January 2012

Pujols vs. Prince, & other contract details

Albert PujolsPrince Fielder. Who got the better deal? Well, it’s probably a matter of how you look at it. And for a really close look, here are some contract details filed to the Major League Baseball Players Association (thanks to colleague Spencer Fordin for passing it along) …


* Player contract is $240M through 10 years and includes a full no-trade clause; valued by MLBPA at exactly $246,841,811. Average annual value: $24M.
* Plus, $1M per year for 10 years of personal services with the club upon retirement (can decline at any time).
* Severely backloaded — $12M in ’12, $16M in ’13, $23M in ’14, $24M in ’15, $25M in ’16, $26M in ’17, $27M in ’18, $28M in ’19, $29M in ’20, $30M in ’21.
* Up to $875K in incentives each season — $50K for All-Star team, $75K for Gold Glove; $75K for LCS MVP; $75K for Silver Slugger; $100K for WS MVP; $500K for MVP ($75K for 2nd or 3rd).
* Up to $10M for milestone accomplishments ($3M for 3,000 hits; $7M for breaking the HR record)
* Other stuff: 4 mutually-agreed-upon seats for all home games (may purchase same seats at end of contract); use of suite for 10 home games per year for Pujols Family Foundation; may purchase suite for all home games; will donate $100K  per year to club charity; gets a suite on the road.


* Player contract is $214M through 9 years and includes limited no-trade protection. Average annual value: $23.8M.
* Not backloaded at all — $23M in ’12 and ’13, $24M from 2014-20.
* Plenty of incentives — $500K for MVP ($200K for 2nd through 5th, $100K for 6th through 10th); $1M for each subsequent MVP; $100K for All-Star team, or being named to Baseball America, The Sporting News or Associated Press All-Star team; $100K for Hank Aaron Award; $100K for Gold Glove; $100K for Silver Slugger; $100K for Division Series MVP; $150K for LCS MVP; $200K for WS MVP.
* Other stuff: May purchase luxury suite that includes four premium field-level seats each year; gets a suite on the road.

I think it’s pretty clear the 32-year-old Pujols got a better, bigger deal than the 27-year-old Fielder. But Scott Boras still did an impressive job with Fielder, by selling him to the needy Tigers in the final stages and managing to get a $200M contract in a year when the market wasn’t particularly ideal for high-priced first basemen. Plus, Fielder can get another contract in his mid-30s.


Here’s a look at some of the details for other Angels contracts …

C.J. Wilson (5-year, $77,584,772M)

* $10M in ’12, $11M in ’13, $16M in ’14, $18M in ’15, $20M in ’16
* $2.5M signing bonus, payable between December 2011 and July 2014.
* Limited no-trade protection.
* Incentives: $50K for All-Star, $75K for Gold Glove, $75K for LCS MVP, $100K for WS MVP, $150K for Cy Young ($75K for 2nd through 3rd).
* Other stuff: 8 Diamond Club tickets to all events at Angel Stadium; may purchase suite at ballpark for all games started; gets a suite on the road.

Howie Kendrick (4-year, $33,494,839M)

* $4.5M in ’12, $8.75M in ’13, $9.35M in ’14, $9.5M in ’15.
* Signing bonus of $1.4M, payable between January 2012 and January 2015.
* Limited no-trade protection.
* Incentives: $50K for All-Star, $75K for Gold Glove, $75K for LCS MVP, $75K for Silver Slugger, $100K for WS MVP, $150K for MVP ($75K for 2nd through 3rd, $50K for 4th or 5th).

Erick Aybar (1-year, $5.075M)

* Incentives: $50K for All-Star, $100K for WS MVP, $75K for LCS MVP, $75K for Gold Glove, $75K for Silver Slugger, $150K for MVP ($75K for 2nd through 3rd, $50K for 4th through 5th).

Alberto Callaspo (1-year, $3.15M)

* Incentives: $50K for All-Star, $75K for Gold Glove, $75K for Silver Slugger, $75K for LCS MVP, $100K for WS MVP, $150K for MVP ($75K for 2nd through 3rd, $50K for 4th through 5th).

LaTroy Hawkins (1-year, $3M)

Incentives: $50K for All-Star, $75K for LCS MVP, $100K for WS MVP, $75K for Gold Glove, $150K for Rolaids Relief Man Award ($75K for 2nd through 3rd, $50K for 4th through 5th).

Kendrys Morales (1-year, $2.975M)

* Incentives: $50K for 550 PA; $50K for All-Star, $75K for Silver Slugger, $75K for Gold Glove, $75K for LCS MVP, $100K for WS MVP, $150K for MVP ($75K for 2nd through 3rd, $50K for 4th through 5th).

Jerome Williams (1-year, $820K)

Incentives: $20K for 16 GS, $20K for 19 GS, $20K for 22 GS, $20K for 25 GS, $20K for 28 GS, $20K for 31 GS, $20K for 35 games pitched overall, $20K for 40 G, $20K for 45 G, $20K for 50 G, $20K for 55 G, $20K for 60 G (no more than $120K can be earned in performance bonuses, though).


Walden, on Year 2 as closer: “I think I have a way better understanding of what it takes”

The Blue Jays’ signing of Francisco Cordero on Tuesday pretty much made it official. Barring an unforeseen trade, you can be almost sure that Jordan Walden will go into the season as the Angels’ closer, a sentiment general manager Jerry Dipoto continually sounded in favor of throughout the offseason. Dipoto would still like to upgrade the bullpen, and a source said he has at least tendered a formal offer to Luis Ayala, but there aren’t really any closers left in the free-agent market (unless you consider Brad Lidge one at this point, which you probably shouldn’t).

The Angels, for good reason, see a lot of promise in the 24-year-old, hard-throwing right-hander, who showed flashes of dominance but also experienced his share of ups and downs as a rookie in 2011.

Walden joined Angels Talk on AM 830 KLAA on Wednesday and said he has already begun throwing almost on an everyday basis in his native Texas. Here are the highlights of his conversation with host Terry Smith

On his rookie season … 

“It was just a great experience, and I learned a lot from last year. Early on in my career in that role as a closer, I was a rookie, I hadn’t been on the road trips, I was new to all the stadiums, it was all of those things. So now I’m going into a new year, knowing what it takes to be at that level.”

On being more prepared for the role this year … 

“Being more comfortable, you know? Being there, saying, ‘I’ve already pitched here.’ I’m going to be a lot more relaxed, and just knowing mentally what I have to do and physically knowing what I have to do to withstand a long season.”

On pitches he’s integrating to his fastball-slider mix … 

“Last year I showed bits and pieces of my changeup, but I think going into spring, getting into the games in spring, I’m really going to try to focus on trying to throw my changeup in games and getting a feel for it in game situations, because you can sit in the bullpen and throw a changeup all day, but once you get in a game and have a hitter up there, it’s a lot different.”

On the Angels having confidence in him as their closer … 

“Oh it’s huge. [Manager Mike] Scioscia having that confidence in me and everybody, especially with the great team that we’re going to have this year. It’s a big role, and I’m just looking forward to it. I’m excited.”

On the toughest part of being a big league closer … 

“Just being able to pitch three days, making sure you have your good stuff every night. If not, you know, sometimes you’re going to be off, but when you’re off, you have to make sure you get people out. You have to find ways. I’ve still got learning to do, but I think I have a way better understanding of what it takes.”

On the Angels bringing in Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson … 

“Oh man, I was blown away. I never thought that would happen this season. I’m just excited for Spring Training, to meet some new people and have a new little team.”

On how he found out about the moves … 

“I woke up and my phone had like 15 missed calls, 15 text messages, and I was just like, ‘Why is everybody calling me?’ And everybody was texting me and I was just like, ‘No way.’ Then when I turned the TV on and they signed CJ Wilson, so it was just like, ‘Wow.'”

Other stuff … 

* MLB.com will unveil their Top 100 Prospects on MLB Network at 7 p.m. PT Hint: Mike Trout made the list. 

* MLB Network will feature an interview with Mike Scioscia, Joe Maddon, Ron Roenicke and Bud Black on Friday at 6 p.m. 

* And here’s a blog post with an update on the Luis Ayala situation


Angels, Pujols fit for prime time

At the very least, the Angels will make two appearances on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball. They’ll probably make more, since the maximum amount of times teams are allowed to be on is five.

But in announcing part of its “Sunday Night Baseball Presented by Taco Bell” schedule on Wednesday, ESPN listed the Angels twice — when they play the Yankees at Yankee Stadium on April 15, and when they play the Rangers in Arlington on May 13. The Yankees and Rangers — which, in case you hadn’t heard, just added Yu Darvish — were listed three times in the recently released schedule, which covers only partly through July 15.

Former Red Sox manager Terry Francona will debut in the Sunday Night booth this year, ESPN wrote, alongside play-by-play commentator Dan Shulman and analyst Orel Hershiser.

ESPN still has a lot left to finalize its schedule. It’s still missing five Sundays between June 3 and July 1, and 11 Sundays between July 22 and Sept. 23. Talking to MLB.com in December, vice president of programming Mike Ryan said ESPN would look to maximize its Angels coverage because they fit their quota now that Albert Pujols is on board.

“Certainly, Albert takes the Angels to an entirely new level,” Ryan said. “We’re in the business of bringing Major League Baseball to a national audience. In order to do that, we need to have competitive teams – the Angels have been competitive. We generally have success with teams from a large market — and the Angels are from a large market, obviously. And then we look to, if we have those two factors, we then consider the marketable stars, the recogizable stars. And the Angels have been competitive, they’re in a big market and they have recognizable stars.”

Game selections for the remainder of the season will be made three weeks (for all remaining June and July games) or two weeks (for August and September) in advance.

 Here’s a look at what ESPN has announced so far (all times 5 p.m. PT) …
* April 8: White Sox at Rangers
* April 15: Angels at Yankees
* April 22: Yankees at Red Sox
* April 29: Rays at Rangers
* May 6: Phillies at Nationals
* May 13: Angels at Rangers
* May 20: Cardinals at Dodgers
* May 27: Nationals at Braves
* July 8: Yankees at Red Sox
* July 15: Cardinals at Reds

Trumbo, Conger to be present in HR Challenge

Angels infielder Mark Trumbo and prospect catcher Hank Conger will be part of a group of past and present ballplayers who will compete in the Trinity Bat Company’s first Home Run Challenge on Saturday at El Dorado High School in Placentia, Calif. Trumbo, who’s nursing a stress fracture in his right foot, won’t participate in the competition, but will be there to sign autographs.

Proceeds from the event will go towards the Cory Hahn Fund, which benefits the SoCal product who was paralyzed from the chest down after an on-field injury while playing for Arizona State University last February. More information on the foundation can be found here.

Trumbo and Conger will be joined by Mike Carp of the Mariners and Danny Espinosa of the Nationals, among others. The event lasts from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. PT — with the finals taking place at 2 — and will also include competitions at the high school, college and adult levels.

Chich-Fil-A will distribute food and Rex “The Wonder Dog” Hudler will conduct a live radio show. Fans can also enter raffles and auctions to win exclusively signed memorabilia and meet the players.

For more information, tickets and registration, visit trinitybats.com.

Also from today …

* Erick Aybar agreed to a one-year deal, but that doesn’t mean a long-term deal is no longer possible.

* The Angels announced that FanFest will take place on April 22, coinciding with the Angels 5K. The Angels will be three weeks into the regular season by April 22 (a Sunday), and will be finishing up a seven-game home stand against the Orioles that day. More information will be revealed at a later date.

With the Aybar signing, the Angels have taken care of all their arbitration-eligible players. Barring another move – and the club would still like to shore up the depth in their bullpen – they’ll go into the season with about $145 million committed to 18 players. All the others have less than three years service time and will thus make roughly $500,000, meaning the Angels’ payroll is currently expected to be about $150 million for 2012. Last year, they ranked fourth in the Majors with a payroll of about $138 million.

Here are some details on the Angels’ payroll obligations for 2012, a lot of which is compiled by the folks at Cot’s Contracts (note: this doesn’t include signing bonuses or incentives) …

Vernon Wells: $21M
Torii Hunter: $18M
Jered Weaver: $14M
Dan Haren: $12.75M
Albert Pujols: $12M
Ervin Santana: $11.2M
C.J. Wilson: $10M
Bobby Abreu: $9M
Erick Aybar: $5.075M
Scott Downs: $5M
Howie Kendrick: $4.5M
Hisanori Takahashi: $4.2M
Maicer Izturis: $3.8M
Chris Iannetta: $3.55M
Alberto Callaspo: $3.15M
LaTroy Hawkins: $3M
Kendrys Morales: $2.975M
Jerome Williams: $820K


Angels’ Minor League staff announced

The Angels have finalized almost their entire Minor League staff. This year, they’ll return to Class A Cedar Rapids for a 20th season (the longest tenure for any club affiliate) and also make it back to Triple-A Salt Lake (12th season), Double-A Arkansas (12th), high A Inland Empire (second) and rookie-level Orem (eighth). They’ll also field teams in the Arizona (in Tempe) and Dominican Summer leagues.

Here are those Minor League staffs, as detailed by a club-issued news release sent out Friday …

Triple-A Salt Lake

Manager: Keith Johnson
Pitching coach: Erik Bennett
Hitting coach: Jim Eppard
Trainer: Brian Reinker
Strength & cond.: Josh Fields

Double-A Arkansas

Manager: Mike Micucci
Pitching coach: Trevor Wilson
Hitting coach: Francisco Matos
Trainer: Mike Metcalfe
Strength & cond.: Al Sandoval

High A Inland Empire

Manager: Bill Haselman
Pitching coach: Brandon Emanuel
Hitting coach: Paul Sorrento
Trainer: Greg Spence
Strength & cond.: Ben Gaal

Class A Cedar Rapids

Manager: Jaime Burke
Pitching coach: Chris Gissell
Hitting coach: Mike Eylward
Trainer: Omar Uribe
Strength & cond.: Joe Griffin

Rookie-level Orem

Manager: Tom Kotchman
Pitching coach: Zeke Zimmerman
Hitting coach: Tom Evans
Trainer: Chris Wells


Manager: Brenton Del Chiaro
Pitching coach: Jim Gott /Matt Wise
Hitting coach: Nathan Haynes
Trainer: TBD


Manager: Charlie Romero
Pitching coach: Santos Alcala
Hitting coach: Edgal Rodriguez
Trainer: TBD

Field coordinator: Gary DiSarcina
Roving hitting coordinator: Todd Takayoshi
Roving pitching coordinator: Kernan Ronan
Roving infield coordinator: Dick Schofield
Roving outfield/baserunning/bunting coordinator: Ty Boykin
Roving catching coordinator: Orlando Mercado
Special assignment catching coordinator: Bill Lachemann
Trainer’s coordinator: Geoff Hostetter
Strength & conditioning coordinator: Seth Walsh

And as a fresh reminder, here are some key Spring Training dates …

1/14: Spring Training tickets go on sale
2/19: Pitchers and catchers report
2/26: Position players report
2/27: First full-squad workout takes place
3/6: First Cactus League home game, against the White Sox
3/25: Host the Rangers for the only time this spring


Starting pitcher extensions?

OK, so Howard Kendrick has already agreed to terms on a four-year extension (physical pending), and general manager Jerry Dipoto previously indicated that he’d also like to lock up Kendrick’s middle-infield partner, Erick Aybar.

But what about the starting pitchers? More specifically, what about Dan Haren and Ervin Santana?

The Angels have some leeway with both because they hold 2013 club options in each case. But as you all know, teams love locking up quality starting pitchers long term (though the Angels may not be able to fit that into their agenda this offseason). So let’s take a closer look at each of their cases …


Basics: He won’t be 32 until Sept. 17 and is heading into the final guaranteed season of a four-year, $44.75 million contract. For next year, the Angels hold a $15.5 million option — nearly $3 million more than what he’ll make in 2012 — with a $3.5 million buyout.

Numbers: Haren has been remarkably consistent and durable in his first seven full seasons, averaging 226 innings, 34 starts, 14 wins and a 3.49 ERA while making three All-Star teams and finishing Top 5 in Cy Young voting once (in 2009). In that 2005-11 span, the Monterey Park, Calif., native ranks sixth among qualifiers in WHIP (1.15, just ahead of Jered Weaver‘s 1.16 mark) and second in strikeouts (1,368, trailing only CC Sabathia‘s 1,417). He does allow a lot of fly balls — his groundball-to-flyball rate was tied for 57th in that same span — but Haren has never been on the disabled list. Not once! 

Comparables: We’re probably looking at a five-year deal here — the same thing Cliff Lee, A.J. Burnett, John Lackey and C.J. Wilson got at around the same age. Wilson got $77.5 million last month and had only been a starter for two years. Burnett and Lackey each signed for $82.5 million (Burnett heading into ’09, Lackey heading into ’10), but Haren’s numbers and durability have topped both. Then there’s Lee, who got a $120 million contract to return to the Phillies last offseason. Lee already had a Cy Young Award in his back pocket by that point, but his cumulative numbers paled in comparison to Haren’s — 99-57, 3.88 ERA, 1,346 1/3 innings, 1.258 WHIP and 1,035 strikeouts over the previous seven-year span.


Basics: He turned 29 on Dec. 12 and is heading into the final guaranteed season of a four-year, $30 million contract (signed just before his fifth season). The Angels hold a club option for 2013 at $13 million — nearly $2 million more than he’ll make in 2012 — with a $1 million buyout. They have not yet begun extension talks with Santana, a source said.

Numbers: Santana has been rather inconsistent through his first seven seasons, which has seen him combine for an 87-67 record, a 4.22 ERA, a 1.305 WHIP and an average of 185 innings and 148 strikeouts per season. In that span, he ranks 38th among qualifiers in strikeout-to-walk ratio and 85th in groundball-to-flyball rate. His walk total has been up the last two years, but Santana is coming off one of his best season in 2011, when he threw a no-hitter, posted a career-low 3.38 ERA, his second-lowest WHIP (1.220), his second-highest strikeout total (178) and his most ever innings (228 2/3).

Comparables: The four-year, $56 million contract Mark Buehrle signed with the White Sox in July 2007 (which paid him $14 million every year from 2008-11) may be a good gauge here. Buehrle had a bit better numbers through his first seven full seasons — 103 wins and a 3.79 ERA while averaging 225 innings and 129 strikeouts — but the rise in starting-pitcher contracts since that time may put Santana’s on par, or perhaps even slightly higher.


Salmon gets five Hall of Fame votes

Results are in from the National Baseball Hall of Fame, with Barry Larkin being the only one elected and longtime Angels outfielder Tim Salmon getting five votes (or, .9 percent in his favor) in his first year on the ballot.

“It wasn’t on my radar, because I had no visions of me getting enough votes or even being in the conversation,” Salmon said when reached by phone Monday. “It was just one of those pleasant surprises like, ‘Oh yeah, today’s the Hall of Fame voting. Hey, I got five votes; all right, cool. I wonder who they are. I have to put them on my Christmas-card list.'”

Considering you need 5 percent to even stay on the ballot — and a whopping 75 percent to get in — it’s safe to say Salmon won’t be a Hall of Famer. But perhaps the Angels can retire his number one day, alongside Jim FregosiGene AutryRod CarewNolan RyanJimmie Reese and Jackie Robinson (league-wide).

Salmon never made an All-Star team in his 14-year career — spent entirely in an Angels uniform — but he did post a career .282 batting average, .884 OPS, 299 home runs and 1,016 RBIs. He was the American League’s Rookie of the Year in 1993, won a Silver Slugger in 1995 and was one of baseball’s top sluggers from 1993-2000 — batting .294 while averaging 28 homers and 94 RBIs per season.

Salmon was especially key during the Angels’ uplifting World Series run in 2002 — a year that saw him get named American League Comeback Player of the Year — batting .288 with four homers and 12 RBIs in 16 games.

What do you think — does Salmon deserve to have his No. 15 retired by the club? (I’m guessing this will be a resounding “yes.”)

** A post is up on the Hot Stove Blog on the Angels touching base with veteran closer Francisco Cordero

— Alden 

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