21 December 2010

a small victory

No, the Halos' offseason has not been salvaged. But I'm encouraged that the Angels FO and PR staff have broken the string of stumbles.

News was broken that the Angels have walked away from the Beltre negotiations. You can see that the halosphere reaction was quite indignant and angry. But I certainly applaud the Angels' reaction - Victor Rojas tweeted that the stumbling block is a 6th year. I guess it's presumptuous to assume that Rojas is releasing that information at the request of the FO, but if so, it's a great move. First of all, Rojas is pretty well respected among baseball media and among Halo fans. He also maintains great fan interactions through twitter and fbook. Secondly, it's generally thought among Halo fans that 6 years is too much and that Beltre won't be getting a sixth year from another team. This gives some leeway if the FO fails to sign him. I certainly don't fault the FO from stepping away and challenging Boras to find a better offer.

After twice failing to spin (or even cut their losses on) the CC debacle, this gets an approving nod from this Halo fan.

20 December 2010


Yum, waffles.

Anyways, Arte did some waffling last Friday. After starting off the offseason with some feisty-ness, losing out on CC has gotten the FO backpeddling.

I love that Arte is the Angels' owner. I've always thought of him as a top-5 owner in baseball. I love that he's an everyday, approachable guy. I love that he cares about the common fan, building the fanbase, and creating a fan-friendly atmosphere at the ballpark. I love that he's a genuine baseball fan and doesn't use the Angels as a cash cow, a side project, or a status symbol. And I love that he cares about the long-term health and stability of the franchise.

But even I had to shake my head when I read his comments in the LATimes on Saturday morning. It's not that I necessarily disagree with him that outrageous contracts in baseball can hurt the long-term interests of a club. But there are several things I take issue with.

First, the overall assertion that there is a limit on the amount of money that he will spend and a limit on the payroll. I understand that the Angels do not have endless revenue streams. But I wonder how this will change perceptions in the baseball world. There have been reports that CC chose Boston partially because they have a fearsome lineup. It's understandable that players want to go to a team that can win or a franchise that is motivated to win. The Angels are in that category, but what happens when there are doubts on whether the owner will spend? It's not only FA that may think twice about the Halos. Would Weave or Kendry question staying if it's clear that the FO can't improve the club because of a restricted budget? It's all about perception. It's possible that this is simply strategy in the Beltre negotiations. I certainly hope so because voicing the deficiencies of the club may have opened a can of PR worms.

14 December 2010

musings on the FO and FAs


This has been an offseason of surprises and jaw-dropping splashes. And I'm not talking about Hisanori Takahashi.

Jayson Werth for $126M/7Yrs to the Washington Nationals. Carl Crawford to the BoSux at the last minute for $142M/7Yrs. Now Cliff Lee to the Phillies for $120M/5Yrs.

Who would've predicted that Cliff Lee would get less than Werth and Crawford? Who would've predicted that he wouldn't go to the Yankees but back to the Phillies?

It's been mind boggling.


It's been a busy week finishing finals and settling at home for winter break. But I've come to terms that CC is a RedSox.

There is no question that I am disappointed that the FO wasn't able to bring him into the Angels fold. In the immediate aftermath of the news breaking, there was considerable fury and debate in the halosphere over why the FO didn't put up the money to sign him and if it would've been a good idea to even offer more money. Personally, I thought that paying CC the tenth largest contract in baseball history would be a significant risk. I think the Angels FO and a lot of Halo fans are aware of the financial limitations of the club and generally follow a cautious approach in making FA decisions. This is especially evident in big-ticket signings. The FO has generally been good in signing mid-level FA (think Pineiro and the first Abreu contract) and semi-stars (think Torii). The FO in the past have also signed some stars (Vlad, Guillen, Colon), but that was before the high-stakes of $100+M men. If the Halos are going to play in this new FA market, is this cautious approach effective? So far, it has not been. I'm not advocating a wild, irresponsible spending spree, but that the Angels may need to re-evaluate their risk-adverse caution. Sometimes I get the sense that the Halos FO is half-in-half-out, closing their eyes and holding their breath because they can't fully commit on a high-risk-high-reward FA. (Which is somewhat ironic since that has been their drafting strategy for quite some time now, as was pointed out at Halosheaven.) Assessing risk is a tricky business, but I agree with some in the halosphere - the FO needs to learn to take a leap of faith once in a while.

08 December 2010

CC is a boSox

Wow. Just Wow.

I had HardballTalk open on my laptop for most of the afternoon/night waiting for news that the Halos had signed Beltre. Since you know, they were closing in on him.

Geez, I should know better than to trust the wild rumors of the offseason.

But back to CC. I'm still struggling to absorb the news that the BoSux swooped in, when it seemed so certain (to everyone!) that the Halos were going to get him. Also that the BoSux were willing and able to spend that kind of money. It seemed like they were concerned about passing the luxury tax (last year, with Beckett's extension, and this year with AGon's extension). Well so much for that. This is a monster contract, to go along with some of their other monster contracts (Beckett, Dice-K, Lackey). If I was a BoSux fan, I think I'd be even more conflicted about this contract than I am as a Halo fan. Boston, if they do indeed extend AGon, have some long, hefty contracts for aging stars.

As a Halo fan, its a missed opportunity. The Halos may not have a lot of financial flexibility this season, but there are very few long term contracts and very few contracts past 2012. The Angels can afford to put a long term contract on their books. I'm not so sure that giving a >$20M per year is smart spending per se, but it's pretty mind-boggling that a team in the Red Sox's position can and does so.

I'm just perplexed.

07 December 2010

thoughts: winter meetings & the angels offseason

The offseason is in full swing with several high-profile players already signed - much to my surprise. So much for collusion.

The Angels so far have made only one signing and appear to be (at this time) mostly an observer. Which has gotten some fans to be impatient, and maybe a bit desperate. Though I'm not thrilled that Tony took a day off from the Winter Meetings, I don't think it signifies anything drastic in the Angels' game plan for this offseason.

I trust that the FO knows what it's doing. And I'm sure they (+Arte and Sosh) know that the team cannot go into Spring Training as is. Last offseason I advocated for the Halos to fill small holes rather than go for the big fish. It's quite clear that that plan does not apply this offseason. The big debate in the halosphere has been how and who should be targeted by the FO. The Halos have been linked (by the media) with Crawford, Soriano, and Beltre, who all fill needs.

I'm undecided on who I think would best fit.

Before the season ended, I hoped that CC would be joining the Angels. He's young, dynamic (on both sides of the ball), could vastly improve the outfield defense, and has numerously been described as perfect for Sosh's style. However, with the rise of Mike Trout, would a long term deal for an outfielder be the most efficient use of Arte-anger spending? Maybe you could wait until Torii's contract runs out after 2012. And you never know if Bourjos will actually hit enough. I guess you can always make room for a prospect that is deserving, but I've come to doubt if CC is really the big prize this winter. And of course you have all the uncertainties and risks of bringing in a speed-reliant guy on a 6 or 7 year deal.

No, presently I'm leaning more towards wanting Beltre. With the struggles of BWood, third base this offseason is a huge question mark. Personally, I don't think that BWood should be handed another chance at the full-time gig. Heck, I'm wary of a BWood/Callaspo split. Or even a BWood/Callaspo/Izturis third base. I didn't like the Callaspo trade last summer, but even I grudgingly admit that some stability at third was needed. I don't think that Izzy can provide that due to his injuries, I don't think BWood can provide that due to his performance, and though I think Callaspo gives a pretty steady performance, it's a mediocre one. With offense being one of the major deficiencies last season, third base is an opportunity to upgrade. So why not upgrade as best as the Angels can? The Halos are thin on even-a-little-bit-close-to-MLB-ready 3Bmen. Having a multi-year contract, say 4-5 years won't lead to complications, except for the usual questions of age and worth. The good thing is that Beltre's market is narrowing. I think one of the common thoughts against Beltre in the beginning of the offseason was that Boras was going to make his price out of the Angels' comfort area. But that concern looks like it won't be a concern.

So is Beltre really worth giving a long-term, big splash, contract? I'm not convinced either way. Some in the halosphere accuse him of only performing when he's in a contract year. And others have tried to debunk that notion. Beltre is certainly an above-average 3Bman and is a superb defender. Like CC, he's a dynamic player on both sides of the ball. He's older than CC, but is generally thought to command less years.

With a lot of things being equal, I'd prefer Beltre. But I would also be very happy with CC. Between those two, I don't think that the Angels could really lose, unless they give a Werth-like ridiculous contract.

No, I chiefly have two concerns: that the FO will spend unwisely and that the FO will do too little.