Financial control over new players is clearly in the hands of the owners, and that's precisely the way that the veteran players wanted it. And the veterans gave the owners lots of tools with which to work.
A lot of ink was spilled this past week (not to mention what happened to all them photons) over the LA Angels contract renewal of young Master Mike Trout. What has not yet been added to all that discussion is the backwards perspective of Super Two service time, and not bringing Trout up into full MLB service until forced to in 2012. Several people here on HH back then were correct to point out that holding Trout back would enable the Halos to add another year of calendar to control over his contract, by managing his official service time. That prophecy has come home to roost and this renewal puts a huge exclamation point on that service time management. Here is the point to consider: granting Trout a $20K raise for 2013 is merely the second decision that the Front Office has made on this particular economic journey. There is a plan in place, and it is clearly one that greatly favors the Angels as original owners of Trout's services. Essentially, it is the opposite position of which they typically have found themselves with high profile FA signings of the past.
The Front Office management of his 2011 service time will, at the end of the day, preclude Trout from qualifying as a Super Two player. He will have at least 2 years of service. He will have less than 3 years of service. He will have at least 86 days of service time logged during 2013. But the odds are greatly against Trout ending up in the top 17% of service time logged for all players who have completed at least two years of service, no more than three. And (using typical cut-off points) he should miss that mark by anywhere between 58 days and 70 days. Roughly two months.
Trout begins 2013 with an official service time of 1.070. That means, in English, 1 year and 70 days. He came up and started logging MLB service time on July 8, 2011. Had he been brought up, say, on May 1st of that year then Trout would probably be eligible for arbitration after this season. Typically, as linked above, the cutoff date for Super Two players is between 2.128 and 2.140. Trout would have hit that window. And, with a solid 2013, he could then file using Tim Lincecum dollars, and the Halos would have been forced to file numbers closer to the range where the Giants found themselves than to where they are now. And regardless of which side won, the Halos would be paying Trout between $15 million and $20 million for 2014.
Those two months of resource management early in the 2011 season might possibly have saved Arte Moreno upwards of $20 million in payroll exposure in 2014. This 2013 contract renewal event shouldn't seem like such an outlier, after all.
On To Angels Baseball!
- What Should Jerry Do?: So, all that leads us to a rather interesting bit of synergistic news. The second Analytics Conference is being put on this weekend by SABRE in Phoenix, AZ. At these conferences, Yahoo! Sports points out that we will get this:
One of the highlights of the conference is the ''Diamond Dollars Case Competition,'' where teams of students from colleges across the country argue their solution to a baseball-type problem.
In this case, students were to examine the contract situation of Trout - widely considered one of the best young players in the game - and present to Angels GM Jerry Dipoto their recommendation, whether that means year-by-year deals or signing the young star to a long-term contract.
Yeah. I REALLY would want to listen in to all those proposed contract projections and plan ideas!
- HOT or NOT: Howie Kendrick continues to hold the finest slash line of ST to date, batting .556 with an OPS of 1.667 and 5 RBI's across 18 AB's. Those are only 4 AB's below team leader Andrew Romine's 22, but in only 6 games to date. Travis Witherspoon has appeared in 10 games, carries a BA of .417, and with 7 RBI's is only 1 behind team leader Hank Conger's 8. Meanwhile, Kole Calhoun is looking over matched this Spring.21AB's across 10 games and batting only a buck 43 is putting him down there in Alberto Callaspo territory. Callaspo has been in only 5 games, but he has put up a BA of merely .083 over his 12 AB's and been tapped for 3 K's. Speaking of K's, Peter Bourjos leads with 8, but Scott Cousins at 7 and Conger at 6 garnered their SO's with only 14 AB's. Really, guys???
- Nastier: I like the idea of doing more with what you already have. It helps fill the gaps without needing to be additive, which usually requires a big splash. So hearing that Ernesto Frieri has spent the off-season adding a pair of new pitches, and that they appear to be working, makes me giggle. It's like finding a hundred bucks on the sidewalk!
- Envy gets "envier": C.J. Wilson passed his initial test on his elbow and passed at the health level, if not the dominance level. Ok, so far so good. He went out again yesterday with similar results. Three innings pitched and only 1 run allowed, but them 6 hits are something to work on. Ok, it's early. We got time. So nice start. Glass half full and all. Hey, wait a minute...in between those stories lies another event of epic win: Wilson is still living large, as he is now a winning auto race team owner.
- Jered Weaver: Dude. Really.This is just embarrassing.
Last week I took a trip to San Jose. So I got a chance to catch up on what's new inside SkyMall. And whaddayaknow! Here is something I absolutely guarantee will be unique for your drive home from the stadium. Arte can light up his halo, but you can light up YOUR POWERDECAL!!! It's a 4" logo that sticks to the inside of your rear window, and has light and motion detectors so that it knows to turn itself on when you start moving at night, and shut itself off when you park.
This Date In Baseball History:1923 - Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis agrees to re-admit pitcher Rube Benton to the National League, despite Benton having confessed to knowing about the 1919 World Series fix in advance. Landis shocked baseball back then by arguing that Benton should not be deprived of a right to earn a living. Kind of makes you do a double-take concerning the ongoing fate of Shoeless Joe Jackson, doesn't it?.........1930 - Babe Ruth, clearly not being represented by Mike Trout's agent Craig Landis, signs a two-year all-time record contract of $160,000...........1941 - Pitcher Hugh Mulcahy is the first major league ballplayer to be drafted into the Armed Forces. Notice that this is 9 months before the attack on Pearl Harbor. Mulcahy thought he would be in the service for only one year. He would serve 5 and be awarded The Bronze Star for suffering dysentery. When he finally got back to the majors he struggled to win games and retired, believing that the dysentery cost him his fastball. In fact, Mulcahy stepped right back into the majors where he left off, being tagged "Losing Pitcher" Mulcahy for his NL worst decision record prior to his induction..........1946 - The first ever Spring Training game is played in Arizona, launching the Cactus League, as the Indians defeat the Giants 3-1...........2001 - Degenerative hip disease ends the career of Albert Belle..........2011 - Kim Ng, fresh off of not being tabbed new GM for the Dodgers, is named Senior VP of Baseball Operations for Major League Baseball, making her the highest ranking woman in the major leagues.
Rounding Up The Major League News...
- WBC: Ok. Some of you already know this. I ain't a fan of the current execution. There, full disclosure. But you pro-WBC folk need to sort your way past Jered Weaver's well-crafted position (coming, as it does, from a guy who HAS repped the USA and WOULD like to do so again) in order to get to Jon Morosi's lunacy, or to Bill Shaikin's call to action. And you would do well to avoid the kinds of mistakes Shaikin makes when he trolls "The WBC is a smashing success just about everywhere but here." Because it's easy to pick off such low hanging fruit with evidence such as this recent (lack of) turnout, or this other (lack of) turnout. Hell, there were more people turning out in this HH game thread than what appears to have shown up in person.But Shakin does touch on a notion that I have proposed as a way to get the idea into a higher gear: "Get the tournament out from beneath the shadow of March Madness, cancel the All-Star game once every four years, and play the finals when the American sports landscape is otherwise barren. Each owner might have to play a doubleheader once every four years, an infinitesimal sacrifice when annual MLB revenue is $8 billion."
- More WBC: Here is something to think about - Shaikin writes, jingositically, "With baseball kicked out of the Olympics, the WBC offers players their best chance to popularize the sport abroad, capture the attention of the casual flag-waving fan at home and share the wealth." But people are legitimately asking...if the whole idea of the WBC is to popularize the sport of baseball everywhere, then why are the television broadcasts restricted to MLB's own channel?
- Expanded Replay, Redux: This will probably come as a shock to you all, but MLB is thinking about spending 2013 thinking about expanded instant replay. So next year they can implement it. If they can only figure out how. Again. (What? Did that sound familiar??) Here is Joe Torre: "One type of call that Torre said is not up for review is balls and strikes, though not so much because of limits on technology or questions about such a system's accuracy.'I think balls and strikes, you have to have something to yell about,' he said with a smile. 'I don't want to take the yelling out of the thing. That's part of the color.' " Ok, did you catch that? Did you catch that? MLB believes that they have the technology to get a fair and accurate strike zone, but they won’t do it because they want there to be something for everybody to bitch about.That's an impressive pair of brass ones, right there.
- Defensive Trends: Who was the best defensive baseball players of all time? It's hard to figure out, as Hardball Times finds out. "Obviously teams did not just suddenly begin adding defensive wizards to their rosters at mid-century. In 1950, once Retrosheet's play-by-play data becomes available, it is clear that our measurements of defensive performance become much more confident and much more willing to hand out excellent defensive ratings."
Video Of The Week (a pro-WBC sentiment!)
(Trouble viewing the video? Direct link here.)
I just can't get enough of these old, freaky and twisted sports ads..........Really? They couldn’t wait until the guy took a shower, even? The Nats had to cut a player IN THE MIDDLE OF A GAME?..........The biggest surprise in Surprise, Arizona has got to be the 11-1-1 Kansas City Royals..........Full Contact Baseball..........Why PEDs are Evil..........Hey, Rod Barajas, this is a probably clue that your wife has too many shoes!
And now, being the full service weekend linkage institution that we are, here is the obligatory moment we take out of each Friday...for beer...
Saturday: Latitude 33 Brewing Company in Vista will be holding their 1st Year Anniversary Party.
Angels Stadium Neighborhood Brew Tour: So anyone of legal age can obtain beer from a billion different places. Hell, you can get golden-colored bubble fluid out of bottles even at IHOP. But what if you really like your beer, and have a couple of hours to enjoy before/after a game? Where does one go? I'm sure that you have your favorites, and why, and I encourage you to share.
Alright! In Week One we did a tour of the best establishments within one or two miles of the stadium itself. Week Two we checked out the finer stops for those of you traveling to/from a game via the 5 freeway. This would be most folk coming from LA proper, the West Side, the Valley, and beyond. This week, we cater to our fine flock from the Inland Empire, who would be joining us game time via the 57 freeway. That would still be mostly LA County folk, more than Riverside/San Bernardino County. So, again, what if you get thirsty and have a few hours to burn? Maybe you want to avoid the mighty wreck that is the 57/60 interchange and wait for the rush to dissipate? How about a battle plan for fighting off that stop-and-go traffic? Well, here you go! GPS these:
(Again, as pulled from The Drinking Issue of OCWEEKLY)
- Hacienda Beverage - 670 S. Brea Blvd., Brea ("Overall rating 10/10"...Seek them out on Facebook)
- Tap's Fish House & Brewery - 101 E. Imperial Hwy, Brea ( "OC's most underrated brewery...")
- The Bruery - 717 Dunn Way, Placentia (Fellow HH'ers have been clamoring for this, and here it is!)
As always, feel free to contribute below!