November 8th, 2014
The likelihood of Howie Kendrick and David Freese being dealt this winter took a nosedive Wednesday when the Angels acquired the cost-controlled rotation arm and lefty reliever they needed without dealing either infielder. Only Hank Conger and Mark Sappington were needed as sacrifices for the good of the 2015 season, leaving 2014′s starting nine completely intact. A touch of genius by Jerry Dipoto and crew, if you ask me.
All that’s left for the Halos to do over the next four months is add a cheap DH option and maybe a utility guy, and I highly doubt that Kendrick or Freese will be traded to fill those minor roster gaps. However, in an effort to cover all our bases—and to not let 1,000 words of pre-Wednesday writing go to waste—I thought I’d finish what I started on Monday and go through a few hypothetical trade scenarios for the Angels’ third baseman.
Let’s get straight to the point. Freese is highly unlikely to command anywhere near the same attention on the trading block as Hank Conger, let alone Kendrick. He may have netted two promising, cost-controlled players on his way into Anaheim last December, but there’s no chance he’ll do so on the way out. The sheen of his 2011 World Series MVP has had another year to dull, and the down 2013 numbers passed off as an injury-related aberration have quickly become the new norm.
Both Freese and Kendrick are in their early 30s and entering their final season of team control, but Freese is closer to a bottom-five player at his position than top-five, and the market for third basemen this offseason projects to be rather muted. Pablo Sandoval and Chase Headley will no doubt be paid handsomely for their services, but beyond that there probably won’t be much noise made at the hot corner this winter. Only the Astros, Phillies, and Tigers got replacement-level or worse production out of their third basemen in 2014—compared to seven such teams at the keystone—and the only team to lose a non-stopgap third baseman to free agency was the Giants.
November 3rd, 2014
It’s no secret that, like last winter, the Angels have little financial wiggle room to sign free agents this offseason. And with a need to bolster the rotation yet again, the prevailing question is not whether someone might get traded, but who those someones will be. Well, we may have an answer. According to Ken Rosenthal, the Halos are looking to trade either Howie Kendrick or David Freese to fill their rotation and lefty-specialist needs this winter.
For today let’s focus on HK, who’s a trade-rumor veteran at this point.
Kendrick been said to be on the block three different times now in the past two years, each time in the service of his club’s need for starting pitching. The fifth- or sixth-most valuable second baseman in baseball over the past five years, depending on your WAR metric of choice, Kendrick should be a hot commodity this winter even with just one year of team control remaining. So let’s speculate.
Determining fair compensation in the world of hypothetical trades is a tricky business. The biggest obstacle, obviously, is that no one knows how front offices really value certain players. We’re all throwing darts at a wall, and we know it. That doesn’t stop us from guessing, of course. Permanent outsider status aside, the most common pitfall in the unruly world of Internet baseball trades is overestimating the value of one team’s player(s) while dramatically underestimating the worth of the other’s. I like to think that most of these skewed propositions are simply the result of an altruistic overeagerness about a favorite team, but there are also those that make you wonder if people just really don’t understand how baseball works at all. In an attempt to avoid this sort of transgression, I’m going to try basing our speculative swap on actual recent trades of a similar ilk.
January 30th, 2014
Pictured: A Different Bronson
Since very early in this interminable offseason, free agent right-hander Bronson Arroyo and the Angels have more or less been attached at the hip. Early on, reports surfaced that the Angels had at least a passing interest in 36-year-old veteran. Chatter really never progressed past that phase, and now Mike DiGiovanna is suggesting the Angels might not even be that interested in Arroyo, fearing he is too expensive. If the Angels pass on Arroyo, per DiGiovanna, they may target a lesser free agent — like Jason Hammel or Chris Capuano — or just roll into the season with their current fleet of starting pitchers. Whether that is just typical Jerry Dipoto posturing remains to be seen, but if there is anything to be gleaned from the Angels’ maneuvers this offseason, they are intent to not overpay for iffy pitching.
If you believe Twitter ponderings, Arroyo is searching for a three-year deal, hoping for at least one more big pay day before he likely calls it a career. There is value to Arroyo, and he certainly would fill a glaring need for the Angels. Save one season of 199 innings, Arroyo has pitched at least 200 innings in every season since 2005. C.J. Wilson was the only member of the 2013 staff to throw at least 200 innings, and nobody else came close — Jerome Williams was second on the team in innings, and he threw only 169.1 innings of uninspired ball.
December 28th, 2013
Sadly, no shots of Mulder alongside (Vin) Scully seem to exist.
“The Angels are emerging as a frontrunner for Mark Mulder” would have been a thrilling thing for fans to hear at any point from 2000-2005. It would’ve been strange, given that he was still under contract during those years, but still thrilling. It’s decidedly less exciting news now, but until time travel becomes more manageable, now is what we’re stuck with, per Nick Cafardo.
Mulder, now 36, hasn’t thrown a pitch in the big leagues since July 9, 2008, when soon-to-be Hall of Famer Greg Maddux was still active, Jay Bruce was the top prospect in the land, and cinematic masterpiece Hancock was the No. 1 movie in America. In other words, he’s been away from baseball for a very long time.
The third of the A’s “Big Three” was forced to step away from baseball after two rotator cuff surgeries left his arm in shambles. From the time he first landed on the DL with shoulder pain in June 2006 to his final start two years later, Mulder made just eight big-league appearances for the Cardinals, throwing all of 17⅓ innings. The Illinois native didn’t officially admit he was done with baseball until September 2010, but for all intents and purposes he’s been out of the game for half a decade.
July 29th, 2013
Say goodbye to your favorite Angels. By Wednesday, there’s a chance they could be gone, off to greener pastures of playoff contention. After another lousy week, the Angels are finally admitting to themselves what many of us have known for a while: 2013 is a lost cause.
Albert Pujols was finally placed on the DL after gamely dealing with various leg injuries the entire season; Mike Scioscia has said Pujols could miss the rest of the season. I wonder if the pain really became so unbearable for Pujols that he could no longer play, or if Arte Moreno mandated Pujols sit with the Angels now just playing for draft position. And really, other than gunning for his 500th career home run, there’s no point in Pujols playing hurt in a lost season, especially when doing such could diminish returns on the remaining eight (sigh) years of his contract.
And now the Angels are officially sellers, with reports surfacing today the Halos have traded Scott Downs, their best relief pitcher, to the Braves for right-handed pitcher Cory Rasmus.