How to Ruin Your Prom (or Outfield)
I like to think of baseball’s free agent market as being a lot like finding a date to the prom: your high school’s most popular kids (e.g., Boston, Philly, and New York) get first dibs on asking a date. Once they get paired off, usually the pecking order follows something like this: less popular (but still cool) jocks and rich kids (Tigers, Cardinals, Cubs), the kids with fake ID’s or good beer/weed connections (Rangers and White Sox), the up and coming underrated kids (Nationals and Brewers), and the nerds (Pirates, Marlins, Royals, and Indians). Despite this pecking order, guys still have to play their cards right: there are always kids that are gonna try to be players and jump out of the pecking order. This is exactly what happened this winter to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
I give the other popular kid in LA (the Dodgers) a pass because they are the children of a divorced family and we all know those messes take years to cleanup. If my parents ended up getting divorced my senior year, there’s a good shot I would have sat out the prom as well. They get a pass. The Angels, however, tried to play it way too cool. Thinking they had a shot at the captain of the cheer leading team (Carl Crawford), they lost out to this year’s prom king. Feeling dejected, they made half-hearted efforts with a number of pretty possibilities, but lost out to more popular (Philly and Cliff Lee) and aggressive (Rangers and Adrian Beltre) suitors.
So, with their window of opportunity closing, they reached out and made a desperate play for a date to protect their rep: they made a deal to pick-up Vernon Wells and the remaining $86M on his contract. The trade for the former All-Star wasn’t exactly hailed as revolutionary. K-Law doesn’t bury the lead:
Vernon Wells isn’t a terrible player — he’s a solid player with a terrible contract. And he is absolutely the wrong player right now for the Los Angeles Angels, who have made one the worst desperation moves I can remember.
Ouch. What do the Angels get for their acquisition? An outfield that includes Wells, Torii Hunter, Bobby Abreu, and the ghost of Gary Matthews’ contract; or: the most expensive, if not overpaid, outfield in baseball history. Average age on opening day? Thirty-four.
Along with Mr. Wells [$23M owed in 2011], the Angels will pay $18 million to Torii Hunter and $9 million to Bobby Abreu, giving them the game’s most expensive trio of outfielders. The cash flow doesn’t stop there, as they’re still on the hook for the remaining $11 million on Gary Matthews Jr.’s contract—a player they jettisoned early last year.
If I’m an Angels fan headed to this dance, I’d already be planning one hell of a pre-drink.
Filed under: Uncategorized
Like this post? Subscribe to my RSS feed and get loads more!