Showing posts with label Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Show all posts

Friday, March 28, 2014

The Tigers are crazy for giving Miguel Cabrera $292 million

The Detroit Tigers on Thursday gave first baseman Miguel Cabrera a 10-year, $292 million contract. I'll be honest: The length of this deal and the amount of dollars included shocks me. I'm floored.

Don't get me wrong, Cabrera is a great hitter. He won the American League Triple Crown in 2012 and has earned league MVP honors in each of the past two seasons. No one would be surprised if he won the MVP again in 2014.

But why did the Tigers need to do this deal now? They had Cabrera locked up through the end of the 2015 season. Cabrera was set to make $44 million over these next two years. That's a lot, sure, but in the current marketplace that's not an unreasonable price to pay for the guy who is right now the best hitter in baseball. It might even be considered a bargain.

However, Cabrera is just three weeks shy of his 31st birthday. His body started to show signs of breaking down last season. In fact, the Tigers traded Prince Fielder and moved Cabrera from third base to first base, in part, to lessen the wear and tear on his body. Like everyone else, Cabrera has a shelf life, and I question whether he will still be considered the best hitter in baseball three or four years down the road.

So why did the Tigers add eight years and $248 million to the contract of a player on the wrong side of 30? You got me. You can't even justify it on the grounds that the Tigers are in win-now mode and needed to lock up Cabrera, because they already had him signed for this year and next.

You would think the absurd contract given to Albert Pujols prior to the start of the 2012 season would be a cautionary tale for clubs. At the time he signed, Pujols was 32 years old. He had just led the St. Louis Cardinals to the 2011 World Series championship. He was considered by many to be the best hitter in baseball, and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim awarded him with a 10-year, $240 million deal.

Unfortunately for the Angels, that move has not worked out thus far. They have not made the playoffs in the first two years of Pujols' deal. The 34-year-old played just 99 games in 2013 and slumped to a career-low 17 home runs and 64 RBIs. He was even being booed by some of the hometown fans in Anaheim.

And there are *only* eight years and $212 million left on that contract. Good luck with that, Angels.

It's not too hard to envision a similar scenario unfolding with this Cabrera contract. There are decades worth of evidence that suggest sluggers decline in their mid-30s, and the Tigers will be paying absurd dollar figures for a fading superstar.

At least with Pujols, he was a free agent, and you can make the case the Angels had to go big to get the player to sign. The Tigers, in contrast, already had the player under control and were bidding against themselves. That makes it all the more crazy.

This if further evidence that oftentimes baseball players get paid based upon what they have done in the past, not on what they will do in the future. 

Thursday, March 20, 2014

So far, so good for White Sox rookie Jose Abreu

It's been a good spring for Cuban import Jose Abreu.

The White Sox rookie first baseman is hitting .308 with two home runs, 9 RBIs and an .838 OPS so far in Cactus League play. Maybe those numbers aren't eye-popping, but they are solid -- better than those put up by some of Abreu's more established teammates.

Abreu's contact rate has been respectable. He's struck out just six times in 40 plate appearances, or once every 6.7 at-bats. If that translates into the regular season, we can certainly live with that in the middle of the order -- especially if it's coupled with solid run production. I've watched a few at-bats on television, and Abreu's swing and approach look good to me.

In Abreu's first at-bat on Wednesday, he struck out on a check swing against Angels' left-hander Tyler Skaggs. In his second at-bat, Abreu took Skaggs deep on the first pitch he saw. That makes me hopeful he can make adjustments quickly.

In this 2014 season, Abreu is the great unknown for the Sox. The United States is new to him, and he is new to us. He's yet to play a regular-season game on American soil, and we have no idea how good he will be. If you asked me to predict what his season totals will be, I would struggle to even hazard a guess.

But I will say that Abreu seems to have the mental approach and work ethic to succeed. In fact, Sox brass had to tell him to back off his workout plan because he was working too hard. I'm anxious to see how Abreu will fare once the games begin for real in less than two weeks.

Here's a good article from that discusses Abreu's transition to the United States and to Major League Baseball. In particular, I like this quote:

"The pitchers have more velocity and more control, but you adjust to them," Abreu said. "This is a game of adjustments and that might be the hardest part. That's why it's important you have a clear head and understand what you are doing at the plate and what they are trying to do to you."

Indeed, it is a game of constant adjustments. I think this guy gets it. I'm cautiously optimistic. 

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Does anyone want these five MLB free agents?

Ubaldo Jimenez
Does your favorite team still need a starting pitcher? Well, there are two free agents out there who might interest you. Both of them had ERAs of 3.30 or better last season -- in the American League, no less.

How about a middle-of-the-order hitter? There are two free agents available who can almost certainly give your team 20 home runs and about 75 or 80 RBIs.

Need defense? The starting shortstop from last year's World Series championship team is available, too.

The Super Bowl is over, and it's almost time for spring training to begin. However, pitchers Ubaldo Jimenez and Ervin Santana are without contracts. Also without a job are first baseman Kendrys Morales, outfielder Nelson Cruz and shortstop Stephen Drew.

All five players were given qualifying offers to return to their 2013 teams on a one-year, $14.1 million deal. All five declined and elected free agency. Here on Feb. 4, the waiting game continues for each player.

Why? Phil Rogers explained it in a recent column on Any team that signs one of these five guys would have to give up a first-round draft pick to that player's former team.

These days, teams are a little slower to part with those draft picks. Remember when the St. Louis Cardinals lost Albert Pujols in free agency? Don't cry for the Cardinals because they used the compensatory draft pick they received from the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim to select pitcher Michael Wacha, who was last seen helping the Cardinals to the 2013 NL pennant.

And don't cry for the Angels either. When they lost Mark Teixeira in free agency after the 2008 season, they received a compensatory draft pick from the New York Yankees and used it to select outfielder Mike Trout, who is probably the best young position player in the sport today.

So, if you're wondering why decent major league players like the five listed above are still looking for work, look no further than the rules about compensatory draft picks. GMs are now figuring the loss of a valuable draft pick into the "cost" of signing these free agents, and accordingly, they aren't willing to give as much money to guys like Ervin Santana. Clubs are going to wait until the last minute to sign these players, once the price comes down to bargain levels.

Eventually, these five players are going to get a contract with somebody. You won't need to cry for them either, because they won't go hungry. But they probably aren't going to get the money they believe they're worth, and they may not even get the $14.1 million they could have had by staying with their 2013 teams.

Most -- if not all -- of these players would already be signed if they weren't tied to draft pick compensation. But this is the gamble they took when they refused those qualifying offers, and here they sit on Feb. 4.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Anonymous Diamondbacks player calls White Sox outfielder Adam Eaton 'selfish'

An anonymous Arizona Diamondbacks player recently called newly acquired White Sox outfielder Adam Eaton "selfish," according to an article that appeared on

Eaton came to the White Sox from Arizona as part of a three-team trade on Dec. 10 that sent pitcher Hector Santiago to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and slugger Mark Trumbo to the Diamondbacks.

According to the report, the Arizona player said the decision to deal Eaton was "addition by subtraction." He went on to describe Eaton as a "selfish me-me type player." In addition, Eaton allegedly "irked people in the clubhouse" and his "attitude has a tendency to wear on people."

You know what irks me? Players taking anonymous potshots at former teammates.

If you're gonna say something like that about somebody, man up and sign your name to it. My name is on everything I've written in my journalistic career. If I criticize somebody in print (or on the web as the case may be), my name is right there on it. That's the way it should be. If you don't want to own your comments, then don't make them.

I tend to dismiss these sorts of statements outright because, hey, I don't know the source. How can I weigh the credibility of such comments if I don't know who it's coming from? Right now, I have no choice but to assume the person who criticized Eaton is a complete wuss, too cowardly to back up his thoughts with his name.

I did like the way the 5-foot-8, 185-pound Eaton responded to these remarks in the article:

"The way I do hold myself, I need to be a little bit cockier," he said. "I need to have that presence because everybody tells me something I can't do. So I kind of have to have that presence about you, I feel. I think that's what makes me have a little bit of an edge because I am a little bit like that."

Good. To quote Lou Brown, I like that kind of spirit in a player. Coming off a 63-99 campaign, I think the White Sox could use a few more guys who play with a little bit of an edge.

If Eaton is able to produce the way I think he can, I wouldn't be surprised if he becomes a beloved player on the South Side.