Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Don't you just love this time of year? Let's just jump into this rumor-heavy LA Times article:

- According to a Times source, Kansas City has demanded Casey Kotchman and Brandon Wood for Mike Sweeney. This indicates to me that Allard Baird (A) is a raging idiot, (B) has no intention of trading Mike Sweeney, (C) takes the Angels for suckers and is going to try to get all he can, or (D) some combination of the above.

With his salary and durability issues, Sweeney isn't worth either one of those guys straight-up, much less in combination. It seems that the Angels realize that, but the article ominously notes that our Lads "are believed to have told the Royals they might consider a deal for Sweeney if Kansas City settled on a lesser prospect than Wood."

- Interesting news on the Manny Ramirez front. While heretofore the BoSox have asked for Ervin Santana and Arizona (part of a rumored three-way that would result in Troy Glaus going to Fenway) has coveted Scot Shields, Boston has now reportedly asked about Orlando Cabrera. This would be in prelude to them dealing Edgar Renteria to Atlanta, who seeks a replacement for Rafael Furcal.

The Angels, in turn, would put either Maicer Izturis or Legs Figgins at shortstop until one of the Wood/Aybar set is ready, which would presumably be in 2007. There is also talk of, if these things happen, the Angels pursuing Rich Aurilia to complement Ztu as an infield reserve.

Trading Cabrera would partially defray the costs of Manny, of course, and sticking Chone in the infield would pretty much necessitate putting Erstad in center, assuming Kotchman was not part of the trade (the nightmare scenario being Kotch traded, Erstad kept at first, and Steve Finley in center). I consider this by far the most intriguing Manny rumor we've heard yet, as it has the singular distinction of not being thoroughly awful. Aurilia would likely be good for an OPS+ in the 80-90 range, not bad for a fifth infielder, and I think Figgins could handle short if given the opportunity. Still, whether or not such a deal would be worthwhile depends on who else we would be giving up, so we'll reserve judgment for now.

- According to his agent, Matt Morris has received "marginal" interest from the Angels. Morris has been a solid pitcher over the course of his career, with a lifetime 116 ERA+ mark in nearly 1,400 innings, and superb 2.68:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Of course, a lot of his dominance came when he was young; in his first four seasons, I estimate that he was around 119 runs above replacement (total), whereas over his last four seasons the figure is around 62.

I think there's a good chance that Morris will get more money and years than he's worth at this point. His last few seasons haven't been as good as Paul Byrd's, for example. So I'd say "marginal" interest is just about right.

- Bill Stoneman says he has been "more focused on pitching" at these meetings, and of course very few rumors we've heard address that. So it will be interesting to see what happens.

More like the Royals GM is on drugs. Unbelievable.
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