Konerko talk - and a scary Plan "B"!

Ok - the final exams aren't over and the grading isn't anywhere near finished, but I just can't contain myself any longer. As all of my cohorts in the blogging world are pointing out - Bill Stoneman seems determined to do something stupid this offseason. Now mind you, this isn't merely Stoneman v. 2004, Orlando Cabrera stupid - this is Cam Bonifay, Chuck LaMar, Bill Plashke stupid.

If the Halos somehow are unable to ink Paul Konerko to a 5-year deal worth roughly $60 million they have a plan "B" in place. Now, it is likely that we are all happy that there is a plan "B", but upon further review plan "B" is scary beyond belief. Remember, plan "B" is contingent on NOT signing Konerko, and consists of trading Casey Kotchman for Mike Sweeney.

Yes, trading the 22 year old first baseman of the future - whose dad has coached in the organization for many years - for a 32-year old DH that has played in 150+ games once since 2000 is plan "B". Also, Sweeney is owed $25 million over the next two years while Kotchman will likely make less than $1 million over the same period of time. Now, is Sweeney a better hitter right now? Probably in 2006, Sweeney will out-hit Kotchman. But, in 2007, it is a toss-up offensively. If we add defense to the equation it is likely that Kotchman is a better player right now than Mike Sweeney for 1/25 the cost.

Why, then is Stoneman considering this move? Well, it was a deal that was in place on July 31st according to one report found HERE and apparently Kotchman's impressive 2nd half of 302/369/526 didn't convince the braintrust that he is worthy of a starting gig. If that isn't good to dethrone Erstad - a HORRIBLE offensive player - from first base then this organization is in trouble. Similarly, if that output makes you tradebait - this organization is doomed.

If this trade happens, I predict that other GM's will be lining up to inquire about Kendry Morales, Howie Kendrick, Brandon Wood, Erick Aybar, Jered Weaver and other top prospects in the best farm system in the country. Why do the Halos build a farm system, get prospects to the cusp of big league stardom to contemplate trading them away? Why does this organization think that spending $25 million on a player that is superfluous is a good idea?

Anyway, I have to go give a final exam right now, but I couldn't contain my anger any longer and had to vent a bit about the wayward ideas emanating from LAofA these days. Let's hope Stoneman isn't this stupid...



With the holidays here and final exams coming up I will be neglecting Ye Ole' Blog for a few days. Once the grading is done and I am caught up at work I'll return with some thoughts on that Rule 5 draft.

Of course, if something BIG happens, I'll chime in.


Seven players added to the 40-man roster

Here is an article mentioning that the likes of Aybar, Kendrick, Arredondo, Napoli, Gorneault and others were added to the 40-man roster.

This is in preparation for the Rule 5 draft in December. I will talk more about that draft in the coming weeks - trying to shed some light on a rather murky subject. First, I have to learn the specifics....but I will.

Weekly Re-cap

As I sit at my Apple G5, drinking a well deserved Newcastle while I wait for one of the triplets to wake with teething pain, I will do a quick weekly recap...

Dino Ebel, former manager of the Salt Lake AAA club, will be the new third base coach with Ron Roenicke becoming the bench coach. If Ebel is less likely to wave Vlad around third where the play could be close - I support the move. Roenicke was very agressive, and with guys like Erstad, Cabrera and other replaceable folks, that is fine - but with Vlad? Ron scared me as a 3rd base coach, and I'll leave it at that.


The Ebel article also mentions that the Halos released 28 year-old infielder Zach Sorensen. Not a big loss - in fact, I tend to think that the roster space is more valuable than Sorensen.


Dan Szymborski over at BTF has his 2006 ZIPS projections up for the Halos. Definitely worth a moment to check out his numbers.

A few of observations:

Steve Finley stinks

Darin Erstad is done

M. Izturis would probably out-hit Orlando Cabrera in 2006 (for $8 million less) if given the chance

HERE is an article on the Arizona Fall League All-Star Team. Brandon Wood, Howie Kendrick and the other usual suspects are mentioned.

Gotta run and try to put a baby to sleep...


Joe Madden to manage Devil Rays

Congrats to John Madden on his apparent hiring as the new manager in Tampa Bay. I have always liked Madden, and considering that he was the lone "stat guy" in Los Angeles of Anaheim, I am more than a little worried about the implications this could have on the Halos.

Good for him. I actually had hoped that he would get the job when Scioscia was hired, so I am happy to see him get a chance. Also, this isn't your younger brother's Devil Rays. They have a TON of young talent already in the big leagues and some unreal prospects at AAA, so Madden could really have a nice little team to work with for the next four or five years.

Of course, playing the Yanks and Sox 38 times a year won't be fun...


Byrd upping the ante

So much for the mutual goodwill that led Paul Byrd to talk about being open to signing another one-year contract with the Halos. Now that all 30 teams can openly negotiate with free agents, Byrd's agent Bo McKinnis says that his client has been offered many deals, including at least one offer guaranteeing three-years. Now, I would love to see Byrd in a Halo uniform in 2006, but if a team wants to give a three-year deal to a 34 year-old finesse pitcher with a Tommy John surgery in his near past, I tend to think that the Halos should let him walk.

If Stoneman and the Halos are going to be forced to throw $15 million over three years at Paul Byrd to keep him, I tend to think that he should just spend $25 to $28 million on Jarrod Washburn and lock up the better of the two pitchers instead. The primary reason I have been luke-warm on re-signing Washburn was simply economic. I didn't want to see Stoneman spend $18 to $25 million for a middle of the rotation pitcher. Well, if Byrd gets $15 million in guaranteed money that is exactly what would be happening and methinks that Washburn is a better bet to succeed over the next three years than Paul Byrd.

Either way, it is nice to know that the rotation is 80% set for 2006 with Colon, Escobar, Lackey and Santana. But, with Colon's injury in the ALDS I tend to think that he is a bit of a question mark heading into spring training - at least until he proves he is OK. Also, Escobar is coming off of an injury filled season, Lackey reached a new performance level for the first time and Santana is a 23 year-old sophomore. So, while everyone would agree that the starting rotation is a strong point for the Halos, it isn't without issues. So, while Byrd isn't the most overpowering arm in MLB, he is a perfect #4 or #5 for the Halos. Now, is that worth $5 million per year for three years? I say no. Bill, what do you think?

Here is the LA Times article in question.


Top 20 prospects for 2007...

Jim Callis at Baseball America - in the current Ask BA article - generated a list of the top 20 prospects that appear likely to make an impact in the majors in 2007. Take a second to go look at his list and come back - it is short, sweet and to the point.

Ok, so the Halos have four players on the list. They are, without a doubt the usual suspects (or prospects) when it comes to discussing the farm system.

#2 - Brandon Wood, SS

#10 - Howie Kendrick, 2B

#12 - Jered Weaver, SP

#20 - Kendry Morales, 1B/DH/LF - or anywhere that doesn't really require a glove.

There is a discussion starting at BTF and I will share my thoughts here as well...

To have four players (Wood, Kendrick, Weaver and Morales) in the top 20 shows the depth of the Halos system. Unfortunately, each of the players has issues. For example, Wood, Kendrick and Morales don't like to take a walk - at all; Morales seems to be allergic to leather gloves, and Weaver is an EXTREME fly ball pitcher who relies on the strikeout to a very high degree.

Most of these issues are things I can live with right now, as these guys are in AA or AAA. My concern is major-league pitchers not giving in to Wood, Kendrick and Morales and exploiting their overaggressive approach at the plate. Similarly, as Weaver gets to AAA and beyond he probably won't strike out 9+ batters per 9 innings. That leads to more balls in play, and consequently, more fly balls - and probably more home runs.

I know that most organizations would kill for a top four like this - not to mention Kotchman, Santana and McPherson - but prospects are prospects and the holes that these guys have shown in AA might come calling at the higher levels.

I do know that a lineup that features Wood, Kotchman, Guerrero, Morales, Kendrick, McPherson and Mathis will probably strike more fear into the opposition than Cabrera, Guerreo, Anderson, Kennedy, Figgins and Molina.


The Hot Stove Season Begins....

Friday is a big day for fans of the LA Angels. This Friday - November 11 - is the first day that free-agents are allowed to talk to teams other than their employer from 2005. If you read - and believe - the LA Times, Friday could be the day that Ben Molina and Jarrod Washburn begin negotiating with shiny new organizations about their first post-Angel contract. Additionally, this could be the day that Bill Stoneman picks up the phone in his office to call the agent for Manny Ramirez, Paul Konerko or even Mike Piazza to begin discussions about adding a much-needed right-handed bat to the lineup.

So, in hopes that Bill Stoneman finds this blog (unlikely) and then listens to what I have to say (more unlikely) here is a quick list of what I would want to see him do in the upcoming free-agent market.

1) Let Molina and Washburn walk and be someone else's high-priced acquisition.

I doubt that there is ANYONE left who believes that a four-year contract for B-Mo is a good idea at this point in his career. Why do teams have guys like Jeff Mathis if they are afraid to give them a shot in the show?

Similarly, as good as Washburn was in 2005 there is no way that he is going to sign for less than $8 million per year and that is a lot to pay a pitcher that K's less than 5 batters per nine innings.

2) Avoid Konerko like the plague.

Konerko is a fine player, but not worth the $12-$14 million per year that he might end up with. Additionally, Casey Kotchman is the starting first baseman for this team going into 2006 - or at least he should be.

3) Re-sign Paul Byrd to a one year contract to take the fifth spot in the rotation. This will make for a rotation of Colon, Escobar, Lackey, Santana and Byrd. Expect regression from Colon to be mitigated by improvement from Santana and Escobar. If Lackey v.2005 is the new level of performance we can expect from John Lackey, this rotation has the ability to be down-right nasty.


It seems that Stoneman prepared to make his first free-agent offers today. Also, he has apparently already offered Byrd a contract - as per THIS article at the LA Times.


Return of Haloville Online...

With a great off-season on the horizon I just feel the need to try this again. I have tried to get this blog started a few times, but with a busy career (music professor, jazz guitarist) and a full family life (lovely wife and 8-month old triplet boys) I have never been as consistent as I'd like. So, I may not post as much as other bloggers covering the Halos, but I will definitely make my voice heard.

If the possibility of Darin Erstad and Steve Finley returning to the starting line-up in 2006 doesn't rile me up enough to post every day, then I don' t know what my chances are for success, but I know one thing: I want to give this blog one more meaningful shot.