#27 - DOUG DECINCES, 3B
Doug DeCinces came to the Angels in a trade for outfielder Dan Ford. "Disco" Dan went to Baltimore and the Angels got a rockstar of a third-baseman. To say the Angels won that January, 1982 trade is an understatement. Disco Dan gave the Orioles 1.1 Wins Above Replacement in 1,083 Plate Appearances over four seasons with the Orioles. DeCinces, two years older than Ford, gave the Angels 18.8 WAR over six seasons.
Going into the 1982 season, the Angels advertised that their squad had four former MVPs on it - Fred Lynn, Rod Carew, Reggie Jackson and Don Baylor, and yet Doug DeCinces would have the monster campaign for that division winner. His 7.6 WAR in 1982 was the highest mark for any Angel in the 1980s and remains the 8th best single season WAR in club history. That year he batted .301, had an OPS of .916, hit 30 home runs, 42 doubles (seventh most in an Angels single season) and came in third place in the American League MVP voting. He had 77 Extra Base Hits (ninth most in an Angels season) and his 6.4 Offensive WAR that year tied the all time club mark (even though WAR hadn't been invented yet, to be slightly ironic about the whole thing) and remains the 4th best oWAR season by an Angel.
Because of his ubiquitous presence at the hot corner, realizing that DeCinces was in his mid-thirties for most of his Angels career is not the first thing people think of. He had produced quite well for Baltimore but the assumption that he was over the hill was foremost on their minds. The Angels got the benefits of his fight against aging. It was the dawn of a new era of player salaries and wise men began conditioning themselves year-round as the pay day promise of free agency became a reality. He had his first AB as an Angel at age 31 and yet his 130 home runs are the ninth most ever by a Halo. DeCinces had nine seasons with a 112 OPS+ in Baltimore, accruing 22.9 WAR. He stayed in the good graces of Gene Autry by delivering a 117 OPS+ and 18.8 WAR over six years. That is the fifteenth best WAR total by a position player in Angels history.
DeCinces embraced Orange County. He invested his big money in a golf club and other business ventures in the region. He was one of the first Angel alumni to stay visible in his own right after leaving the team. He is easily the second-greatest third baseman in Angels history. His son, Tim DeCinces played college baseball at UCLA. When Doug's daughter was dating a teammate of Tim's, Doug represented the young ballplayer when he was drafted by the Angels in the first round of the 1997 draft. That kid, Troy Glaus, would go on to be the only Angels 3B greater than Doug DeCinces. Greater, but with the luxury of youth that DeCinces did not have when he gave the fans their money's worth in the 1980s.