The Halo is Burnt Out For the Rest of This Season

18.5 games back in the division and 16 games back out of the wild-card race. Barring some sort of miracle it safe to say that the Angels season is over. Yes they may be still mathematically able to make the playoffs, but to expect three teams to falter in the division and a plethora of teams to falter in the wild-card race is unrealistic. It is improbable, but not impossible.

I could feasibly sit here and write a novel sized entry describing in detail what went wrong this year, but I don’t think my readers would have time for that, nor do I have the energy to speak into the microphone for that long. I took some time to concisely think about the factors that led up to such a disastrous season and it came down to two things, bad personnel decisions and bad contracts. My loyal readers already know that given the choice, I much rather see the Angels be eliminated from contention in early September rather than mid to late July. That is unfortunately what happened this year.

Bad Personnel Decisions

The Angels’ General Manager did a horrendous job in putting this team together this year. Our pitching staff as a whole is in shambles; with the exception of Weaver, Wilson, and Vargas no one else on the pitching staff has preformed consistently. Signing Joe Blanton to a contract magnified the Angels’ General Manager’s poor decision-making. In my opinion, Joe Blanton didn’t add much intimidation factor to this pitching staff. That was my feeling when the Angels gave Blanton a contract, and his performance this season simply proved my point.

The Albert Pujols injury situation was handled very poorly by the Angels organization. I realize that Albert is a competitor; however it’s the Angels’ responsibility to step in and do what was in the best interest of the organization if they had put Albert Pujols on the Disabled List in the beginning of the season. Perhaps we would now have him available for a late postseason run, but as the old saying goes, hindsight is 20/20; however it would be impossible to argue that the Angels could not foresee the situation as a possible scenario. They should have done what they could to avoid this scenario from developing.

Bad Contracts

Ryan Madson, the Angels gave him $3 million for him to sit and do nothing. I questioned his contract from the very beginning. I personally would be very hesitant to sign a player coming off Tommy John surgery. He ended up not playing one inning for the Angels this season which ultimately led to his unconditional release. In other words, the organization paid a player $3 million to be a spectator. I wonder if the Angels’ organization would be willing to give me a 3 million dollar contract for just one season, I wouldn’t be able to play a single inning either, but at least the team can rest assured that my love for them is unconditional.

Josh Hamilton, for those of you that read my earlier entries, you know that I’m not a big fan of the Hamilton contract, $120 million over five years is a lot of money I had several concerns, my chief concern was his inability to handle a big market pressure situation, he is nowhere near the player the Angels expected to get, but the organization cannot say that they didn’t see this possibility developing. I publicly stated that this exact situation was a possibility, and I’m not a General Manager or a professional baseball scout.

A better business decision in both cases would have been to offer an incentive based contract given each player’s respective history. This type of contract would have protected the Angels’ long-term interest; unfortunately this wasn’t done in either case.

To exacerbate this matter even further, it has yet to be seen how these bad contract decisions affect the Angels ability to re-sign Mike Trout and lock him up to a long-term contract. If anybody deserves this type of money it is Trout, who in my humble opinion is the current and future face of the franchise much like Tim Salmon was in the 1990s and the early 2000s.

What is Mr. Moreno going to do? Obviously things cannot remain status quo; he has invested a lot of money in the long-term success of this team. I am sure he is very frustrated, I’m sure he knows that the Angels’ fan base is also very frustrated.

-ICE

Related Articles: http://angels.mlblogs.com/2012/12/13/josh-hamilton-trades-in-his-cowboy-hat-for-a-halo

http://angels.mlblogs.com/2013/05/09/keep-the-trum-bombs-coming

http://angels.mlblogs.com/2013/07/31/trying-to-fix-a-dim-halo

http://angels.mlblogs.com/2013/05/05/the-angels-use-the-home-run-boom-to-dodge-the-broom

http://angels.mlblogs.com/2012/12/12/zack-greinke-has-gone-from-being-anakin-skywalker-to-darth-vader

http://angels.mlblogs.com/2013/02/13/i-dont-want-peanuts-or-crackerjacks-give-me-the-baseball-glove-and-the-baseball-bat

http://angels.mlblogs.com/2012/12/07/youre-a-mean-one-mr-grinch

5 Comments

Ice, you da man

To:ARCANGEL_ICE

Aug-22

130536.5
Reply to 130536.1

justanotherhalo

justanotherhalo
Posts:2980

I enjoyed reading your post but have a quibble: Weaver and Wilson have performed consistently in the games they’ve pitched, but not Vargas. He had a tremendous May that wasn’t remotely comparable to his weak performance before and since. In my dictionary, that’s the definition of inconsistency. Of course, in a sense Blanton has performed consistently as well, but we won’t go into that. ;)

I’m willing to cut a GM slack for having some contracts not pan out, especially when they involve the most variable position of all: pitching. A $3 million bet on Madsen doesn’t strike me as a bad speculation, even though it didn’t work out. I also thought that Blanton’s solid K/W ratio made him a good back of the rotation pickup. Oops. But even there, in the context of MLB salaries, Arte didn’t overcommit.

The bigger problem is the belief that great teams are built on stars who need magnificent, long contracts. If Arte were to spend the same amount of money, but spread it more evenly to build a team of B+ players, he’d have a team far more resilient to injuries and inexplicable collapses by individual performers. With $50 per year committed to 2 people, you need to have a payroll at the level of the Yankees (or, this year for the first time, the Dodgers) to be able to fill the rest of the team with quality.

Incentive-based contracts sound good when a player doesn’t work out, but they don’t really make sense in the long run. To a player, his contract is his entire financial life. To an owner, it is one player on a team. As a result, the team is better able to take the risk and the player can be signed for less money in exchange for the guarantee. In the long run, Arte is better off signing players to clean deals without a bunch of incentives and self-insuring against mistakes. Moreover, good players don’t have to take incentive-laden contracts, since there will always be owners willing to take the risk of a guaranteed deal for the lower price.

The problem isn’t the guaranteed deal. The problem is the “key-player” mentality. We have arguably the best player in baseball on our team right now: Mike Trout. Look how many games we’ve won. For that matter, A-Rod performed at an extremely high level for the Rangers after he was signed to the first quarter-billion contract (steroids helping, of course). But the Rangers couldn’t afford to pay for a good rest-of-the-team.

In the last quarter century, only ONE World Series champion has had the highest player in baseball on their team (Yankees in 2009). One.

We have to stop looking for the big move and not worry about what “star” is available in the off-season. We should shop in the good-not-great section of the MLB marketplace for a while.

To:ARCANGEL_ICE

12:12 AM

130536.6
Reply to 130536.1

halodice2

halodice2
Posts:85

I disagree with your statement about Pujous. Putting him on the DL at the beginning of the season wouldn’t have done anything. Albert playing with the injury finally caused the tear to happen thus causing the healing process to happen much sooner than off season surgery or a trip to the DL in April.

I don’t think for a second that Albert or Hamilton would have accepted a incentive laced contract. That’s for players having something to prove.

Hamilton’s problem is probably him getting used to a new team, surroundings and trying to live up to the contract.

To:ARCANGEL_ICE

11:47 AM

130536.14
Reply to 130536.1

SantaAna

SantaAna
Posts:1098

Angels fans were dancing in the streets when we signed Pujols, then again when we signed Hammy. So monday night quarterback is good, but overall, I say the lack of management not wanting to accept the moneyball strategy is a mistake. Who can the least from theyre players like we have? Most players leave our team and thrive on other teams. Lets look in the mirror.

To:halodice2

5:32 PM

130536.15
Reply to 130536.6

ARCANGEL_ICE

ARCANGEL_ICE
Posts:39

I buy your argument of adjusting to new surroundings in the case of Albert Pujols he had to adjust to it entirely new league, with pitchers he had never faced before. Josh Hamilton however, simply switched teams in the same division. He has played in Angel Stadium several times as the visitor, he has seen the same pitchers over the last few years; his adjustment is not as drastic as Albert. Therefore, to attribute Josh Hamilton’s struggles to having to adjust is a difficult argument to buy.

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