Posted tagged ‘Los Angeles Angels’

Angels and Cardinals trade Bourjos, Freese

November 22, 2013

Today the Los Angeles Angels traded outfielder Peter Bourjos to the St. Louis Cardinals for past World Series MVP David Freese.  Through the deal the Angels are able to fill their hole at third base while the Cardinals pick up some outfield depth with the expected loss of Carlos Beltran.

When you look at why both teams made the deal I think it’s a fine trade for each team. I believe Peter Bourjos has more value but it’s still fine trade for LA. They needed a third baseman and Peter Bourjos was just a fourth outfielder in LA. St. Louis had depth in the infield so Freese was expendable while they pick up some needed outfield depth.

Peter Bourjos is a 27 year old outfielder with great defensive skills who has proven to a valuable player in the Brett Gardner mold when given a chance. In his only full season, 2011, he posted a 4.2 fWAR. He has posted less than 600 PA in each of his other three seasons combined. He has accumulated an impressive amount of fWAR over that time. Granted, WAR is just a framework and not an be-all end-all type of metric- but it is useful. In fact, his career WAR/650PA is 5.15. Now, that’s over four seasons with three of them as a backup outfielder so his rate WAR is inflated a little bit. But it still shows he is a good player and can be a valuable member of any team as a starting outfielder. With the trade St. Louis can shift Matt Carpenter to third, put Kolten Wong at second, and have an outfield of Bourjos, Craig, and Jay/Taveras.

As for LA, they needed a third baseman. Freese isn’t as valuable as Bourjos in general, but for the Angels he might be. LA already have Josh Hamilton and Mike Trout in the outfield, with a couple other youngsters in the mix. However, their third baseman was Chris Nelson. Freese, according to Steamer projections, expects to a be two win upgrade over Nelson. Moreover, while Steamer projects Bourjos to be worth over two wins, that’s with nearly 500 PA. If LA was only going to give him only 200 PA again, then Freese would project to be more valuable in LA than Bourjos.

Freese is entering is age 31 season and has more two years arbitration years. Bourjos will be 27 and has three more arbitration years. So again, I do think Bourjos is more valuable in a neutral context. In the perspective of each team though, the trade makes sense.

Jered Weaver locked up long term

August 22, 2011

The LA Angels signed Weaver to a 5/$85mil extension. That means he’ll be an Angel until 2016 and until he’s 33 years old. So let me say: this was a great deal.

Jered Weaver is a stud. That simple. Since his debut in 2006, his fWAR has gone up every season and this season should top out around 6+ fWAR. He’s had a BB/9 in the 2’s every season. In all his seasons of 30+ starts, all but one he has had a K/9 in the 7’s; the exception? 2010 when it was 9.35. These past two seasons Weaver has been a top of the league ace and is consistent and dependable as hell.

Weaver would have had one more year of arbitration before signing the extension. So in all likelihood he would have made around $13mil in my estimation. Then he would have been a FA. Here’s how I believe that would have played, and payed, out:

WAR: 6, 5.5, 5, 4.5

Value ($): 30mil, 28.9, 27.5, 23

Excessive? Yeah, but that’s what his market projects to be if he achieves those WAR numbers, which is a very realistic figure in my opinion. If $ per WAR goes up 250K a year starting at $5mil in 2013, that’s how much he’d be worth. So I have his projected value at $122.4mil. Since he’ll be paid $85mil, that’s a saving of $37.4mil- enough to lock up Mike Trout!

Would he have gotten that much as a FA? It’s tough to say. I’m inclined to say yes if GMs see him in the same class as a CC Sabathia or Johan Santana when they were in contract negotiations.

So basically, great deal. It’s a deal that’s similar to the extensions Verlander and Felix Hernandez signed, and Weaver is in their class, so all around it’s a good deal for player and team.

The roadtrip from hell

May 27, 2011

Starting tonight the Yankees embark on a nine game road trip. They are heading to Seattle for the weekend series, then down to Oakland, and finally will cap off the road trip with a series at Anaheim.

While west coast trips are never fun, this doesn’t seem so bad. I mean, both Seattle and Oakland have terrible offenses, and Anaheim isn’t anything special. Well, take a look at the pitching match-ups.

Seattle: Felix Herandez, Michael Pineda, Justin Vargas

Oakland: Trevor Cahill, Brett Anderson, Gio Gonzalez

Los Angeles: Jered Weaver, Dan Haren, Ervin Santana

Yup. That’s arguably the best three trio’s in the AL. Not only do we get to face them, but we face them on the road AND it’s a west coast trip. For real- we couldn’t have missed Weaver, or Felix out of the nine games? This has to be the worst scheduling luck I’ve seen. That’s seven possible Cy Young candidates right there. And we NEVER win in LA anyway. LA could throw their backup catcher against us and win*.

*At least Howie Kendrick is out. Otherwise we’d get shutout AND get ten runned.

And when the Yankees return home, they get Boston (and then Cleveland). Yay! And I bet they get Lester/Beckett/Clay with their luck.

Divisional Preview: AL West

March 30, 2011

The Rangers were baseball’s surprise team last season, surging past the American Leagues win leaders, Tampa Bay Rays, in the ALDS and then cruising past a heavily favored Yankees team in the ALCS. The Angels also fell from grace in 2010 while the Mariners, 2010s trendy pick, sucked.

1) Texas Rangers (87-75)

I think the Rangers still are a good team and still are up and coming with many young prospects yet to make debuts, but I believe they will take a step back in 2011. The main reason is pitching. First of all, they lost Cliff Lee, who by far was their best starter and helped them tremendously down the stretch and in the post-season. Second, I expect some regression to the mean from CJ Wilson and Colby Lewis. Both are good pitchers, but had especially good years in 2010 and should see some production decline. Moreover, CJ Wilson and Colby Lewis are now their #1 and #2 pitchers. Color me unimpressed if those are a team’s top two starters. Beyond that, they plan to give starts to Matt Harrison and Tommy Hunter, neither of whom are good. I am still a big Derek Holland, but it appears Texas still hates him.

However, the bullpen will be nasty once again. Obviously, Neftali Feliz is a freak in the bullpen, but the pen also has Alexi Ogando, Darren O’Day, Darren Oliver, Arthur Rhodes, etc,etc. Yeah, pretty good.

Plus, the lineup is good. They have Josh Hamilton, the reigning MVP, and one of the games more underrated hitters, Nelson Cruz, who I think could have a better offensive season than Hamilton in 2011. Kinsler is another good bat and the defense should be strong with Adrian Beltre, Elvis Andrus, and Julio Borbon. The pitching will keep them from 90 wins, but as a whole this is a good team that should win the division.

Players to watch: Ian Kinsler, Nelson Cruz

2) Oakland Athletics (85-77)

The As were my sleeper team last year and are my “sleeper” team this season, but I have a tough time calling them a sleeper since everyone is picking them to upset Texas this season. They are this years Mariners. Except I don’t believe they’ll fall apart. For one, the pitching is better. Granted, they don’t have a legit ace like Felix Hernandez, but the whole staff is better. If Brett Anderson stays healthy, I think he’ll emerge as one of the best pitchers in baseball. Other arms include Gio Gonzalez, Trevor Cahill, and Dallas Braden. And between Grant Balfour, Brian Fuentes, Brad Ziegler, and their other relievers, the pen should do their part in holding leads.

Offensively, the As will struggle, but it is an improved offense from last season. They added Hideki Matsui to DH, and despite his age, he is still a legitimate force on offense. However, I wonder how he will be impacted by the Colliseum. Oakland also added David DeJesus, a solid bat who also brings a solid glove to the table. Josh Willingham will also bring much needed area to the Bay. Although he will be a defensive liability in left field, the rest of the defense should be superb between Daric Barton, Mark Ellis, Cliff Pennington, Kevin Kouzmanoff, Kurt Suzuki, DeJesus, and Coco Crisp. If they have good fortune, much like San Diego last season, the As very well could win the West.

Players to watch: Brett Anderson, Gio Gonzalez, Daric Barton

3) Los Angeles Angels (81-81)

I love the Angels pitching staff. I really do. Jered Weaver, Dan Haren, and Ervin Santana might be the best top 3 in the AL. Joel Piniero and anyone besides Scott Kazmir are also good ends to the staff. The pen should be decent with Kevin Jepsen, Scott Downs, and Fernando Rodney.

However…the rest of the team is not so good. Vernon Wells could be “alright” but he isn’t a good fielder. Peter Bourjos is a stud fielder, but can’t hit. Callaspo, Aybar, Kendrick, and Trumbo represent a weak infield, especially offensively, in my opinion. When your best hitters are an old Bobby Abreu, Tori Hunter, and Vernon Wells, you’re in trouble. The Angels are in trouble. I have them at .500 because of their starting pitching. But if anyone of their big three gets hurt, lookout for the cellar floor.

Players to watch: Kendrys Morales (IF he returns), Hank Conger

4) Seattle Mariners (72-90)

Ah, now onto the lowly Mariners. Felix=stud. Michael Pineda=promising rookie. Rest of staff=poo poo. That simple. No point in breaking it down further than that, because that’s the end result of what any analysis would be. The bullpen isn’t any good either. Brandon League is a nice arm, but they are going to hope Aaron Laffey and Jamey Wright can hold the few wins they will get.

Offensively they still suck, but should be better than 2010. Ichiro is a rock, Figgins should be better, Cust adds some good OB skills, and Dustin Ackley is a Rookie of the Year candidate. But the team lacks power and the ability to get on base. That will mean few runs. Tough to win without scoring when the pitching isn’t that good. 2011 will be another long season.

Players to watch: Michael Pineda, Dustin Ackley

Blue Jays trade Vernon Wells to the Angels for Mike Napoli, Juan Rivera

January 22, 2011

WOWWOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOW!

So let’s get this straight. Vernon Wells is 32 years old. He has to be paid $23mil in 2011, $21mil in 2012, $21mil in 2013, and $21mil in 2014. So that’s $86mil guaranteed for the age 32-35 seasons, of a player who has produced 7.0 WAR in the past four seasons.

Yikes. So the Angels are picking up a player, who did post a 4 fWAR in 2010, but also produced just a combined 3 WAR from 2007-2009. He is fancasted to produce 2.4 fWAR in 2011. With a $ per WAR of $4.5mil, he would only be worth $10.8mil. He will be paid $24mil.

Why on earth would a team want that? Especially a team like the Angels are aren’t exactly contenders at the moment. Moreover, their outfield is already crowded with Tori Hunter, Bobby Abreu, Reggie Willits, and Peter Bourjos. Moreover, they already had Juan Rivera. Yes, Juan Rivera may not be the hitter he once was. But he is the same age as Wells, and costs about $19mil less…for the same production! The kicker though, is Mike Napoli. Mike Napoli is good. Mike Napoli is 29. Mike Napoli is cost-controlled for two more seasons. Mike Napoli plays a premiere defensive position- catcher. Mike Napoli has proven to be a real good hitting catcher and has provided 2+ WAR in all but one of his professional seasons (he was worth 1.5 WAR in a 75 game 2007 season).

Over the past four years, Mike Napoli has been worth worth 9.7 fWAR, more than Vernon Wells. Mike Napoli made $3.6mil last season and figures to make about $5.8mil in 2011 and about $10.4mil in 2012. That’s about $16mil for two seasons. Vernon Wells has to be paid $24mil in 2011 alone!

Mike Napoli is being fancasted to have a 3.4 WAR season in 2011. So he would be worth $15.3mil and his team would have about $10mil.

So lets get this straight…team with Mike Napoli gets more production, more value, and SAVES money. Team with Vernon Wells gets a not so good player, expensive contract, and loses money compared to what the player brings to the table.

This deal makes no sense for the Angels AT ALL. They had a great, cost-controlled catcher on their roster, and have a loaded outfield. They also probably will not be competing in the West anytime soon so they should look to rid themselves of payroll eating, veteran players. Sure, they will probably move Bobby Abreu to DH, but this move stills make no sense.

As for the Blue Jays- it’s a win x 10. Just trading Wells and his contract, even if for nothing, is a win. Now they get a good catcher, and an extra outfielder to boot.

Sure, the Jays might contribute some money to help the Angels, but the latest reports are saying that will not happen. Either way, it doesn’t change things.

Also, Wells can opt-out after 2011.

1) He’d be crazy to walk away from $63mil guaranteed, especially if he sucks in 2011.

2) If he does walk away, it’s still a bad deal for LA since they will be trading a good catcher for an old outfielder who won’t help them win in 2011.

 

Orioles trade for Mark Reynolds

December 6, 2010

In return, the Orioles are sending relievers David Hernandez and Kam Mickolio to the Arizona Diamondbacks.

This is just a ho-hum trade. Mark Reynolds will not be a difference maker in Baltimore. Reynolds will make $5mil this season and $7.5mil next season. If Reynolds can be a 2 WAR player over that time, he will bring value to Baltimore above his contract and be a solid everyday player. But he is not a difference maker or a young kid, so he is just a short term solution until the team is better positioned to make a run at the playoffs in 2013 and beyond.

In return, they gave up two relievers. So they didn’t go overboard giving up prospects or talent for an okay player like Reynolds. On the other hand, the D-Backs are continuing to solidify their bullpen, which was historically bad for much of last season. Neither trade should have a big impact on either team, but for each side the trades make sense for where they are in their development and what goals they want to accomplish.

What I do want to comment on is Adrian Beltre and how he has gotten screwed within the past 24 hours. From the rumors I’ve heard, his three biggest suitors were Boston, Oakland, and Baltimore. Boston no longer has a need for a third baseman. The same goes with Baltimore. Oakland withdrew their offer since Beltre has ignored them since he wanted a bigger deal. Other teams that might be interested are Detroit and the Los Angeles Angels, but those teams also want Carl Crawford and want him more. Moreover, Beltre no longer has leverage. At this point, his price has dropped and he will have to take what he can get. It’s been a rough day for him to say the least.

Jayson Werth is a Washington National

December 5, 2010

In what has to be the most surprising news of the off-season, the Washington Nationals have signed Jayson Werth to a 7/$126mil contract. WOW.

This is totally out of nowhere. I really thought Werth would be headed to Detroit, Boston, or stay in Philly. If you recall, I had Werth worth about $99mil over five years. When I project it out further, I think he’ll be worth about $121mil over seven years. So the Nationals are overpaying a little bit. But not by much.

For Washington, I love the move, but hate the contract details. They are relatively close to contending so I like that they are trying to make a splash and bring in a quality player. It keeps the fans happy and makes the current team better as they wait for Strasburg to get healthy and Bryce Harper to develop. BUT, seven years is a long time. By the time the Nationals young talent is ready to aim for a playoff spot, Werth figures to be done as a high impact player. Once those days are over, he will be vastly overpaid for his talent and the contract will handcuff the franchise.

So I give the contract a C+ for the team. They do get better and bring excitement back to the ball club, but by binding themselves to Werth for so long, it could hinder their ability to make moves in the future, which is when they are going to want to make moves as their young talent will be ready for lift-off.Moreover, this seemingly takes them out of the running for Cliff Lee so it appears that FA battle will be a showdown between the Yankees and Rangers.

As for Werth…I’m surprised. I would have thought he would want to go to a team where he could win the World Series. Boston, Philly, or even Los Angeles and San Francisco. But money speaks and more importantly, I take it he likes the security of seven years. But where is the loyalty these days? Juan Uribe went to Los Angeles just weeks after winning in San Fran and now a Phillies favorite is going to a divisional foe. I remember the story of Jackie Robinson retiring because he was traded to the Giants from the Dodgers. Nowadays, players would welcome the trade with open arms.

 

Valuing the 2011 free agent class: Carl Crawford

November 14, 2010

Alongside Cliff Lee and Jayson Werth, Carl Crawford is the biggest name on the free agent market. So far he has been linked to the Los Angeles Angels, Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees, and Detroit Tigers.

2010 was Crawford’s best season as a professional, as he posted a line of .307/.356/.495/.378/141 and 6.9 WAR over 663 PA. His OBP, SLG, wOBA, wRC+, and WAR were all career highs, and he was phenomenal with the glove once again.With a season like that, it’s quite obvious why a lot of teams are licking at the bit to sign him.

However, he will turn 30 during the 2011 season and is a speed and defense type player. If any of those attributes goes, his overall value will take a hit. Defense tends to decline as players age, so that is the risk of paying Crawford eight figures in his mid-thirties. But if he stays athletic, Crawford could be a good player for a long time.

Although his offense will surely regress from 2010 and we may never see him hit that well again, his defense should continue to be superb. Yes, defense tends to decline as a player ages, but there are exceptions. Crawford is freakish athlete who has long been considered the best defensive outfielder alongside Ichiro by fans and defensive numbers. Speaking of Ichiro- another freakish athlete-he is someone who has not seen a dip in his defensive performance. While more fielders go the way of Tori Hunter than Ichiro, I believe Crawford keeps himself in the type of shape that will allow him to continue to be a premium defender well into his thirties.

With that said, I think Crawford will be a serviceable player going forward. I think he will only be a mediocre hitter by the time his deal is up, but his defense will make him valuable. In 2011 I think he’ll be worth about 5.5 WAR with a win being worth $4.5mil. So lets make a table to see how his value will stack up down the road.

Inflation, inflation, inflation. A 3 WAR being worth $21mil in the 2016 market? We’ll see about that, but in this type of analysis you’re supposed to increase the $ per WAR by 0.5 each year.

So yeah, Carl Crawford could be worth a 6/142mil deal or 5/121mil deal. In reality I don’t think he actually get paid that much, but he will definitely receive a nine figure contract for five or six years. And yes, I do think it’s realistic he averages about 4-5 WAR from 30-35.

I think he signs in Los Angeles. The Angels REALLY want him. Although I could see him Boston. However, I think Boston would be more inclined to sign Werth than Crawford. But that’s just a hunch.

 

Valuing the 2011 free agent class: Jayson Werth

November 3, 2010

Victor Martinez

Cliff Lee

Moving the series along, today’s post will focus on Jayson Werth. Werth is coming off his best offensive season where he hit .296/.388/.532/.397/150 over 652 PA. He will no doubt sign a long term deal, but outside that there haven’t been many rumors concerning other details of a possible contract.

His agent Scott Boras likened him to Matt Holliday more than Jason Bay. Bay signed a 4/66mil deal while Holliday signed a 7/120mil deal. Holliday was younger than Werth when he signed his mega deal and had put up better seasons, according to WAR, than Werth in the years leading up to free agency. So I would put Werth somewhere between Holliday and Bay and say he will probably sign for five years wherever he lands.

While Werth had a career year at the dish last season, his defense slipped into the negatives. One year of defensive data is not a lot, but it’s been two years since he was an elite defender according to UZR, so his age might be showing up defensively and he will be an average to below average fielder going forward.

Projecting him over the next six seasons, I will start him at 4.7 WAR and move him down by 0.5 WAR each season. I will start at each WAR being worth $4.5mil and that will increase by $.5mil each season.

If you think he’ll sign a five year deal, he’ll be worth a total of $99.25mil. If you think he’ll sign a four year deal he’ll be worth about $81.7mil. Considering Bay signed for 4/66mil and Werth is better, that sounds about right.

Do the Phillies have the money to sign Werth at 5/82mil? I think they do. However, if they can’t move Ibanez it might not be the smartest move since they already have $143mil in payroll commitment for 2011.

Look for the Angels or Red Sox to sign him. San Francisco remains a long shot, but they could use a right fielder.

Real quick draft notes

June 8, 2010

– I really like the Red Sox and Cardinals drafts. No surprise with Boston as they nab a nice pick in the first and take two solid, yet risky, picks in Bryce B. and Ranaundo during the compensation round. Meanwhile, Dustin Ackley 2.0 (Zack Cox) falls to St. Louis and the Cards finish the day selecting Tyrell Jenkins, a very high upside high school pitcher.

– The Angels and Rays also had a nice day with their bevy of picks. Good job by them.

– I’m assuming NY took Culver with no intention to sign him. That way they have a pick in next year’s first round if they sign a player like Cliff Lee. I mean, that HAS to be the reason…right?