Wow. I confess to being thunderstruck by the past 36 hours throughout Major League Baseball. The total flurry of transactions that burst onto the scene once Lester decided where to land has been amazing. We still have a lot of time left this winter to finish making transactions, and it will take some time to let it all sink in and figure out the winners and losers of this offseason, but suffice to say the Halos are back in the thick of things.
Remember that 19th pick in the first round of the 2012 draft that we didn’t get because we signed Albert Pujols? Well, we got the 9th pick instead, for the cost of Howie Kendrick’s final contract year. Or, to be more complete, we got to pay a fortune for Albert Pujols AND we got the 9th overall pick in the 2012 draft (Andrew Heaney) AND the Rockies’ 3rd round pick of the 2010 draft (Josh Rutledge), all for the price of our 19th overall pick in that same 2012 draft AND Kendrick’s final contract year AND the 2007 free agent Jairo Diaz. We have a young, cost-controlled, stud prospect, left-handed pitcher with the potential to make the rotation as early as April of next year. Bolt that opportunity onto the reality that are Garret Richards and Tyler Skaggs and Matt Shoemaker, and that becomes a beautiful thing. Jered Weaver anchors the front of the rotation for a few years more and Santiago still holds promise at the back end. C.J. Wilson is now, indeed, a potential trade asset that could be used to continue adding depth to the infield (including catcher) and free up some more coin for another starter (although, I am not enamored with the idea of signing a Scherzer and spending all that savings at the same time we lose our 1st round pick to Detroit).
Meanwhile, parts are flying around all over the landscape, too numerous to mention. Ervin Santana latched on with the Twins at the Minnesota record price of $54MM over 4 years. That averages out to $13.5MM per year for a Steamer projection of 1.8 fWAR next year. Kinda makes Lester’s 2015 pay of $15MM for a Steamer of 3.6 fWAR seem rather affordable, no?
I have no idea what to make of all this. It's too soon, and I need the dust to settle. And, hell, it's clear that teams are far from finished moving and shaking anyway! The Dodgers have already traded half the National League. And we still have yet to find out what is going to happen with Joe Shlabotnik. So, maybe January. I am, of course, a lesser blogger than Grant Brisbee (maybe because I have a day job?), who does this for us all.
You know how we kept lamenting how quiet things were around the hot stove in Anaheim this offseason? Well, this past week sure showed us a different side of the Halo Front Office! Let's recap.
Rule 5 Haul: In review, Dipoto pulled in Taylor Featherston, Kentrail Davis, and Chris Curley via the Rule 5 draft. Now, I may be off base here, but that's a lot of dudes who, by rule, must make the 25-man roster all season unless struck down by a mystery injury/illness. 12% of the entire every day squad already affixed. To minor leaguers. Is there going to be an outbreak of broken digits during Spring Training? For the record, Featherston is an infielder, Davis is an outfielder, and Curley is another infielder, predominantly a third baseman.
Trade Haul: Dipoto acquired Andrew Heaney from the Marlins, via the Dodgers, with the illustrious Howie Kendrick going back to the Dodgers. He also brought in Josh Rutledge from the Rockies in exchange for minor leaguer Jairo Diaz. And, he caught Dodgers backstop Drew Butera from the Dodgers for the well-traveled PTBNL. Rev puts up some scouting reports on Heaney, the once top prospect out of the Marlins organization, but here is a selection of videos of the kid. Effortless delivery!
Pickup Haul: Dipoto claimed Marc Krauss off waivers from the Houston Astros, and signed free agents Edgar Ibarra, Yoslan Herrera, Atahualpa Severino and Scot Snodgress (who is delighted!) to minor league contracts. If I had to place a bet, I would ignore the itty bitty sample size of Krauss at the MLB level, and look back on how much of a slugger he was on his way up.
The Exit Door: Meanwhile, Wade LeBlanc and Gordon Beckham elected free agency. (Yoslan Herrera also elected free agency, but signed back 2 days later, above.)
Although Dipoto is publicly claiming that things are done for the time being, keep in mind that he still has a Kevin Jepsen, out of options, up his sleeve as trade bait. And that is assuming that the C.J. Wilson trade rumors really are untrue.
This Date In Baseball History: 1930 - Today marks the date of an epic moment in baseball, when the Rules Committee decides that a ball that bounces in the stands shall no longer be considered a home run. Such "bounding ball" homers were not recorded separately, so even the likes of Babe Ruth has a significant number of..ehem...gifted results............1950 - The owners vote to drop the bonus and high school rule, which required all "bonus players" to spend no more than one season in the minors, and then be placed on the major league roster. The rule was intended to keep the rich clubs from buying up all the up and coming talent and pigeonholing them in their farm systems. Commissioner Landis spent a good deal of time liberating many such "squirreled away" players.............1966 - The U.S. Supreme Court refuses to review the suit brought forth by the State of Wisconsin in an attempt to block the movement of the Braves franchise to Atlanta. The suit, while still being run up the various courts, had the effect of holding the Braves in Milwaukee for the 1965 season...........1979 - The Giants sign the players - Rennie Stennett, Milt may and Jim Wohlford - to the huge sum of $5 million. the only reason I bring this up is because these guys came to the Giants through the short-lived "Re-Entry Free Agent" system, which was hilariously lame..............1998 - Kevin Brown signs the first +$100 million contract in MLB history. How quaint that looks today!
Pacific Coast League History Nuggets
1957 would be the last of the traditional Pacific Coast League. The Dodgers and Giants would play their final games on the east coast that year, and both move to open 1958 in LA and San Francisco, respectively. (It is of interest that Dodgers' owner Walter O'Malley jumped on this plan in reaction to wanting to control all available revenue streams and not having any decent deal with the city of New York, and leaping in front of the LA officials and their initial hope to nab the Washington Senators - now the Minnesota Twins.) But this is not about the end of the PCL. This is about one of the powerhouse PCL teams: the 1957 San Francisco Seals.
O'Malley was far from the first MLB owner to covet the West Coast. In fact, the Boston Red Sox made an investment into the San Francisco rights market by buying into the Seals before the 1956 season began, thinking that eventually they would own the market for the American League. '56 was planned as a powerhouse season for the Seals, as a Red Sox affiliate. That did not work out well. the '56 Seals finished a distant 6th in the league. In response to the '56 failure, Seals President Jerry Donovan committed heavily to turn things around. The result was a team would go on to scoring 793 runs and win 101 games, taking first place by 3 1/2 games over the other powerhouse o fthe time, the Vancouver Mounties.
"Jerry Donovan went out and acquired a bunch of veterans - Grady Hatton, Jack Phillips and Frank Kellert. We had a helluva club in 1957. It was a well balanced team with the older guys. They they had Albie Pearson, Marty Keough, Ed Sadowski and Haywood Sullivan. The Seals owned a lot of veterans and the Red Sox sent the youngsters out on option.
"Thank God I got out there. I had a fair enough year to go up to Boston the next season.
Vancouver was our big opposition. There were other teams that weren't really as strong, and there were excellent players on weaker teams, but Vancouver was really heavy."
- BILL RENNA - San Francisco Seals Outfielder
Woodford press, Publisher
[NOTE: I created links to BBR for all the players listed above, to demonstrate how many MLB players (past, present, future) were on that team. Renna's list is only a partial reading!]
- Ouch: The Mike Napoli for Vernon Wells trade is now being used as a benchmark. For massively bad ideas. Dave Cameron over at Fangraphs dives into the Matt Kemp trade to San Diego, and sees parallels all over the place. "This deal is basically the same template as the Angels trade, and Wells was actually coming off a better overall season when Toronto dumped his salary on Anaheim. The Angels took on $80 million over four years and gave up Napoli for what they thought was a big upgrade in the outfield; he gave them +0.7 WAR over two years, then they paid the Yankees $28 million to take him off their hands. That was probably the worst trade any team has made in the last decade, and the Padres are basically making the same type of trade all over again."
- Ouch, Ouch: There is a reason that Matt Welch was so vocal in support of keeping Howie Kendrick, and now that he is a Dodger, his true value is truly being valued. Mike Petriello at Fangraphs looks at Howie from the Dodgers' perspective, and how much he adds to their significant upgrade of their middle infield. "Kendrick isn’t just a better hitter than Gordon — and he is, by a lot, to the point that he’s basically been Ian Kinsler with better base running — but he’s a better fielder, as well. 2014 was Gordon’s first full year as a second baseman, and all things considered, he did well, showing good range while booting some of the easy ones. He can be expected to improve, but Kendrick has regularly been among the elite defenders at his position."..........And over at CBS Sports, Dayn Perry piles on: "Meantime, Kendrick is one of the steadiest performers among second basemen. He owns a career OPS+ of 108, and he's been a better-than-league average hitter (as defined by OPS+) in each of the last four seasons (and he just missed that mark in 2010). The Steamer projection system tabs Kendrick for a 2015 line of .275/.323/.397, which is quite good by standards of middle infielders in the current run-scoring environment."
Dan Haren, not long after learning that he had been traded 2600 miles away from his true love, trolls 5thStarter...........Kendrys Morales has a new mission: trying to make the KC Royals fans forget Billy Butler..........Kinda OT: Tim Tebow was not even a fraction of the success as an athlete as Mike Trout has become, and Johnny Manziel is not even to water boy status, but just look at the way that TV sports fawns over football players............Mike Trout is really, really fast. Really. As in, sabremetrically fast...........Yeah, Chicago baseball should be pretty damned good in 2015, especially compared to 2014. But, if so, all we can do is shake our head even harder at the 2014 Oakland A's...........Not every baseball wife is as cool as our very own Danielle Shoemaker.............What's so "magic" about these beer dispensers? We had them at Angels Stadium years ago............Jon Lester shows pro athletes how to use social media to disarm asshats, even asshats as committed to being asshats as BoSux fans............Just a reminder that Minor League Baseball owners are not merely a bunch of civic-minded happy-go-lucky fanboys as they, too, want to retain players at indentured servitude wage levels...........Scott Boras, trying to sell snowballs to Inuits.
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...
Friday: 10th Annual FREE Holiday Hootenanny Extravaganza at Devil's Canyon Brewing Company in San Carlos............Inaugural Christmas Party & Ugly Sweater Party with Magic Hat #9 at OB Noodle House bar 1502 in San Diego.
SaturdayInstitution Ale House Tap Takeover at Draughts Restaurant & Bar in Thousand Oaks...........The 5th Annual LA Limerick Festival charity beer event at Altadena Ale House in Altadena...........Stone Brewing is hosting a triple play of Stone 12.13.14 Epic Saturday tasting/release events. Choose from: Stone Brewing Tap Room in San Diego...or...Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens at Liberty Station...or....Stone Brewing Company in Escondido.
Sunday: Hermosillo Brown Bag Night - "Best of 2014" social gathering at The Hermosillo, Highland Park Brewery, in LA.
BEER BONUS QUIZ: last week's quiz asked what style of beer is typically considered to the the best pairing with a hamburger? Sorry, halofolife, but the correct answer is not malt liquor. The correct answer is amber lager. American amber lager is considered both refreshing, AND with just enough bitterness to cut through all the condiments. (P.S., halofolife, you are awarded zero points for properly guessing the previous week's quiz question, considering the answer to that question was given right there in the review of the question itself. Nice try, though!)
The week's quiz question: Which one of these is not a fictional beer form a television show? Shotz...Buzz...Duff...or Blatz. Try to do this without Google, folks!