not be whoever you acquire this offseason, but who you already have and how they developed and played. Meaning, the homegrown and already present core: the big three of Trout, Ohtani, and Rendon; the complementary players like Fletcher, Walsh, and Stassi; the young starters like Ohtani (again), Sandoval, Suarez, and Canning; and the talented up-and-comers like Adell and Marsh, Detmers and Rodriguez. And furthermore, the increasing depth on the farm, which is seeing the upper levels fill out with, if not future stars, then at least a bunch of players who could play a role over the next few years. And a deepening farm system with higher upside talent in the low minors. In a way, it comes back to what we all know (or should know): Build from within, supplement from without. And, to say it once more: The problem is not missing out on the free agents you want, but in desperately needing them in the first place, and compounding that problem by spending big on guys you don't really need or aren't very good. In a way it is as if the Angels keep making the same mistake: "Going for it" before they're ready, as if they can fake it until they make it. Thankfully Perry seems to be taking a slightly different approach*, thus the lack of long-term contracts last offseason. Hopefully he continues, and doesn't start working out of desperation to please the big man (Arte) or the illogical fan-base, or even the superstars (Trout and Ohtani). I hope Trout means what he says, that he trusts Perry. And moreso, I hope that Perry deserves our trust, in undestanding the dynamic that I've laid out here. Only time will tell. This offseason won't make or break the Angels--that is kind of part of my point--but it will tell us a lot about where Perry's head is, and to what degree he understands what O'Dowd said, and I tried to elaborate on. *Addendum: Just to expand upon this a bit more, I will repeat what I said last offseason, when some were disappointed that Perry hadn't made a "big splash." I said that my guess was that he is taking a year to assess the organization, to really get to know it, how it runs, what its strengths and weaknesses are. This was implied by short-term deals and no major commitments. I think that is still basically true and, the silver lining of this past year, now should have a better sense of how to proceed forward.
  18. Dan O'Dowd is smart and I generally agree with his take here. This is pretty sharp: "It's not just about spending money in this game, it's about developing an organization that operates wholly, from every aspect to make your big league team good." That is so crucial. Every year we all try to pinpoint what is wrong and make suggestions (or rants) on what the Angels need to do to fix the various problems they have. But rarely do we touch upon the holistic nature of the organization, and certainly it doesn't seem that the Angels know how to address it, even recognize it. Hopefully Perry will be different, but that remains to be seen. That said, to piggy-back on what @Jeff Fletchersaid, the key is to build an "85-win base" from within, and then supplement via free agency and trades, and hope for the best with injuries. Some orgs, like the Dodgers, can build a 95-win base, but that's really hard to do, and that 85-win base is well within reach for the Angels - not someday, but right now. Before the season, it really looked like the Angels had close to that base, but then lost their two best position players for most of the year. There's no way to understate the devastating impact of losing a 9 WAR and 6 WAR player for 71% of the season (they played a total of 94 games out of 324 possible). 71% of 15 WAR is about 11 wins, which is a huge amount to make up with replacement players, and obviously it didn't work out. As a side note, this also points to something someone said about the problem of "top-heavy" teams. Top-heavy doesn't necessarily mean not having a couple really expensive contracts, but it means that if you do, you have to balance it with cheap talent and have depth to draw from. My sense is that the worst thing for the Angels to panic and go crazy in attempt to please Ohtani and Trout and improve appearances. That is, to make a bunch of trades--especially of young guys like Marsh and Detmers--and spend big to try to "fill the holes." What they should do is address specific needs from without, but remember what they have and build upon that: Three superstars in Trout, Ohtani, and Rendon A handful of cheap young pitchers in Sandoval, Suarez, Canning, Detmers, Rodriguez. Two very talented young outfielders who showed positive development this year and should continue to improve in Marsh and Adell. Some strong secondary players in Stassi, Walsh, and Fletcher. An improving farm system, with a bunch of at least decent depth in the high minors, and some higher upside prospects in the low minors. That's a solid core, and a lot to build with. It is enough to do two things at once: - Focus on improving the organization holistically, specifically through scouting and player development (including better treatment of minor leaguers). It also seems that Perry is going to take a look on medical and training procedures, as he said he is going to look at every injury closely, to see how it happens (please make Trout do some yoga, Perry!). And... - Supplement the team via smart free agent acquisitions and maybe a trade or two, but with the long-term in mind, not just immediate impact. But leave the above core untouched. Don't trade Marsh or Adell, and certainly not Detmers and Rodriguez. Those four aren't problems that need to be addressed, but the first signs in years that some degree of progress is being made in player development.
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