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Sunday, May 26, 2013

Shaikin: Angels lineup could have paired Mike Trout and Miguel Cabrera

Pitch Perfect, And It’s Gone

When the Florida Marlins decided to trade [Miguel] Cabrera in 2007, the Angels offered second baseman Howie Kendrick, catcher Jeff Mathis and one of two pitchers, Ervin Santana or the late Nick Adenhart. The Marlins wanted both pitchers; the Angels had second thoughts about including Kendrick; the talks deteriorated to the point where the two teams publicly clashed about whether they ever had agreed on a deal.

The Marlins traded Cabrera and pitcher Dontrelle Willis to the Detroit Tigers for six young players, none of whom amounted to much in Miami. That makes it a lose-lose proposition: the Marlins lose for taking an inferior package; the Angels lose for not securing an elite slugger in his prime.

Cabrera signed with the Tigers at 25 for $152 million. The Angels later signed Albert Pujols at 32 for $250 million.

The District Attorney Posted: May 26, 2013 at 02:09 PM | 23 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: angels, history, marlins, miguel cabrera, tigers

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   1. BDC Posted: May 26, 2013 at 05:49 PM (#4452670)
I don't see how the Angels "lost" in that non-deal. Both Kendrick and Santana were good players for several years for them; Mathis was expendable, but Adenhart might have been good, too. Even if you knew you'd be trading for a Triple Crown winner, there's a point at which you give up too much value, and it sounds from TFE as if the Angels thought they'd reached it.
   2. shoewizard Posted: May 26, 2013 at 06:27 PM (#4452685)
Kendrick 16 WAR and Santana 10 WAR and Mathis 1.6 for the angels since 2008, Cabrera 32.

So the three of them didn't even come all that close to adding up to Cabrera in total, and of course you have to figure in what the "alternative" players in those roster spots would have contributed in addition to Cabrera.

I get their hesitancy, but that was a big whiff. Hindsight being 20/20 and all
   3. Poster Nutbag Posted: May 26, 2013 at 06:39 PM (#4452692)
Entirely too many "what if's" occur though.

Example: If they're close to a title (or defending one), but not quite there, does Trout get traded for someone else, perhaps on the pitching end?
   4. BDC Posted: May 26, 2013 at 06:55 PM (#4452699)
Another what-if: would the Angels have kept Cabrera at 3B the whole time? That would have greatly increased his value to them. Their first basemen were pretty good, if transient, from 2008-13; their 3B, aside from one excellent year by Figgins in '09, somewhat less so.
   5. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: May 26, 2013 at 06:56 PM (#4452700)
2007! I love posts like this. #3 is spot on, there are just too many "what ifs". The biggest being, what if Cabrera simply doesn't feel as comfortable in Anaheim as he does in Detroit and simply OPS's 850-880(Still very good, but not Cabreraesque). Its fun to play with the numbers and count the WAR and compare, etc. etc, but you just never know. Maybe Miggy could've started drinking a lot more tequila in California and would be in Betty Ford by now...you just never know this stuff.
   6. tshipman Posted: May 26, 2013 at 07:56 PM (#4452727)
The biggest being, what if Cabrera simply doesn't feel as comfortable in Anaheim as he does in Detroit and simply OPS's 850-880(Still very good, but not Cabreraesque).


Cabrera's hitting pretty much tracks his drinking, doesn't it?

The years where he's a drinking man, he's a good, but not outstanding hitter. He gives up the sauce and he's just that much better. The risk is pretty much all on whether Cabrera stops drinking or not in Anaheim.
   7. Darren Posted: May 26, 2013 at 08:25 PM (#4452739)
I think you have to, if you're going to evaluate trades at all, generally assume that the guys would do about the same for any team. Maybe they wouldn't, of course, but without that assumption, you don't have anything to work from.

#2 makes the case that the Angels lost because the three players don't even add up to Cabrera's wins, but I don't find it entirely convincing. There's also money to consider. Kendrick's made $20M, Santana's made $42M (plus brought back Brandon Sisk in a trade!), and Mathis's made $7M. That's $69M for 27 WAR vs. $110M that the Tigers have paid for Cabrera's 32 WAR. That's a much better value and looks like the right move for the Angels. Alternatively you could argue that the Angels would have been better off if they could have had an elite player who could get all of that value in one position, but they seem to have done fairly well with that value spread out around their roster.
   8. Darren Posted: May 26, 2013 at 08:28 PM (#4452740)
Oh yeah, forgot to add in Dontrelle's roster spot and salary to the mix.
   9. JJ1986 Posted: May 26, 2013 at 08:36 PM (#4452742)
Willis was extended after the trade. I think he was only signed for the upcoming year at the time.
   10. Walt Davis Posted: May 26, 2013 at 10:09 PM (#4452778)
I'm having conflicting vague memories:

a) Angel fans were very reluctant to give up Kendrick in such a deal;
b) Angel fans were fine with giving up Kendrick with the great Brandon Wood in the wings.

:)

The big player for the Marlins was Maybin who has been an above-average CF despite the lousy hitting. Naturally they traded him for a couple of relievers to make room for Coghlan. Oops.

And, really, from a WAR perspective, the big mistake here was made by the Marlins. Kendrick and Santana would have been worth much, much, much more than what they got from Detroit. Of course they'd have probably traded both those guys back in 2010 so it's hard to say.
   11. PreservedFish Posted: May 26, 2013 at 10:21 PM (#4452789)
Is replacement level really the correct baseline here?
   12. The District Attorney Posted: May 26, 2013 at 10:32 PM (#4452793)
I love "what ifs", but I was still a little reluctant to post this, because the elephant in the room is that if Adenhart hadn't been in California that day, he'd presumably still be alive. However, pursuing that line of thought leads us into both the unknowable and the highly depressing.

I don't recall Wood's situation being viewed as affecting Kendrick's, as although it wasn't clear that Wood would be able to stick at SS, I think it was assumed he'd be at 3B if he didn't, not 2B. (I suppose maybe the theory was that Wood at 3B would move Figgins to 2B? But I don't recall such a discussion.) I guess if you thought Wood and Cabrera were both best suited for 3B, that would be a possible reason not to want Cabrera. Which would just make this even more of a hindsight mistake by the Angels, of course ;-)

Kendrick was often compared to Rod Carew, which explains in part why they didn't want to risk trading him, and although of course he hasn't been that, he's been pretty good; as said above, certainly better than what the Marlins actually got. His stat lines are reminiscent of Brandon Phillips (and thus Joe Morgan ;-), which is funny considering how much publicity the two guys get, even though one is in Cincy and the other is in LA.

I tend to think the Angels wouldn't have traded Trout, since they didn't trade any of the other mega-prospects. So if they had pulled the trigger on this, they quite possibly would have both guys now. (And Trout would probably give Cabrera more RBI, making it even more likely that Cabrera would win the MVP over Trout! ;-)

It's funny how we all know Cabrera is an alcoholic and simultaneously ignore it; I guess Mickey Mantle is the comparison there. After Cabrera missed a playoff-decisive game drunk and threatened peoples' lives in a bar during the offseason, and Leyland's response in both cases was to protect him, I thought we were on the road to tragic disaster. But apparently, whatever was done worked. One day, I'm sure we'll get the full story on this. I'm quite curious.
   13. Cooper Nielson Posted: May 26, 2013 at 10:45 PM (#4452801)
It's funny how we all know Cabrera is an alcoholic and simultaneously ignore it;

Seems to me people talk about it all the time.

After Cabrera missed a playoff-decisive game drunk and threatened peoples' lives in a bar during the offseason, and Leyland's response in both cases was to protect him

1. He didn't miss the game, at least not literally.
2. The second incident you describe is the same as the first incident. The actual second incident involved policemen who found him drunk (in his car) on the side of the road.
   14. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: May 26, 2013 at 10:54 PM (#4452811)
I don't recall Wood's situation being viewed as affecting Kendrick's, as although it wasn't clear that Wood would be able to stick at SS, I think it was assumed he'd be at 3B if he didn't, not 2B. (I suppose maybe the theory was that Wood at 3B would move Figgins to 2B? But I don't recall such a discussion.)
That's pretty much it. Kendrick hit a metric ton in the minors, so he was going to get all the rope in the world at 2nd base. Wood's position was almost exclusively SS in the minors until 2007, when the Angels tried him out at 3B because they had such a hole there.

For the life of me, I still can't understand what everyone else saw in that guy. His powered seemed like a park creation, and those K numbers... ugh.
   15. The District Attorney Posted: May 26, 2013 at 10:58 PM (#4452813)
Okay, doing my research... The Feb. 16, 2011 incident began with Cabrera threatening people in a bar, and ended up in a DUI [link]. You're right that he did show up for the game on October 3, 2009; he just did it with a .26 blood alcohol level and went 0-for-4 with a GIDP ;-) [link]
   16. Cooper Nielson Posted: May 26, 2013 at 11:26 PM (#4452823)
OK. I seem to recall he pulled the same stunt in the October 2009 incident. Maybe threatening to kill people is just drunk Cabrera's idea of a really funny joke. :)
   17. Walt Davis Posted: May 26, 2013 at 11:33 PM (#4452824)
he just did it with a .26 blood alcohol level and went 0-for-4 with a GIDP

I'm not sure I could stay awake much less swing a bat. And actually put a ball into play?

From his perspective it must have looked like that video of the HR pitches.

(Granted, I honestly don't know what a .26 feels like but either I'm a lightweight compared to Cabrera or there have been times in my life where my BA was a lot higher than .26)
   18. tshipman Posted: May 26, 2013 at 11:58 PM (#4452825)
Wow, if he really had a .26, why the #### did Leyland write his name down on the lineup card?

Yowza.
   19. Walks Clog Up the Bases Posted: May 27, 2013 at 12:21 AM (#4452828)
Willis was extended after the trade. I think he was only signed for the upcoming year at the time.


The trade was still a slam-dunk, but the Willis extension remains one of Dombrowski's few WTF moments. To take a pitcher who was coming off a pretty terrible season and extend him for three years at somewhat generous money before he threw a pitch for the team didn't make an ounce of sense then and looked downright idiotic before the ASB that season.
   20. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: May 27, 2013 at 12:32 AM (#4452830)
the elephant in the room is that if Adenhart hadn't been in California that day, he'd presumably still be alive. However, pursuing that line of thought leads us into both the unknowable and the highly depressing


Yup.

That said, this is the kind of thing I think about all the time. I lost an immediate family member to a drunk driving accident, and a million-and-one things like this cross my mind fairly regularly, especially around her birthday, which would have been a couple of weeks ago. Not least of which is that there's a scenario -- probably about a billion of them, actually -- in which I was never born and she's still alive. And I will attest that relatively tiny, trivial things cross your mind all the time, much smaller than the trade-my-life-for-hers kind of situation. Case-in-point (and I share this with reservation, because I worry about being judged for it, but there you have it): would I have been better at talking to girls as a kid if I had grown up with a living sister rather than the ghost of one? It's a ridiculous, small thought that I feel guilty for having, but if you spend a lot of time pondering this kind of situation, eventually you come around to the ridiculous and small as well as the big & profound.
   21. Urkel's Boner Posted: May 27, 2013 at 12:36 AM (#4452831)
Considering Mike Trout was the 25th pick in the 2009 draft, the Tigers lineup could have even more easily paired Mike Trout and Miguel Cabrera.
   22. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: May 27, 2013 at 02:18 AM (#4452852)
he just did it with a .26 blood alcohol level and went 0-for-4 with a GIDP


Sure trundling up there 4 time wouldn't be too bad. Having to stay alert at a position for 9 innings without falling over is a major accomplishment.
   23. AROM Posted: May 27, 2013 at 02:33 PM (#4453055)
"I tend to think the Angels wouldn't have traded Trout, since they didn't trade any of the other mega-prospects. So if they had pulled the trigger on this, they quite possibly would have both guys now. (And Trout would probably give Cabrera more RBI, making it even more likely that Cabrera would win the MVP over Trout! ;-)"

Trout was drafted after the Cabrera trade, so that wasn't a possibility. The Trout draft pick was a comp pick for losing Teixiera. That probably doesn't happen if Cabrera is an Angel. But they could take Trout instead of Grichuk with the K-Rod comp pick.

When comparing production of Kendrick/Santana to Cabrera, also consider salary. They were significantly cheaper during most of that time, so if the Angels had kept the same payroll they would have had to forego some other signing.

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