Saturday, March 29, 2014

The 144.5 Million Dollar Man

Today the Los Angeles Angels made a big time move, an even bigger one than dropping the biggest negative on the ballclub.  The Angels have signed Trout to a six year extension (that begins after his current, $1 Million dollar deal for 2014) worth $144.5 Million.  Getting the best player in baseball for $24 Million a year from 2015-2020 is an amazing bargain for the ballclub, which is a nice change of pace, considering the enormous bounties owed to Pujols, Hamilton and Wilson over those years.

Compare it to the deal Miguel Cabrera (really the only other guy who could even be considered for Trout's "Best Player in Baseball" crown), who got over  $300 Million for the next 10 years.  So not only are the Angels getting a discount of about $6 Million annually, they are getting Trout while he is in his Mid-to-Late 20's, rather than the Tigers and Cabrera, who will be 41 when the deal runs out at the end of the 2024 season.

I could post all these stats and bullcrap going over why Trout is better than Miggy, but it's pointless.  You are on one side of that argument or the other.  Either you are smart and know that what Trout does for the Angels is almost unquantifiable, or you are 100 years old and still think Batting Average and RBI's mean anything anymore.  Either we are friends or we aren't.  You aren't going to change your mind and neither am I.

Regardless of where you fall on the debate of who is the better player, everyone can agree that Mike Trout has more MVP-caliber seasons ahead of him.  So the Angels getting Trout for 80% of what the Tigers are overpaying Cabrera is clearly a fantastic bargain for the club, especially since they don't have to worry about paying him until 2015 when Vernon Wells and Joe Blanton come off the payroll.

Even if things aren't great in Anaheim for the next seven seasons, at least we have the best (and one of the most exciting) player in baseball to enjoy and give us a reason to come to the ballpark.


In other news, the Angels announced that former MVP (and another great Angels "27") Vladimir Guerrero will be throwing out the ceremonial first pitch on Opening Day on Monday.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

End of an Error - Joe Blanton's Inevitable Release

I normally don't like to use Baseball Reference too much before writing an article and I really don't like throwing stats at you like I can actually explain to you what they mean.  Don't get me wrong, I love the advanced metrics and what they can mean to people who know how to interpret them, but I'm not one of those people.  If I knew how to calculate and judge stats like PPFp and WAAadj, I'd probably have higher paying job than I do right now.  However, you don't need a masters in statistics to understand the following stats:

Career .489 Winning Percentage (don't start with me on how wins and losses don't accurately portray a pitchers value.  I understand they aren't very important, but a sub-.500 winning percentage over almost 250 career starts is still a telling number)
Career 4.51 Earned Run Average (League average is about 4.20 in the same time frame)
1719 Hits surrendered in 1567 Career Innings Pitched

This isn't a good pitcher.  This is hardly an average pitcher.  And yet, this is the same guy the Angels gave $15 Million over two years in the winter of 2012 to be an above average pitcher on a supposed championship contender.

He ended up 2-14 with a 6+ ERA and gave up a run in at least half the innings he pitched last season (96 runs in 180 innings).

People will say "oh but his xFIP and FIP are still decent, he might have something left in the tank".

That's great, but there were times last season where a five game winning streak would have been literally impossible with how poorly Blanton was pitching.  You would see Blanton on the Probable Pitchers list and just not watch the game on TV or go to the park that day, knowing you'd just end up miserable.  Yes, these stats can tell us a lot about players that the naked eye can't see, but trying to draw ANYTHING positive about Blanton's performance last year is a fools errand.

Am I sad to see him go?  Of course not, I want to see this team succeed.  Do I feel bad for the guy?  Still no.  First, he is going to make $8.5 Million this year either sitting at home or coming out of the bullpen for some other team.  Second, he had a really crappy attitude in the clubhouse last year, which probably didn't help the pitching staff as a whole.  Here's a fun quote from after one of his TWO wins last season:

After his only win, on May 23 at Kansas City, Blanton, a nine-year veteran who signed a two-year, $15-million deal in December, seemed oblivious to the possibility of being demoted to the bullpen if he didn't turn his season around. 

"I've been doing this for a long time," he said. "Why should I feel urgency now?" 

Asked later if his next start would be a crucial one, Blanton said, "I don't have anything to prove."

Yeah... see you later, buddy.  Don't let the door hit you on the way out.