Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Angels going after Soriano

Not surprising. Rotoworld is reporting that the Angels have offered $80MM over six years, consistent with their strategy of making a big offer early in an attempt to avoid a bidding war. As the Times pointed out the other day, sometimes this nets you a Cy Young winner, and sometimes it nets you Mo Vaughn (allow me to digress for a moment, but I had nothing personal against Vaughn until the Percival comments. The one season where he was remotely healthy, he was a great hitter for the Angels. I can't blame a guy for getting hurt, so I don't think that was an awful move for the Angels, but it certainly ended unfortunately).

I'm not exactly a big Soriano booster, so if they were to sign him, I'd learn to live with it, and probably come to like it, but it's not going to kill me if he turns them down. I've been over this again and again, but the reason the Angels lost the AL West last year was not because of a lack of offense. They lost the AL West because they could not consistently catch and throw the baseball. That isn't to say that they had a good offense. They didn't. But the defense is what did them in. Why do I bring that up? Because according to the Times, the Angels may be considering playing him at second base and moving Kendrick to first. If the Angels sign Soriano, they have two legitimate options*:
  1. Kotchman or Morales at first, Kendrick at second, Soriano in center, Rivera in left, GA at DH; or
  2. Kendrick at first; Soriano at second; Rivera in center; Anderson in left; and Kotchman or Morales at DH (or another bat, should they sign one).
Under option two, the Angels are worse defensively at every position compared to option one (although I think that if Kendrick played a full season, spring training included, at first base, he'd be a very good first baseman, so there me no real drop off there). It would also make them worse at second base and left field than they were last year, when they were probably the worst defensive team in the AL. That's not a recipe for success.

Ya know, I've been pretty hard on John Lackey and Ervin Santana for nibbling around the strike zone and trying to strike everyone out instead of getting early count outs. If the Angels put out the defense laid out in option one, I'd understand why they may not want to let opposing hitters put the ball in play. And to be fair, if Soriano goes somewhere else, none of this matters. If the Angels make a move for a center fielder in addition to Soriano, the analysis changes. If someone gets hurt in spring training, the analysis changes. What concerns me is that the Angels might even consider option one. It simply makes no sense.

*Note, options subject to change based on subsequent free agent signings.

1 comment:

Josh said...

You are wrong about Moo. He was an asshole following the 2000 season, waiting until near spring training to get surgery on his arm, when he knew he needed it before then. Then he basically told the Angels (and everyone else) that he hated playing in Anaheim and wanted a trade back to the East Coast.

The only reason I don't hate Moo more than I do is because that trade made the team better, got rid of a locker room cancer, gave us a hysterical press conference where Moo ripped Percy for never having won anything, and directly led to the Angels winning the championship (throwing the whole "never won anything" right back in Moo's face). Meanwhile, Moo got fatter and suckier with the Mets and never won anything himself (as a matter of fact, he never won a division championship OR made it to a World Series). It's like he was dining at an All-You-Can-Eat Karma Buffet the last years of that contract.