Thursday, December 8, 2011

Thoughts on the Astros, and the Angels

If you're like me, you simply could not believe what had taken place. First, the Astros get moved (against their will) to the AL West. One of the reasons I didn't start looking for flamethrowers on eBay was because now, at least, Albert Pujols wouldn't be able to slay the Astros every chance he got.

Then I saw the tweets roll in that the Angels had spent the GDP of 46 countries to sign Albert Pujols. And then C.J. Wilson. And I got mad. I wrote a one-word email to some friends, and I bet you can guess what that one word was.

But then I started to think objectively. A future division rival has just committed $327 million to two players who will not be worth it towards the end of their contracts. Before the realignment mess, I was hoping that the Cardinals would over-commit to Pujols, because it would hamstring their payroll. So the Angels did it, instead.

Will Pujols out-produce his contract? Maybe. Seven of the ten players on Baseball-Reference to Pujols are Hall of Famers. And the other three are Ken Griffey, Juan Gonzalez, and Manny Ramirez; and Griffey is definitely a HOFer. Seriously, just take a second and look at Pujols' B-R page. It's insane.

C.J. Wilson is a different story. C.J. Wilson's similar players through age 30 are Joe Page, Paul Lindblad, Joe Price, Ray Narleski, Grant Jackson, Bob Chipman, Dave Hamilton, Fred Scherman, Don Mossi, and Ricky Horton. Exactly.

I don't know about the Angels' financial flexibility, but with paying Vernon Wells for three more years, and Jared Weaver through 2016, it's unlikely they'll be adding too terribly much in the future (not that they necessarily need to.) But they've just committed to Albert Pujols until 2021, and C.J. Wilson through 2017.

That said, where we should be concerned is through an existing AL West war. If the Rangers answer the Angels' moves by signing Prince Fielder, or...I don't know who's left, but if the Rangers answer with their own high-splash signing, it's not good for the rebuilding Astros. Should this happen, and the Angels/Rangers are looking like the US and Soviet Union in the late 1950s and the Astros are, you know, Bermuda, where the fallout will be terrible if shots are fired, it's a bad position to be in.

Luckily for us, after six hours, Jeff Luhnow looks like a freaking genius.