In a bit of genius earlier this week, Grantland’s Ben Lindbergh went through the 40-man rosters of each MLB team and discovered the current roster spot (or spots) on each club with the longest lineage. In other words, he found which player could trace his roots back the farthest within an organization through trades and compensatory draft picks.
In addition to finding a Cy Young winner whose team ties go all the way back to the late 1970s, he found that Garrett Richards, David Freese, and Fernando Salas all share the longest tree for the Angels, as their places in the organization can all be traced back to the signing of Francisco Rodriguez way back in 1998 (!). The whole thing’s a fascinating exercise, and it made me curious about transaction trees for all the current Halos. Just how far back do the rest of the seeds go?
Note: Things get considerably less exciting the closer we get to the present, but be sure to stick around for the bonus trees.
Francisco Rodriguez -> Garrett Richards/Randal Grichuk -> David Freese/Fernando Salas
K-Rod is the gift that keeps on giving. When the Mets decided to give Frankie a three-year, $37 million contract in free agency, the Angels were rewarded with the 24th and 42nd picks in the 2009 draft. Those picks became Randal Grichuk and Garrett Richards. (Side note: Can we bring back the old Type-A/Type-B free agent thing? Because that did wonders for the Angels’ drafting.) Grichuk, other than being “the guy drafted before Mike Trout,” eventually helped the Halos net David Freese and Fernando Salas from the Cards last winter.
John Lackey -> Cam Bedrosian
Everyone from the 2002 World Series team might be gone, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re done contributing. When John Lackey left for the Red Sox in 2010, the Angels were rewarded with the 29th and 40th overall picks in the June draft. That 29th selection was Cam Bedrosian, future Bullpen Savior.
Lackey was a 2nd round pick in 1999.
Kimera Bartee -> Chone Figgins -> Taylor Lindsey -> Huston Street
Easily my favorite non-bonus transaction tree. If only every random minor league outfielder evolved into an All-Star closer 14 years later, amirite? Kimera Bartee signed with the Angels on a one-year deal in winter 2000, then was dealt to the Rockies for some slap-hitting second baseman with a similarly singular name the following summer. Chone Figgins eventually morphed into the OBP machine we all adored, earned Type-A free agent status, and got the Angels two extra first-round picks from the Mariners in 2010. Those two picks went to Kaleb Cowart and Taylor Lindsey, the latter of whom was sent to the Padres as part of this summer’s Huston Street deal.