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Thursday, November 03, 2005

GOOD NEWS, BAD NEWS
In the good news division, as has been widely reported, the Angels have signed Bud Black through 2007.

Since taking over in 2000, the Angel pitching staff has ranked 10th, 3rd, 2nd, 10th, 5th, and 4th in the league by ERA+ (as recorded at BB-ref). Maybe it's not the Braves, but that's a pretty good stretch, and you'd have to think that Buddy is a big part of it.

The bad news comes from this OC Register confirmation that the Angels are pursuing Paul Konerko. According to the article, "Konerko is likely seeking a four- or five-year deal in the $50 million-$60 million range." That's a steep price for a guy with a career OPS+ of 114 who turns 30 this March. But that's what happens when a guy has his best season in his walk year.

I just don't know what the hell the Angels think they're going to do with him if they get him. If you DH him, you're probably blocking Kotchman, and Morales one year from now when Erstad's gone and you can put Kotch at first. If you put him at DH or first with Kotch at the other, and put Erstad in center, that might not be bad -- but what are you going to do the next three seasons, when Morales will likely be ready and Garret will need more time to DH? It just strikes me as incredible silliness to clog up the easy end of the defensive spectrum with a 30-year-old who, though pretty good, certainly isn't great.

One would imagine that Bill Stoneman and company have thought through these scenarios, but, if they had, why the hell are they contacting Paulie's agent?

And another thing: do you think Paul Konerko is going to be worth roughly $12M per year over the next four or five years? People that look at this tend to say that one win over replacement is worth maybe $2M-3M, so Konerko would have to be worth 4-6 wins above replacement per year over the course of the contract to be worth it. Call it 5 wins.

Check out his Davenport card at Baseball Prospectus. Can you guess how many times in his career Konerko has produced 5 or more wins above replacement? That's right, once: in 2005.

Now, maybe Davenport's wrong, but I doubt he's off by much, and I think it's something of a stretch to say Konerko'll be worth $12M per year from age 30 through 34.

Every now and then I worry that this team has no direction home, and this is one such occasion.

Comments:
Completely agree with you. Black si, Konerko no.

Acceptable offseason acquisitions would include a LF/DH, Starting pitcher (Byrd?), Bullpen help, and CF prospect. Definitely not 1B.
 
For what it's worth, Gammons reported the other day that the White Sox would go to great extremes to re-sign Konerko -- even including trading Freddie Garcia to make room for Konerko's increased salary. He also said that the Angels were aware that signing Konerko would be something of a longshot. So maybe we don't have too much to worry about.
 
You can listen to an extensive interview with Mike Scoscia at www.minorleaguebaseball.com in which he says Arte Moreno has given the directive to address the team's power shortage via free agency. Sounds like they are going after Konerko. Oh, well.
 
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