Results tagged ‘ Dan Haren ’

Angels lose Vargas to Royals …

The Angels’ hopes of resigning free-agent starting pitcher Jason Vargas were squashed on Thursday, when the Royals announced they have signed the veteran left-hander to a four-year contract.

The average annual value of Vargas’ new deal, a reported $32 million, is $8 million. The Angels were willing to give him that much, but they weren’t willing to go four years (it would’ve been hard for them to even give him a third year).

And so, the Angels still have at least two holes to fill in their rotation.

Jered Weaver, C.J. Wilson and Garrett Richards are returning, Tommy Hanson is likely to get non-tendered in December and Joe Blanton — if not released this offseason — will not go into the season as a guaranteed member of the rotation. General manager Jerry Dipoto did not tender the $14.1 million qualifying offer to Vargas because he was almost certain Vargas would accept it, and by accepting it the Angels would already be dangerously close to the luxury tax threshold of $189 million.

Vargas was acquired in a one-for-one deal with the Mariners that sent Kendrys Morales to Seattle last December. In his first year in Southern California, where he grew up and briefly attended Long Beach State University, Vargas went 9-8 with a 4.02 ERA in 150 innings in a season that saw him miss two months with a blood clot.

The Angels are expected to use the trade market to bolster a rotation that ranked 11th in the American League in ERA last season, but they may also turn to other free agents to fill Vargas’ void. And while they aren’t expected to go after the likes of Ubaldo Jimenez, Ricky Nolasco or Ervin Santana, names like Phil Hughes, Dan Haren, Bronson Arroyo, etc., etc., could be enticing.

Alden Gonzalez 

As if the in-house issues weren’t bad enough …

Ervin SantanaThe baseball gods are doing the on-field equivalent of trolling the Angels right now. It’s not just that they’re 11-20, with Josh Hamilton slumping and every facet of their team — starting pitching, relief pitching, baserunning, defense, production — in a rut through the first five weeks of the season. It’s that so many of the players they’ve discarded recently are, well, thriving.

See for yourself …

RF Torii Hunter (offered little more than a $5 million base salary, plus incentives, this offseason before he inked a two-year, $26 million deal with the Tigers): .361/.406/.479 slash line through his first 27 games in the No. 2 spot for first-place Detroit.

LF Vernon Wells (dealt to the Yankees for the financial relief of getting under the Competitive Balance Tax payroll, with New York picking up $13.9 million of the $42 million owed to him over the next two seasons): .280/.339/.486 with six homers team while batting mostly third — yes, third — for an injury-riddled Yankees team that’s somehow six games over .500.

SP Ervin Santana (essentially given to the Royals because the Angels weren’t going to exercise his $13 million option for 2013): 3-1, 2.00 ERA with 31 strikeouts and five walks in 36 innings for a Kansas City team that — of course — is 17-11.

SS Jean Segura (traded alongside Ariel Pena and John Hellweg for Zack Greinke last July): .333/.380/.523, with a league-leading three triples and one very interesting sequence on the basepaths.

RP Jordan Walden (dealt straight up to the Braves for Tommy Hanson in November): 2.92 ERA, with 14 strikeouts in 12 1/3 innings.

RP LaTroy Hawkins (unsigned as a free agent): 2.77 ERA, 1.23 WHIP in 13 innings for the Mets.

SP Patrick Corbin (dealt — by then-Arizona interim GM Jerry Dipoto — to the Angels along with Tyler Skaggs, Rafael Rodriguez and Joe Saunders in exchange for Dan Haren in July 2010): 4-0, 1.85 ERA in six starts.

What does all this mean to the Angels? Well nothing, of course. In fact, in my mind, almost all of these moves were justified (you could certainly argue in favor of bringing Hunter back and using the additional funds on pitching). The fact anyone would take on that much for Wells was flat-out shocking; it made little sense to pay Santana $13 million for 2013 given how his 2012 season went; I’ll do Walden-for-Hanson any day of the week; the Greinke trade was a good one considering Dipoto didn’t have to give up Peter Bourjos and/or Garrett Richards, and he would’ve been applauded for it had they made the playoffs last year; and, well, there was little reason to give a 40-year-old Hawkins a guaranteed contract, or a likely shot at winning a bullpen spot, given the group the Angels had going into Spring Training.

But still …

Unrelated subject (well, sort of): Here’s a look at who’s shining, and who isn’t, in the Angels’ system so far …

HOT

INF Luis Rodriguez (AAA): .314/.344/.496, 4 HR, 24 RBI
RP Jeremy Berg (AAA): 1.65 ERA, 13 SO, 1 BB, 16 1/3 IP
SP Austin Wood (A+): 2.41 ERA, 4 GS, 17 SO, 9 BB, 18 2/3 IP

NOT

RP Mitch Stetter (AAA): 5.56 ERA, 11 1/3 IP, 12 SO, 10 BB
SP A.J. Schugel (AAA): 0-1, 6.21 ERA, 6 GS, 30 SO, 14 BB, 29 IP
OF Randal Grichuk (AA): .186/.262/.351, 2 HR, 7 RBI

Alden

Question of the Day, 4/16 …

What can fix the Angels???? — @VivaJRC

I hate for the first QOTD of the season to come under such tumultuous times, but, well, this is probably as good a time as any.

The answer to that question is very simple: The starters need to be better. They have a Major League-worst 6.07 ERA and have pitched into the seventh inning only once all season, putting the offense behind early on an almost-nightly basis and gutting a bullpen that’s already thin.

The solution? It has to come in-house, at least for now. The Angels have some payroll flexibility after trading Vernon Wells, but teams don’t make trades in April — not for big-name players, anyway. It’s too early. Newcomers Tommy Hanson, Jason Vargas and Joe Blanton may not boast the resumes of, say, Zack Greinke, Dan Haren and Ervin Santana, but they have reputations for pitching deep into games, and they’re simply not doing that. The three of them are a combined 1-6 with a 7.36 ERA in 40 1/3 innings so far. They simply have to be better.

I’ve been getting a lot of the predictable, fire-and-brimstone tweets and e-mails recently — FIRE BUTCHER!!! FIRE SCIOSCIA!!! — and if this team continues to underachieve, there’s no telling what Arte Moreno will do.

But would that actually solve anything right now?

Alden

Catching up with Angels of yesteryear …

Torii HunterThe Angels, in case you missed it, had quite the turnover this offseason. I knew that. But it didn’t really hit me until today, when I decided to compile a list of all the guys who are on a new team this spring. Below are nine of them — with Jason Isringhausen still in limbo — to catch you up on how 2012 Angels look heading into 2013 …

RF Torii Hunter (DET)

Numbers: .207 BA (6-for-29), 1 HR, 2 RBI

Notes: No surprises for Hunter this spring. He’ll play right field and bat second (Jim Leyland likes him there). His son, Darius McClinton-Hunter, was not indicted in the sexual-assault case.

SP Zack Greinke (LAD)

Numbers: 3.60 ERA (2 ER, 5 IP), 3 K, 1 BB

Notes: Greinke missed Sunday’s bullpen session with minor forearm tightness and missed Wednesday’s start because of the flu, but he had an impressive bullpen session on Friday. Earlier in the spring, Greinke went into his social-anxiety disorder and his decision to sign with the Dodgers.

SP Dan Haren (WAS)

Numbers: 0-1, 3.60 ERA (2 ER, 5 IP), 5 K, 1 BB

Notes: Haren felt “a lot of good stuff” came out of his last outing. Last year, he said, “I didn’t trust myself.” Haren was involved in a prank-call this spring. Somebody made Peter Bourjos‘ cell phone ring in a pre-workout meeting — he suspected Mark Trumbo or Jered Weaver, or both — and the person on the other end was Haren, who was put on speaker phone so he could briefly talk with all of his ex-teammates.

SP Ervin Santana (KCR)

Numbers: 1.80 ERA (1 ER, 5 IP), 6 K, 1 BB

Notes: At $13 million, Santana is the highest-paid player on the Royals this year. They’re counting on a bounceback year.

DH Kendrys Morales (SEA)

Numbers: .320 BA (8-for-25), 2 HR, 4 RBI

Notes: Now that he has a full season under his belt after that devastating ankle injury, Morales can finally just have a normal spring. That’s big, given that this is his walk year.

INF Maicer Izturis (TOR)

Numbers: .160 BA (4-for-25), 1 RBI

Notes: Not a good start for Izturis, since he’s going to be fighting for playing time.

RP Jordan Walden (ATL)

Numbers: 1 IP, 4 R (1 ER), 3 H, 0 SO, 0 BB

Notes: Walden hasn’t appeared in a game since Feb. 23 due to a bulging disk in his back. He received an epidural injection in Atlanta on Wednesday, and if he continues to progress, he could throw off a mound again this weekend.

RP LaTroy Hawkins (NYM)

Numbers: 1 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 1 SO, 0 BB

Notes: Hawkins is 40 years old and now, after signing a Minor League deal with the Mets this offseason, has a good chance to make an Opening Day roster with his 10th different team.

C Bobby Wilson (NYY)

Numbers: .167 BA (2-for-12)

Notes: Some of you may be surprised to see he’s even on the Yankees. Wilson was claimed off waivers by the Blue Jays early in the offseason, but was released in late November and signed with the Yankees on a Minor League deal a couple weeks later. He’ll be in Triple-A, but with not much talent in front of him — Austin Romine, Francisco Cervelli, Chris Stewart — perhaps he can win playing time.

Alden

Angels’ staff subs sizzle for substance …

I wrote Wednesday about the Angels’ rotation, which is seemingly the only uncertain, less-than-stellar department of the 2013 team. The down-the-stretch trio of Zack Greinke, Dan Haren and Ervin Santana is being replaced by Jason Vargas, Tommy Hanson and Joe Blanton, a new trio that costs less but should put more pressure on the revamped bullpen and a stellar offense.

But here’s one other thing worth noting about this less-sexy rotation: It’ll absorb a plentiful amount of innings, perhaps more so than that of any other club in the American League.

Consider the averages of each of the five starters …

  • Jered Weaver (2007-12): 200 IP
  • C.J. Wilson (2010-12): 210 IP
  • Vargas (2010-12): 204 IP
  • Hanson (2010-12): 169 IP
  • Blanton (05-12): 178 IP

Put another way: The Angels have a realistic chance of having five starters throw at least 170 innings in 2013. No other AL team was able to boast that in 2012. In fact, nine of the 14 clubs didn’t have more than two starters account for 170-plus frames (the Twins and playoff-bound Orioles only had one; the Angels, Rays and Yankees were the only ones with four).

Weaver (6.4), Wilson (6.1), Vargas (6) and Blanton (6.2) have each averaged at least six innings per start throughout their careers, while Hanson is at 5.9. So, if the quintet of Weaver, Wilson, Hanson, Vargas and Blanton stay healthy all year (a big “if” in every circumstance, of course), Angels starters will have absorbed about 991 innings combined, based on each of their career track records.

In 2012, 991 innings from a starting rotation would’ve ranked seventh in the Majors and fourth in the AL, behind only the Mariners, Yankees and Rays.

Yes, the Angels currently have just one — maybe two, if Wilson regroups — ace-like starter capable of single-handedly halting losing streaks and altering a short playoff series. But there’s something to be said about starters consistently pitching deep into games. It repeatedly gives an offense as potent as the Angels’ a chance to win, and it means a strong bullpen won’t have to account for so many innings.

It’s why Blanton doesn’t find the term “innings-eater” insulting.

“I’m fine with that, honestly,” said Blanton, who has actually averaged 198 innings since ’05 if you discount an injury-riddled 2011.

“In my personal opinion, I don’t feel like you throw 180, 190, 200 innings without being able to go deep into games. Just taking the ball every fifth day, if you weren’t getting the job done, you’d be done every five innings, and in 30 starts, that’s 150 innings. So you still have to go deep into games, and be successful enough and keep a team in the game enough to be able to rack up those innings.”

The Angels also have a little more overall starting-pitching depth than they entered with last season.

The high-upside Garrett Richards and the capable Jerome Williams, both of whom were competing for the fifth spot last spring, are now insurance policies; as are the likes of Brad Mills, Barry Enright and the two Minor League signings, Jo-Jo Reyes and Billy Buckner.

“The likelihood of having five starters go post-to-post and not miss a day is unlikely; it doesn’t happen very often,” general manager Jerry Dipoto said. “So you want to have that depth.”

Whatever the Angels’ rotation lacks in prestige is made up for in numbers — as in the number of innings absorbed and the number of viable arms.

Alden 

WAR: Angels have improved this offseason …

Jerry DipotoI’ve made the mistake of believing the Angels were done before. So when general manager Jerry Dipoto, speaking shortly after trading Kendrys Morales for Jason Vargas, says “in all likelihood” he’s done making major moves this offseason, I’m naturally skeptical. But, yeah, barring a low-risk addition or two to the bullpen, probably via Minor League deals, this essentially puts a bow on Dipoto’s offseason. Seriously this time.

In my opinion, it was a very successful one for the Angels’ second-year GM.

With a very similar payroll (about $160 million), and a ridiculously expensive free agent market, Dipoto was able to add yet another weapon to an already-dangerous lineup, greatly improve a thin bullpen and build more starting-pitching depth. (Here’s an updated depth chart.) Granted, the rotation is nowhere near as heralded as it was at the start of last season, but it is solid and a lot more payroll-efficient.

We could go on forever about whether or not it was better to sign Zack Greinke (six years, $147 million) or Josh Hamilton (five years, $125 million). Frankly, I’m not sure. Greinke’s risk is greater, in some ways, because he’s a pitcher and it’s an extra year. In a vacuum, and if we’re factoring out that sixth year, it comes down to whether you prefer Greinke and Morales or Hamilton and Vargas.

But you can’t analyze offseasons like that because they never play out in linear fashion. It’s like the butterfly effect; each move is dependent on the other. Skipping out on Greinke allowed Dipoto to get Joe Blanton and Sean Burnett, adding them to the additions of Tommy Hanson and Ryan Madson. Then he got Hamilton, which allowed him to then flip Morales for Vargas. Had he delved into a bidding war with the Rangers and Dodgers for Greinke, perhaps he would’ve been stuck with nothing (look at the Rangers right now).

Basically, the 2012 septet of Morales, Greinke, Dan Haren, Torii Hunter, Ervin Santana, Jordan Walden and LaTroy Hawkins is being replaced by the 2013 septet of Bourjos, Hamilton, Blanton, Vargas, Hanson, Madson and Burnett. If we’re going by Wins Above Replacement, as interpreted by FanGraphs.com, the Angels improved this offseason.

Here’s a look at each player’s WAR from this past season …

2012 

Hunter: 5.3
Greinke: 5.1
Morales: 1.8
Haren: 1.8
Walden: 0.5
Hawkins: minus-0.1
Santana: minus-0.9

Total: 13.5

2013

Bourjos (from 2011): 4.5
Hamilton: 4.4
Blanton: 2.4
Madson (’11): 1.7
Burnett: 1.1
Hanson: 1.0
Vargas: 0.8

Total: 15.9

Alden 

A quick word about the Angels’ payroll …

I keep getting questions about the 2013 payroll and how much money Jerry Dipoto can spend on starting pitching, but it’s hard to give a definite answer because the Angels won’t publicly say where they project it.

As I’ve written all along, though, my best assumption for 2013 — based on conversations with others, and simply the Angels’ approach thus far — is that they’ll be somewhere between $140 and $145 million; maybe a little less, maybe a little more. It won’t be $159 million like last year.

If that ends up being the case, it leaves them with less than you might think.

Here’s a breakdown, with a little help from The Count 

* The Angels owe just over $96 million to the following eight players: Vernon Wells, Jered Weaver, Albert PujolsC.J. Wilson, Howie Kendrick, Erick AybarChris Iannetta and Scott Downs.

* Ryan Madson, the ninth signed player, could make somewhere between $3.5 million and $7 million. Let’s assume, for the purposes of this exercise, that he makes $6 million — easily attainable if healthy. That puts them at $102 million.

* The Angels paid $3.5 million to buy out Dan Haren‘s option, and they paid the Royals $1 million in sending Ervin Santana to Kansas City. That’s now roughly $107 million (we’ll round up).

* The Angels will tender contracts to all four of their arbitration-eligible players. If we’re using MLBTradeRumors.com’s arbitration projections — about as accurate as you can find — that puts Kendrys Morales ($4.8 million), Alberto Callaspo ($4.2 million), Jerome Williams ($1.9 million) and Kevin Jepsen ($1.1 million) at a combined $12 million. Now we’re looking at about $119 million.

* You’d think that leaves them with somewhere between $21 to $26 million based on the earlier payroll projection, right? Well, you have to account for everyone else. I’ve currently listed 13 active players the Angels are accounting for on their 25-man roster. Let’s say they sign two starters and nothing more. That’s 15, leaving them with 10 players who make the Major League minimum because they’re between zero to three years of service time. Those contracts are usually about $500,000, so that’s an additional $5 million, putting them at $124 million.

If we bump that up to $125 million — some of the arbitration guys may get a little more; the Angels may pay Mike Trout a little extra after his near-MVP season — that leaves them with $15 to $20 million, if my payroll projection holds true. I’ve been told the Angels likely won’t be paying Zack Greinke $150 million on a six-year contract (an average of $25 million a year), and perhaps you can see why based on this breakdown. Will he really get that much? That’s the big question. Are they out on Greinke? I wouldn’t go that far just yet.

But the Angels need two starters, and if Greinke prices himself out of Anaheim, the alternate route could be to sign one mid-rotation starter, one innings-eater and more relievers.

Obligatory PSA: The current payroll is a rough estimation, and the payroll projection is an educated guess. I’m just trying to provide as clear a picture as I can. We won’t know for sure until the offseason concludes — and as last year showed, anything can happen.

Alden 

Angels deal Santana to the Royals …

Ervin Santana’s tenure with the Angels ended on Wednesday, but not in the manner many would’ve expected.

Rather than simply decline his $13 million club option for 2013, the Angels were able to deal the right-hander to the Royals in exchange for Minor League left-hander Brandon Sisk.

As part of the deal, which has been officially announced, the Angels will also be sending cash to Kansas City.

Santana, signed by the Angels out of the Dominican Republic in 2000, was better down the stretch but still finished 9-13 with a 5.16 ERA and a Major League-leading 39 homers in 30 starts.

The Angels had until 9 p.m. PT on Wednesday to make a decision on his option, which has a $1 million buyout, and were expected to decline it. Still, interest was there from teams who were willing to take a shot on the talented right-hander, who compiled 28 wins and posted a 3.65 ERA from 2010-11.

“We’ve stated all along that starting pitching was a priority this off-season and acquiring someone with the resume of Ervin Santana immediately upgrades our rotation,” Royals general manager Dayton Moore said in a statement.  “At just 29 years old, he has 96 major league wins, is a proven innings eater and most importantly, he competes.  Ervin has been an All-Star, has pitched in the post-season and has at least 16 wins in three different years, all of which adds a winning mindset to our clubhouse.”

Sisk, 27, has spent his five-year pro career entirely in the Minors. With Triple-A Omaha last season, he posted a 2.54 ERA in 67 1/3 innings, with a 1.35 WHIP and a 2.28 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

The Angels have until 9 p.m. PT on Friday to decide on the $15.5 million club option on Dan Haren and, like with Santana, will try to trade him.

Alden Gonzalez

Report Card: Starting rotation …

Jered Weaver, RH

2012: 20-5, 2.81 ERA, 188 2/3 IP, 142 SO, 45 BB
2007-11: 14-9, 3.40 ERA, 202 IP, 174 SO, 55 BB

In the end, Weaver’s 2012 may have paled in comparison to 2011, when he posted a career-low 2.41 ERA in a career-high 235 2/3 innings. But despite a short stint on the DL with lower back tightness, and some biceps tendinitis down the stretch, the 30-year-old right-hander put together another Cy Young-caliber performance in a year decorated with personal milestones. He threw his first no-hitter (against the Twins on May 2), notched his first 20-win season and surpassed 100 career victories. Most importantly, when the rotation struggled early in the second half, Weaver kept the Angels afloat by continuing to be the one constant. Mike Scioscia will point to that as the biggest reason why he should beat out the likes of Justin Verlander, David Price and Felix Hernandez for the Cy Young. We’ll see.

Grade: A

Zack Greinke, RH

2012 (overall): 15-5, 3.48 ERA, 212 1/3 IP, 200 SO, 54 BB
2008-11: 14-10, 3.37 ERA, 206 IP, 202 SO, 52 BB

Greinke ran into a little funk early in his tenure with the Angels, giving up 20 runs in his first 25 innings of August. But he got it together down the stretch, with a 2.04 ERA in his final eight starts of the season, and showed why he’ll be so highly coveted as a free agent this offseason. The Angels are hopeful that being with the organization for a couple months will give them an upper-hand this winter. It certainly won’t hurt, but they’ll have plenty of competition, most notably from the Rangers. He’s got great stuff, he fields his position well, and he’ll probably be worth a five-year deal around $120 million.

Grade: B

C.J. Wilson, LH

2012: 13-10, 3.83 ERA, 202 1/3 IP, 173 SO, 91 BB
2010-11: 16-8, 3.14 ERA, 214 IP, 188 SO, 84 BB

Wilson was as advertised in the first half, posting a 2.43 ERA en route to a second straight All-Star Game invite. But while pitching with bone spurs in his left elbow, which he recently fixed with arthroscopic surgery, the 31-year-old struggled through a 5.54 ERA in the second half. The most frustrating thing about Wilson is his walks, especially when handed a lead. Wilson walked 91 batters this year, fourth-most in the Majors and two off his career high in 2010. He also came up small in several important starts down the stretch. But he gets somewhat of a pass, considering the elbow discomfort he was nursing over the last couple of months.

Grade: C

Dan Haren, RH

2012: 12-13, 4.33 ERA, 176 2/3 IP, 142 SO, 38 BB
2005-11: 14-11, 3.49 ERA, 226 IP, 195 SO, 45 BB

Pretty stunning when you put Haren’s career averages right next to his 2012 season. This really was his only bad year, but with a $15.5 million club option for 2013, it couldn’t have come at a worse time. Haren had a fantastic spring, with a 2.05 ER, 25 strikeouts and two walks. Then, right before things got real, his lower back started barking, and he was never really the same since. Haren went on the DL for the first time in his career, lost another tick or two off his fastball, was getting pulled out of games before even hitting 90 pitches — a clear sign that Scioscia had lost trust in him — and most of the time took the mound with very little. But Haren did turn it around a bit towards the end, finishing the season with a 2.81 ERA in his last eight starts after he stopped trying to add velocity and focused on location. Was that an indication that Haren learned how to pitch with his limited repertoire and can be effective again? Perhaps. But he’s definitely not a $15 million pitcher anymore.

Grade: D+

Ervin Santana, RH

2012: 9-13, 5.16 ERA, 178 IP, 133 SO, 61 BB
2006-11: 12-10, 4.17 ERA, 194 IP, 156 SO, 61 BB

Like Haren, Santana pitched better towards the end of the year, with a 3.76 ERA in his last 11 starts. But by that point, the damage had been done. Santana had a 6.00 ERA when that stretch began, finished giving up a Major League-high 39 homers and had three starts in which he lasted less than three innings and gave up at least six runs. Two of them came in the same month (July) and the other was his final start of the season, when he gave up six runs in 2 2/3 innings in the second of a doubleheader in Texas on Sept. 30, all but mathematically eliminating the Angels from postseason contention. Considering his $13 million club option, that could very well have been the final start of his Angels career.

Grade: D-

Week 1: Infield.
Week 2: Outfield.

Alden

Question of the Day, 10/1 …

Is there a list of Angels who have options and/or being lost to free agency? — @_Neat

I can give you one right here …

Free agents: SP Zack Greinke, OF Torii Hunter, INF Maicer Izturis, RP LaTroy Hawkins, RP Jason Isringhausen

Club options: SP Dan Haren ($15.5M; $3.5M buyout), SP Ervin Santana ($13M; $1M)

Mutual option: C Chris Iannetta ($5M; $250K buyout)

Alden

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