Monday, October 13, 2008

What to Do - Vlad

Another in the series I've shamelessly stolen.

There's a club option for 2009 for $15MM. They can also buy him out for $3MM and make him a free agent.

Again, I think picking up the option is a no brainer. Vlad had the worst season of his career since his rookie year, and was still the best hitter on the team. Napoli and Teixeira both were better in terms of OPS+, but both did them in shorter Anaheim seasons. Still, going into next year, even assuming they re-signed Teixeira, Vlad would enter the season as the team's best hitter.

Going forward, I'd love to see them re-up Vlad for another term. Three or four years would be great, but probably won't get it done. I think it will take at least five, and that's a deal I'd be willing to make for something close to his current deal. He's still an elite hitter, but he should be thought of as an 80%-90% DH from this point forward. Next year the Angels will have Hunter in center, hopefully Morales at a corner outfield position (if they can re-sign Teixeira), and either Mattews or Juan Rivera at the other corner, again, subject to certain signings.

Believe it or not, the DH spot has actually been a real problem for the Angels over the last decade or so. Picking up guys who are clear cut hitters and clear cut non-fielders isn't as easy as it sounds. Any time you can lock up a position, even one with as little scarcity as DH, I think it's a good idea.

On the emotional side, five years will take Vlad to the end of his career. He's likely to be around 500 homers by that point (he'd need to average about 22 per year), 1,700 RBIs, and a career average over .300, and right around 200 stolen bases. That's almost guaranteed hall of fame territory, and there's never been a hint of steroid speculation around him. Unless someone beats him to it (and right now, I can't think of a candidate), he'd probably be the first player to enter the Hall of Fame with an Angels cap, and as far as I'm concerned, that counts for something.

So I say exercise the option, negotiate an extension, and hand him the everyday DH role through 2014.

No comments: