Since I was interested to hear what people would think of my Crazy Suggestions, I linked to the post on the Angels message board I post on to get some reaction over there. Needless to say, there was plenty of criticism, and most people thought it was at best overreaching. Fair enough, and I know I thought as much as the ideas were spinning in my head, but why call them crazy suggestions if they’re not, you know, crazy? Anyway, since I know only a few of my readers are from the message boards, I thought I’d give the rest of you guys a sample of the responses I got from those that read this, along with some of my own thoughts on their criticisms and ideas. All of that follows after the jump.
These players aren’t robots. Morales might be too stubborn to be forced to defend the hot corner, and Hunter who has prided himself on defense his entire career will absolutely not be willing to DH for the rest of his career. It’s a good idea statistically, but a terrible idea in the real world. Managing teams goes beyond stats. I really hope we can trade Abreu, and keep Rivera on the bench. If I had to choose between Crawford and Werth, I think I’d go with Werth. He will give us a good arm in RF and he has raw power. Speed guys (though Crawford is more than just a “speed guy”) are easier to find on the market than big bats. Why would we want a lineup of Aybar, Bourjos, Kendrick, AND Crawford? Not saying I don’t want Crawford, but I’d go after Werth first.
There are a couple of things to address here. First, this is not simply a matter of “managing by stats.” Hunter has shown that his bat is good enough to be a quality DH, and his defense has clearly been on the decline. If he truly is about “whatever will help the team win,” then this is a move he’ll accept. As I also said, having Hunter as our DH would allow us to rest all three of our OFers occasionally, while still giving Torii a chance to play the OF. It wouldn’t be nearly as much as he’s used to, obviously, but he wouldn’t be the DH and nothing but the DH. On top of that, with the positive defense Werth and Crawford bring on the corners, and the defensive prodigy Bourjos is in CF, the Angels OF defense would almost go from worst to first overnight.
As far as Morales playing 3B, it’s a gamble moving him there, but one I think he could handle. I don’t think he’d be the second coming of Scott Rolen, but he’s also not too big to play the position, since he’s listed as smaller than both Rolen and Troy Glaus.
I think Crawford is a long shot, but he would be a good acquisition. If the Angels take a run at Adam Dunn (the unknown team that is negotiating for him), then that would be a good long term solution if they can resign him. I do not even would want Werth on our team. It still revolves around Adam Dunn in my mind.
1. Napoli needs to play everyday
2. Adam Dunn needs to play 1B/DH
3. Trade Willits, Rivera, and Matsui
4. Trade Fuentes, Rodney (failed experiment)
5. Move Kazmir to the bullpen
6. Make a serious offer for Crawford (still skeptical)
If we picked up Dunn on the waiver:
SS Aybar (Lead off Bourjos next year)
LF Abreu (Trade Abreu and sign Crawford)
1B/DH Dunn (Morales next year and move Dunn to 5th up if he signs)
Where to begin?
Let’s start with “I don’t even want Werth on our team.” This is logic (perhaps I should say “logic”) I don’t understand. Jayson Werth is currently finishing up his fourth straight season with a wOBA over .380. Factor in his defense, and he’s also finishing up his fourth straight season of at least a 3.2 WAR. Our current RF (though he’s now in LF with Hunter’s switch), on the other hand, is finishing up his fourth straight season with a wOBA below .370. His WAR hasn’t been above 3.0 in four straight season as well. Replacing him with someone that is clearly better than him, both offensively and defensively, is the very definition of improving the team. It’s practically a no-brainer, unless you’re of the misguided opinion that Abreu has somehow helped this team become “more patient.”
When it comes to Rodney being a “failed experiment,” I am admittedly forced to chuckle a little. The only people Rodney was ever an “experiment” to were those that still cling to the belief that saves mean something. To anyone that dared look beyond his saves total and checked out things like his walk and K rates, or even something as simple as his ERA, it’s clear that turning 30 was not a good thing for Rodney. He hasn’t seen an ERA below 4.00 or a WHIP below 1.30 since his 20’s, and with four straight seasons with his numbers in that elevation, there’s just no reason to expect some kind of turn-around. It was a terrible signing when it happened, and it’s a terrible signing now that the season’s ending. At no point was it an “experiment” that I expected to work, and for clearly good reasons.
The other major point that needs to be addressed is Bourjos batting leadoff next season. As we discussed when he was called up, Bourjos bat is going to leave something to be desired for a while. While we have an impossibly small sample size to look at right now, I don’t know what about a .220 OBP in his first 11 games with the Halos makes anyone think he can be a leadoff hitter. His speed is great, no doubt, but he has to be able to make it safely to a base before it can even mean anything, and so far I haven’t seen anything from him that makes me think he can do that. It’s certainly something that can (and hopefully will) change as he gets more time with the coaching staff and more time to see Major League pitching, but it’s not something that is going to change overnight. Aybar is far from a perfect solution, but he’s still going to be better than Bourjos would be. Either way, whether it’s Aybar or someone else, it should not be Bourjos until he can show that he can maintain a high OBP.
Lastly, the batting order he lays out is seriously flawed. Dunn is a picture-perfect #2 hitter, with high OBP, tons of power, and few GIDP. He’s a guy that will very frequently advance or drive in your leadoff runner, while very rarely erasing him on a double play. Bobby Abreu is far from that player, with double-digit GIDP for five straight seasons now, while Dunn has double-digit GIDP exactly once in his career. Sticking him at 5th is a waste of his power and his OBP skills, and is far from the best lineup construction one can make with that group of players.
Hunter will be our RF until his contract ends, unless Bourjos doesn’t start hitting. Morales is a converted outfielder, so we can move him out to LF or RF next year if Dunn is signed. Callaspo looks to be settling in at 3B, just need him to lift some weights in the offseason to get his slugging up. This of course is if Crawford doesn’t sign and we get Dunn.
Napoli needs to be the everyday catcher or DH. He’s just too good of a hitter to not play everyday. I think Rivera is a goner no matter how you look at it, along with Matsui.
Then again, I’d be fine with signing Crawford and some relievers in the offseason, and getting rid of some of the dead Wood (a pun intended). Morales and Napoli in the middle of our lineup is pretty scary if you ask me. If Bourjos doesn’t start hitting, it will really limit our moves in the offseason.
A nice pun, and an idea I agree with… I like it! And really, I agree with a number of the things said here. Some of them are a tad on the crazy side, however. Callaspo is never going to be a power hitter, or even close enough to be mistaken for one by Joe Morgan. He has more pop than someone like David Eckstein, but asking for much more out of a guy with 19 career HRs over 5 seasons is pretty clearly a pipe dream. Outside of his SLG issues, his career OBP is only .333, and he doesn’t even appear to have a ton of speed to make up for that, going converting only 62% of his stolen base attempts over his career. The fact that he’s an upgrade tells us just how bad Wood has been this season, but we shouldn’t accept that improvement as the best we could get at 3B, because Callaspo really is not that great. I don’t know about you, but a career .322 wOBA doesn’t really blow me away.
On Napoli, he is right on. Whatever defensive value Mathis may provide us, and I’m skeptical of just how much it is, it’s simply not enough to make up for the Swiss cheese that is his bat. While Napoli is not going to be mistaken for Yadier Molina behind the plate, he can bring the lumber in a way few catchers in baseball can, and there’s a ton of value in that as well. We simply need Scioscia & Co. to actually recognize this fact.
Lastly, I want to close with one from someone that, at least to some degree, agreed with me:
I honestly don’t know what the argument is here. Are people actually against getting Dunn and Werth? Why? Because we have players at the same position already that are making money?
I mean you’re gonna be spending money at each position anyway, so why not maximize the results you get from the respective position? Sure Hunter is a flashy player who makes some good catches, but why not sign a guy who improves our offense and can potentially improve that side of the field defensively as well? Are people actually afraid of getting proven players because they cost money? Is that where this argument is going to? At the end of the day, I want the money being spent on someone that can produce most sufficiently to his playing time and opportunities to do so regardless of the money it takes to bring him in. That would be Werth and Dunn.
In the words of comedian Jimmy Pardo: This guy gets it.