Kudos to Stoneman for one thing...

Inking Kelvim Escobar to a below-market value contract extension on May 31. I hadn't thought about this lately, but Stoneman signed Kelvim to a 3-year, $28.5 million deal on May 31. That deal looks like a genius move in retrospect with Gil Meche reportedly having received an offer from St. Louis that was worth $36 million over 4 years.

If Kelvim was on the open market right now and that was the going rate for a Gil Meche, I expect that he'd command upwards of 4 years and something approaching $50 million.

Anyway, with my utter disdain for Bill Stoneman at an all-time high after the signing of Gary Matthews Jr., I figured I should remind everyone of a smart thing he did in the recent past.



Well, the deal for Gary Matthews Jr. got me thinking about the tenure of Bill Stoneman as general manager of the Anaheim Angels, aka the LAAoA.

The first few years were definitely intriguing. The Brian Cooper for Brad Fullmer trade was nails and the signing of Kelvim Escobar prior to 2004 was inspired. Going after Colon was a good move even after a sub-par 2004 and 2006 injury aside. The signing of Jose Guillen to start in LF was genius. Guillen had a monster year in 2004 even though the end of the year was stupid and he ended up being a complete ass, the idea to go after Guillen was a good, outside-the-box idea that worked out from a production standpoint. Then, as Gullen fell out of favor and became a persona non grata in Anaheim, Stoneman was able to swindle the Expos out of Maicer Izturis AND Juan Rivera for Guillen. That trade, right there, made me believe in Stoneman as a legit GM. A big-picture guy, a thinker and risk-taker. Not so much anymore, but we'll get to that.

Those moves were obviously good moves, but there were obviously bad moves too. Edmonds for Bottenfield and Kennedy comes to mind first, Callaspo for Bulger and the JC Romero deal (Casilli?, Casilla?) are too new to completely lambaste, but we're getting there.

The extensions to Erstad and Anderson reek of stupidity as does the releasing of a bullpen's worth of quality relievers: Jenks, Turnbow, Peralta and Woods. Young, cheap talent is what allows you to go get the big name player to round-out your club. The team released those bullpen arms and went and spent upwards of $30 million on Yan, Carrasco and now Speier. That is money that could be spent elsewhere.

There are other moves that Stoneman doesn't deserve too much credit for - as they were moves that fell into his lap. Landing Guerrero seems to have been sheer luck. Realize, I don't condemn him for this move, but he shouldn't get too much credit either.

However, there are a couple of moves that really made me change my thinking on Bill Stoneman. The first happened only a few days after the trade of Guillen for Izturis and Rivera. The releasing of David Eckstein and then the signing of Orlando Cabrera to play SS. At the time the team acquired Izturis I assumed that he would take over for Eckstein if they wanted to go in another direction at SS. At no time did I think that spending $32 million on a bad offensive player was an option. The fact that this year Izturis was not significantly worse than OC in a good offensive year for OC speaks to the fact that Izturis (aka Mice-Tits) should have been given the SS job in 2005 and OC should not have been signed.

Then there is the signing of Sarge Jr. I am flummoxed. I can't find words to describe the crappiness of this signing. It is mind-numbing.

Bill Stoneman is not a good GM. Bill Stoneman is, in point of fact, a bad GM, and this free agent acquisition has absolutely sealed the deal on his status.


"What if this is as good as it gets?" - Jack Nicholson from As Good As It Gets

Sarge, Jr.?


Stupid. Fucking. Move. Period.


What to do in the offseason?

If I was called by Bill Stoneman for my input, here is what I say:

1) Upgrade the offense by pursuing a top-tier center fielder. That basically means Vernon Wells or Andruw Jones. The Blue Jays need middle infield help. O-Cab should be shopped in this hypothetical deal, but if they don't take him I am willing to part with Aybar in this deal. So, for Vernon Wells, I assume that a package of Saunders, Aybar and Figgins gets the deal done, and the other condition is a window to negotiate a long-term deal with Wells. If he or the Jays balk at that demand, screw them. Wells wants to go to Texas - we can't let him hit the market after 2007.

The trade for Andruw Jones is a different beast. The Braves need relief pitching. Scot Shields should be the centerpiece of this hypothetical deal with Chone Figgins and maybe Saunders rounding the deal out. I really haven't thought this one though as much as the Wells deal, but that seems about right. Also, a long-term deal from Jones is necessary for this to fly. The Halos can not end up renting a guy for a year - that won't work, it is too risky to give up that much for a one-year rental.

2) Don't, whatever you do, trade Ervin Santana unless the booty in return is Miguel Cabrera. With A-Ram unavailable, give Mr. McPherson another shot at 3rd base - he and Quinlan are a dynamite platoon tandem unless Cabrera is available. Then you start with Santana and Kotchman/Morales and see what the response is.

3) Upgrade the bullpen - he already signed Speier to a stupid-long contract, but Speier is pretty damn good right now, so only years 3 and 4 are really looking sketchy. The trade of Gregg to Florida isn't great, it isn't bad - it just is.

4) Don't go after Soriano, Zito, Lee or any other "top" FA this year. It is a stupid market right now and you will regret the contract in two years.

This is where I start - in that order.

We'll see what Stoney does...