Sunday, June 15, 2008

Putting the best team on the field

Are we doing it? Sure, we're in first place, but every time this team loses 2 games in a row I wonder about this. I would like to see this team do better than a first round playoff exit, and if we aren't careful, we may not even get that far if the enemy to the north, who all but gave up on the season before it started, keeps playing well.

Here are the current, updated projections for two of our starting outfielders:
The format is BA/OBP/SLG/LW runs over replacement per 650 PA

Anderson 267/311/414/+11
Matthews 257/333/406/+16

These are below average players, as average is 20 runs above replacement level. Fortunately, we have a couple average outfielders rotting on our bench:

Rivera 271/323/446/+20
Willits 272/372/350/+18

As for better options, Adam Dunn could be a trade possibility:

Dunn 233/366/457/+34

His offensive numbers would take a hit moving from the bandbox and weaker NL, but still gets on base and has much more power than our other options. He'd have to be agreeable to fulltime DH duties, as a left fielder he's bad enough to give back all the runs he creates about the other Angel options.

Just say no to this one:

Ken Griffey Jr. 247/338/415/+18

Also a terrible defender, he's not going to make this team any better. Sad to say it, but at this point of his career Griffey isn't going to make very many teams better.

Here's next year's free agent options (2009 projections used)

Manny Ramirez 268/379/484/+44 - He'd have to be agreeable to DH, but getting him would finally make sense if we only have to pay his new contract, not surrender players to the evil nation. If Boston declined his option and offered arbitration, Ramirez might take it (I think the latest news is he's happy there and wants to stay, though of course that could change at any time.) If he costs us another first round pick, I'd prefer to pass.

Pat Burrell 246/385/442/+38 - Another who would have to be fulltime DH to make sense.

Dunn 233/366/457/+34

Milton Bradley 270/367/445/+33 - Projection will look even better if he keeps hitting like the best hitter in the league this year. At this level of hitting his occasional problems are worth putting up with. Also could play a decent outfield, allowing us to continue to rotate players in and out of the DH spot. We signed a Texas switch hitting OF coming off a career year two years ago, but the difference is Bradley has serious talent. An average year from him looks like Matthews' career year. A career year from Bradley deserves MVP consideration.

Bob Abreu 264/376/406/+29 - I would prefer to pass. As a one year player his OBP is good enough to make him useful, but he's 35 and the power is going away fast. A multiyear deal would be a mistake.