Angels Sign Torii Hunter

Dave · November 22, 2007 at 7:48 am · Filed Under Mariners 

I called Torii Hunter a free agent landmine, and so it’s with some joy that I announce that the Angels have signed him to a 5 year, $90 million contract. As is the deal with most free agent contracts, this is just way too much money for a guy who isn’t as good as his reputation. The Angels will now shift Gary Matthews Jr to a corner OF spot, and Vlad/Garret Anderson will rotate between the other corner OF spots and DH.

This will improve the Angels outfield defense dramatically, but Hunter’s not the impact bat that the Angels have been shopping for. If they land Miguel Cabrera, that’s something else, but this is simply acquiring another useful but not great player at a contract that limits their ability to obtain real star quality talent down the road.

Or, put it another way – they Angels just gave Torii Hunter the same contract that the Mariners gave Ichiro five months ago. Advantage, Mariners.

Also, Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

Comments

117 Responses to “Angels Sign Torii Hunter”

  1. msb on November 22nd, 2007 8:06 am

    the tag on the ESPN updates is ‘Vlad finally got some protection behind him’…

  2. HamNasty on November 22nd, 2007 8:15 am

    It is scary their outfield defense got better, unless you hit it at the Vlad/Garrett side of the outfield of course. Let’s just hope to see Torii Hunter’s knees and back start looking like Vlad’s from all those years on turf.

  3. HamNasty on November 22nd, 2007 8:28 am

    Any chance the Mariners make a move just to counter the Hunter signing? Like possibly over paying for another Japanese pitcher in Kuroda? I realize they are already interested in him and made their sales pitch, but would this make them rush a deal any?

    On a side note why does it scare me when the Indians sign a pitcher from Japan I know nothing about?

    “This is a guy who has extensive closing experience,” Indians general manager Mark Shapiro said at a news conference to introduce Kobayashi. “I view him in the upper echelon of guys who were available on the market.”
    Thats enough for me to believe we should have went after him. Hope one day Antonetti is making that deal for us.

  4. James T on November 22nd, 2007 9:28 am

    What are they thinking?! My god. Dave is exactly right. He’s not a terrible guy to have in the lineup but he’s not $90 million worth of player over 5 years. Not even close. In the ALDS this past year, a couple times the Red Sox threw pitches that even Guerrero wouldn’t swing at and walked him and then went after Reggie Willits. They might not do it so blatantly with Hunter behind him but they’ll still pitch to the next guy rather than Guerrero in a big spot in a big game. Very expensive move that doesn’t accomplish the intended goal.

  5. ArtfulDodger on November 22nd, 2007 9:49 am

    Regardless of how much money they spent, they just added a defensive improvement to their outfield that will save Vlad some injuries AND they’ve added another bat. Whether they spent too much or not matters little to us, we aren’t competing on who has the lowest salary in the league. We’re competing on who gets the most wins. Bottom line, Hunter will help them do that next year and most likely the year after that. Years 3,4,5…well that’s the question isn’t it.

  6. The Ancient Mariner on November 22nd, 2007 9:52 am

    Whether they spent too much or not matters little to us, we aren’t competing on who has the lowest salary in the league.

    That depends on the Angels’ willingness to spend. If Moreno is willing to lay the money out like the Red Sox, then you’re right. If not, then the fact they overspent (considerably) is going to hurt them.

    I wonder how much moving from Minnesota and the ballparks of the Central to Anaheim and the parks of the West will cut Torii’s numbers?

  7. Eastside Crank on November 22nd, 2007 9:59 am

    I disagree that the Anaheim defense will be improve. Matthews played strong defense and Anderson was injured much of the year so they used other players to man left field. I think this was an insurance move to protect the Angels if Matthews gets into trouble over the HGH he bought in 2004.

  8. rufusgufus on November 22nd, 2007 10:08 am

    I have got to agree with the Dodger – this is not a poker tourney where everyone starts with the same amount of chips.

    It is not a game of who spends their money more wisely.

    There can’t be much of a debate that this signing makes them better.

    They believe they need to “strike while the iron is hot”. They have a core of players that can get them a ring – over spending now to maximize the opportunity is not necessarily such a bad thing.

  9. bermanator on November 22nd, 2007 10:16 am

    I don’t get where the joy is coming from. Are the Angels not better today than they were yesterday?

    As long as this doesn’t limit Anaheim’s ability to spend further — and there’s no indication that it does — the Angels improved themselves defensively and offensively. The point is to win games, not spend money the wisest.

  10. Jeff Sullivan on November 22nd, 2007 10:37 am

    Spending money wisely is how non-NYY teams win more games.

  11. Evan on November 22nd, 2007 10:44 am

    Are the Angels not better today than they were yesterday?

    They’ve significantly lowered the ceiling of how good they could become this winter.

    Coming into the off-season, the Angels had a range of possible outcomes in terms of overall team strength. They’re coming in solidly below the median of that range. That’s good news.

    Playing Gary Matthews Jr. in a corner carries a huge opportunity cost.

  12. terry on November 22nd, 2007 10:47 am

    Is moving Matthews (who seems to rate as roughly a neutral to slightly below average CFer) to left that big of an upgrade over Willits (who seems to be a slight plus defender in left) defensively? Also, is Hunter (neutral defender?) really that big of an upgrade over Matthews in CF?

    I’m thinking we’re maybe talking about 1 to 1.5 wins total defensively. The Angels may have given that away with their recent move at shortstop.

  13. Adam S on November 22nd, 2007 11:13 am

    First off, Happy Thanksgiving to Derek, Dave, Jeff, Jason, and everyone else out there.

    Dave, is it fair to say Hunter is a 3-3.5 win player and the Angels just paid $6M/win, especially when you consider that Hunter should decline over the life of the contract (not counting the loss in value moving Matthews to a less demanding defensive position)? Hunter looks to be about 27 runs above average on offense (3 wins) and, despite his rep, only average to slightly above on defense. Is Hunter much better of a CF than Matthews Jr?

    Matthews contract was horrible when they signed him, but it gets even worse when they move him out of center field.

  14. bermanator on November 22nd, 2007 11:15 am

    They’ve significantly lowered the ceiling of how good they could become this winter.

    Why? Has MLB instituted a hard salary cap over the past few days?

    The move gets Anderson out of the outfield entirely (assuming Vlad is healthy), with Willits and Rivera on the bench or trade bait. And as somewhere upthread said, it’s also a great hedge against something new and incriminating coming out about Matthews and HGH.

    I agree that it’s too much money, but it isn’t my cash and Moreno seems to value that less than most.

  15. Adam S on November 22nd, 2007 11:21 am

    Sorry for the back-to-back posts, I wanted to touch on one more thing.

    I don’t get where the joy is coming from. Are the Angels not better today than they were yesterday?
    No, they aren’t. Yesterday they had their core team plus $X million to spend to fill out the roster (we’re not sure what X is). Today they have Torii Hunter and $X-18 million to spend and that’s a worse team, not a better one, especially beyond 2008.

    Even teams that don’t have an absolute hard limit to their payroll have a range in mind. If the Angels had infinite money to spend, they wouldn’t have lost out on A-Rod. Sure the team is better on the field if they just stuck $18M in their pockets, but they weren’t going to do that.

  16. Evan on November 22nd, 2007 11:48 am

    Why? Has MLB instituted a hard salary cap over the past few days?

    It’s a business, and it has a budget. We don’t know what that budget is, but it’s still there.

    Moreno has a finite amount of money to spend, and he’s spending it inefficiently. That limits the good he can do his team.

    I’m not making a complex point, here.

    Imagine you’re buying lunch, and you have two places you can go that you like equally, but you don’t have enough money on you to buy as much food as you’d like. But, for one of those places you have a one dollar coupon that expires in 20 minutes. If you buy your food there, you have an extra dollar to buy a bit more food. If you buy your food at the other place, you still get food, so that’s a good outcome, but the outcome could have been better, and as a result you’ll spend the day more hungry than you would have otherwise.

  17. Evan on November 22nd, 2007 11:52 am

    Echoing Adam S., Torii Hunter carries an opportunity cost. By signing him they can’t sign other people, and that cost outweighs his value if there were more efficient ways to spend their resources.

  18. joser on November 22nd, 2007 12:22 pm

    Or, to put it another way: didn’t the M’s get better immediately after signing Sexson? Therefore, shouldn’t they sign lots more Sexson-like contracts?

    I wonder how much moving from Minnesota and the ballparks of the Central to Anaheim and the parks of the West will cut Torii’s numbers?

    Well, he’s had 138 PA in Angel Stadium and he’s put up an identical .273 BA but his OBP and slugging are both higher, giving him an .827 OPS vs .788 at the Metrodome. Of course, he won’t be facing Angels pitching in Angels Stadium anymore. Instead he’ll get to bat against the M’s there 9 times a year, and not all of those will be against Washburn. (Yes, Washburn: among pitchers who have faced Hunter at least 30 times, only Clemens, Mulder, Ponson, and Byrd have been more effective. Against Clemens he has a zero batting average — 30 PAs, 2 walks, zero hits. Talk about getting owned by a pitcher).

  19. Shizane on November 22nd, 2007 12:48 pm

    Wow, and the Twins get the Angels’ first-round pick (#27 overall).

    I also liked this tidbit….not sure how this can really be viewed as a selling point:

    “He finished 15th in AL MVP balloting and was on the AL’s All-Star team for the second time in his career.”

    He finished only 452 spots ahead of Willie Boom-Boom!

  20. bermanator on November 22nd, 2007 12:57 pm

    Imagine you’re buying lunch, and you have two places you can go that you like equally, but you don’t have enough money on you to buy as much food as you’d like. But, for one of those places you have a one dollar coupon that expires in 20 minutes. If you buy your food there, you have an extra dollar to buy a bit more food. If you buy your food at the other place, you still get food, so that’s a good outcome, but the outcome could have been better, and as a result you’ll spend the day more hungry than you would have otherwise.

    Imagine you’re buying lunch, and you have two places you can go that you like equally, and you do have enough money to buy as much food as you like. You can pick one place or the other, or even go to both, because the cost of food isn’t as big of a deal as the pleasure you get from eating it.

  21. bermanator on November 22nd, 2007 1:01 pm

    Sorry about the tags!

    My point is that everyone is assuming that this acquisition limits the amount of money Anaheim can spend elsewhere, but all that is is speculation. If Moreno’s budget is that of the Red Sox or Yankees, the fact that he now has $18 million less to buy talent with isn’t a big deal.

    It’s an inefficient use of resources, but there’s no salary cap to make that hurt. If Anaheim has more resources to burn than everyone else in the division, they can afford to take more chances with their cash than other teams.

  22. Jim Thomsen on November 22nd, 2007 1:30 pm

    Dave, what do you think this signing portends in terms of the market for Andruw Jones?

    While the question isn’t Mariner-specific, I’m curious because a) I can’t decide if the Hunter signing means that market-wide insanity is in full swing, or if the Angels just went crazy in a way that almost no other team would have; b) I wonder if this makes Rowand, rather than Jones, the most coveted CF on the market now; and c) it should be interesting to see if Scott Boras’ influence — already weakened by the dealings of A-Rod and Kenny Rogers — will implode over his insistence on premium years and money for a 30-year-old CF coming off a terrible year. (To wit, can Boras still scare teams into doing things on his terms by playing on their insecurities?)

    Boy. If I were Gary Matthews, I’d be thinking: “In what alternate universe is Torii Hunter worth $40 million more than me?”

  23. striker on November 22nd, 2007 1:39 pm

    Hunter isn’t that much of an upgrade offensively from Orlando Cabrera. So the Angels are in the same place offensively today they were last week.

    I’m with everyone else. Miguel Cabera is on his way to LAA.

  24. Pete Livengood on November 22nd, 2007 1:53 pm

    bermanator – You are equally guilty of having speculation at the core of your argument as those you are debating with – except (in my judgment) your speculation is less reasonable than theirs. Yours point is dependent on the (speculative) assumption that Arte Moreno has the budget of the Red Sox or Yankees, or at least has significant additional reserve of cash to work with going forward this offseason. Of course, none of us really knows which is correct, but I think yours is a poorer assumption. As somebody observed upthread, if theat were true, wouldn’t A-Rod have gotten his $30M/year from LAA? Wouldn’t the Angels simply shop in the (cream end of the) free agent pitching market, rather than trading their GG shortstop for a middling starter? Their moves indicate a budget in place, to me. And these moves, while arguably improving them slightly over the short term (and there is certainly an argument to be made that their moves thus far don’t improve them), carry significant opportunity costs over the longer term – and even over the short term, when trying to fill remaining holes or holes that may open because of injury during the coming season.

  25. bermanator on November 22nd, 2007 1:59 pm

    As somebody observed upthread, if theat were true, wouldn’t A-Rod have gotten his $30M/year from LAA? Wouldn’t the Angels simply shop in the (cream end of the) free agent pitching market, rather than trading their GG shortstop for a middling starter?

    1.) Being unwilling to commit $300 million over 10 years to A-Rod doesn’t mean that Moreno is tapped out after this. The Hunter deal came together in about 24 hours, so clearly he isn’t fazed by the idea of spending cash.

    2.) Your pitching point makes no sense. What free agent pitching market are you talking about? The one where Carlos Silva may well get $45 million over three years? There is no “cream end” of the free agent pitching pool this year.

  26. Jack Howland on November 22nd, 2007 2:11 pm

    The Angels have $53M tied up in 4 outfielders for 2008. Unbelieveable.

  27. jasonmcgillie on November 22nd, 2007 2:11 pm

    Lets look at it slightly differently, for folks who think that this is a move that improves the Angels.

    Think of the Sexon contract. For the sake of argument lets say that he added value to the team for the first 2 years of his contract. Since then he’s performed so poorly that he can’t be traded, but he’s earned enough to almost gaurantee his playing time.

    Even if he isn’t playing, he’s taking up a spot on the 25-man, limiting the manager’s flexibility.

    I expect that this move will improve the Angels in the short term but be (at least) somewhat limiting in the long term. Much like the Sexon deal.

    Thanks & Happy Thanksgiving! :)

  28. Pete Livengood on November 22nd, 2007 2:21 pm

    Well, A-Rod is the best talent that was available, and your assumption was that LAA had NYY or BOS money to spend, so you are talking out of both sides of your mouth a bit, but OK. And the point about shopping for pitching was not that there is a “cream end” of the free agent pitching pool (other than relatively speaking), but that there ARE pitchers available in that market who are the rough equal of Jon Garland and who won’t cost you a GG shortstop for whom you have no good replacement options. But never mind.

    Forget why I think their moves evidence a budget, or whether you agree or disagree with me about A-Rod or the Garland-for-Cabrera move. Why do you think Moreno has virtually unlimited money? That seems to be your argument. Again, conceding that none of us know, that seems less reasonable than assuming that there is an upper limit to what he’ll spend, and thus grossly overspending for Hunter and creating an expensive hole at SS for a #4 starter you don’t really need, carry significant opportunity costs.

    THAT is the argument. Stop pursuing tangent arguments and tell us why you think your “unlimited budget” assumption is reasonable.

  29. nuin on November 22nd, 2007 2:38 pm
  30. Evan on November 22nd, 2007 2:47 pm

    Bermanator, you continue to assume both that the marginal value of the extra money Anaheim is spending here is zero, and that signing Torii Hunter carries no opportunity costs.

    Both are very likely to be false (especially the latter), and you have no reason to believe either of them.

  31. nfreakct on November 22nd, 2007 2:51 pm

    Some people also think that David Eckstein helps make their team a championship contender. People often think the wrong things.

  32. Evan on November 22nd, 2007 2:54 pm

    Nuin – Not terribly surprising, and not terribly relevant.

    The Angels were already contenders; they play in apretty weak division these days. Plus, the article overvalues Hunter pretty strongly (the Angels’ outlay suggest they do too). Hunter is not close to the best centerfielder in baseball today.

  33. nfreakct on November 22nd, 2007 2:55 pm

    That article also mentioned Torii Hunter as “one of the best centerfielders of his era and the best at the moment.” Dave is understating how much Hunter’s reputation as being a fun-loving, good-natured guy makes people think he’s a better player than he really is.

  34. joser on November 22nd, 2007 3:30 pm

    That’s crazy — Hunter is, at most, only the third best CF in just the AL Central.

  35. Matthew Carruth on November 22nd, 2007 3:57 pm

    @ Jim #22

    “if the Angels just went crazy in a way that almost no other team would have”

    Word on the street is that Hunter had several 5 year offers and a 6 year offer from the Rangers at 15M per. If true, since Hunter didn’t jump on that immediately, you could assume that at least one of the five year offers was above 15M per anum, so no, I don’t think the Angels went any special kind of crazy here. Just the run of the mill overvalued FA crazy.

  36. hejuk on November 22nd, 2007 4:09 pm

    I think the original, much-maligned point is still valid, though: this move, unlike the Garland-Cabrera trade, does make the Angels better, and so is only going to make it harder for the Ms to make the playoffs next year. In that sense it is bad news. The fact that we expected the Angels would get much better this offseason, and this move has prevented (some of) that, is only a relative effect. If your opponent in a poker game wins $100 from some fish, but through some oversight he only collects $50, he’s still gained $50 relative to you. And that still sucks.

    Also, you can’t ignore the information that this signing gives us about the Angels’ willingness to spend. If we are judging these moves relative to our pre-move expectations, then we have to say both a)Hunter is now taking up resources that would have been better spent elsewhere, and that’s good; and b)the Angels are showing themselves more willing to spend than we thought, and that’s bad. That is, we know that the Hunter signing takes up a big chunk of whatever budget the Angels’ ownership set out for this offseason, but the same signing should perhaps make us revise upward our previous expectations about what that budget is. Whether it does make us so revise depends on how we think the Angels view Hunter, I suppose: as the big bat for Vlad, the Big Move, or as a piece of the puzzle.

  37. Matthew Carruth on November 22nd, 2007 4:11 pm

    @ Myself #34

    As a counterpoint, those are probably the highes in the rumor range. Other sources indicate the Rangers were at 5/75 and no other team was higher.

  38. 88fingerslukee on November 22nd, 2007 4:16 pm

    I kinda agree with bermanator. I don’t think Moreno’s budget is “unlimited” but I surely do think it’s higher than what other people do. The evidence is the willingness to spend in previous years to get the player they want. Vlad, HGH, Bartolo and now Torii are all examples of throwing cash at players without a huge respect paid to wise spending.

    I don’t think at all that Torii was a wise move or that the Angels have made any wise moves of late, but they seem to be willing to spend through their mistakes just like the Yankees and, recently, the Bosox.

    I don’t see why it’s such a crazy assumption to think that Torii’s contract was a drop in the bucket for this franchise. For me, all signs point towards a very very high budget and the willingness to spend like crazy in the hopes of hitting on a couple of good pickups (the Buy A Whole Roll of Lottery Tickets Philosophy).

    I welcome the counters…perhaps I’m not seeing this correctly. Even though I feel like I understand the counter-argument.

  39. Graham on November 22nd, 2007 4:39 pm

    There is a cost involved in occupying roster spots that some of you seem to be missing too.

  40. Pete Livengood on November 22nd, 2007 4:41 pm

    To Matthew: Apparently one team was higher, no? :-)

    To Bermanator, and 88Fingerslukee (and others): After the Hunter signing, the Angels payroll is close to $130M, and they don’t have a good shortstop option. Exactly how high do you think Moreno will be willing to go, in order NOT to make the opportunity costs of moves like the Cabrera trade and the Hunter signing VERY relevant to what kind of team they will be able to field next year, and more importantly, beyond next year?

    The Angels just signed a guy, heading into his age 32 year, for 5 more years at $18M per season. He’s a 104 career OPS+ player who is getting paid for defensive reputation and the fact that he was a 122 OPS+ player in his contract year (territory he has visited only one other time in his career). As Dave pointed out in his free agent landmines post:

    “Torii Hunter just had a terrific year at the right time, and he’s going to be paid for what he was in 2007, not for what he’s likely to be in 2008 and beyond. From 2004 to 2006, Hunter’s offense was worth about 15 runs above an average hitter – combined. He had settled in as a pretty consistent +5 offensive player, which as a center fielder with some defensive value, made him a borderline star, but not anything like a franchise player.

    “In 2007 alone, he was worth about 17 runs more than an average hitter, his best offensive season since 2002, and only the second time in his career that he’s been better than +10 runs with the bat. There’s no change in skillset to indicate that he actually improved as a hitter – he’s still the same aggressive free-swinger that he’s always been.

    “However, there’s this belief that Torii Hunter is a perennial all-star type of player, and he’s going to get paid like a premium talent. Part of that belief is predicated on his defensive reputation, which hasn’t matched his actual abilities in the field for several years, and will only continue to decline as he ages. Whoever spends $100 million on Torii Hunter is going to get themselves a solid player for the next 2-3 years, but certainly nothing like the value they’re going to pay for.”

    I completely agree with Dave. Hunter’s not the “protection” for Vlad they think he is, and his signing means less PA for guys like Willits and maybe Figgins, whose ability to get on base is part of what made their offense go. Yes, Hunter will improve – slightly – their CF defense, and their overall OF defense will improve with Matthews moving to a corner OF position. Their infield defense has taken a hit with Cabrera leaving / no decent replacement option at SS. If in fact you are right, and they add somebody like Cabrera to play 3B, their infield defense takes another hit. There is an argument to be made that, collectively, the moves they’ve made so far this offseason DO NOT make them any better, and have eaten up quite a bit of payroll flexibility in the process. Unless you make the assumption that there is no limit to how much they’ll spend – which is crazy, and completely out of line with what they’ve done previously – that matters.

  41. Bearman on November 22nd, 2007 4:48 pm

    I offer the following consideration for you my fellow posters that seems to have gone unmentioned:
    However let me say I agree with Dave on Hunter being a FA landmine as he suggests but not for the same reason.
    My reason is that Hunter has played the majority of his career on astroturf of the Metrodome much as Ken Griffey Jr. did in the Kingdome here in Seattle.

    What happen to Jr after he started playing for the Reds? He began having Knee,Hamstring,and calf/thigh pulls all injurys leg related.
    I submit even if Hunter passes the phyical exam that is only block to the contract.
    I quite frankly don’t give it much passed late July/early Aug. he’s on the DL or worse with a leg related injury most likely a hamstring.

    As to the Cabrera for Garland deal quite frankly I think the ChiSox got the better end of the deal and the Angels got a downgrade in an effort to replace injury prone Colon I feel they should have look inhouse first.
    However having said that I still feel the M’s would have benefitted from aquiring Garland mainly because his style of pitching fits better in Safeco as opposed to the Angels field in Anaheim.

  42. Evan on November 22nd, 2007 6:09 pm

    That’s crazy — Hunter is, at most, only the third best CF in just the AL Central.
    I rank him no higher than fourth. Sizemore, Granderson, and Ichiro are all superior.

  43. gag harbor on November 22nd, 2007 6:10 pm

    So really what we’re all rooting for is that the Angels’ front office becomes dumber than the Mariners’ front office. It’s widely accepted that the Angels’ farm system has been more successful with better prospects to move up or trade for key acquisitions. Since the Mariners’ don’t have this luxury then we hope the Angels’ make mistakes in how they use up their resources (be it cash or prospects) or we hope for injuries to pick on them more than the Mariners.

    The fact is, both franchises are cash-rich and we just keep hoping the Angels make dumber moves than Bavasi’s group or we’re in for another season of being beaten by a better team of players.

  44. Teej on November 22nd, 2007 6:41 pm

    I rank him no higher than fourth. Sizemore, Granderson, and Ichiro are all superior.

    Ichiro is indeed superior, but Joser said third best in the AL Central, not in the AL.

  45. C-Dub on November 22nd, 2007 8:49 pm

    This signing doesn’t make a lot of sense. It’s almost as baffling as the Garland deal. They already have Vlad, Anderson, Matthews, and Willits. It seems that they are preparing to make a deal for Cabrera. Either that or Bavasi came back to Anaheim(I wish).

  46. joser on November 22nd, 2007 8:50 pm

    Teej — beat me to it. I was going to ask when the M’s had been moved into the AL Central. (And you thought the travel schedule was brutal before…)

  47. Teej on November 22nd, 2007 9:40 pm

    Yeah, I was worried that Kenny Williams had flipped Scott Linebrink for Ichiro straight up and no one told me.

  48. dcmarinerfan on November 22nd, 2007 10:49 pm

    Re: Granderson being a better CF than Hunter:

    I’d prefer my regular, everyday center fielder to be able to hit left handed pitching. Preferrably, I’d like him to not have a .100 point difference for his career against LHP, or, for that matter, not have him hit .160 (yes, you read that right), against LHP in 2007.

    But, yea, he can throw down with the glove.

  49. LewLegend on November 22nd, 2007 10:49 pm

    43- I understood your 3rd best in the AL Central. Sizemore, Granderson, then Hunter. You were right. Don’t let Teej intimidate you :)

  50. dcmarinerfan on November 22nd, 2007 10:51 pm

    Oh, and maybe the greatest quote ever re Torii Hunter: “He’s not really a base stealer, but he can steal bases”

    Ten bonus points if you guessed the correct announcer whose mouth that came out of: Joe Morgan.

    Hope everyone back West had a great Thanksgiving!

  51. Tom on November 22nd, 2007 11:13 pm

    As long as we get a Fukudome for Christmas, this is a move I won’t mind. . .

  52. Chris88 on November 23rd, 2007 12:14 am

    I don’t understand why people want Fukudome so badly.

  53. Thom Jimsen on November 23rd, 2007 12:54 am

    Seattle’s first experience with a “Dome” didn’t go so well.

  54. Tom on November 23rd, 2007 2:18 am

    #50: Let’s see. . .

    -A good left handed bat, which this lineup lacks
    -Projected to be a doubles machine in the States by most
    -Solid defensively
    -Would fit in right away into the clubhouse with 2, possibly 3 Japanese teammates
    -Also would come cheap because he is under the radar somewhat
    -In his early 30′s which could mean he still has a few good years left
    -In Japan he was also an excellent OBP and batting average guy with pop

    That’s why. . .

  55. Tom on November 23rd, 2007 2:19 am

    #51: Funny, I thought 1995 was a pretty good experience. . .

    1997 was also pretty fun too until we ran into the Orioles in the playoffs.

  56. eponymous coward on November 23rd, 2007 2:30 am

    Fukudome sort of makes sense, but the problem is that it clogs the M’s roster pretty badly, with Raul/Vidro/Sexson/Broussard fighting over 2 lineup spots (DH and 1B). You’d need to make additional moves (likely trading Sexson and Broussard, since Raul is FotF and Vidro has almost no value, because he is ONLY a DH, and not a very good one at that)…. and from what Bavasi is saying, they aren’t going to blow up the roster a lot.

  57. Tom on November 23rd, 2007 3:10 am

    #54: Well ya, the roster isn’t going to get blown up dramatically. But really to insert Fukudome, all you are asking is that the Mariners make two trades (Broussard and Big Richie) that are pretty makeable, even with Richie if they lowered the price enough (remember, he does only have 1 year left on his contract, and his next one will be significantly lower than $14.5 mil. a season).

    So even though there are a couple moves to make until you can get someone like a Fukudome in here, I don’t think they’ll be as hard as you think they will be to make.

    I mean, just because the Bavasi says he won’t “blow up” the roster, doesn’t mean he won’t tweak and make a handful of moves.

    Of course, I don’t know how anyone here defines blow up, but to me, I’d define as something like the dismantling of the two Florida championship teams (’97 and ’03).

    Quite honestly though, if you do really look hard at the roster, we really do only need a handful of moves to become a really, really, really good team. It’s just too bad the market for starting pitching is thin and the Mariners have the wrong guy there to make those handful of moves. . .

    (gulp)

  58. Karen on November 23rd, 2007 9:34 am

    Since a couple of jokes about Japanese pitchers (well, one, Fukudome) have preceded me, here’s my offering:

    This is a guy who has extensive closing experience,” Indians general manager Mark Shapiro said at a news conference to introduce Kobayashi.

    I thought Kobayashi was the guy who’s set records for eating hotdogs…. :)

  59. msb on November 23rd, 2007 9:38 am

    the LA Times is threatening that the Angels could be just getting started with the Hunter signing…

  60. smb on November 23rd, 2007 11:35 am

    Now Joe Kennedy has passed away, no cause of death identified. Sad.

  61. Matthew Carruth on November 23rd, 2007 11:35 am

    Fukudome is not under the radar and he’s not coming cheap. Probably in the same range as Guillen.

  62. scott19 on November 23rd, 2007 12:23 pm

    60: Geez, hate to be a defeatist, but I wonder how far AHEAD of the rest of the division LAA will finish next year? :(

  63. waldo rojas on November 23rd, 2007 1:37 pm

    #56 – (Kobayashi teacup falling to the floor in slo-mo) “The greatest trick the devil ever played was convincing the world he did not exist…”

  64. Gomez on November 23rd, 2007 1:47 pm

    56. Oh wow, Kobayashi, the reliever for the Chiba Lotte Marines?

    Good for the Indians… I think.

  65. msb on November 23rd, 2007 3:46 pm

    #58– well, that’s startling, to say the least. here is ESPN’s report.

  66. msb on November 23rd, 2007 3:49 pm

    #61.

    see, now, I thought Kobayashi was part of the curriculum for cadets at Starfleet…

  67. Dash on November 23rd, 2007 4:41 pm

    4 years $46 million for Cordero. Stop the madness.

  68. joser on November 23rd, 2007 6:00 pm

    Ok, I’m glad I wasn’t the only geek whose first association was “Kobayashi…. Maru?”

  69. Carson on November 23rd, 2007 6:51 pm

    I wonder if this contract has a no trade clause. How funny would it be if Hunter gets traded back to Minnesota with prospects for Johan?

    Okay, I know. Not very realistic at all. But, I hear the Twins may be looking for a center fielder now..

  70. wokster on November 23rd, 2007 7:12 pm

    “But, I hear the Twins may be looking for a center fielder now..”

    Where are those wacky M’s fans who think “We can package Reed and some other non-parts for Johan” when you need them….

    I wouldn’t be surprised if it included at least a limited no-trade-clause. Especially if he turned down more money at other teams.

  71. HamNasty on November 23rd, 2007 7:54 pm

    68- Right here…

    Reed, Morse, Green, and Vidro for Santana!! What is not to love Twins??

  72. Gomez on November 23rd, 2007 8:14 pm

    66. No no, the no-win situation is in Baltimore!

    67. IIRC once a FA signs a contract his team has to keep him on for at least a season before he can be dealt, so no dice.

  73. Evan on November 23rd, 2007 8:38 pm

    It’s not a full season – just until May 15.

  74. Mr. Egaas on November 24th, 2007 12:06 am

    Where are those wacky M’s fans who think “We can package Reed and some other non-parts for Johan” when you need them…

    Well, Reed and some pieces for a different pitcher could fly now…

  75. Sidi on November 24th, 2007 12:40 am

    Reed, Morse, Green, and Vidro for Santana!! What is not to love Twins??

    Considering they’re locking up such amazing young talent early we should probably ask them to foot the difference between Santana and Vidro’s contract as well. As a sign of appreciation we could give them White’s phone number.

  76. thefin190 on November 24th, 2007 1:14 am

    Why not throw in Sexson while we are at it? :P He provides protection for Morneau and Mauer. Plus he is bound for a comeback isn’t he?

    I am surprised no one has mentioned this bit from Jim Street about Fukudome to silence the people want the Mariners to sign Fukudome.

    “With the departure of Jose Guillen, which leaves a big hole, and the free agent market for corner outfielders very thin and Japanese star Kosuke Fukudome declaring himself eligible for free agency, what is the likelihood of the Mariners making a splash for him?
    – Derek M., Olympia, Wash.

    The primary focus right now is to improve the starting pitching, which ranked near the bottom in the American League last season. If the Mariners need to trade one of their existing projected starting outfielders, then I could see them making an effort to sign Fukodome, but not before all starting pitching possibilities have been made. It also appears that Fukodome has decided to remain in Japan and has received a contract offer from the Tokyo Giants.”

    Well said Jim Street.

  77. Tom on November 24th, 2007 2:24 am

    #74: Well this sucks then at least in terms of getting some lineup balance. This development about Fukudome staying in Japan definitely opens the door for Wlad now to compete for an starting outfielder job on the bright side though. I just kind of wish we could have a left-right rotation in the lineup.

    I definitely agree though that starting pitching is the #1 priority, but we should’ve gone after Fukudome if he was available to get.

  78. scott19 on November 24th, 2007 2:30 am

    66 & 70: Though, to be fair, Ed Wade down in Houston seems to think that he’s “beaten” the Kobayashi-Maru simulation as well. :o

  79. Tom on November 24th, 2007 2:30 am

    This is not roster-bation mind you, but with Fukudome out of the equation basically with his intentions to return to Japan at the moment, who in the heck are we supposed to depend on to hit 3-4-5 in this lineup?

    Because truthfully I can’t think of anyone besides maybe Johjima for spot #5, and that’s maybe even pushing it a bit considering that he is somewhat up and down.

  80. msb on November 24th, 2007 10:31 am

    well, Steve Finley thinks he wants to play another year :)

  81. msb on November 24th, 2007 10:48 am

    Cabrera is quoted in the Miami Herald that the chance he might be traded is a motivation to get into shape.

    well, okay then.

    oh, and the Herald also says that in a trade the Angels might give up Reggie Willits, Howie Kendrick, and Jeff Mathis, and that “the biggest sticking point to completing a deal at this point is whether the Angels also would throw in a fourth player: pitching prospect Nick Adenhart.”

  82. itch on November 24th, 2007 11:18 am

    “Reed, Morse, Green, and Vidro for Santana!! What is not to love Twins??”

    On behalf of the Twins, we will give you Jason Tyner and a Santana bobblehead for that package (it’s the extra-large bobblehead, 30″ tall).

  83. itch on November 24th, 2007 11:36 am

    BTW, 79 posts about Hunter? You guys sure talk a h*ll of a lot about someone else’s team. You really must hate the Angels. (Or maybe it’s 45 and raining on Cap Hill, and there’s nothing better to do than blog).
    Actually, it’s good to see the enthusiasm about the M’s. I hope my loss of Torii as a Twins fan is your gain. Someone drink a Redhook for me.

  84. thefin190 on November 24th, 2007 12:22 pm

    78 – I am sure Mac would love to have that veteran grit in the line up, only another reason to keep Jones on the bench.

  85. msb on November 24th, 2007 12:32 pm

    so what do we know about the potentials for a Santana deal … he has a full no-trade clause, he wants the equivilent or better of the Zito deal to stay with the team he is traded to, and the Twins supposedly want at least three “premium young players”, one of which should be “a big-name major leaguer”

  86. scott19 on November 24th, 2007 1:37 pm

    81: You’re right, Itch — most of us around here really DO loathe the Angels.

  87. itch on November 24th, 2007 2:15 pm

    That’s better than loathing your own team.

  88. scott19 on November 24th, 2007 2:39 pm

    True.

  89. Bearman on November 24th, 2007 5:49 pm

    #83:That’s the monkey wrench in any trade deal the Twins FO can get for Santana is that NO TRADE clause.

    With that in place Santana can for all intents and purposes dictate who gets his services he might as well be a FA if he were aquiring him would be cheaper.

    Cheaper in the sense the aquiring team only has to meet his contract demands however as it stands now the price is his contract extension AND a HIGH trade value in players.

    If this trade isn’t done by ST look for Santana to most likely play out his final year with Minnesota and then watch the offseason sweepstakes to get him you think Zito got overpaid for too long wait til this guy is on the FA market.

    I think the contract that lands him will be a minimum of 7 years/135 mil quite frankly the 12mil mentioned by the Twins as Santana counter to their offer is nothing but a starting place.

    No matter what happens with Santana and as much his being a M would be a fantastic coup.
    My fellow M’s reality check time Santana is for all the wishes will never be a M unless someone knows for a proveable fact Johan has a burning desire to play in Seattle.

    It’s not happening and biggest reason is the above mentioned NO TRADE CLAUSE and I don’t see the M’s FO offering the years Santana is going to demand and frankly I don’t see them going beyond 99 mil offer made to Zito last year.

    The m’s are better off doing what they are doing right now pursue Kuroda and maybe one other Japanese pitching FA.
    Look into the possible signing of Fukedome after that is done then the M’s need to sign if still available RP Jeremy Affeldt.
    Trade deals must be looked into with the following three partners:
    San Francisco Giants:Possible trade for pitching (Lowry or Snachez)and prospects with Sexson/Lopez and $$$$$.
    Tampa Bay Rays: look to see what it would take to aquire JP Howell and prospect in area of need
    Pittsburgh Pirates:say as with the Rays what value it would take to get Gorzelanny and maybe INF Sanchez.

  90. Bearman on November 24th, 2007 5:54 pm

    In the Santana part of post were I say the 12mil should be the 126 mil which was Santana counter offer to the Twins oops

  91. scott19 on November 24th, 2007 6:19 pm

    87: Wouldn’t mind picking up Gorzelanny from the ‘Buccos — if he didn’t cost us an arm and a leg to get, that is.

  92. naviomelo on November 24th, 2007 11:51 pm

    The Angels defensive outfield is sure going to be good next year. I wonder if there’s absolutely any chance we get Ibanez out of our outfield.

  93. msb on November 25th, 2007 8:55 am

    speaking of Torii, apparently Bud held meeting with all of the African American players he could get to come, to talk about the decline in black players in MLB…

  94. George Kaplan on November 25th, 2007 3:01 pm

    It’s amazing to read the speculation here. Many seem to think the Angels are just about done making moves and I certainly don’t see what leads to that conclusion.

    From what I can determine, Moreno’s break-even point is with a $120M payroll. After that, he’s dipping into his own pocket to cover costs (which he did in 2004 and 2005). After being a bridesmaid three of the last four seasons, I sense he’s ready to deficit finance for a year or two, in the quest of winning it all.

    Moreno’s background was in outdoor advertising and he knows plenty about promotion and generating ad dollars, which is the reason for the goofy name of the team. The increase in ad revenue is a slow process (years) but he must anticipate revenue gains annually for the next several years, an increase which would grow larger and faster with a World Series win (or two).

    Thus, the expectation that signing Hunter means no more big moves is unfounded. The team could very well trade for Miguel Cabrera two weeks from now, or trade for Miguel Tejada and keep more of their own prospects in the deal. Either way, the addition of Hunter and Tejada to the lineup gives the Angels more Home Run power, and adding Miguel Cabrera puts them off the charts in comparison to their woeful 2007 HR production. Players like Willits and Saunders are suddenly available to trade with Florida.

    Hunter makes the team better. Garland gives team the opportunity to trade a starter for Miguel Cabrera or Tejada. Each trade is not the end unto itself, but one in a series of moves. Watch and see what happens next…

  95. Pete Livengood on November 25th, 2007 4:05 pm

    George, two things:

    (1) I think you’ve misread comments from those who think that the Angels overspending for Torri Hunter as a good thing for the M’s as being speculation that the Angels are almost done. I’m in that camp. What’s been said is that, unless you believe that Moreno has a virtually unlimited budget (a conclusion that is far more unreasonable to reach than concluding he is almost done), inefficient use of resources is a good thing, at least for their rivals.

    (2) The Hunter signing reportedly put the Angels at about $130M in payroll. They subtracted Orlando Cabrera’s salary ($9M) but they added Hunter, who’s making $18M per year over the next 5 yrs (average), and Garland, who is in the last year of a 3-yr, $29M deal that will pay him $12M in 2008. Several players (Lackey +1.5M, Guerrero +1M, Anderson +1M, Matthews +$1M, Shields +850K, Escobar +500K, Speier +$500K) get significant pay raises; K-Rod got $7M to avoid arbitration last year, and will surely get more this year. Same for Figgins, who made $4.75M avoiding arb last year. You’ve already said you think the Angel’s break-even point is $10M under that, and they do not yet have a legit SS option. Most of the rest of the roster is filler that will cost roughly the same next year that it did last year. If they go after Tejada, that’s another $26M over the next two years. Hard to see how they’re not going to be at least in th $130-$150M payroll range. Exactly how high do you think Moreno is willing to go, and why is that a more reasonable assumption than assuming he is closer to being done than he is to going on another spending spree?

    Yes, Hunter will improve their defense. I am not sure that he will improve their offense nearly as much as you think, as he is a pretty low OBP guy who is not likely to repeat his 2007 year, and will take ABs away from relative high OBP guys like Willits. Adding Tejada or Miguel Cabrera will definitely boost the offense, but the infield defense is definitely going to take a big hit.

    Most importantly, with the obvious exception of Cabrera (who looks and will probably age a lot more like an older player than he is), these are players who are older and not likely to be the player they are now, beyond 2008 or 2009. There is a good chance that the Angels have a few Sexson-like salary albatrosses, come 2009 or 2010, and a high payroll that allows little flexibility to fill those holes. That’s all good for the Mariners – even if they are improved this coming year. That’s the point. Everybody knew/assumed that the Angels would spend to get better this offseason. They spent more than they should have to get not quite as good as we thought they might, that’s all – a reason for some optimism.

  96. joser on November 25th, 2007 7:59 pm

    Baseball may not have a salary cap but it does have the luxury tax which is having an effect, even on the Yankees. That’s an added expense Moreno may not be willing to eat, and it is triggered at $155 million in 2008. Because the Angels (I believe) have had to pay it once before (2004) they would be paying an added 30% on the dollar if they go above $155M in total payroll. Obviously they still have significant headroom, but there’s a big difference between that and infinitely deep pockets. It’s one thing to deficit spend to win a ring; quite another for some of those deficits to be going right into the pockets of other teams.

  97. msb on November 25th, 2007 8:16 pm

    huh. KOMO is running Mariners Baseball Sunday tonight at 7… wonder when the hot stove league returns.

  98. msb on November 25th, 2007 8:20 pm

    #93– “The Hunter signing reportedly put the Angels at about $130M in payroll.”

    speaking of which, Seth Everett guesting on KOMO’s Baseball Sunday just mentioned that rumoring arund baseball is that this also gives Moreno (who is adamantly anti-steroid) the ability to move Matthews off the team before any more bad news about him might break…

  99. msb on November 25th, 2007 8:26 pm

    FWIW.

    “Peter Gammons is reporting that the Twins will want Phil Hughes, Melky Cabrera and Austin Jackson [from the Yankees] in a package for Johan Santana.”

  100. John D. on November 25th, 2007 9:15 pm

    Re: # 40 – Injuries.
    I’ve been thinking the same thing for some time.
    (I’m reminded of Bob Feller’s wondering if those hard metal decks of navy ships affected some careers.)
    Does anyone know of a study that compares career lengths of players who played mostly on grass and those who played mostly on artificial surfaces?

  101. _David_ on November 25th, 2007 9:55 pm

    Teams that have a legitimate shot at signing him shouldn’t trade for him.

  102. George Kaplan on November 25th, 2007 10:31 pm

    96–Matthews has a full no-trade clause through 2009. Moreno can’t trade Matthews without some form of compensation in exchange for waiving that clause, and he can’t unilaterally cut Matthews unless he wishes to get involved in a lawsuit he could easily lose. With that in mind, I suspect Everett hasn’t researched his rumors before spreading them further.
    93–Pete, The Angels payroll (according to Cot’s) was $110M in 2007. Adding Garland at $12M and Hunter at $18M, and subtracting OrCab at $9M and Colon at $16M (I think you forgot that contract coming off the books) takes the Angels to $115M, and the pay increases add $6.5M (roughly), bringing the total to $121.5M.

    Thus the $130M number happens only with a huge increase to both Frankie and Figgins, or with an additional trade being made.

    If Tejada is the player received in trade, we know the increase will be $13M. If the player is MigCab, the arbitration bump he receives from his $7M in 2007 is expected to be to $10M. In the latter case, the Angels could attempt to avoid arbitration and sign MigCab to a long-term deal (4-6 years), backloading the contract and/or putting a substantial amount of the deal in signing bonus, which doesn’t count against the salary cap (to the best of my knowledge). Anderson’s deal comes to option year in 2009 and if the team buys him out it has a net savings of $11M. Likewise, we don’t know the terms on Hunter’s deal, and if it features both the large signing bonus and deferred salary of Ichiro’s deal, then its contribution to the payroll total is diminished.

    Finally, the team does have a viable SS in Aybar, who showed his stuff in AAA. His infrequent playing time in 2007 and stint on the DL prevented his blossoming, but the team is convinced he can step up in the role. No, he isn’t the hitter OrCab was (not yet, anyway), but the team already has upgraded offensively, even without Tejada or MigCab. Overlooked in the Hunter deal is the ability to put Matthews in RF and DH Vlad most of the season, keeping his legs in better shape throughout the season. If you want to talk about wear and tear from artificial turf, look at Guerrero’s knees after six seasons at Olympic Park in Montreal. By comparison, Hunter is in much better shape physically, even accounting for the 4 seasons Guerrero has been on the grass in Anaheim.

    Finally, a Series appearance–I don’t even think it needs to be a win–would help boost the advertising revenue for the team, which raises Moreno’s break-even point. The Hispanic market in Southern California continues to grow in economic influence, and marketing a team with Vlad, Miguel Cabrera and Escobar (among others) allows the Angels to tap into that market.

    Moreno is, at the end of the day, not Tom Hicks. He isn’t going to hand out a deal he can’t cover in the long run. And while Hunter’s $18M looks like a lot in Nov of 2007, who knows what Granderson and Sizemore will be getting per year as free agents 5 years hence? The salary inflation annually is staggering. Just about every free agent contract except A-Rod and Manny’s has seemed like a bargain by the time of the final season (assuming the player was still producing). That means the only variable is the ability of Hunter’s body to live up to the contract, just as we know Ichiro takes great care of his body, but he’ll be 38 in the final year of his deal, earning the same $90M over 5 years.

  103. Grizz on November 26th, 2007 1:08 am

    Finally, the team does have a viable SS in Aybar, who showed his stuff in AAA.

    Huh? In AAA, Aybar has hit a fringy 285/327/410 playing over half his games in extreme hitters parks. Even Wilson Valdez has hit 303/356/381 in AAA.

    Wishcast all you want, but the Angels just paid Ferrari prices for a Cadillac at best, still have holes at 3B and SS, and are stuck paying $21 million for two below average corner outfielders in Matthews and Anderson (likely to return to his 2005 and 2006 levels in his age 36 season).

  104. Evan on November 26th, 2007 1:24 am

    I’d bet on Hunter returning to his 2005-2006 level, as well.

  105. Plim on November 26th, 2007 4:50 am

    Looks like the Angels will lose both the Garland and Anderson contracts this year, thats 12 and 14 mil respectively. Looking even deeper, it appears they only have two players signed beyond 2009. If they are going to be hurting for cash, it doesnt seem it from looking at what they have outstanding and the number of players they will be able to sign at good prices due to the team having them under club control.

    Since we are all placing bets, I’d bet on them to win the west again and finish ten games up on us.

  106. George Kaplan on November 26th, 2007 6:13 am

    101–Hey, I didn’t say he was Derek Jeter Jr. I simply said he was better offensively than his 2007 showed. His defense is how he got the job, and he has excellent range and very good hands. He may make rookie mistakes, but he figures to have greater range than OrCab, who wasless effective going into the hole with each passing year. Aybar is also arguably the fastest runner on the team; Haynes might be faster, but Haynes doesn’t figure to play everyday, and both are faster than Figgins. As Aybar learns how to work for the walk and improves as a contact hitter, he will be an very good threat for the stolen base, which is a big part of Scioscia’s game. I imagine he’ll hit 9th, as Figgins did for years.

    At the end of the day, OrCab didn’t figure to replay his 2007 season in 2008 and it will be the final year on his deal. Branch Rickey always said, “better to trade a player a year too soon than a year too late.” Coming off a career year, Reagins received maximum value for him and began the first of what may be several moves designed to bring a big bat or several medium bats to beef up the offense.

    103–I don’t know if you meant *position players*, but players signed past 2009 include Matthews, Hunter, Morales, Shields and Speier. Guerrero and Lackey figure to get extensions, while Frankie Rodriguez may or may not get a long-term deal.

    Finally, to amend my earlier post, I noticed since then that Figgins is under contract for 2008 with a salary bump of $1.25M so his impact on the payroll is known. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him traded before Opening Day depending upon what happens with MigCab or Tejada. The Angels might flip him for another role player and use Aybar at SS and Izturis at 2B (assuming Kendrick is traded). LIke OrCab, his value may never be higher. Until the MigCab story is told, the rest of the tale can’t be guessed.

  107. CCW on November 26th, 2007 9:06 am

    Torii Hunter’s WARP (Essentially, Wins Over Replacement Level, a Baseball Prospectus Metric) over the past 4 years:

    2004: 4.2
    2005: 3.6
    2006: 5.4
    2007: approximately 6.5

    let’s say, for the next few years, Hunter regresses a bit down to 4.5 WARP.

    In Dave’s market rates column (http://ussmariner.com/2007/11/13/market-rates/), he suggests that “market” for a free agent is $4M per marginal win (i.e. wins above what a replacement level player would produce). At $18M/year, and assuming that Hunter regresses to his 2004-2006 levels, that is exactly what the Angels will be paying Hunter next year. In other words, I suspect the Angels are paying approximately “market” for Hunter. We know that paying the market price for free agents is significantly higher than the market price for players prior to free agency.

    Here is the question, though: if you’re the Angels, and you see a window for winning it all, how do get significantly better without turning to free agents? I’d argue that the last $20-$40M that Moreno wants to spend is by far the toughest money to spend efficiently and that, as strange as it is to say, his hands are somewhat tied. It’s not all that different than the BoSox overpaying for Varitek or Lowell or Matsuzaka, and doing so intelligently and knowingly.

  108. Dave on November 26th, 2007 9:12 am

    Stop using WARP.

  109. Grizz on November 26th, 2007 11:25 am

    Hey, I didn’t say he was Derek Jeter Jr. I simply said he was better offensively than his 2007 showed.

    No, you said more than that. He said he was “a viable SS” and that he “showed his stuff in AAA.” His AAA numbers, when park adjusted, are bad, and he was downright terrible in the majors. Saying he is “better offensively than his 2007 showed” is a pretty empty statement considering that he would need significant improvement just to catch the AL’s worst hitting regular SS, Tony Pena Jr. And while Aybar may be fast, he is not a very good baserunner (only 65% success rate in the minors), and the old adage “you can’t steal first base” applies.

  110. George Kaplan on November 26th, 2007 12:21 pm

    Grizz–Without doing some research I don’t have time to do, I don’t know if Tony Pena Jr spent a month on the DL with an injury to his throwing hand, or was shuttled among three or four different positions to get into the lineup. Aybar played most of his games for the Angels out of position–35 starts at 2B versus 7 at SS. Toss in some games started at LF and 3B, plus some late-inning appearances in RF, and it is clear Aybar was getting an education on the different spots on the diamond, something Scioscia values (versatility).

    I believe his game will improve if he is allowed one spot to focus on and grow at. As such, as long as his defense is equal to or better than Orlando Cabrera’s, he is a “viable SS” in my book.

  111. Grizz on November 26th, 2007 2:30 pm

    You don’t have the ten seconds to look up Tony Pena Jr. on baseballreference.com? Really?

    The problem is Aybar did not hit when he was playing SS in Salt Lake or with the Agnels in 2006 either. And per THT, Aybar was below average at SS in 2006 and below average at SS, 2B, and 3B in 2007. Even assuming he is a league average SS, he is still a significant liability overall.

    Viable? You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

  112. scott19 on November 26th, 2007 3:00 pm

    105: If they land Miggy Cabrera, try more like about 20 games ahead of us.

  113. George Kaplan on November 26th, 2007 6:22 pm

    OK, Grizz. I have been around enough boards to identify the Prof Irwin Corey in residence. Clearly you know everything and the rest of us poor slobs just muddle around.

    Best of luck to you.

  114. Grizz on November 26th, 2007 10:03 pm

    This is not a board.

  115. RealRhino on November 27th, 2007 4:13 pm

    Wouldn’t be surprised to see Santana end up with whoever signs Silva.

  116. joser on November 28th, 2007 6:05 pm

    With the addition of Hunter, whose five-year, $90-million deal includes a $2.5-million bonus and calls for him to make $16 million in 2008, $17.5 million in 2009 and $18 million in each of the final three years of the contract, the Angels’ projected 2008 payroll is about $125 million.

    Moreno said that is “over budget,” but he did not rule out boosting the payroll for an impact player. In addition to Cabrera, the Angels are pursuing Baltimore shortstop Miguel Tejada and Minnesota pitcher Johan Santana.

    “Everybody makes a budget; it’s my call whether we exceed it,” Moreno said. “If you’re doing something for the short term, a Band-Aid thing, to me, it’s not worth going over budget. If you think it’s going to make your business better in the long term, then you make the investment. We want to get better every year and to compete at the highest level. Our focus is on winning championships.”

    LA Times (Most of the story is about Florida jerking everybody around, asking the moon for Cabrera).

  117. George Kaplan on November 29th, 2007 4:45 pm

    It’s like I’m a psychic or something…

    BTW, based upon the comments made by Moreno at the press conference, I wouldn’t be surprised if the trade for Cabrera doesn’t get made. He made it sound as if agreements in principle were made (twice), then the Marlins upped their demands.

    If so, then Moreno may exit altogether. As Hunter said, Moreno put a deal on the table for him with a 24 hour lifespan. He didn’t want to get played against other teams. As it turns out, Hunter liked the terms and the team. Benifest may find out that the Angels won’t allow themselves to get jerked around much longer, especially with the Winter Meetings coming up next week. Fewer players in trade yields Tejada, not a player of Miguel Cabrera’s class (anymore, anyway), but still an upgrade over the 2007 Angels offense, and Tejada may be reborn playing on a team with a legit chance of winning a championship after those years in Baltimore. The Angels would most likely get to keep Kendrick as well.

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