2007 Photo Outtakes: He’s No Angel
by Ken Arneson
2007-11-15 23:58

With Barry Bonds bearing on a bout behind bars, and Alex Rodriguez resurrecting his Bronx-based business cards, the Anaheim Angels are once again going to struggle to supplement their Guerrero-only offense.

With those two players now likely to remain out of the AL West next year, there are basically no acquisitions the Angels could make that would make me feel like they were locks to win the division next year. The rumor mill has Miguel Cabrera and Dan Uggla possibly heading to Anaheim in exchange for Howie Kendrick and Nick Adenhart, but that idea does not scare me. Cabrera and Uggla would give the Angels some sorely missing power, but they would also turn a good infield defense into a bad one.

All of which is to say, the price of Dan Haren and Joe Blanton just went up a little higher. There’s more incentive now to stay the course, to see if the A’s can stay healthy for once, and if they can, to find out if what they have is good enough to beat the Angels.  Unless we hear some bad news about the rehabs of Eric Chavez or Travis Buck or Justin Duchscherer, I think Billy Beane is now more likely to tinker with the team than to blow it up.

Comments: 6
1.   jmoney
2007-11-16 09:35

1.  I actually had the opposite reaction to the Bonds indictment: the way I see it, the only way the A's were going to have a competent offense next season is if they sign Bonds to DH. Now there's pretty much zero chance that will happen.

I don't pretend to know what Beane will do, but if I were him, this would make me more likely to blow it up and start over.

2.   Ken Arneson
2007-11-16 10:14

2.  Interesting, jmoney. Bonds would certainly improve any offense, but with the A's, it sets in motion a series of defensive changes that I think would be disastrous. It means you have to play Cust in the field, where he's brutal, and also move Swisher to center, where instead of being an above-average fielder, he's now well below. That defensive alignment, in my opinion, is a primary cause of the A's collapse in the second half.

I'm not as worried as most people are about the A's offense. They scored the third-most road runs in the AL. I really like the Buck/Swisher/Barton combo at the top of the lineup; that's a lot of runners on base. I just think they need to construct their lineup so that it doesn't have any gaping Kendall/Kotsay-like holes killing rallies, and where they can play their defenders in an alignment where they're very good instead of very bad.

If you're going to go for it, I'd say the best solution would be to get a good, right-handed hitting centerfielder: Andruw Jones, Torii Hunter, or Mike Cameron. Jones and Hunter are probably too expensive, but Cameron, with the suspension, might come more cheaply. That would fill the offensive hole in CF, give a little right-handed punch to a strongly left-handed lineup, and put Swisher and Buck in the corners where they're good.

3.   jmoney
2007-11-16 11:53

3.  I see your point, Ken. I had kind of assumed that the offensive benefits of getting Bonds into the lineup with Cust, Swisher, and Buck would offset the obvious defensive deficiencies of that outfield. I wonder if there's anyone out there who's less lazy than I am who could come up with a statistical argument for or against the idea. Probably not, since it's now a moot point anyway.

I read your earlier post about the A's not being as offensively challenged as we the fans would like to believe, but I just can't believe in that road-runs statistic. I've watched the A's offense be inept for too many years now. Maybe I'm being stubborn here, but given the choice between a w/Bonds alignment and a w/Mark Kotsay alignment, I'll take the Bonds one, please. And I don't think Cameron is the answer.

BTW, taking a break from what we think Beane WILL do, what do you think he SHOULD do? Tear it down or let it ride?

4.   Philip Michaels
2007-11-16 11:55

4.  Then again, if ever there was a market inefficiency to exploit it's the market for players who are under federal indictment.

5.   Ken Arneson
2007-11-16 14:27

5.  3 I waffle on what I think he should do.

Emotionally, no doubt, I want him to rip it apart and gather a boatload of young prospects. I want to see some superstars in green and gold. I'd like to look to the future and think, wow, we're going to be great for five or six years, instead of thinking, well, maybe we have a 50-50 chance of making the playoffs next year if all goes well.

Analytically, I'm like you, jmoney, too lazy (or too time-crunched) to do the math and figure out what I think is the right thing to do. The good thing about having a GM you can trust is you can outsource that analysis and decision making to him, and not worry too much about it. Unlike say, Dodger fans, who have to worry if their GM has even seen an estimate of the math, let alone run through the whole calculation.

6.   Ken Arneson
2007-11-16 14:35

6.  Oh, and if it's a choice between w/Bonds and w/Kotsay, I'd take Bonds, too. Kotsay's defense ain't that good anymore, anyway, and his bat is worse. I could be wrong, but I think he's probably done. I don't think the A's win anything next year if Kotsay is the centerfielder.

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