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Wednesday, April 07, 2004

Marry In Haste, Repent At Leisure

If newly discovered slugger José Molina, and renewed third baseman Troy Glaus look to crush every ball within a couple feet of the plate, the surprises were Vlad "only" going 1-4 with a walk, and Erstad 1-5. (Salmon went 0-5, but has historically not hit Moyer well, with a .215 career average.) While a lot has been written about Ersty's lack of offense (his principle value is his CF glove), what bugs me is Stoneman's insistance on writing contracts like Erstad's in the first place. Sure, he had a great 2000, but with more bad offensive seasons than good, the former first-round, first-overall draft pick now looks to be pretty close to an average player -- that is, an expensive bust anywhere but centerfield. I'll put it this way: I haven't seen Stoneman make the kinds of moves that Paul DePodesta has made lately, ones where you say to yourself, yeah, we just rooked those guys. Stoneman's likely to hand out contracts for sentimental reasons, which isn't a good idea if your object is to win. The problem I've had with McCourt is that he acquired the team as a kind of Christmas present from Bud Selig, who wants to see a fiscally hamstrung Dodgers, and from News Corp, who wanted to keep the Fox Sports West networks. While it's better to be smart and rich, DePodesta is showing himself to be at least smart.

In the end, the ability to recognize and properly reward talent will be far more important than the current roster. My basis for judging DePodesta is based on a small sample size, to be sure, but one that gives me some comfort level. Stoneman's lack of imagination gives me pause. Shouldn't he have had some kind of "in" with Javier Vazquez, given that they both worked for the same organization once upon a time? Sure, Vlad was a nice pick up, but the way the story's told, his acquisition was an accident. If there's any contract the Angels may live to regret, it just might be the four-year extension of Stoneman's contract as GM.

Update: thanks to those writing to remind me that Erstad's contract was negotiated mid-year rather than after the Series.


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