January 11, 2004

Vlad to the Angels: for a reported 5 years and $70M guaranteed . This after rejecting a 3 year $30M deal (incentives and clauses for up to 5 years / $71M) with the Mets and a longstanding 5 year $65M deal with the Orioles. Wonder why the Angels. Does this, along with Colon and Escobar, get them past the A's and Mariners? The West should be interesting this year.

posted by pivo to baseball at 05:33 AM - 25 comments

Maybe he was California dreaming. I heard he wasn't interested in playing for a big market team, and I am not sure exactly if Anaheim is considered "big market". I'm impressed with the Orioles and the Angels in the off season. Made some nice moves.

posted by jerseygirl at 08:26 AM on January 11, 2004

At least it's not the [expletive] Yankees.

posted by alex_reno at 03:49 PM on January 11, 2004

So, anti-Yankee feelings aside, how different is this? A new (Angels) owner comes in and opens his checkbook.

posted by billsaysthis at 04:16 PM on January 11, 2004

I think this makes the Angels pretty competitive, especially considering they got Colon and Guillen. As for an owner opening the checkbook, well, you'll have that. The BoSox claim to want an organization modeled after Oakland, but last I saw, their payroll was pretty high. I think it's popular to rip the Yankees while ignoring all the other teams that try to compete by spending.

posted by rocketman at 05:02 PM on January 11, 2004

I think the reason the Yankees get ripped for this sort of thing is: 1) They've done it more often than anyone else. 2) They've been successful at it for past 8 years (except for the last 3).

posted by grum@work at 05:33 PM on January 11, 2004

After all our discussions on baseball, I was hoping we could get past the anti-yankee discussion pollution. But go ahead if that floats the boat.

posted by billsaysthis at 06:43 PM on January 11, 2004

What's the possibility of the Angels moving Vlad somewhere else, like across town to the Dodgers?

posted by jasonspaceman at 07:06 PM on January 11, 2004

After all our discussions on baseball, I was hoping we could get past the anti-yankee discussion pollution. As much as I dislike the Yankees, I agree, it is getting very old.

posted by jasonspaceman at 07:07 PM on January 11, 2004

What's the possibility of the Angels moving Vlad somewhere else, like across town to the Dodgers? As a Dodger fan, I would say none. This makes it official. The Dodgers must fire Dan Evans. Period. Congratulations to the Angels. Hopefully this will improve their standing in California sports. They've always played second fiddle to the Dodgers. I'll certainly be watching more halo games this year.

posted by lilnemo at 07:19 PM on January 11, 2004

lilnemo, Evans May Be Caught in Dodger Squeeze Play ... so it might not be entirely his fault, although I am not too fond of him.

posted by jasonspaceman at 07:27 PM on January 11, 2004

This definitely gets them past the Mariners, who have had a miserable, disastrous offseason. I'm not sure about the A's -- they may struggle scoring runs without Tejada, but their starters still look mighty impressive. I think the A's will win the division if things stay as they stand now.

posted by jeffmshaw at 09:40 PM on January 11, 2004

I think Zito might not be all he's supposed to be next year. Call it a hunch but he was not good at all for a good bit of the end of last year. The A's will be the A's but it's nothing a good year by the Angels can't outdo. That said, I don't trust Colon or Guillen or the rest of the Angels either. It could just be a three horse race. (meanwhile, the Rangers have done... um, nothing? Lost Palmeiro. That's all I can think of. Unless they can resurrect the A-Rod deal, which I would oppose. They deserve each other.) The Angels are starting to look really smart though, that's a hell of a presence to sell to cable networks and such, they are in LA, afterall, and with the way the Dodgers are going, the Angels could make a lot of cash by keeping things up. All these new guys gives them clout with Mexican/latin cable contracts, etc, as Peter Gammons pointed out in his otherwise completely incoherent article. (must be his editor had the weekend off) This sucks for the Orioles but that wouldn't have worked out if he didn't want it. They need to focus on pitching anyway, their offense is looking better and better. I saw on a bar-muted TV the other night that they're looking at also getting Pudge? What the heck would be the point of signing 2 catchers? It'd be an interesting offense, assuming Lopez can duplicate his ridiculous season, and having a catcher/DH/1B platoon with Raffy could work to their benefit, but it wouldn't really be worth the cash. It'd be interesting to see them pick up some pitching and make it 4 very good teams in the east. With the way things went for Seattle it looks like the east is the top division now...

posted by Bernreuther at 10:43 PM on January 11, 2004

comedy: Tim Kurkjian just said that the Mariners are improved over last year. Ha!

posted by Bernreuther at 12:11 AM on January 12, 2004

I think the O's have improved enough so that they aren't a pushover team in the AL East anymore. Considering the two coasts only, Anaheim, Oakland, Seattle, NY, Toronto, Boston and Baltimore, the AL wildcard should be interesting this year. Didn't Seattle get Spiezio? I don't know if he's a huge difference though. They also re-signed Ichiro. Otherwise, I can't think of any other moves Seattle made. I saw Spiezio at an event last night and he went on and on about how he loves Boston, loves coming here, loves playing here and then he turned to Theo Epstein's general direction and said something to the effect of, "Maybe Theo will invite me here sometime".

posted by jerseygirl at 06:36 AM on January 12, 2004

Did Toronto move east or west, JG?

posted by billsaysthis at 01:12 PM on January 12, 2004


posted by jerseygirl at 01:39 PM on January 12, 2004

JG said: the two coasts only, Anaheim, Oakland, Seattle, NY, Toronto, Boston and Baltimore.

posted by billsaysthis at 03:36 PM on January 12, 2004

The Mariners also got Raul Ibanez and Rich Aurillia, and got rid of Jeff Cirillo. The fact of the matter is, on paper, they are improved from last season. But probably not enough. The Angels look like the team to beat, then between the A's and Mariners, whichever team gives their starting pitchers more run support should come in second.

posted by vito90 at 04:26 PM on January 12, 2004

The Mariners are not improved on paper from last season. Ibanez is worse than Cameron, and Aurilia is probably about equal to Guillen. Plus, Bavasi gutted an already bad bench and made it terminally putrid.

posted by jeffmshaw at 07:33 PM on January 12, 2004

coasts - east and west. al east and al west.

posted by jerseygirl at 10:03 PM on January 12, 2004

I prefer to think that Toronto up and moved to be closer to the water.

posted by billsaysthis at 11:00 PM on January 12, 2004

ok, good for you then.

posted by jerseygirl at 11:58 PM on January 12, 2004

Ibanez is worse than Cameron By what metric is this statement true?

posted by vito90 at 10:45 AM on January 14, 2004

By every meaningful metric, offensive and defensive, period.
I assume that Cameron being superior defensively is taken as a given: he's an elite center fielder, one of the two or three best in the game. Ibanez is, to be charitable, an average left fielder. Thus, Cameron is a much better player at a more crucial position. You'd agree with this, yes?
Now, let's talk about offense. I'll break it down with numbers in a minute, but here's a quick summary: despite playing in a much more difficult ballpark to hit in, Cameron's offensive numbers are as good as Ibanez'; he also has a broader skillset, since he can steal bases, too. Plus, Cameron's even a year younger, making him an all-around better player.
When you compare their career numbers (Ibanez .278 BA, .334 OBP, .464 SLG, .798 OPS; Cameron .250 BA, .343 OBP, .434 SLG, .777 OPS) and their 2003 numbers (Ibanez .294 BA, .345 OBP, .454 SLG, .799 OPS; Cameron .253 BA .344 OBP, .431 SLG, .774 OPS) you get a pretty clear picture: these players get on base at almost exactly the same rate, and Ibanez gets a slight edge in slugging percentage. Now, when you consider that Cameron has 194 career steals to Ibanez' 20, you've gotta figure a little of that "Raul hits more doubles" advantage has to evaporate. When you factor in that Kansas City's home park is one of the best hitting environments in baseball, and Safeco is one of the worst, that "edge" seems to me to disappear entirely.
But it's not just me! The good folks at Baseball Prospectus have a series of stats designed to account for this. Just check out their Equivalent Average ratings, where .260 is a league average player. Ibanez comes in at .268; Cameron at .278. The definition of EQA factors in park effects -- and doesn't consider defense, meaning Cameron's a flat-out better player offensively according to this metric.
Now, some folks don't buy into EQA or park effects. Despite the evidence, they choose to believe that Ibanez will be an offensive upgrade. That's cool. But here's the thing:
Even if you want to believe that Ibby's a better bat than Mike -- and I sure don't think it's true -- it's pretty silly to say that the upgrade would be anything more than a very slight one. And there's no way Cameron's huge gap in the defense department doesn't outweigh that slim, slim margin.

posted by jeffmshaw at 08:54 PM on January 14, 2004

OK jeff, good argument. I've never heard of EQA and I'm skeptical. We'll revisit this at the end of the year and compare actual stats. That's what makes baseball great!

posted by vito90 at 07:47 AM on January 15, 2004

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