Thursday, July 20, 2006

  • The Blue Jays have designated Shea Hillenbrand for assignment giving them ten days (well, now it's nine, I guess) to trade him. Hillenbrand as oft been linked to rumors involving our Lads, as he's a free swinger who is generally overrated because of a high batting average.

    Would Hillenbrand help the team? Baseball Prospectus pegs his offense as being just above average this year (a .267 equivalent average where .260 is the league benchmark), which would rank fifth amongst our regulars (behind Vlad, The OC, Napoli, and Rivera), and behind Tim Salmon and just ahead of Robb Quinlan amongst our reserves.

    Of course, Q is primarily a platoon player at this point; where Hillenbrand over his career has a 804 OPS against lefties and a 771 versus righties, Quinlan has managed an excellent 934 against southpaws, but a mere 653 against northpaws. Hillenbrand is thus a legit option to play third base (he's better than Ztu and has a better track record of health than Big D), first base (if the team tires of Kendry's on-the-job training), and, naturally, DH.

    Would we be able to acquire Hillenbrand? Though the LA Times reports that Toronto GM J. Pimp Ricciardi is looking for a pitcher and not an infielder, it's not hard to envision a scenario in which the Jays acquire Adam Kennedy and move promising young Aaron Hill to shortstop (thanks to the posters at Halos Heaven for pointing out that moving Hill is a viable possibility).

    But ... the reason Hillenbrand is so easily available is that he's run into problems with management north of the border, and there are rumblings that he's not too beloved in the clubhouse, either. I don't know much about Shea's personal relations, but on the face of it he appears to be a personality type that the Angels like to (and are smart to) avoid. Given the fact that Hillenbrand doesn't appear to provide a significant upgrade at any position, I don't know that Stoneman would make a move for him at this point.

    He wouldn't hurt, but I can't say I really endorse his acquisition.

  • Halofan reopens the rumors of the Angels looking at Miguel Tejada.

    The LA Times alleges that we called the O's about Miggy a few weeks back, and were greeted with a request for Ervin, Howie, and Scot Shields. This is obviously a non-starter.

    Halofan hints that the requested package may be more in line with Orlando Cabrera, JC Romero (praise God), and ... Nick Adenhart.

    That package is a paradox to me in that it seems both like the Angels would be giving up too much and that the Orioles would be acquiring too little.

    The O's have a legit star in Miguel Tejada, so you think they'd be able to acquire, in addition to a major league regular, at least one high-level prospect close the majors. Adenhart is certainly a high-level prospect, but is at least three years away, and is on schedule to be making his major league debut in the last year of Tejada's contract (he's signed through 2009).

    Halofan's post claims that "but LAA's Latin Quarter in the clubhouse is clamoring for Miggy," which sounds legit to me, but I doubt that they or anyone else would want to see Lando Cabrissian dispatched to get him. Previous rumors have intimated that the Angels would acquire Mr. Swings At Everything without ridding themselves of Cabrera, thus moving Tejada and his strong arm to the hot corner.

    The only longterm issues with that are the costs involved in paying Tejada (he's due $38M over the next three seasons, which may be a tad high if he's at third, but a rich team in contention can afford to overpay for the wins that can put them over the top) and the possibility of blocking Brandon Wood in a couple of years. That latter point can be dealt with when we get there, as it won't be an issue until after next season at the earliest.

    If I were Baltimore, however, I'd sure as hell be asking for Brandon Wood in a package. I might settle for Erick Aybar as long as I got someone else to go along with it, such as Dallas McPherson (in whom Halofan claims they have no interest). But I might also ask for Juan Rivera (they play Jeff Conine in left every day, for God's sakes) and, well, you're not getting Adenhart on top of those guys, so maybe Tommy Mendoza or Stephen Marek.

    I obviously have no idea if Baltimore would really ask for that; if I'm Bill Stoneman, I do think long and hard about trading Aybar, McPherson, Rivera, and Mendoza for Tejada, and then flipping Adam Kennedy for Hillenbrand to take over the DH spot. That latter move would mean more of Garret Anderson in left field, which is suboptimal; the hope would be that the decrease from Rivera to Hillenbrand would be more than offset by the improvement from Izturis/McGimp to Tejada.

    Of course, I've come far afield of actual rumor and into the world of rampant speculation, which serves no one any good, and as such I'll stop when I'm behind. Suffice to say that Miguel Tejada is an excellent player, but I don't want to see the Angels gut their future to get him. I'd be loathe to see us dispatch Nick Adenhart, a first-round talent and possibly our best pitching prospect. I don't know if I see Stoneman moving him.

    As for what will happen ... your guess is as good as mine.

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