|By Rick Randall||By 12-29-2010|
|1. By: Slack on 12-29-2010 18:51:27|
Nice write up!
I have a question about another Angles prospect. What are your thoughts on Garrett Richards? It looks like he has good tools as a pitcher but terrible college results.
|2. By: Jason A. Churchill on 12-29-2010 19:41:43|
Richards is likely a No. 4 starter, perhaps a No. 3 if things go well, or a late-inning reliever. He sits in the low 90s and offers a slider and change, but in relief he's touched 97.
Probably a top 10 guy for LAA, but not might higher than that, and in the average system, he may not crack the top 10 at all.
|3. By: mauricewilliamsiii on 12-29-2010 21:05:23|
But does Trout's presence alone put them more in the 15-20 range or higher?
And lord can that kid play baseball.
|4. By: Jason A. Churchill on 12-29-2010 21:50:24|
No, maurice, it probably doesn't. I haven't taken a close enough look to say for sure, but I'd estimate their system in the bottom third, maybe the bottom quarter, but certainly not top 15.
They aren't shallow, per se, they just lack near-ready prospects and those with upside that aren't 3+ years away. Trout is terrific.
|5. By: rocketdawg31 on 12-30-2010 00:02:39|
Jason, how likely is it that the Angels will try to address their farm system weaknesses through the international market?
That certainly wouldn't be a quick fix, but it might help them with overall lacking depth. Do they have a strong presence in Venezuela, The Dominican, Puerto Rico?
Maybe more of a relevant question, how poised are they to spend on this year's draft? Do you foresee them punting on so many picks in terms of value this year? It's a deeper draft for arms, as we all know.
And I just don't believe the notion that Moreno is going to all of a sudden get stingy with the wallet. As long as he's the owner, they'll do what they can to get on top of the division.
|6. By: jimmymac328 on 12-30-2010 00:14:00|
Jason, do you think the Angels would like Figgins back? They need a 3B and a leadoff hitter. He is cheaper than Beltre and has burned through one year of his contract. They seem short on prospects so what seems like a reasonable return?
|7. By: Jason A. Churchill on 12-30-2010 00:46:03|
Ya know, they haven't been big players in that market the past five years. That could change, but until we see it...
As for spending on the draft, I have to believe Arte Moreno is set to spend his way back to the top of the division, I'm just not sure he's savvy enough to realize on his own how big the draft can be. If those advising him are, however, it's probably something we'll see.
But he was the owner in 2009 and 2010 and they punted a few picks each year, and they have a new SD this year, so who knows, really.
Figgins is cheaper than what it would take to sign Beltre today, but he's owed $35 million over the next four years and Beltre's price isn't going up after the A's dropped out and the Rangers having never really been in the race to begin with.
They could end up getting Beltre, who is more than a year younger than Figgins, for 4/48 or 5/60. Either is a better deal than Figgins for 4/35.
|8. By: stickball on 12-30-2010 00:54:39|
The Angels farm system is down, but they had some Type A free agents depart last year. The Angels signed their top 9 picks in the 2010 draft, which included 3 first round picks and 2 first round supplemental picks. Time will tell how successful they did in this draft. I wouldn't write their farm system off.
|9. By: Jason A. Churchill on 12-30-2010 02:42:17|
Having picks means nothing if you go cheap on many of them. And they did just that, and did so on their "other" first rounder in 2009, too. I can't find anyone who really liked their 10 draft. It was very much quantity over quality. Not much upside.
And nobody is writing the system off. But I can guarantee you, as is, their system will not help them much outside Trout and some mid-level assistant over the next few years. And that is the point... that their window for sustained AL West prominence is probably over, helping the rest of the division.
|10. By: Rick Randall on 12-30-2010 05:55:28|
Bane was very much an upside/potential type guy. You look at a lot of their picks in his time and you can see just about all of their hitters are "athlete" types, and just about all of the arms are big arms, low polish.
As you can tell by looking at their system now (or just the write up I did), those types don't work out even as often as your typical prospect.
It was a calculated gamble, do to where the Angels were usually drafting - trying to get a big return rather than making the "safe pick"...but it didn't work out.
And that at least partially played into his (and others) dismissal.
|11. By: studentofthegame on 12-30-2010 07:55:05|
I really liked this article. However I am kind of scared of what you will write about the Rangers and the A's. I don't think that they are as down in the weeds as LAA.
|12. By: Rick Randall on 12-30-2010 08:16:11|
As things stand today, the Rangers write up will definitely have a much different tune. The A's will be different, but I don't think they are close to as stacked as the Rangers.
|13. By: maqman on 12-30-2010 10:42:14|
Nice write up Rick, nothing there I care to disagree with. Thanks.
|14. By: Rudolf on 12-30-2010 14:04:35|
Where would guys like Liddi, Robles and Chavez rank if they were in the Angel's system? Thanks!
|15. By: Rick Randall on 12-30-2010 14:35:20|
Move each of them up 2-4 spots is the quick answer, Rudolf. Chavez would be top 5 or 6 likely.
|16. By: FelixElRey on 12-30-2010 17:42:32|
With Aardsma going under the knife, is the best case scenario now that we trade him as soon as he reestablishes his trade value, say may/june. Then hope that League can have a solid first half and a month of closing and trade him at the deadline. Meanwhile, our young relievers will have been eased into the minors as able and should be ready to get valuable experience for 2012.
Does that seem reasonable, or is may/june too early to expect to get "top dollar" for a closer? I'm hoping a couple teams decide to go by committee or their closers flat out flop early and are desparate to cling to a contending season.
|17. By: DRWheelock on 12-30-2010 19:41:26|
Jason - Will this injury affect and sway his arbitration price and what he ends up getting?
What do you think Aardsma will get in arb with this news now?
|18. By: Jason A. Churchill on 12-30-2010 20:19:43|
Not likely, no. Still think 4-5.
|19. By: Edman on 12-31-2010 01:46:22|
Some of you seem to think that teams with the most magic beans win games in the end. That is seldom true. You can't keep trading your better players for magic beans, and think they they're going to grow into strong enough beanstalks, that you can climb them and get the giants gold.
Championship teams are build with a combination of veteran and younger players, unless you're the Yankees or Bosox, and can buy your way to the top. Seattle can't do that. So, you need some veteran players. Guys like League and perhaps Aardsma are more valuable then more unproven prospects. Even the best prospects are lucky to be servicable.
Unless you believe that Mariner management is willing to wait five years for the team to come together as a unit, you need some veterans on the ballclub. Tampa Bay sucked for many years, until those top prospects came together. Seattle's timeframe would be no different, if they simply traded anyone of value for more magic beans.
When do you stop? How many of those prospects are going to fail and how many succeed? It's a long process when you approach it that way.
|20. By: FelixElRey on 12-31-2010 07:19:29|
Who ever said anything about trading Aardsma and/or League for unproven prospects? The hope is to get a useful bat or settle for a near-ready prospect. Since when did Aardsma become the father-figure veteran that can't be traded? He's a decent closer at a good price and that window of affordability is shrinking, so it would be best to be able to trade him this season.
Looking at our roster, if we are to contend in a couple years, we would have Felix, Figgins, Guti, Ichiro, Olivo, etc as veterans.
Edman, great idea to keep Aardsma for the sake of having a veteran when we'll be paying him 8 million a year to uncomfortably watch as he walks batters with a one-run lead.
|21. By: Edman on 12-31-2010 09:35:07|
Felix, almost all trades include prospects. A "near-ready" prospect is still a prospect. How great was Alex Gordon suppose to be? You play the lottery with prospects, unless they're the rarest of rare can't miss prospects. How many of those do you think Aardsma or League will bring back. I can tell you without a doubt......zero.
Wow, Aardsma is suddenly making $8 million a year, while being unreliable? I'm not quite sure how he gets there, without being reliable. Never let perception guide you, she's a misleading mistress.
I'll take Felix and Ichiro to lead this group going forward into the near future, and maybe Figgens. But Guti and Olivo have some value. You have a ton of faith in a young bullpen holding things down in what I assume is 2012, if you're referring to Olivo.
For the record, I never said Aardsma can't be traded. I said it's not wise to continue to trade everything of value that you have, sans Felix and Ichrio. We haven't even seen any of the kids pitch when it matters, and you're ready to hand them the keys?
You have to have a core of players who have a good amount of major league experience, and that includes the bullpen. I don't think five months of service is enough time to start selling parts. They need to earn roles, not assume they deserve them.
It's important to have prospects, but you can't ignore the value of key veterans to act as role models and help the kids transition. We can disagree, that's fine, but keep your arguments grounded. The Aardsma $8 million to walk batters in a one run game, is attempting to sell your personal bias. I'll go along with the $8 million thing, but throwing in the little part about uncomfortable saves, isn't. I didn't hear a lot of people complaining about that in 2009. The whole team lost focus, for whatever reason, and he was no exception.
|22. By: Madison Mariner on 12-31-2010 10:38:43|
"Championship teams are build with a combination of veteran and younger players, unless you're the Yankees or Bosox, and can buy your way to the top."
And the last decade provides enough anecdotal evidence to suggest that even these 2 franchises can't do that(i.e. buy you're way to a championship every year.)
The best way to succeed is, in my opinion, the Rays' current model, in which a strong minor league system allows a team to build a core of great young players developed from within(or traded for by sending some of that young talent to other teams for players to complement your own young talent). The last step is filling out the team with key free agents--not necessarily expensive ones, but ones who can help at positions where they are needed.
Sometimes, a year or two may be needed to consolidate the team and reload(as the Rays will no doubt do in 2011 by giving playing time to Jennings, Hellickson, and possibly McGee) vs. buying the latest big name free agent(as the Yankees/Red Sox do). The Red Sox may be the exception, as they have a good minor league system and can afford great free agents as they showed us this offseason.
And the Rays' model is what the M's should aspire to, IMO--with hopefully a higher payroll and more activity in the IFA market. :)
|23. By: FelixElRey on 12-31-2010 10:57:34|
My whole point is that Aardsma is getting expensive quickly, and he's not a shut down closer like you would prefer if you're paying him the money he'll be owed the next couple years. I didn't bother to look at the numbers, because anyone that watches him close games would agree that it is not comfortable consistent enough.
This surgery can be a blessing in disguise. It allows us to not throw the kids into the fire since we'll start the season with both vets anchoring the back of the bullpen. It doesn't take years to season as a reliever. Just ask the Padres. Once Aardsma reestablishes his value, trade him. Let the kids bump up a notch in responsibility. Then, if all things are going well, trade League at the deadline to someone who will overpay for a hard-throwing reliever that has (hopefully) proven he can close out games for the month Aardsma was gone. Let the kids bump up another notch and tough it out the rest of the season.
By season's end, we may have sorted out who will stick in the bullpen and who has flopped or isn't ready yet, and we go get a reasonably cheap reliever in free agency if we're ready to make some noise in the divison.
|24. By: rjfrik on 12-31-2010 11:01:17|
I think you guys are on the right page with the Rays being the comparison model to an extent. The one thing the Rays do right is develop within. The problem with the Rays is they have no money to extend their great players and bring other great players in to build around.
Because of this I think the best organization to learn from is either the Sox or the Phillies. Both ballclubs built from within, (with guys like Ellsbury, Youkalis, Pedroia, Lester, Bucholtz, Papplebon, Bard and Rollins, Utley, Victorino, Werth, Howard, Brown, Hamels, Madsen) had a strong enough minor league system to trade for A+ talent (Gonzalez and Halladay) and have a big enough bank roll to sign type A free agents (Crawford, Lackey Drew, and Lee, Ibanez, Palanco).
These two clubs in my opinion are heads and shoulders above all others and that includes the Yankees and the Rays.
We are starting the first part (build from within) and I have no doubt once we do so the ownership will allow us to acquire the third part (Sign Type A Free Agents) but the entire thing doesn't happen over night. Jack has been with us for two years and the plan has been drafted, but it won't be in full motion until his 4th year under control. It's a five year plan and the only way to deal with it is to get on board.
|25. By: Edman on 12-31-2010 11:48:35|
The Rays "now" appear to be the right way to go, because of current success. How many years of top five overall draft picks did it take to support that cause?
It's an answer, one that fit a franchise that was unwilling to spend. It took ten years of not winning more than 70 games in a season, to build that franchise. You think the M's ownership is going to be that patient?
The concept is correct. Without strong development tools in the minor leagues, teams without $140 million a year payrolls suffer. But, the current Tampa Bay Rays are built around veterans that they developed. It's not like a couple of years of good drafts turned the franchise around.
I believe in the path that Jack has created. It's logical and thought out. But, it's not going to get there if you keep trading valuable players for more "B" level prospects. You can buy 10 lotto tickets or 25 lotto tickets. You improve your odds, but neither guarantees you a big winner.
Let's wait until Aardsma reaches $8 million a season, before making a foolish preemptive strike. There's no rush to trade him, unless you get the right deal. Money is money, and many players get paid more than they're worth. It's the nature of the game. Teams aren't going to avoid it. Since when should it be our concern how much they pay any player. By the time Aardsma reaches that plateau, perhaps he is a shutdown closer. Until then, let's not give him up just to avoid what hasn't happened yet.
|26. By: rocketdawg31 on 12-31-2010 12:14:57|
Some of you seem to think that teams with the most magic beans win games in the end. That is seldom true.
Never let perception guide you, she's a misleading mistress.
LOL. Edman, there have been times when I'm convinced that you were a Victorian English schoolteacher in a previous life. I'd say John Houseman, but you seem older than what he's been dead for you to be him reborn.
Such imperious presentation of opinion, so willing to rap some knuckles.
But I don't think Edman wrong in this instance. It's probably an impossible stat to truly quantify, but I was once told years ago that only 1 out of every 14 "prospects" ever see the major leagues at all. That's throughout baseball, not any one organization.
Being a prospect does not ensure that you're only marking time 'til your inevitable major-league debut, and I don't think anyone here is naive enough to think otherwise. Or suggesting such.
Myself, I'm excited about the additions of kids like Marcus Littlewood, Jordan Shipers. I'd even tell you with a gun to my head that I think they WILL be something at higher levels. But none of us know. None of are going to know who's going to be the contributors to that championship dream until games have been played and mettle has been proven.
Guys like J.J. Putz and Ryan Franklin received very little fanfare and press as prospects when they were starting out in our org, and both have had substantial major-league careers up to this point.
We've been talking a lot about our farm system and how it ranks, and how many blue-chip prospects we'll need to contend and 2011 is a doomed year yadda yadda, yakety-schmakety.
But contributions to a championship team (or hell, any winning ballclub) don't just come from the supremely-talented youngsters walking yellow brick roads and the wily, proven vets that made good on their prospect status and became stars. They also come in bits and pieces of minor-league journeymen who get exactly one chance to shine and do. Or forgotten castoffs determined on redemption.
The cast of characters on a championship team is always myriad in ability and origin.
Did any of us know who David Pauley was before this last year? His talent may be found wanting at this level, but here he is.
Who's to say HE won't be the guy we give the ball to get the 27th out of Game Seven, someday? I think it's not likely, but hey, it could happen. None of us know.
All I do know is I'm waiting patiently (like I always do throughout winter)and come February 15th or so, I get my spring and my license to dream.
And I dream of World Championships until it's clear that it's not the year.
|27. By: Edman on 12-31-2010 13:40:51|
rocketdawg, I'm probably an old soul by nature, but I fully agree with you. I know that most come here to talk about prospects, hence the title of the page. But, unless you have the most incredible group of prospects in baseball, they alone aren't likely to lead the charge to victory.
There are many ways to get to the World Series. The Giants proved that last year. But, they aren't the example of what is always successful. In 2009, Jack was the talk of baseball. His defense matters approach became the latest craze in baseball, because it appeared successful. It takes preventing enough runs to outscore your opponent. Be it by pitching, defense or offense. IMHO, teams with a balance of all three are the most likely to succeed.
It's just not simple enough to come up with one answer, there isn't one. Trading Aardsma and/or League doesn't fix anything, per se. Getting the right kind of value back does, financially and by a player's performance.
|28. By: sexymarinersfan on 12-31-2010 14:01:44|
The same thing could have been said about Jason Vargas or Doug Fister. The bottom line is, and according to Jack and the FO is to acquire talent and pieces that will make this team better for the future and the long haul. So far Z is doing that. I've seen no reason at all to even mention a firing in the GM department. I really like the direction that we are going. Yes there are some things that I may disagree with, but compared to GM's of the past I really like what's going on.
|29. By: STEVEV on 12-31-2010 16:54:55|
It seems the cold winter air, the dusting of snow, and the prospect of spring on the way has some of us waxing somewhat poetic, and that's fine with me. Spring training can't start too soon. Optimisim for the the future of the Seattle organization, in my humble opinion, should run strong, and it seems to here at PI.
I love this site. Jason, Chris and Rick, as well as all of the fine people who come here and put their opinions on the line. All of you are great, and I value your perspectives. Thank you.
Happy New Year to all of you. Go Mariners!
|30. By: StandinPat on 12-31-2010 17:04:09|
"You can't keep trading your better players for magic beans, and think they they're going to grow into strong enough beanstalks, that you can climb them and get the giants gold."
First off, that's a super bizarre analogy. How are prospects these mystical items that only produce something positive in a fairy tale? Fact is, young, unproven players, turn into something positive every single year. Do all of them? Ofcourse not, but it's not like the ones that do are so few are far between that they are comparable to a magic item in a fairy tale.
Second off, teams get better by trading "proven veterans" all the time. The M's got considerably better by trading JJ, and greatly improved their future by trading Lee. It's not liking trading veterans for younger players and getting better at the same time are mutually exclusive.
"Championship teams are build with a combination of veteran and younger players"
And what does that have to do with trading Aardsma? He's under team control through 2012, and it's pretty unlikely they'll be challenging for a champoionship by them, with or without him, so that's a moot point.
"Seattle's timeframe would be no different, if they simply traded anyone of value for more magic beans."
Again, what does that have to do with this situation? If they traded Aardsma that would mean the M's haved moved all of he and Rob Johnson this offseason. How is that the same as trading anyone that has some value?
"The Aardsma $8 million to walk batters in a one run game, is attempting to sell your personal bias. I'll go along with the $8 million thing, but throwing in the little part about uncomfortable saves, isn't"
Then you weren't paying attention. Aardsma had very few "clean" innings, and even when he was racking up save after save, he still found a way to make things way too interesting. Further more, Aardsma walks a batter every other inning, thats not FelixElRey's personal bias, thats a fact.
"There's no rush to trade him, unless you get the right deal"
How is that any different than anything people have said around here? Where has anyone stated that they simply want to trade Aardsma for Cleto 2.0? The only point anyone has brought up is that trading AArdsma now, makes alot of sense for alot of reasons. Never did they say to just trade him regardless of the return.
"Trading Aardsma and/or League doesn't fix anything, per se. Getting the right kind of value back does, financially and by a player's performance."
Such as Pablo Sandoval from the Giants or an "impact bat" from the Rockies? The right value is exactly what Jack is looking for, and is exactly what those in the "trading Aardsma makes sense camp" are expecting. Quit acting like people are advocating trading Aardsma for some unproven A ball pitcher 3-4 years away from the bigs.
|31. By: on 01-01-2011 05:16:51|
"Championship teams are build with a combination of veteran and younger players, unless you're the Yankees or Bosox, and can buy your way to the top. Seattle can't do that. So, you need some veteran players. Guys like League and perhaps Aardsma are more valuable then more unproven prospects."
Got it. So championship teams are built by committing millions of dollars to mediocre relievers. And during the 2006 offseason, championship teams were built by building around Gil Meche instead of letting him sign elsewhere. Brilliant. Those are exactly the kinds of moves the 2010 Giants, 2010 Rangers, and 2008/2010 Rays made to contend without spending with the big boys. Totally.
Every championship team, including the Yankees during their stretch of greatness, starts with a core of club-controlled players. To get one of those, you either need a good farm system, a few really good scrap heap pickups a la Andres Torres/Carlos Pena/David Ortiz, or both.
Dayton Moore builds teams exactly the way you seem to want the Ms to, Edman. Committing huge money and years to 2nd and 3rd-tier free agents, giving multi-year contracts to non-elite relievers, blocking minor leaguers who could be useful to give 500 plate appearances to veterans like Mike Jacobs, etc. How's that working out for him?
You need to make good use of the resources you have. Aardsma's a moot point now, and League will probably hang around, too, but surely you must realize that expensive, mediocre players are not the way to build a contender. Aardsma himself should demonstrate for you how easy it is to find good relievers. The Ms got him for a guy for whom a Grade C prospect label would be extremely generous. We got Cortes for the worst player in major league baseball. Relief pitching at the level of League and Aardsma is not a rare commodity. League was 75th in WAR among relievers last year, Aardsma was 95th. If you prefer more traditional stats, they were 64th and 65th overall in ERA, respectively. In other words, every team in 2010 had on average at least two relievers better than both Aardsma and League, by both advanced and traditional metrics. At a combined $6-7 million, those aren't assets, they're liabilities.
You're right that contending teams have to rely on veterans to fill a number of roles. No farm system produces 25 productive club-controlled players at once. Good teams don't build around mediocre veterans, though. They use them to fill out a roster, and devote most of their resources to making moves that have actual upside.
"I know that most come here to talk about prospects, hence the title of the page. But, unless you have the most incredible group of prospects in baseball, they alone aren't likely to lead the charge to victory."
Nobody on this site, and nobody in his right mind, disagrees with that statement. It's a hell of a long way from that truism to believing it's a good idea for a team in this situation to hang onto a player like Aardsma.
|32. By: Softballer on 01-01-2011 23:52:52|
Quick comment on McPherson: His demise came through a series of back injuries that wrecked his career before he really got started, so we can't say definitively that a healthy Dallas McPherson wouldn't have hit in the majors.
|33. By: StandinPat on 01-02-2011 12:27:04|
McPherson's demise came from striking out a shit ton and not drawing enough walks. Back issues or not, the writing was already on the wall with that one.
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