Thursday, February 12, 2009


3K and I were talking about Bobby Abreu signing with the California Angels yesterday so I thought I would bring up the subject. As 3K aptly pointed out, this deal makes little to no sense. The Angels have a plethora of outfield talent, and it's going to be interesting to see how all of these guys are used. Now, I understand that the Angels lost a left-handed bat in Garret Anderson, and Abreu certainly fills that void (and at $5M, at a very good price). But the Angels have a lot of money tied up with their outfielders, and it seems as if Arte Moreno is hording.

It's clear that Reggie Willits is the odd-man out here. Torri Hunter has center locked up, Vlad in right, and Juan Rivera in left field, with Gary Matthews, Jr at DH (obviously Hunter and Vlad will see some at-bats in the DH spot). Now, with Abreu in the mix, it seems to me there's gonna be a roving substitute situation here (although watching a guy like Matthews, Jr. with his $9M salary sitting every 3rd day seems like a waste, doesn't it?).

Any thoughts on how the Angels handle this?


Edward said...

I imagine one of those guys will play first since Tex signed with the Yankees. Abreu is a great buy at $5M with at bat incentives pushing it to $6 to 8M. He is an upgrade over Rivera and Matthews don't you think? If you had a chance to get a guy like Abreu for one year at 50% of market wouldn't you take the chance? It is not like the Angels are a middle market team - they had a $125M payroll last year.

PG said...

I know the Yankees tried Abreu at first, and that was a complete and utter failure. I just can't see any of the other guys fitting the mold at first base.

Last time Rivera played a full season, he hit over .300 with around 25 HRS, and I believe the Angels signed him with the expectation that he was going get 500 AB's. Is he as good as Abreu, probably not...but will they put Abreu in left? Probably not. As far as Matthews, who knows. He had great numbers a few years ago, but isn't he a PED case? He may start the season on the DL, and only time will tell if his numbers were a total result of PED's.

There's also the possibility of the Angels moving Matthews before the season starts (but again, he's a HUGE question mark, especially with lackluster numbers last year).

mr3000 said...

First off, not one of these OFers have played ONE game as a firstbasemen in their careers. To think that you can just plop any person at 1B is a bit ridiculous.

I see Vlad and Abreu platooning between RF and DH. I think the Angels definitely want to keep Vlad's legs healthy by not making him play the OF everyday.

CF is T-Hunt's, he should see a steady diet in CF of 150+ games. That leaves GMJ, Rivera and Willits to split time in LF. Most likely GMJ vs. RHPs and Rivera vs. LHPs. Willits becomes the odd man out and I could see the Angels trading him for a prospect.

With the signing of Abreu at $5M and the Angels signing Rivera to a 3-yr extension in December that is close to $10M wrapped up in guys that aren't everyday starters. What the fuck? I just think it isn't a Angels off-season unless Tony Reagins is spending money on a FA OFer that they don't need.

The real question is what will they do with Brandon Wood? There is obviously not room for Chone Figgins in the OF and he has the leadoff spot wrapped up, so he'll be playing 3B. With a surplus of middle-infielders in Aybar, Kendrick and Izturis it would be hard for Wood to break in at SS probably too, and his natural position is 3B. Wood dropped 31 bombs in AAA last year (23 the year before). He's proven everything at AAA and it's his time to play.

Could the Angels possibly look to trade Aybar to open up SS for Wood? Maybe they look to send Kendrick somewhere to open up 2B for Figgins (his natural position) and let Wood play 3B. It will be interesting....

Oh yeah, and anyway you look at their roster Kendry Morales is their 1B, with no backup in sight. Hello Nick "Blockhead" Johnson. He's requesting a trade and the Angels need 1B support.

mr3000 said...

I think it's likely that you see a LF platoon of GMJ and Rivera before you see GMJ traded. There isn't a team out there that will be willing to take on GMJs contract.

PG said...

I agree, and GMJ had a bad season (a season many suspect was of the "off roids" variety). Unless someone is absolute desperate for a center fielder, he ain't going anywhere. Blockhead actually makes a lot of sense for the Angels. Left handed bat, with a high on base percentage and a decent glove.

Edward said...

If you are going to move someone to a position where you aren't absolutely killing the defense it is first. I'm sorry but you see examples of players moving to first all the time. I think the Angels will likely make a trade to open up a position but getting someone like Abreu at that price for one year is a risk you take.

You think Reinsdorg wouldn't have given the ok on that contract inspite of the lack of a clear position? I think he would.

Michael said...

I smell trade coming and Abreu in LF. (I read that today about Areu in LF)

Abreu in LF/DH, Hunter in CF, Vlad in RF, with Rivera DH/LF. Rest of guys rotate in or trade bait..

PG said...

As a former first baseman, Ed, I take offense to that comment. I also think Don Mattingly AND Mark Texeira would take exception to that comment as well.

Haven't you ever heard of right field?

Edward said...

Tex and Donny Baseball are the exception to the rule. Mo Vaughn? David Ortiz? Cecil Fielder? When those guys had to play the field where did they play? I'm not suggesting that first basemen are the worst fielders on their team or that defense should be compromised but if you can add a player that adds 20-30 runs a year and costs you less than that amount in the field then you do the deal.

mr3000 said...

Ed, you are all wrong on this issue. You name Mo Vaugh, Cecil Fielder and David Ortiz as examples of poor fielders with good bats that were placed at 1B when the truth is that all 3 of those players played one position their whole lives....1B!

Furthermore, by your definition in the sport of hockey the biggest, slowest kid should be the goalie because he doesn't have to move much. It's ignoring the obvious about both of those positions. Oh and by the way, Mo Vaughn was a pretty decent 1B.

As for OFers who grow in age, and digress in defense there really is just one spot for them to go. That is the AL and that is the DH. There is only the rare exception when highly athletic OFers will convert to 1B. Guys like Carl Yastremzski or Darin Erstad or Stan Musial.

And if you need further evidence to show the difficulty of the 1B position and the need by teams for a defensive 1B look no further then the fact that Doug Mientkiewicz who has played on 6 different clubs within the last 4 years. Why is he still sought after? Because he adds such superb defense at a critical position. He's played approx. 400 games in the last 4 years and for clubs that specifically played him for his defense. I guess by your standards those teams would of been better off just hiring some big goof who can hit 20-30 HRs to stand on the bag with both feet!!

PG said...

First baseman of the world, UNITE!!!!

I agree, first base is kind of a lost art in some circles, but that doesn't mean that it has to be.

I would argue that having a good first baseman is just as important as having a good middle infield. A good first baseman always finds crafty ways to get baserunners out.

I think the litmus test is the fact that some players (Abreu, Posada, Gary Sheffield) have all been tried at first and rejected. Why? Because they aren't skilled enough (and Sheffield was a former third baseman).