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Tuesday, September 28, 2004

STOP PRETENDING
Courtesy of Rob, here are some comments from Joe Sheehan on the pay side of Baseball Prospectus on Guillengate:

I can't think of a precedent for this, where a team discards a starting outfielder with a week to go. I do know that the punishment doesn't fit the crime it followed, and it seems disproportionate even if it capped a series of unpublicized incidents, as was implied by Bill Stoneman ...
Um, Mr. Sheehan: how do you know? The simple fact is that there is more to the story, and a history with Guillen, and almost all of it is in the part of the iceberg below sea-level. We just don't know enough to flat-out say this was the wrong decision. Well, Joe Sheehan pretends he does, and Joe Sheehan always will find a way to bash the Angels:

It's a bold decision to suspend a major player at this stage, but consistent with the philosophy of a franchise that has spent a decade choosing personality over talent.
Rob says that this accusation has the whiff of truth to it, but only just. I'd say Rob is being a bit generous to Sheehan here. It is true that the Angels seem to value leadership and character, occasionally to their detriment. But is this really a pattern they've established over the last decade?

The choice of Garret Anderson over Jim Edmonds in the outfield crunch was not a good one (and this was obvious at the time), but character was hardly the only factor -- Jim Edmonds was injury-prone at the time, remember.

What other examples are there? Um, well ... let's see ... hmm. Well, they thought Mo Vaughn would be a leader and a hitter, and he was a hitter, but the only place he led the team was into discord. But that obviously wasn't a personality-based decision.

Let's see ... we have gritty David Eckstein. Of course, BPro championed Eckstein, who has been average or better at a bargain price for his entire Angel career. So Sheehan can't be referring to that ...

... which brings us to ... um, anybody?

I guess the argument, which Rob refers to, depends on the fact that Erstad and Anderson and Salmon are presumably being paid for more than market value because of their character and blah blah blah ... I might buy it on Erstad (though, his defensive performance in center was sufficient to make him worth the money), but Anderson and Salmon were organization products rewarded for years of hard work; the Angels certainly aren't the first team to overpay to keep homegrown talent, and these decisions have hardly crippled the team.

And, you know, I'm not a big intangibles guy, but there's nothing wrong with getting good players that are good people, too. If you get to pick from two average major league shortstops, and one is a gamer and a good guy, and the other one's kind of a dick, which one would you pick? That's easy, right? Yes, it's a problem when you have a lousy player sucking up playing time for his "intangibles," but that's not all that common, really. Do you really think we're overpaying Aaron Sele because of his personality?

Now, maybe in a few months we'll learn what Guillen did, and we'll all think the team overreacted, and we'll blame Stonemanbot and Scioscia for ___________ ... but, you know, I think our chances of taking this thing are higher without him.

Comments:
I'm on record as saying the decision to Guillen would not hurt the Angels on the field, and may in fact help them, so I agree, more or less.

I don't know how Sheehan can comment that the punishment doesn't fit the crime(s) if he doesn't know what the crime(s) are.
 
I don't get the swipe at Gary DiSarcina implied by linking to his stats. Sure, they may have hung on to him too long--the Angels aren't the only team that's ever done that with a player--but I think a strong case could be made that the *shudder* 1995 collapse was directly related to him getting hurt. Certainly, the players at the time thought so.
 
I absolutely agree that DiSar's '95 injury was a big part of the collapse -- but that's because he was actually a good player that year. In my opinion, his "hitting" in his other years really cancelled out the positives from his good glove or his purported leadership.
 
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