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Mr. Moreno, Accounting Has Something To Show You

Like watching a sad face in slow motion.
Like watching a sad face in slow motion.

With the book closed on 2011, we can make finally tally the relative value of the commodities exchanged on January 21....

Not paying Mike Napoli    $5.8M
Not paying Juan Rivera    $5.3M
Pity money (<3 Alex)      $5.0M
Total Assets             $16.1M

Moneybomb!               $23.0M
Mike Napoli     5.5 WAR  $27.5M
Juan Rivera     0.7 WAR   $3.5M
Vernon Wells   -0.3 WAR   $1.5M
Total Liabilities        $55.5M

Net Loss
Projected on 6/24        $29.2M
Actual                   $39.4M

If Tony Reagins never picks up the phone on January 21, the Angels are competing for a postseason share right now. But he did, and so they are not. Human retrospection is a shaky game, but this is as simple as it gets.

It's a purely synthetic assessment, of course, and the idea of interchanging dollars and WAR is pretty abstract. But how far could it differ from reality? By 10%? 25%? Even if $40 million is twice the actual figure, the trade is a disaster. Plus with Mike Napoli under Texas control next year, and Vernon Wells due to cause heartache through 2014, the balance sheet is only going to get worse.

So who cares about Arte Moreno's pocket change? Put it this way. MLB is not a democracy. It's a plutocracy. As a fan, the only way you can get what you want is if some billionaire, who will spend more on his dinner tonight than you will earn in your lifetime, decides that is in his financial interest to give it to you. Making the playoffs is where fan desire and fiscal incentive meet. Market pressure is our only input into the closed system.

Arte Moreno's Angels have spent over a quarter-billion dollars during 2010-2011, obliterating the previous franchise-record payroll in two consecutive seasons. They've won just four more games than a .500 team would have. If reason, common sense, fan outrage, media derision, public humiliation, and the even final standings can't shame Arte Moreno into careful, thoughtful, and measured action, then maybe his broker will.

Accounting on line two, Mr. Moreno.