Wednesday, August 18, 2010

What A Mess

Maybe it's a small sample size against a team that (despite the 2009 ALCS) might be in their heads. But the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim look like a complete disaster. Somebody over there has to lose their job after this season. Not sure if it's going to be Scioscia or Tony Reagins (whose contract is up at the end of this year), but something has to happen out there. As of tonight, the Angels are under .500 despite their $121 million payroll. Blame Theo all you want - and I will. But the Angels might lead the league in low ROI.

Tonight's game was not a Red Sox comeback as much as it was an Angels implosion. Lackey pitched another "bulldog" performance, surrendering five runs over seven. But somehow, the guy pulled out another win against his former team. The "somehow" means that Kazmir was short of okay and that Kevin Jepsen had more problems finding the strike zone than he had finding a) the ground and b) the body of a player straight out of Pawtucket. JD Drew "earned" an RBI the only way JD Drew earns RBIs when he's robbed of a day-off opportunity. We can complain about Manny Delcarmen, but at least we don't see stuff like that.

Remember when the Angels traded for Scott Kazmir when his trade value was at its all-time lowest? Yuck. Brian Fuentes walks a guy every other inning. Scot Shields, who used to be good, has shown the typical middle-reliever career path with his ERA over five. Fernando Rodney? Better at Guitar Hero than pitching. They lost Mark Teixeira, Vlad Guerrero, Chone Figgins, and John Lackey to free agency in the last two offseasons without even trying. This leads you to wonder: Who are they paying all this freaking money?

Oh, right, Torii Hunter. Good.

The bottom line is that this team has the chance to challenge Texas for the division title, but that chance probably got stretchered off the field with Kendry Morales the day he hit that walkoff. Seriously, do the Red Sox have five wins after the All-Star Break, all against the Angels? What a freaking mess.

One more thing about Kazmir, who is cooked, toast, the next Jaret Wright, washed-up, and over-the-hill: He's over four months younger than top prospect 46, who has sore ribs but a lot of upside and has the potential to grow into his body and become a 20-HR hitter.

6 comments:

The GM said...

One more thing: I just saw the video of 46 running out that tapper to the pitcher Thursday night. I suggest you take a couple of looks at that video and tell me which scene from a 1997 movie (a Wilmington favorite) it looks like. Won't really have much of an opportunity to JD out during work tomorrow, so think about it.

Answer will come with Friday's Where In The World Is Pat F? post.

PF said...

Linking to your dig on hunter is not really fair. He's an outstanding player, and probably worth that contract straight up, at least as far as anybody can be "worth" their contracts. He's definitely worth that contract when compared to so many others who are not close to worth their contracts. He hits, he defends, he plays hard, he plays hurt, he wants to win, he has passion. What more do you want?

I agree with you that this has been a disappointing season for the angels. However, you suggest somebody should answer for this. Then you concede that this team would likely be right there if their best hitter (who happens to be one of the best hitters in baseball) didn't get hurt. So are you saying somebody should have to answer for an unfortunate injury? That doesn't make a lot of sense. The angels season pretty much comes down to the morales injury. It may seem like more to red sox fans because they play like little leaguers against the red sox most of the time, looking far worse than they are. But for fans of all other teams who they show up for and don't just roll over, its pretty clear that this is a good baseball team missing its best offensive source. Maybe not as good as recent years, but that's going to happen to any team. On the cycle of winning the angels are on the back side of "competitive" moving towards "rebuilding". I'm not sure there is too much wrong with that, it's how the cycle goes as a particular group that has been successful for a while starts to get older and struggle a bit. Especially when you have a huge injury.

Anonymous said...

DV

I like this post because it helps to give some perspective--the Sox, for as disappointing as they've been have not played bad baseball--they're 17 games over .500 and will likely win at least 90 games. That's not a bad season. The problem is that the Yankees and Rays have been better and the Sox have never really had a chance to be the team that should have been because of the nearly unheard of rash of injuries they've dealt with.

PF

Torii Hunter is a very good player. He's also an fairly easy target because of the fact that not only did his mom give him the same name that many strippers and adult film stars have, but that as good as he is, he's not a traditional middle of the line-up thumper that you often see attached to an 18 million dollar per year salary. I'm not even going to go and compare him to the Teixeira's and Pujols' of the world, but let's just put him next to Kevin Youkilis--Hunter's OPS is .858. Youkilis has a .975 OPS. Nothing wrong with Hunter's numbers at all. They're well above league average. But you don't pay Hunter's salary for that type of production. You pay it for Youkilis' type production. In fact, when you over-pay for something in the range of above average, but not spectacular production it can really hurt your team. The Red Sox may know something about that because they pay $14 million per year to JD Drew.

The other issue as far as the Angels are concerned is this--if Kendry Morales is the be-all, end-all for your team, then your team probably wasn't great to begin with. That's no knock on Morales, but the truth is that he posted an .833 OPS before his injury this year. Granted he had an excellent season last year, but it's not like he's ever been a truly dominant player. Very good? Absolutely. Great? He may well become great, but I don't know if he is just yet. Also, if any team falls apart because of the absence of one guy, the team isn't great anyway. The Red Sox lost every big time starting player they've had this year save Beltre and Lester. And yet, they're 17 games over .500. The Yankees have had injuries. The Rays recently lost two starting pitchers. And yet they're still trucking. On the flip side, the Angels, minus Morales, have been tremendous underachievers. And that goes to his injury, sure, but it also goes to the depth of the team which is entirely on ownership/management.

--the Gunn

Anonymous said...

I don't know much about baseball, but I could see this coming for Kazmir. People had wood for him for a long time and to me he was always overrated.

Tori's the kind of player that is good in a lot of areas but to me is not really good enough at one particular thing to really be considered a difference maker. Not saying I wouldn't like to have him on the Sox right now, but I would agree with the sentiment that 18 mil is way way too much.

Lastly, totally agree with the Gunn's comments on Kendry Morales. If your argument is "if only we had Kendry Morales..." then you haven't assembled a good enough team. You can take every comment I've made about the sox needing to overcome injuries and apply it here.

PF said...

the difference is torii hunter plays center field and kevin youkilis plays first base. that's why you pay a similar amount for those two players. you can find good offensive first baseman. you can't find nearly as many center fielders who are going to play out of this world defense with a .289/.358/.487/.844 with 50ish xbh the way hunter has done so far in his three years with the angels. now, of course he isn't "worth" $18 million, which is what i was getting at when i said as much as anybody can be "worth" their contract. that is, few people are really "worth" the money. same way a-rod isn't worth 27.5 million, despite being one of the few players being deserving of the biggest contract in baseball. on a reasonable length in terms of years, i think torii hunter is a really good investment at a premium position. if he continues to not be able to play center field, that's another story. but so long as he can stick in center he's one of the better players in the game pound for pound with defense considered. a 121 ops+ on average so far in anaheim with his defense is pretty bigtime. toss in the advantage you are gaining with his offense at that position compared to what the average center fielder is offering offensively, and that's the type of production you pay big money for.

the gm said...

Pat,

Whom did the Angels outbid? The Twins? Please. They probably outbid the field by $3-5 million. I remember the signing: It was before Thanksgiving and pretty much out of nowhere. This year, Torii Hunter is the 7th-highest paid player in the AL, 14th in baseball. If you see that Alfonso Soriano and Big Z are ahead of him and that Barry Zito's tied with him, you might feel a little better, but really? Torii Hunter?

I'm not saying he's a bad player. I'm not saying he's not toolsy. But should Torii Hunter be paid 14th most of all major leaguers? No. F no.