MLB.com beat writer Mike Scarr recently answered fan’s questions in a mailbag column. In the column he talks about the Gary Matthews signing and the chances of Dallas McPhereson or Casey Kotchman breaking out.
The Angels signed Gary Matthews, Jr. to a five year, $50 million deal. This is a ton of money for a guy who’s had his first big year at the age of 32. Matthews made the news with that amazing over the wall catch for the Rangers and he combined that with his best offensive campaign of his career. His 2006 OPS of .866 was over 100 points higher then his career mark of .755 (which includes 2006) and he set career highs in just about every offensive category outside of stolen bases.
And at least Baseball Prospectus doesn’t give his glove much credit. According to them, he was below average out in the outfield. I haven’t gotten my Bill James Annual yet, but I’m curious to see what the Fielding Bible numbers look like for him.
I think when it comes down to it, this is a lot of money for along time and it’s for one good year. I hope this doesn’t come back to haunt the Angels, but it very well may be.
The Angels swapped right handed pitchers yesterday with the Florida Marlins. Kevin Gregg was decent out of the pen in 2006 for the Angels. He has 221 strikeouts in 255 career innings with a 1.36 WHIP. Chris Resop is a little younger and has some definite control problems. In 38 1/3 career innings, he has 25 walks and 25 strikeouts. I’m not sure what the Angels saw in this trade other then they traded a pitcher who’s 28 for one who’s 24. Then again, there might not be room for Gregg in the teams plans.
The Angels signed right handed relief pitcher Justin Speier to a four year deal this weekend. I haven’t been able to find out how much they’ll be paying so him so it’s hard to pass judgement on the deal until we can determine if it’s a bargain or not. Speier has had two very good years the last two seasons and you’re getting a closer quality reliever. He could be a set up man to K-Rod or be a seventh inning guy if needed. He’ll definitely make out pen better if he can replicate what he did in 2005 or 2006.
Vladimir Guerrero won his sixth silver slugger award with a solid 2006 campaign. It’s the third time that he’s walked away with the award while with the Angels.
The Angels are one of the teams in the running for exlusive negotiating rights for Japanese super star Daisuke Matsuzaka. This is the guy who pitched Japan to a championship in the first World Baseball Classic but I’m worried about how much money might be spent on this guy. It seems like Japanese players have just as much of a chance to be only good as they have of being superstars like Ichiro.
And finally, the Angels lost their pitching coach. Bud Black became the manager of the San Diego Padres this week.
Francisco Rodriguez won the Rolaids Relief Man Award as the best American League Reliever. This is no surprise because it’s a manually calculation that goes to the pitcher with the most saves and wins. Rodriguez led MLB with 47 saves this season.
My primary concern is that Rodriguez mechanics make him an annual injury risk (he received a red light last year in Will Carroll’s injury report). And closing games where he can let it all hang out doesn’t help matters. The Angels want to ink Rodriguez to a multi-year deal but I’m always leery of doing this when it comes to closers. The average shelf life is pretty low and they can flame out quick (see Eric Gagne). Not that I wouldn’t love to have K-Rod in the pen for a long time to come, I’d just like the team to be a little more prudent.
Record – 86-76, Finished Third Place in the American League
Pythagorean Record – 82-80
C - Buck Rodgers (.258/.309/.372)
1b - Lee Thomas (.290/.355/.467)
2b - Billy Moran (.282/.324/.407)
3b - Felix Torres (.259/.306/.392)
SS – Joe Koppe (.227/.352/.301)
LF – Leon Wagner (.268/.326/.500)
CF - Albie Pearson (.261/.360/.352)
RF - George Thomas (.238/.320/.381)
Homeruns – Leon Wagner (37)
Batting Average - Lee Thomas (.290)
OPS - Leon Wagner (.826)
Best Fielder - Billy Moran (18 Fielding Runs Above Average)
SP – Ken McBride (149.3/11/3.50)
SP – Eli Grba (176.3/8/4.54)
SP – Ted Bowsfield (139/9/4.40)
SP - Bo Belinsky (187.3/10/3.56)
SP – Don Lee (149.3/8/3.11)
SP – Dean Chance (206.7/14/2.96)
CL – Tom Morgan (58.7/5/2.91)
Wins – Dean Chance (14)
ERA – Dean Chance (2.96)
Strikeouts – Bo Belinsky (145)
Saves – Tom Morgan (9)
The 1962 Angels won 16 more games then there 1961 counterparts and in only the second season of the frachchise, they had topped the .500 mark. They finished in third place in the American League, ten games behind the first place New York Yankees and five games behind the second place Minnesota Twins.
The teams hitting was pretty mediocre. The Angels finished in the second division in just about every offensive category and they were eighth in the league with a .380 slugging percentage. The leaders on offense were Leon Wagner and Lee Thomas. Wagner set a franchise record with 37 homeruns and 107 RBIs. The 37 homeruns put him at third in the American League and he was fifth in the league in RBIs. He finished fourth in the MVP voting and even won the MVP of the All Star Game. He finished three for four with a homerun, two RBIs and a run.
Lee Thomas was right behind Wagner. He led the team in hitting (.290) and hit 26 homeruns with 104 RBIs. Centerfielder Albie Pearson also had a solid 1962 campaign. His 115 runs led the American League and the former rookie of the year walked 95 times.
Rookie Dean Chance was the teams leader on the mound. He led the team in innings pitched (206.7), wins (14), ERA (2.96) and he was even second in saves with eight. His 2.96 ERA was good for fourth in the American League and he was the only Angel to throw 200 innings.
The Angels peaked on July 21, 1962. After a five game winning streak, the Angels stood at 53-40 and were in second place, 3 1/2 games behind the first place Yankees. They made one final push and on August 8, 1962, the team had finished a four game winning streak and they were 4 1/2 games back of the Yankees but after that, the Angels went 22-27 to finish the season and dropped into third place.
Things definitely appeared to be on the upswing for the Angels after this solid 1962 season. Unfortunately, there were some holes that might explain why this team never got over the hump. They outplayed their Pythagorean Win/Loss by four games and while their team ERA was second in the American League, they were sixth in runs against so their pitching staff looked better then it really was.
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