Regrets, Tony Reagins Has A Few

I wasn’t privy to the negotiations between Los Angeles Angels general manager Tony Reagins and Toronto Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos that sent Vernon Wells and the $86 million he was owed to California in exchange for Juan Rivera and Mike Napoli being sent to Ontario. However, I feel it’s safe to assume they went something like this:

Reagins: We’re interested in Vernon . . .

Anthopoulos: We’ll take anything you want to get rid of.

It was, and is, an awful trade for the Angels. In addition to setting themselves up to pay Wells a ton of money to perform at a level that’s below what a typical replacement player performs at, the trade also sent more than five wins above replacement (most of which come from Napoli’s performance this season) away from the team.

Making matters even worse for Los Angeles is that the Toronto Blue Jays turned around and traded Napoli to the Angels’ division rival Texas Rangers. Napoli, who Los Angeles considered to be an overpriced arbitration option that only ever hit left handed pitching, has had a career year in 2011, accumulating a .430 wOBA, getting on base more than 40% of the time and slugging .606. His splits have also been more even than in any previous season, taking 126 plate appearances vs. left handed pitching, 254 plate appearances vs. right handed pitching, and accumulating a 1.000+ OPS against both.

Looking at the standings in the American League West and the three game difference between the division leading Rangers and second place Angels, we can now confidently refer to this margin as The Napoli Effect. Or perhaps more accurately, The Reagins Difference.

If Reagins doesn’t pull the trigger on the Vernon Wells trade, his team is very likely in first place in the AL West with 14 games to go in the season.

Comments (9)

  1. Thumbs up to the Blue Jays and their almost illegal trade of a guy who was only benefiting because of a man relaying signs to Vernon at Rogers Centre.

  2. I liked the trade for the Angels. They had no interest in Napoli (for whatever reason) and Rivera and struck out on their FA target, Carl Crawford. Vernon Wells was coming off a very solid year and there was lots of reasons to prefer Vernon in LF on what was ostensibly a 4/78m deal as opposed to Crawford for 7/142m. Instead of having 6/122m left on Crawford’s deal they have 3/63m of Vernon to deal with. Awful, no doubt, but clearly something they can overcome playing in the AL West. It’s one thing to sit back and say they should have trusted Bourjos and Trout to cover the OF but we have no idea if Reagins was told by Moreno to go out and acquire some “big name” talent, much like Soriano was rammed down Cashman’s throat.

    You often rail on the idea of spending money for the sake of spending money, and I think this is an example you should be using. But I don’t know if it’s necessarily on the GM.

    • I have trouble believing that any GM in baseball (with the exception of Michael Hill) would stay in his job if he had that little control of the direction of his team. It’s one thing for the Yankees owner to insist a high priced reliever get signed, quite another for a GM to let his owner piss away money on Vernon Wells. Admittedly, Wells has been even worse than I expected, but still, blame for picking up an unnecessary $78 million commitment that ends up hindering your team more than helping it should belong to the general manager whether the owner asked for it or not.

  3. I think it’s also worth noting that Reagins missed out on Adrian Beltre last winter as well. I can’t imagine it would have cost the Angels too much more than the five-year, $80M (plus an option) contract that Texas signed Beltre to, but they passed on him and instead chose to spend $78M for four years of Wells (while also moving an asset they undoubtedly could have gotten some value for in Napoli), which I can’t wrap my head around.

  4. Tomorrow morning’s column: Linkin’ Ballpark – The Brandon Morrow FUCKING sucks edition. Right now I wouldn’t even make him the closer; he’s not good enough.

    • Couldn’t have said it better myself. He is regressing this year, and is a complete turd sandwich rolled in burnt hair. I just hope he is not going to be another Burnett-type, with lots of raw talent but can’t seem to put it together on a consistent basis.

      • Morrow is tired, nothing more. He needs to build stamina at some point, but he’s obviously gassed this season.

  5. Where is part two, where you ream AA for trading Napoli for FRANK FRANCISCO! That trade was almost as stupid for AA as the Wells trade was for Reagins. It was obvious at the time and its painfully obvious now. I’m not saying that that Jays even had roster space for him (although in hindsight it would have been preferable to have Napoli at 1B instead of Lind), but AA should have gotten more than a dime a dozen reliever for one of the best-hitting catchers in MLB.

    • The Jays had Brian McCann? Mike Napoli is a good batter. He’s not a catcher. The deal, while it wasn’t very good, is nothing compared to the Reagins move.

      As for the Morrow complaints, Greg has it right. His consecutive shitty starts have all come after his surpassing the most innings he’s ever pitched in a season. Calm the fuck down. He’s still a very good pitcher.

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