Found June 27, 2012 on
Monkey with a Halo:
Earlier this week, Fangraphs posted this article wondering why it is first basemen are paid so much more relative to WAR than other positions. There's a lot of interesting discussion in the piece on the causality of all that, but what really got me thinking is the first table showing the millions of dollars per WAR by defensive position. Specifically, it got me thinking about Mark Trumbo.
Mark Trumbo is nominally a first baseman, but that is a thing of the past thanks to Albert Pujols. That's good news because according to that post, first basemen are very high-priced. As it currently stands, Mark is now a left fielder, he's a work in progress there, but that is where he is going to play most of his games for the rest of this season. That's not so good news because, as the chart shows, left fielders are also very expensive, in fact, more expensive per WAR than first basemen.
What we don't know is what the future holds for Trumbo's primary defensive designation. Fortunately, the Angels have several years to figure that out before Trumbo hits the open market. But it is a problem worth thinking about now because if he keeps hitting like he is this season, he is going to be in line for a massive payday. But the exact size of that payday looks like it might be something the Angels can manipulate depending on what position on the field they lock him into.
We all saw how poorly Mark Trumbo's transition to third base went early on in this season, but after looking at that $/WAR chart, there is a great deal of financial sense in revisiting the experiment. For whatever reason, GMs aren't throwing big money at third basemen, although part of that could be that there has been a relative dearth of talent at the hot corner the last few years. Nonetheless, it does look like there is something of a market inefficiency that the Halos could take advantage of while also plugging a roster hole at the same time.
Simplifying down from all the sabermetrics in the article, I would posit that if Trumbo were to continue producing as a top slugger who is a below average defender at third base rather than as a below average defender in left field, the Angels could save several million dollars when it comes time to lock Trumbo into a long-term contract. GMs don't seem to care so much about defense in left field but they do at third base. In other words, if he is costing the team runs in the field at third, it is going to decrease his value much more than if he is costing the team runs in left field. Judging by the disparity in the $/WAR numbers that difference in defensive value could be more than enough to offset the relative scarcity of bats as potent as Trumbo's that can play third base.
Therein lies the rub though. Getting Trumbo to become even a below average third baseman seems like a tall order. While he showed promise in spring training, he was an unmitigated disaster once the regular season started. However, and this might be the cognitive dissonance talking, a fractured foot kept him from prepping for the shift across the diamond during the off-season. Give him a full off-season to learn the position and maybe he can actually get good enough to fake it at third.
But that is only part of the problem, the other complication is that the Angels would have to be willing to sacrifice runs on the field in order to artificially deflate Trumbo's perceived value all for the sake of getting him to sign a five-year, $80 million contract instead of a five-year, $88 million after the 2016 season. That's some pretty hardcore long-term planning right there. However, it does come with the pleasant side effect of the Angels maximizing their current roster by plugging the hole at third, for which no legit prospect is within two seasons of occupying, and once again clearing the path for Peter Bourjos to play everyday.
I don't know, maybe I am misinterpreting the findings from the original article, in which case having Trumbo play third would only make him more expensive. Or maybe Trumbo just ends up having such a special bat that he will get paid top dollar regardless of the position he plays. It is even possible that there is no need to manipulate his value since he seems like a prime candidate to take a hometown (literally) discount. Or maybe his plate discipline begins to erode and by the time he hits free agency he is no longer worth locking up (sorry, but the possibility has to be mentioned).
Whatever the case, I have the feeling that this whole exercise, while well intentioned, is based on a bad premise. The notion that the Angels would make a major decision like what defensive position one of their young stars will play based off of future potential financial savings rather than what is best for the team in terms of winning games doesn't seem to jive the way Mike Scioscia, Jerry Dipoto or Arte Moreno operates.
BEST OF MAXIM
A few weeks ago, I did this hard-hitting investigative report that proves Mike Trout is the last son of Krypton, Superman. In case that didn't convince you, and how could it not, Trout provided us with even more evidence today with this jaw-dropping catch:
That's levitation, homes. It might also be the best catch of the season and the best catch...
The Angels really couldn't have hoped for much more than the result they got Tuesday night in Baltimore.
Their 7-3 victory over the Orioles came at the start of a three-city, nine-game trip against thee contending teams. Considering their just-completed 6-3 home stand and 23-8 record since April 28, expectations are understandably high.
The most impressive aspect of their win...
Mike Trout has transitioned from talented rookie to unbelievable talent in one smooth leap. He used to be a phenom, but it's quite possible that the right word hasn't yet been invented yet to describe the things he does.
So how about "Troutacular"?
Really, there's no other way to describe the Angels' 20-year-old outfielder, who takes his game to new levels...
The only thing that saved Dave Haren from a loss Thursday night in Toronto was the Angels' offense.
If not for Mike Trout, Mark Trumbo, Albert Pujols and everyone else who contributed in an 9-7 win over the Blue Jays, Haren would be sitting on his eighth loss of the season.
He won only because the Angels kept pounding out hits to put him in front. Every time he gave up a lead...
TORONTO (AP) -- Rookie Mike Trout and Mark Trumbo each hit two-run homer, Alberto Callaspo added a solo blast and the Los Angeles Angels beat the Toronto Blue Jays 9-7 on Thursday night for their 14th victory in 18 games.
Trout went 2 for 5 to raise his American League-leading average to .345 as the Angels, who have won 25 of 33 overall, improved to 14-1 in their past 15 road contests...
It was the Catch of the Day. Los Angeles Angels rookie Mike Trout added another breath-taking moment to his growing highlight reel Wednesday night, going high over the center field wall at Camden Yards to steal a home run from Baltimore's J.J. Hardy in the first inning of a game the Angels eventually won 13-1 over the Orioles. "There's no doubt it was as good a catch...
The Angels have been pretty pleased with the play of their 20-year-old rookie, Mike Trout… to put it lightly. On Wednesday night Trout again flashed his glove and robbed a would be home run. I’d say this young man will be in the big leagues for quite a while.
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Article found on: Cosby Sweaters
Albert Pujols has found his stride and has raised his average to .270 on the season thanks to a four hit night on Thursday. -(Photo credit: BaseballBacks)
Albert Pujols is a long way removed from the horrid start to his first season as a member of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
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Mike Trout made an amazing catch on Wednesday night to rob JJ Hardy of a home run. In what will likely go down as one of the best catches of the 2012 season, Trout leaped high in the air and then crashed into the wall after making the catch.
Closer examination of the play reveals just how high the 20 year old top prospect jumped to make the play. A graphic displayed on MLB network...
Albert Pujols homered in his Camden Yards debut, C.J. Wilson allowed one run in seven innings, and the Los Angeles Angels had a season-high 17 hits in a 7-3 win over the Baltimore Orioles on Tuesday night.
Peter Bourjos, Mark Trumbo and John Hester also connected for the Angels, who have won 12 of 16 overall and 12 of their last 13 road games. The four home runs were a season high...
As the Orange County Register pointed out last night, Mike Trout did not play in a game yesterday, but has taken over the league lead in batting average as Paul Konerko dropped a point behind him. Anytime a player is leading in one of the big traditional three categories (average, home runs, or RBI) it cries out to voters that they deserve some recognition. Today, the votes are being...
Mike Trout pulled a Torii Hunter on Wednesday afternoon in Baltimore, and fittingly, Torii Hunter was the first one to congratulate him for it. Trout robbed Baltimore's J.J. Hardy of a home run by leaping well over the right-center fence at Camden Yards, right in front of the Southwest Airlines sign. Talk about flight. Check out the catch of the year below. Your browser does...
Eventually we’ll find out something Los Angeles Angels sensation Mike Trout can’t do on the baseball field. Coming into tonight’s game against the Baltimore Orioles he led the American League in batting with a .335 average so we know he can hit. Despite not playing his first Major League game this season [...]
Ernesto Frieri is beginning to have a knack for the dramtic. His bases-loaded ninth inning gem was more scripted than it was allowanceAngels 9, Blue Jays 7
“Nobody knows the doubles I’ve creamed,” or so players in the Pacific Time Zone used to lament in the days before the internet.
Hall of famers like Sandy Koufax or the Padres Tony Gwynn could do something special on a Saturday night but no one on the East Coast would know about it until Monday morning when the newspapers finally printed the box scores. Times have changed, of...