Tuesday, August 5, 2008

The Angels Way Of Doing Business And Other Stories

  • The benefits to the use of K-Rod for player and team:
The Angels are one of the best run organizations in baseball for numerous reasons----they spend money intelligently; they focus on pitching and defense; they develop their own players;
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they have a chain of command----but one of the most important factors for the Angels is that they treat their players the way they like to be treated. This couldn't be more evident in the way they've used closer Francisco "K-Rod" Rodriguez in what is probably his final year with the team.
As freely as they spend money, the Angels aren't capricious; they look at every aspect of their investment----statistically, historically, on and off the field----before coming to a conclusion and they don't pay closers huge amounts of money to remain with the team when they approach free agency. They wisely allowed Troy Percival to leave after grooming a young K-Rod in 2002,3 and 4 and now they have two in-house candidates to replace K-Rod next year with sublime
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set-up man Scot Shields and young Jose Arredondo. I would think that Shields will close for at least 2009 and 10 and Arredondo would set-up and prepare to close in 2011.
The reason the Angels have been so consistently good in recent history is that there's a plan in place and they rarely deviate from that plan. The difference between the Angels and many other teams is that the Angels treat their players right on the way out the door. It's a mutually advantageous relationship. Some teams would use the fact that K-Rod is becoming a free agent as a reason to abuse him with overuse, but the Angels have kept his workload similar to what it's been his whole career. K-Rod usually appears in around 70 games and pitches 75 innings; this year, despite his record-setting pace for saves, will be no different. But the Angels aren't just using K-Rod to do
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his job this year, they're actually doing him a favor by letting him accrue all those saves.
It would be one thing for K-Rod, a very good although sometimes adventurous closer, to put up his usual numbers of 45 saves or so in addition to the appearances, innings-pitched and other stats, but the Angels have K-Rod on pace to set the record for saves in the walk year of his contract. For every team that diminishes the value of a closer to something that can be created, there will always be a few teams that
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are hypnotized by the shady "save" stat and will pay for the guy with the gaudiest numbers. The Angels aren't going to give K-Rod $13-15 million annually especially with his stressful, over-the-top motion and heavy workload over the years, but someone will, and the 60 or so saves he garners in 2008 will assist in that as both he and the Angels try to
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win now, and plan to move on after the season.
This is just one example of an organization that knows what it's doing; how they work within a budget; within parameters of finding players that fit into what they're trying to create and cut the cord when the time is right. Even though they don't get the respect or attention they deserve because they've faltered in the playoffs in recent years, the Angels are a template for other teams to copy if they want to build a successful franchise, run correctly in all aspects.
  • Rangers 9-Yankees 5:
The loss of the game for the Yankees was secondary to the possible loss of Joba
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Chamberlain. After leaving the game in the fifth inning with shoulder stiffness, a terrified shudder was felt throughout Yankeeland. Manager Joe Girardi is confident that the problem is muscular and not structural (ligaments and tendons); they'd better hope that that's the case because with the way they've babied Chamberlain, it would be a huge glitch in all the research they did in the optimal use of a young pitcher and how to keep him healthy over the long term if he's really hurt.
  • Reds 6-Brewers 3:
Prince Fielder shoved pitcher Manny Parra several times in a dugout scuffle after Parra was removed for a pinch hitter----YouTube Clip; there have been references to last year as the Brewers stumbled and several similar incidents occurred involving manager Ned Yost among others. For
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Fielder to get angry enough to confront Parra in such a way, Parra must have said or done something to really hack Fielder off; pitchers can be obnoxious so until some context is revealed, we won't know who's to blame. (Trust me when I say pitchers are obnoxious, I was one and there were plenty of people who wanted to attack me at one point or another; but then it's the same way in my current activity, so maybe it's just my sterling personality.) The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is saying that Parra was heading to the clubhouse after being removed and Fielder wanted him to stay in the dugout to watch the Brewers bat. The only reason I can see Fielder getting so angry is if Parra said something like: "No fine sir, I must go and ice my arm to prevent soreness due to the tearing of microfibers used during strenuous activity, use the facilities graciously provided by the club and have a refreshing beverage", only in more colorful and succinct language like: "FUCK YOU!"
Yost is going to get the blame for not having control of his players and clubhouse, but I'm
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not going to blame Yost for this. I don't think he's a particularly good manager; nor do I think the Brewers are going to make it to the next level with him in charge, but these incidents happen all the time in the clubhouses of every team and it's just the few that happen under a camera's watchful eye that get attention and focus on managerial "control", but he can't be standing between each and every player who doesn't get along with teammates or loses his temper in a flash and does something like what Fielder did. Sometimes these things end up being positive anyway because they clear out some bad blood and create some energy to wake things up. The Brewers haven't been playing very well lately and if things turn around after this, it might be perceived as a turning point.

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