No Guarantees Dept.


The Angels landing a #4 hitter and a #1 starter ... of course Dr. D doesn't disagree with anything the commenters here have said about that.

Since SSI's info-tainment is contrarian, and only because we live to serve, here are a few of Dr. D's favorite reasons to rally.  (You know the backstory behind the baseball term "rally," no?)  You could list quite a few more.  

Take heart, lads :- )


=== Moving Parts, Dept. ===

In 2003, the Angels had a mediocre OPS+ of 97.  They signed Vlad Guerrero, who would hit .337 / .391 / .598 for them in 2004.

But in 2004, their teamwide OPS+ was still only 102.  Why?  There were a lot of moving parts there.

The 2012 Angels still have a lot of moving parts.  For example, Howie Kendrick just had a Chone Figgins career season:

2011 125 OPS+
2010 99
2009 104
2008 97

In fact Kendrick is a thoroughly mediocre hitter who, even in 2011, ran a horrific 33:119 EYE ratio.  Suppose that Kendrick himself reverts to a 100 OPS+.  That, in itself, would cancel out a big part of Albert Pujols' dominance.  Kendrick's regression would mean that, in effect, the Angels had just added the 2009 Raul Ibanez to its 2011 lineup.  Would you be panicking then?

Erick Aybar has an 89 career OPS+, and he just OPS+'ed 109 last year.

Rookie Mark Trumbo spent the 2011 season carrying the Angels, but guess what his EYE was?  25:120.  You think he doesn't have sophomore adjustments to work through?


It is awesome, for the Angels, that they added Albert Pujols.  Am not trying to diminish that.  But if your feeling is, "The Angels are a mortal lock to win 94 games next year," then your feeling is wrong.  There are a lot of moving parts on a baseball team.

The Angels will probably be an excellent team.  But whether they win 94 games, or 88, there is just no way to know that in advance.


There was a day in baseball history when Dr. D almost quit watching MLB.  Do you remember when the 2000 Yankees were coming off a 5-game World Series sweep of the Mets?  And they were coming off three straight World Series championships, 1998, 1999, 2000?

The Yankees had won 114 (!) games in 1998, and swept the World Series in 4 games.  ... in 1999 they swept the Series in 4 games.  In 2000, they won it in 5 games.

And then you remember that they signed Mike Mussina in the offseason following 2000?

That press conference was the single worst day of my baseball life.  I thought that was the final gong of baseball as we knew it.

The Yankees have won only 1 championship in the 11 years since.  I didn't really get it, then, about 25 moving parts.


Look, amigos, the Yankees have had a payroll over $200MM, and you don't sweat them.  That's because they have injuries, things go wrong, they can be beaten.

The Angels raise their payroll to $150MM.  Good for them.  They'll be one of the star-studded teams.  It is possible to fight against star-studded teams.

The sentiment should not be to whine and to quit.  The sentiment should be to demand that the Mariners fight for the playoffs, as Geoff Baker does on a daily basis.  That's our stadium they're playing in.  We gave them $400MM on the basis that we would see MLB pennant races.



Are the Angels better than they were yesterday?  Absolutely, just like they were better after they switched Chris Iannetta for Jeff Mathis.  That's the problem with all the, "Wait 3 years for our turn", people said it 3 years ago, and even last year, every one wrote off the Angels, "There time is done, now we have to wait on Texas".  Here they come again, and the Mariners just have to be a little better, maybe be a little luckier.  After the Rays, no one has an excuse to say, "We just can't compete".


Vernon Wells and Torii Hunter both had subpar years. Granted neither is young any more, but Wells is only 32 (oops, he's on MLB network's Hot Stove as I type this, today's his birthday, he's 33!) and a good candidate to do a lot better in 2012.
Also, the addition of Wilson moves Santana back to the #4 spot in their rotation. I agree with G that we have the kind of pitching coming through the pipeline soon that I would match up against anybody once it gets established.
Finally, the Halos have created a pretty doggone good trade chip in either Kendry Morales or Mike Trumbo, a chip that can be used to upgrade a less-strong position or strengthen the bullpen.
We definitley need encouragement not to lose heart, and so often a supposed super-team disappoints for a variety of reasons.


At BaseballHQ, the main thing they use to guess pitcher injuries, is IP increase.  Shandler's comment on Wilson's 2010:  "threw more IP in 2010 than in 2007-09 combined, which has to be a concern.
Wilson threw 204 IP in 2010 -- as a reliever, so to speak -- and 24 more in the playoffs.
Then in 2011, he threw 223, and 28 more in the playoffs -- 251.0 IP for Wilson last year.  Interestingly, in his last 5 postseason starts, he walked 18 and fanned 20.
A pitcher doesn't need rotator cuff surgery in order to feel fatigue.  Sometimes his ERA just goes up a run :- )


:- ) 
With Florida out, and the Cubs saying they don't have the money, my big worry had been the Angels jumping in.  From that standpoint, the Angels landing a big FA is just what we needed!
Best guess at odds now:
SEA - 55%
MILW - 20%
Reminder:  if you and your rival (LAA) each gain 10 WAR, that's the same as 28 other teams losing 10 WAR.

Taro's picture

CJ also a very bad timing problem in his mechanics. I would not go near that guy in a long-term deal.
Angels will likely regret that long-term deal in the near future.

Tim Andren's picture

Don't forget that the Rangers will be have great incentive to go and get Fielder if Milwaukee doesn't. We have a chance, but it's not 55%. Texas has money to spend...and more in their future TV deal.

Taro's picture

I'm starting to root for signing Fielder again. The reality of the situation is that the Ms simply need to raise their payroll to even have a fighting chance.
Still concerned a bit about Toronto.. They have a need and tons of payroll flexibility.
It feels like the Ms made the first serious offer and Boras is shopping it around. If ownership isn't willing to go further, Z is going to need to time his 'take it or leave call' masterfully.


if you and your rival (LAA) each gain 10 WAR, that's the same as 28 other teams losing 10 WAR

CJ already pitched for a rival, he just switched teams.  I would have preferred he go outside the division, but really, it's not much different than him re-signing with Texas.
CJ = non-factor for me today in the "Ms now have no chance" meme.
Pujols is different, but can be compensated for.
I still think we're in the lead for Fielder...and I still don't believe the Ms have the stones to close the deal.  If the Committee gives Jack free rein and he can get Fielder to sign on the dotted line...
Then I'll be impressed - and we can make our own statement with a prime-years crusher.


He has always hit me as a MASTER negotiator.
Latest case in point, his sending Boras home with tantalizing ideas but no concrete offer yet.  "Let us know when you're ready to deal and you won't be sorry."  Love the approach.

Tim Andren's picture

Sign Fielder and deal Walker or Paxton plus a package for a solid outfielder or thirdbaseman with a bat. 
If this isn't done at minimum, the next several years are going to be rough. Long, cold days after years of already dealing with an anemic offense and pathetic teams will further deplete this team and it's leader.
The time is now. If these things don't happen our years with Felix will be a pile of waste and we'll be watching him in the playoffs somewhere else. His loyalty to this organization is amazing but it will not last forever...sooner or later the money, the individual wins and awards won't add up and the legacy of winning it all will be all that's left to pursue.


You heard him flatly say the Rangers aren't interested, no?
I don't think he particularly likes fat people.  Seriously.
Not that he wouldn't shake hands with Prince, but I'll bet that when it comes down to 7 years, $150M, Ryan is going, "THIS guy is going to stay in shape and deliver for me?"
It certainly doesn't feel like 55%, and may not be, but there are no suitors left.  Not big ones.


Am wondering whether Ramirez is about to morph into Derek Jeter, but still, I'll take him as tag-team with Fielder...
Not sure when Paxton is eligible to be traded.  I guess March 4th.  But you could deal Taijuan + ? for Ramirez, maybe.
'course, the Marlins are out to fan their talent like a peacock's tail.  They might insist on Pineda.

Tim Andren's picture

No matter how I look at it Pineda moving away kills us. We need Numero Dos.
Okay so deal Walker, Paxton and Saunders for Ramirez and let's get this show on the road. It's a talent overpay, but y'know Pujols will be paid carploads of cash from ages 35 onwards for things he did years ago. Overpay is the name of the game...and moves mountains.
Franklin, Hultzen, Catricala and the boys will get this done and fill gaps in a few years. We've got another top pick on the way in June to replenish our stock.
So Prince, HanRam, Ackley and Smoak will lead the offense with a core of solid scrubs. Felix, Pineda and Hultzen are a trio of sharks with lasers.


The Marlins obviously want to win now, and I think they probably do insist on Pineda which makes this a real tough call.
Pineda for Ramirez could be a tremendous win or a tremendous loss, with very little room for middle ground. Ramirez is still young and has consistently performed at a high level from a premium position, but he's got so many risks - injuries, the poor 2011, transitions to the AL, whining personality.
I do think the most likely scenario is something like .300 Avg, 25 HR's, 35 SB's with only slightly below average SS defense - which would be worth Pineda. However, it is not too hard to picture Ramirez pulling a mini-Figgins and turning into a disgruntled, .700 OPS player making $15 million and insisting on playing SS when he belongs in LF. Either he'll be untouchable or untradeable.
Adding Ramirez at the cost of Pineda fixes the offense but creates a short-term hole in the rotation, and I don't see Hultzen/Walker/Paxton stepping up big until Ramirez only has a year or two left on his contract.
All things considered, not too thrilled with the prospect of a Ramirez trade unless the Marlins are shopping him at a discount.
The M's would probably be better off trying to package non-elite prospects for Wright, acquiring Jones+Reynolds from Baltimore, kicking the tires on Ethier, or ideally seeing if Arizona is willing to shop Justin Upton again. No shortage of options out there....


FWIW, I wouldn't be surprised to see Franklin discussed if the M's do end up trying to trade for a bat. Doesn't sound like he's going to stick at SS, and 2B might be out of the question now with Ackley playing better than expected there.
Get the impression that Walker would be the most likely to go of the three arms, don't see many deals where Top 50 prospects are traded as PTBNL's.
Walker+Franklin should get the M's their pick of the litter, no?


M's fans would be pretty stunned to hear the names that could be had, and in most cases they like the pieces the M's have to trade with.
Here's just one name that Zduriencik could probably deal for, if he wanted to.  But there are another twelve names like that, not so far discussed.
Question isn't whether there are options.  Question is which one, if any, the M's want to pay the $1.10 for.
I don't think I'd give up Pineda for Ramirez - keep in mind the salary difference and net value remaining for each player.  On March 5th I'd probably give them Paxton (plus).
M's probably aren't a match with Florida.  Both teams are trying to accomplish the same thing.


If it's Fielder plus Pineda plus Franklin plus whomever else it takes to get Hanley moved to our team...or Hanley Ramirez plus a couple bucks, oh yeah, and 3 years from now we're still looking for a MOTO hitter when Hanley moves on...
Sheesh.  Give me the first option.
Especially since Prince is the better hitter.
I'm with taro at this point - sign Fielder, trade for Span, dump Guti and Figgins, and get this party started.


So yeah, if we're trading and they need a blue-chip bat back, then it needs to be Franklin. If Nick can't stick at SS (and I still believe he can) then he'd have to play 3B for us, and there we have Seager, Liddi, F-Mart and possibly Catricala if he can improve his D as Liddi did his this past year, as well as Proscia AND Brad Miller from the last draft.
Third base had BETTER be able to be filled internally - another reason I have little interest in adding a 3B free agent.
But at SS it's Brad Miller (stone glove), Franklin (slightly better) and, um, maybe a foreign kid in rookie ball.
If it's not Franklin then IMO we don't have an internal solution that doesn't rely on Brendan Ryan continue to not-suck for a while, unless Brad Miller can get a lot better at defense than he was for most of his college career.
That could always change in the next draft, but I need to know Franklin is gonna be a 2B before I make the call to trade him.
If a lesser MIF will do then I would be trying to include Seager as a plus offensive 2B, which I think he can be.  It's not his fault he's behind Ackley on the depth chart.
And I would think Campos would go before Walker, though Walker is a monster prospect.  He's better than the #1 pitching prospect (Nestor Molina) the Jays traded for Sergio Santos, who is more like Jose Campos if Jose stays 90-94 and loses those extra ticks up to 96 or 97 that he flashed this year.
It's nice to know that our 4th best pitching prospect is better than the #1 of other good orgs. :)
We could afford to spend Walker for the right player, but I think we'll try to avoid it.  I have Paxton and Campos on the trade list before Walker, and both are great prospects in their own right.  Though as you say, Paxton would have to be the PTBNL, and that's not common for a trade centerpiece.
We HAVE the pieces to make whatever trades we feel like making.  I still think we're trading Trayvon Robinson if we can solidify CF with a Denard-Span-like player.  I could see him and Campos vanishing before ST - hopefully with a much-needed lineup boost appearing in their place.
Hope we can lock down Fielder first.

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