No deal not necessarily a bad deal

The Angels overrate their prospects. If that’s what you’re hearing or reading in the wake of their inability to swing a non-waiver Trade Deadline deal for a four-star pitcher, you don’t necessarily have to buy it.

I mean, seriously, how do you overrate prospects who have helped you win more games over the past 4 seasons than any other team in Major League Baseball? That doesn’t make much sense.

You’d think lesser clubs would want to latch onto some of those kids who have helped drive manager Mike Scioscia’s troupe to 438 wins, heading into this six-game road trip, against 309 losses since the start of the 2005 season. Next best: Yankees, at 436-313, then the Red Sox, at 429-318.

Not bad, as company goes.

You’d think clubs languishing on the fringes of contention would welcome the opportunity to import some of this talent from an organization that plays aggressive, exciting, winning baseball from rookie ball on up.

Without full knowledge of what was offered and what was rejected, my sense is the Angels put together some very fair proposals – particularly for Roy Halladay and Heath Bell – and, for whatever reason, were simply rejected.

Maybe Toronto didn’t really want to part with Halladay. Maybe San Diego couldn’t live without Bell, when it was all said and done. I don’t know. But I have been around Angels players now long enough, organization-wide, to appreciate their skill, intelligence and will.

If Erick Aybar was a deal-breaker with Toronto, I’m good with that. He’s on his way to greatness, and Angels fans will be dazzled by his many gifts for years to come.

This whole business of desperately needing No. 1 starters to win in the postseason is an urban myth. If you’re looking for something that’s overrated, here it is. I don’t recall the Big Red Machine in Cincinnati needing a hand full of aces.

The Angels didn’t have a No. 1 in the classic mold in 2002. The Athletics had three legit No. 1s – Barry Zito, Mark Mulder and Tim Hudson – that season and couldn’t win a postseason series. The Braves had three certified No. 1s – Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and John Smoltz — for a full decade. They claimed one Fall Classic.

Dominant starting pitching is great, don’t get me wrong. But it’s not a be-all, cure-all, end-all. It guarantees nothing.

Here’s what matters in October: momentum. Positive, upbeat, driving momentum generated by quality play, good pitching and a dash of good fortune here and there.

It looks wide open this season, from this laptop. The Angels have a shot at going all the way if things fall into place. They’re due for a break or two in October.

Halladay absolutely would have been a terrific addition. But not at the cost of the heart of your club.

As for Bell, he’s a shiny Cadillac parked in a dark garage. Would he have helped the Angels? Sure. But they might end up getting more production out of the players the Padres didn’t seem to want.

Who knows? Crazy stuff happens all the time. It’s baseball. Nobody is nearly as smart as he or she claims to be.




  1. halospost

    Are you kidding me this is total spin in favor of the Angeles organization. I understand the Angels have a lot of young talent that have won a lot of games in the regular season, but when the Angels get to the post season they don’t have the elite talent to beat the elite teams (Boston Red Sox). And the players Toronto wanted weren?t the heart of the club. If Aybar, Wood, Saunders and a Prospect are the heart of the Angels then they have no chance at winning a championship. Does anyone understand why the proposed deal for Hallady (Angels giving up Aybar, Saunders, Wood, & Prospect) didn’t get done. I certainly don’t understand the aforementioned players are all expendable and haven’t produced consistently in the majors. I believe this will set the organization back for several years, it is rare when you have an opportunity to get the best pitcher in baseball to go along with PROVEN ace John Lackey and a hot hitting club. The core or heart of Halladay, Lackey, Morales, Kendrick, Figgins, and Rivera etc. would have contended for a championship this year and next. Now we will have to settle for a first round matchup against the Red Sox with one PROVEN pitcher. I really wish Lackey was enough, but I know he isn’t. Tony Reagins is a joke in the mold of Bill Stoneman, afraid to pull the trigger on PROSPECTS. That’s all any of the players Toronto wanted are PROSPECTS because none of them have been consistent in the majors.

  2. bigredexpy

    I respectfully disagree with halopost. I agree that it would have been fantastic to add Doc to the rotation, but I agree with Reagins and every other GM that was interested in Doc that the price seemed to be too high. That has to be the conclusion because the fact is that Halliday did not get traded to anyone. I also don’t see anywhere in the article that the four players mentioned are the “heart” of the Angels. Also, how is it possible for a player to be consistent at the ML level if they don’t get an opportunity? You probably would have been saying the same thing about Aybar and Morales last year, sure am glad we sent Atlanta Kotchman and not Morales, aren’t you? Anyhow, you obviously are more qualified to be GM of the Angels than the “joke” Tony Reagins, so why don’t you work up a resume and march over to the stadium and demand an interview with Arte so you can take over?

  3. dredleelam

    the price for doc was too high.
    look at who/what went to philly for Cliff Lee. Minor league prospects.
    Had the phillies asked for 3 minor leaguers and, say, Kendrick, I think the Angels would have gone for it. They wanted two starters, a rotation pitcher, and a top prospect. Absurd.

    I would have packaged Wood OR Kendrick in the right deal. But no ML starters and not Aybar.

    Morales, Kendrick, Aybar, FIggins and Wood can be the best young infield combination in all of baseball… for 5 or 6 years, depending on contracts. Ya don’t break that up for one guy.

    the angels DO have some trade-able parts. There is redundancy in Rodriguez, Wood, Brown and Izturis; Mathis, Budde, Wilson, Conger; Willits, Evans, Matthews. I would LOVE to see some of that moved both to make room for others and to bring in some parts that would help. Had Toronto gone for Wood or Rodriguez, Mathis, Willits, and a young pitcher (even O’Sullivan, though I like him a lot) for Doc… PULL. Both teams would be better off. But not at the price.

    Now, what DOES concern me is that other teams made deals for guys who could help the angels, giving up less than the Halos could have offered. Good lord, we could have done a better package for Cliff Lee than did the phillies. But if he stays in the AL, ya don’t get the “he’s new to the league and will go 6-0 before anyone figures him out” factor; and cleve. was probably more willing to deal with an NL than AL club. Still… both starters and relievers changed hands without the Angels’ involvement and I’m not 100% ok with that, given the log jams in the system.

    Overall though, I don’t see a reason to break up the core group out of desperation. This would all be moot if Saunders, Weaver, and Santana were pitching to expectation. But one has to worry over esp. Santana. Almost looks like he needs to go down again (for O’Sullivan) and get his stuff back together.

    It also looks like it’s time to stop fooling around with wood, willits, rodrigeuz, and other guys and bring Arrandondo back up and let him loose to see whatcha get.

  4. erstud17akateix08

    Halospot, you are dead on. It looks like all signs are pointing to it was Saunders, Aybar, Wood and a prospect. I am still trying to wrap my head around why Doc Halladay wasn’t sitting in our dugout itching for his turn to pitch on this team. Its mind boggeling because all the guys we would of given up are replacable. Saunders spot goes to Halladay (pretty good trade off) Aybar’s spot goes to Izzy (love it) Wood never played anyway and the prospect is just a prospect. In return you get the best pitcher in the AL. Gee, let me think. No, we’ll just let every other first and second place team in baseball sure up their loosends-were cool. And the point of we over-value our prospects-Im buying it; and everyone who is not involved in the angels orginization knows it, or accepts it. It even sounded like Lackey knows it. Kotchman, Mcpherson, Mathis, Kendrick, Aybar were all suppose to be all-stars by now and were all labeled untouchable at one point by the Angels when approached in trades for PROVEN talent. And only one of them has a full-time starting job in the big leagues, and still has not proven he can play consistant ball for longer than a month or two. And come on Dredleelam – Rodriguez, willits, Mathis and a prospect for the best pitcher in the AL? Get real. So they get two guys with career major league averages under .220 and two prospects LOL. And Bigredexpy, third to last paragraph: “Halladay absolutely would have been a terrific addition. But not at the cost of the heart of your club.” So if the orginization thinks that Saunders, Aybar and two guys that in their eyes aren’t good enought to play in the bigs are the heart of our club – were in trouble. And they obviusly do because they would rather have them on their team than the most dominant pitcher in the American League. Oh well, there is always 5 or 6 years down the road, huh dredleelam?

  5. erstud17akateix08

    And Lyle, “If Erick Aybar was a deal-breaker with Toronto, I’m good with that. He’s on his way to greatness, and Angels fans will be dazzled by his many gifts for years to come.” I am holding you to that my friend. And you realized you used the word “greatness” talking about Erik Aybar, right? Well, I certainly hope your right, and that he was worth not getting Roy Halladay…

  6. muzikman1

    I couldnt disagree more with Halopost or any of the other people who scream for a trade deadline trade every year. They always look at who we didnt get and never go back and look at who we didnt give away.

    For years other teams have been asking for Kendry Morales, Howie Kendrick, Joe Saunders, Ervin Santana, Chone Figgins, Scott Sheilds, Brandon Wood and Jared Weaver. Can you imagine for a minute what the past 2 or 3 years would have been like without those players on our roster?

    Now lets isolate this year alone. Saunders, O’Sullivan, Aybar and Wood for 1 1/3 years of Doc Halliday. Granted he is a great pitcher. But when Saunders turns it back around and becomes the pitcher he was last two years and the beginning of this year, he too is dominant and matches up with most any teams 1 or 2. O’Sullivan has done nothing but win and I believe the team is 6-0 in his starts. Now look at Aybar and Wood. One of those two men will be our shortstop for many years to come. Not only our shortstop, but an elite shortstop for us. Giving both away blows a hole right in the middle of diamond for years to come. Sure Halliday would have been great… but please stop over rating our opponents. Our pitching staff without any changes matches the Yankees, Tigers, Rangers or Red Sox. In fact the Red Sox probably have the worst rotation of all of us. Behind Beckett who isnt nearly the pitcher he once was who is no 2? Penny who has been very hittable? or knuckballer Wakefield? Anyone want Dice K pitching game 2?

    Seriously, when Saunders and Santana figure it out and find their A game, nobody is gonna want to face Lackey, Weaver, Saunders and Santana in a short series. The bullpen has also been solid with Jepsen, Bulger and Palmer coming up huge in the past month with ERAs in the 1 -2 range, Oliver is always solid and outside of two bad outings Fuentes has been one of the best in baseball.

    So what exactly did we need that was worth changing team chemistry or organizational depth and future for?

  7. muzikman1

    erstud17akateix08 again couldn’t disagree more. Only your post is more about accuracy. Truth is Toronto wasn’t asking for Mathis, Willits and a guy that pitches for the Mets. They were asking for an All Star starting left handed pitcher in Saunders, Both or our Shortstops present and future, and our no 5 starter. You pull one of our shortstops out of that deal and maybe the deal gets done. But both would have been suicide.

    Past deals never featured Mathis or Willits as principles of the deal. Everyone always asks us for 4 or 5 for 1. Past deal breakers have been Morales, Weaver, Saunders, Figgins, Napoli, Kendrick and Santana. Usually 2 or 3 of them requested in any deal.

    The most laughable deals ever were the ones requested by the Marlins for M Cab and yet the screaming from fantasy baseball nuts who know little about baseball and only about stats could be heard right up until the all star break when 3 or 4 of the guys the Marlins were asking for were outperforming M Cab straight up.

  8. halospost

    Ok, so where do I start……the heart of the team was referenced in the article and the four players listed in my post have been widely reported to be what Toronto asked for and I don’t think those players are the heart of the Angles. Brandon Wood has had lots of chances to prove himself, he bats under 200 every time the Angels call him up and the Angels send him down before teams realize he really doesn’t have as much value as they think. He may be good, he may be great, or he may be Dallas McPherson. The point is we know what Roy Halladay is, the most dominant pitcher in the game. With regards to the Angels current staff Lackey is the only consistent pitcher you can hand the ball to in the playoffs. Weaver, Saunders, and Santana have never been consistent. Weaver flashes brilliance and I wouldn’t trade him. Saunders I would have moved in the Halladay deal. He is always struggling to be consistent with his release and arm slot, that is why his command suffers. Santana, well he has been hurt and his delivery and confidence are always messed up. And as far as giving up both of our shortstops people forget that Macier has been great. I just don’t see the point of having all of these prospects if they won’t every play in the majors. At the end of the day the Angels could have resigned Halladay after next year and if they didn’t and won two championships wouldn’t it have been worth giving up Aybar, Wood, Saunders, and a prospect? Even if Halladay left our core of Rivera, Morales, Figgins, Lackey, Weaver, would have been intact and with the current talent in the minors and the two draft picks the Angels would have gotten if Halladay left would have offset the lose of the players traded for Halladay. Check out my blog ( for more.

  9. halospost

    I wanted to address the comments about the Big Red Machine, Oakland Staff, and Atlanta staff separately. During The Big Red Machines run they had a great offense and the league didn’t have as many good pitchers as it does now. I believe great pitching beats great hitting. When Oakland had the big three they didn’t have any hitting, I think we can all agree that you need a balanced club to win. Atlanta had that great staff at the height of the steroid era and they never had a lineup as good as the Angels current lineup. I really hope that Saunders and Weaver pitch like they have in the past, currently the Angels have been winning because they are scoring seven runs per game. The bats are hot and carrying the team, but come playoffs the bats can be slowed by quality pitching (we have seen this before) and the Angels staff will have a hard time matching up with the staffs of Detroit, Boston, Yankees etc. Now if the Angels get to the World Series, they will have an even harder time matching up to the Phillies, Dodgers, Cardinals etc. I will be discussing Angels baseball at my blog (

  10. erstud17akateix08

    Oh Muzik man, sense you brought accuracy up -lets begin. First off, of course Toronto wasn’t asking for Willits, Mathis and S. Rod ( you know, Sean Rodriguez, the guy who hit the two run shot today?) I was refering to Dredleelam’s post when he said that he would be ok if those were the players that were traded and I was saying he needs to come back to reality. And can you tell me who was the 5th starter they wanted? And no I couldn’t imagine what our team would be like without those players because can you tell me the players we would of got in return? You act like we would of just lost those players and not have gotten anyone in return? Lets take a look at a couple of your quotes: “Granted he is a great pitcher. But when Saunders turns it back around and becomes the pitcher he was last two years.” Thats a pretty big if sentence, and a lot of condifence in a guy who has has one good year in the bigs. “Seriously, when Saunders and Santana figure it out and find their A game, nobody is gonna want to face Lackey, Weaver, Saunders and Santana in a short series.” Saunders and Santana were all stars last year -yes? That would mean they had there “A” game yes? But what makes you think they can get it done this year where they are struggling, when they couldn’t get it done last year? Please explain. And you were wondering who Boston’s #2 is? He goes by the name of John Lester, if u have some time check out his postseason numbers last year. And you guys, Aybar has had one good month!!!! One! And were already calling him elite and using the words greatness! We missed out on a once in lifetime opportunity in obtaining the most dominant pitcher in baseball, and putting him on a team with a lot of talent; while only giving up players that are totally replacable. Only time will tell, which was the right decision. Unless of course you have a crystal ball like Muzik does, and can tell us that Saunders and Ervin are going to “find it out” along with their “A” game, where then nobody will want to face us in a short series. (Didn’t really work out last year, but whatever.) YOu know the great thing about Doc Halladay? You don’t need a crystal ball to see if he is going to be a great pitcher. He just is.

  11. muzikman1

    Lets be realistic about what kind of players we are talking about here. Joe Saunders was putting up lights out numbers in his rookie year as a late season call up. I believe he was 7-1 with a microscopic ERA before dropping two late starts. This was largely overlooked because Jared Weaver was called up around the same time and getting all the press with his 11-2. Then Saunders followed his All Star season by being our ace the first two months of this season while 3/5 of the staff was on the DL. The Skills are clearly there, whatever the problem is will be his and Mike Butchers job to figure out… just as they have with Lackey. Just as they did last season with Santana. Which brings us to Santana who has dominant stuff, but has dealt with some physical issues this season that have set him back and he has yet to catch up.

    Now as for Aybar. Actually Im not a fan myself. I think he has mad physical skills. But is in the way of someone with an even greater upside in Brandon Wood. Saying someone that gets to play once every 7 – 10 days every call up has been given a chance to show what he can do is both naive and disingenuous. Hitting is all about rhythm. If youre not given consistent at bats there is no way to get in, or stay in a rhythm.

    Next lets talk about the big match up with Boston. OK I will give you Lester is a solid #2. But Beckett is no longer a solid #1, Wakefield is not a solid #3 and Penny is far from solid at #4. Also last years series was lost not on the mound, but when Scioscia took Aybar and Hendrick straight off the disabled list and back to starting every inning of every game putting up a combined 4 for 35, .114 BA with 1 RBI and more runners stranded than Ive ever seen in a playoff series ever by any two batters. Wood and S Rod played those positions the last month of the season with pretty good production. That is exactly where the 2008 series with the Red Sox was lost. 2007 was a different story with the team ravaged by injuries going into post season.

    Finally, As for the players we didnt get… well as Tex reminded us, trade deadline players are not players you build a team around. They are rent a players who are near the end of their contracts and have expressed to their former team their desire to test the free agent market. Halladay has more than a year left which made him more unusual, but Toronto made it clear that unless the trade was so lopsided they couldnt say no, they were more than content holding onto him. They werent looking for a fair trade.

  12. honda57

    “Here’s what matters in October: momentum. Positive, upbeat, driving momentum generated by quality play, good pitching and a dash of good fortune here and there.”

    I agree with this statement 100%. As fans all we can reasonably expect is to have a good team that competes for a playoff berth. If that happens, the team has already proven it is a GOOD team. Winning in the playoffs comes down to the things Lyle mentioned. That’s it…

  13. rdh1972

    “when the Angels get to the post season they don’t have the elite talent to beat the elite teams (Boston Red Sox)” and “if the Angels get to the World Series, they will have an even harder time matching up to the Phillies, Dodgers, Cardinals”

    That’s bull—-. I’ll grant you things may not be as rosy as Lyle likes to paint them, but all the Angels need to win in the post season is a little more luck. We’ve had close games against the Sox… in spite of the fact that our style of play doesn’t work too well at Fenway. Any team can win a five-game series in baseball… particularly when only the eight best teams are playing.

    And as far as the World Series, come on! You don’t need to worry about matching up to any National League team… it just comes down to which team is hot.

  14. halospost

    I agree Joe Saunders has been good at times, my argument is that we shouldn?t wait for Joe to become more consistent, waiting when you can win now is not something I am a fan of. The Angels might not have the great hitting that they have now in a few years when Saunders is consistent. I won?t comment on Santana, his career speaks for itself. While Wood may become a good to great player we don?t know all we have is hope. Aybar has been good this year but we will have to wait and see if he does it year in and year out. With regards to Boston staff while Beckett may not be as good as last year he is steal better and more consistent than any of the Angels starters outside of Lackey. Yes Lester is a solid #2 and their bullpen is solid as well. The key to winning a series is two solid pitchers a good bullpen and a consistent offense Boston has that. I agree with you that last year?s series wasn?t lost on the mound, but we had Weaver and Saunders pitching lights out, this year they are both struggling to throw strikes consistently and their shortcomings have been masked by the Angels offense. And yes Teixeira was gone after half a season, but we would have had Halladay for all of next year why not swing for the fences and try to win a championship this year and next? As I stated in my previous post the Angels farm system and the two draft picks the Angels would have gotten if Halladay didn?t resign would have been more than enough to offset the loss of pieces that would have been traded for Halladay.

    Check out my blog (

  15. halospost

    Yes luck is important, but in my opinion you need solid pitching and timely hitting more than luck. And being close to winning isn?t good enough. And explain to me why the Angels style of play doesn?t work well at Fenway. The Angels are about getting men on base and playing small ball to score runs. That means going 1st to 3rd, taking the extra base whenever possible, moving runners over, hitting sacrifice flies, etc. Tell me why they can?t do that at Fenway. Your comment about what team is hot is very disturbing. You can be a hot and if you run into two or three good pitchers (Which the Phillies have) they can stop a hot hitting team dead in its tracks, then it comes down to matchups and I don?t think the Angels staff matches up well with some of the other staffs of the eight teams that will make the playoffs. I hope I am wrong and the Angels win it all this year I just wish the Angeles would have been more aggressive and creative and brought in some pitching help. In my opinion there is no way the Angels couldn?t have gotten Cliff Lee from Cleveland. Even Lackey was hoping for pitching help, because he has been there before and knows what it takes to win it all. When the Angels won the championship in 2002 they had good to dominant pitching and timely hitting. Good pitching beats good hitting all the time.

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