Thursday, March 31, 2005
Newhan: Angels Pushed Out Eckstein
Operating from Wisteria Lane in their desperation to replace Edgar Renteria as the well of available shortstops rapidly evaporated, the Cardinals signed Eckstein to a three-year, $10.25-million contract which, as he observed prior to a recent workout, "would never have happened in Anaheim."So, the littlest Angel scampered off to join the Cardinals. (There's a Catholic image for you.) Lost in all that is Eckstein's increasing fragility, but I still maintain the answer to that was to find a relatively cheap part-time substitute and wait out that talent in the minors.
In Anaheim, where he was the leadoff catalyst for the 2002 World Series winner, respected by teammates for his overachieving ethic and one of the most popular Angels ever among fans, his halo slowly deteriorated in the front office.
During a salary arbitration hearing in February 2004, club representatives denigrated Eckstein beyond the accepted scope of that often acrimonious process.
The Angels compared his range and arm to that of a triple-A shortstop, according to people who have read the transcript, and said that by recording only a .325 on-base percentage in 2003 he had nullified the ability of the club's No. 2 batter, Darin Erstad, to hit with runners on base.
Despite management's belittling, the arbitrators sided with Eckstein. He was awarded the $2.15-million salary he sought for 2004, but beyond his bank account it was largely a pyrrhic victory in that it jeopardized his future employment with the Angels, who were determined to upgrade while avoiding future arbitration with Eckstein.
Couldn't agree more. Spending lavishly for Cabrera was a very stupid move. Itzuris would have been cheap and probably pretty similar both offensively and defensively.
Stoneman may have lucked into the Guerrero and Guillen signings last winter because his moves this year smacked of stupid GM.
1. Upside. Eckstein had zero. You got the best he had in '02 and opposing pitchers were on to him. If he did not lean in and get hit then Eck was not likely to get on at all.
Cabrera has better range and I fully expect him to improve on the Angels SS numbers from the past couple of years. Defensively he is a much more dependable and durable fielder.
2. Cabrera helps keep Guerrero happy. The two are very close friends and locking Vladdy up to an extension just became that much easier. If the minor league talent develops faster than expected, then darn, guess we have one too many shortstops. Much better than being one short (no pun intended). Cabrera then becomes trade bait (hopefully after Guerrero signs an extension).
Re: Eckstein, I always liked him, but wasn't heartbroken to see him go. I'm not real big on the Cabrera signing, but I guess we'll see how it plays out. I agree with anonymous. This year's signings haven't made much sense.
William -- agreed about not being heartbroken about losing Eckstein -- with the team so loaded with shortstops, it was inevitable he'd leave -- but I do feel they went in a bad direction by signing such an expensive SS for so long.
If you only cost $24 million I'd be happy. Cabrera is going to cost $32 million.
Upside. Eckstein had zero. You got the best he had in '02 and opposing pitchers were on to him. - RICH
Agreed, but I wasn't talking about Eckstein. I don't give a rats' ass that they let him walk. My beef is that they signed Cabrera, when no one else was pursuing him publicly, for four years at $8 million per year. My concerns have been partially played out by Izturis drawing 11 walks and hitting over .350 this spring. This kid has hit at every level in the minors and drawn walks, not to mention that he has a good defensive reputation.
Stoneman made a great trade to get Rivera and Izturis for Guillen. The way to make that a spectacular trade is to use Izturis for two years as a stop-gap before the minor league talent is ready - then flip him for something of value. Signing Cabrera to get the same production that Izturis would give you for about 1/25th the cost.
Just a stupid move.
Cabrera has better range and I fully expect him to improve on the Angels SS numbers from the past couple of years. Defensively he is a much more dependable and durable fielder. - RICH
Eck was not a pretty defender, but he ALWAYS got the job done and never made many errors. Cabrera will probably be an upgrade, but not worth $8 million unless he hits a ton. I'm just saying that Izturis was the better solution at SS considering the cost of the options. Now, Nomar at $8 million is one thing, but Cabrera?!?. Sorry, he kinda stinks and unfortunately he is one expensive piece of shite.
Cabrera helps keep Guerrero happy. - RICH
UGH! Seriously? That's how you justify the Cabrera signing? That's weak. But, I will give you the benefit of the doubt this time. Mr. MVP seemed happy last year w/o the OC on the team, and if that $32 million was re-directed into the starting rotation which helped the team get even better, leading to a WS appearance or title, I tend to think that Guerrero would be berry, berry happy, even w/o OC sucking up the joint for $8 million per year.
UGH, sorry for the worst grammar ever...
Signing Cabrera to get the same production that Izturis would give for 25x the money is ridiculous.
Four years of Izturis = $2.5 million (roughly)
Four years of Cabrera = $32 million