While the Dustin Parkeses and Drew Fairservices of the world are off enjoying their weekend, I’ll be taking the reins and providing you with some content to hold you over until the big boys get back to their desks on Monday morning.  Now you can get your Getting Blanked fix seven days a week.  You’re welcome.

UPDATE: As it turns out, they have nothing in common with Denmark.  This would roughly be why I write about baseball and not economics. Let’s all pretend that the headline actually reads, “The What the Angels Have in Common with Tonga Edition.” Shout out to Scott in the comments for pointing out the obvious.

The Los Angeles Angels have made a lot of noise this offseason, what with signing a new first baseman and a new starting pitcher, but one of the moves that is likely to fly under the radar is the one they made yesterday.  The Angels have extended second baseman “This is” Howie “Do it” Kendrick for four years and a reported $33.5-million.  The deal will take care of Kendrick’s final year of arbitration eligibility and his first three years of free agent eligibility.

Kendrick put up a career year in 2011, his age 27 season, hitting .285/.338/.464 with 18 home runs, a .349 wOBA and 120 wRC+.  He was also one of the best fielding second-baggers in baseball last year according to the advanced metrics grading out with a +14.4 UZR at second base while also logging significant time in leftfield and at first base.  He was the fifth best second baseman in baseball last year according to fWAR behind only Dustin Pedroia, Ian Kinsler, Ben Zobrist (who also played many other positions) and Brandon Phillips.

Details of the contract have not yet been finalized, but if estimates are true, Kendrick was scheduled to make around $5-million this season through arbitration which means the Angels will be paying him around $28.5-million for his first three years of free agent eligibility, or $9.5-million per year.  Considering Kendrick was worth 5.8 fWAR last season, this appears to be a potentially massive bargain for Kendrick who probably could have made far more money on the open market next year with another solid season.

The Angels have now committed a minimum of $351-million to three players this offseason, or you know, the Gross Domestic Product of Tonga.

And the rest…

The Baltimore Orioles and the Toronto Blue Jays have apparently been watching Manny Ramirez swing bats and stuff [ESPN Deportes][English link from MLBTR]. This of course means nothing, but I do get uncomfortable when the Jays and OrioLOLes are mentioned in the same sentence.  Stoeten over at DJF says more words about it here.

Former Blue Jays catcher Kevin Cash has announced his retirement and accepted a position as an advanced Major League scout for the Jays [Boston Globe].  Cash was a career .183/.248/.278 career hitter with 12 home runs in 714 big league plate appearances.  I had the chance to quasi-meet him at a game once, he was funny.

Buster Olney reports that former Mariners closer David Aardsma has started a throwing program after undergoing Tommy John surgery last July [Twitter/ESPN]. He’s not expected to be 100% until about the All-Star break so he has not started looking for a job yet.  Want to hear an awesome joke?  Who’s the Pirates’ favourite pitcher?  David AAAAARRRRRRRRdsma.

Okay, stop laughing.

Jon Heyman thinks that Jorge Posada should be considered for the Hall of Fame based on some rather convenient cherry-picked numbers and ludicrous comparisons to the likes of Johnny Bench and Carlton Fisk [CBSSports.com].  As I briefly discussed yesterday, Posada was a very good player, but he hardly seems like a Hall of Famer.  I won’t argue that there isn’t a case to be made for him, but Heyman does not make it here.

Peter Keating of ESPN has come up with a new metric to measure Hall of Fame candidates, it’s called WAAS or wins above All-Star level [ESPN.com].

David Schoenfield details Fred McGriff’s borderline Hall of Fame career [ESPN.com].

Sticking with Hall of Fame talk (because really, what else is there to talk about?), does Bernie Williams’ post-season resume make him Hall-Worthy? [FanGraphs]

In case you weren’t already aware, the indispensable Cot’s Baseball Contracts, a site dedicated to spelling out every Major League contract in painstaking detail, has moved over to Baseball Prospectus.  Congratulations are in order for Jeff Euston, the creator and operator of the site.

Speaking of BP, Kevin Goldstein looks deeper at the Anthony Rizzo trade behind a pay wall [Baseball Prospectus].

Backup infielder update: Brooks Conrad has signed a minor-league deal with the Milwaukee Brewers [Twitter/FOX Sports] and the Rays are interested in Ryan “The Riot” Theriot for some reason[Twitter/FOX Sports].

Follow me on Twitter for all your weekend updates from Getting Blanked!

Comments (9)

  1. Travis,
    Let me preface this by saying I love the site, and am very happy you are giving us our offseason weekend baseball fix. Also, I am a huge AA fan and completely buy into “the plan” of building through the draft, international signings and player development. However, I also believe that Rogers’ and Beeston are not being fully honest about the Blue Jays contribution to their media empire.

    One of you guys should use the Score’s resources and hire an MBA to do some analysis on the value of the Angels and Rangers’ 80mm+ per year TV contracts that are fueling their spending vs. Rogers’ derived value from owning the Blue Jays content. With the LA market being split and the GTA being similar in size to Dallas/Fort Worth, not to mention the national reach of the Blue Jays fan base, my back of the envelope analysis says that the Blue Jays are much more valuable to Rogers than most are currently envisioning. In the era of HDTV, streaming internet, i phones and tablets etc. this type of content is gold for advertisers. It’s not just about ticket sales, or even cable subscription revenue, it’s about ADVERTISING as well as the ability to promote other content during telecasts, and valuable exclusive content makes that advertising and promotion more valuable, again, especially considering the national reach of the Blue Jays and Sportsnet. ie. A national ad campaign is worth much more than regional, which is what the Rangers and Angels are restricted to.

    Rogers is using the Blue Jays to build its Sportsnet empire into a media advertising juggernaut and not properly allocating that value back to the team in my view, although I’d like to see some more detailed revenue allocation that includes Sportsnet brand building and cross promotion. If properly allocated, it is my suspicion that a payroll well north of 100mm is easily supported, even given current attendance, and should make Stoeten and Parkes stop apologizing for Rogers’ thriftiness.

    • While I agree with you to an extent that Rogers does use the Jays to further its media dominance, I would disagree with you on Rogers not allocating the funds necessary to compete. As Parkes, Drew, Stoeten and others have said countless times, the team IS spending money. Draft bonuses and a myriad of international free agent signings are evidence of this.

      You may not agree, but throwing money at free agents is not the best way to build sustainable winning. Even the Yankees and Red Sox have tremendous scouting staffs and smart front offices, they just have a bigger budget.

      We’re often quick to compare the model AA is using to the Rays, but IMO, the Rangers are a much more apt comparison given the market size and overall wealth. As Parkes detailed a few weeks ago, they didn’t spend until the fans started coming back in droves. They went to the World Series in 2010 with the 23rd payroll in baseball, then increased it with well-timed free agent signings like Adrian Beltre; but the winning came first with a strong core of home grown players and players acquired USING those homegrown players.

      The Jays may be more willing to throw money at free agents once the core of the team is strong enough to do so. That core has to have some level of success on the field before that can happen. I suspect, providing the young core of the Jays continues to improve in 2012, that next year will be the year you’ll see more activity on the free agent market from Toronto.

      Let us not forget that the Jays bid aggressively on Yu Darvish as well. It’s not as if they aren’t willing to spend money, they’re just doing it smartly.

      Teams that blindly throw money at free agents in an ill-timed fashion end up like the Orioles and the Cubs…we don’t want that.

      Now, am I a fan of the way Rogers does business? Hell no. I’m as progressive/anti-capitalist a person as you’re going to find writing about baseball. Obviously being run by a corporation does not help the Jays…corporations care about the bottom line and that’s it. Do I suspect that Rogers is hoarding much of the money it makes off the back of the Jays’ TV revenue? Of course I do and of course they are. Is it getting in the way of the baseball operations? Not yet and maybe not ever. The Jays have one of the most respected front offices and well run organizations around. Patience is needed; corporate overlords notwithstanding.

      Remember, Rogers will spend money if it deems it profitable to do so…following the Rangers’ model will allow that to happen.

      • Team’s expenditures seem to always be measuring in player payroll and its rankings, but I’d like to see the ‘Baseball Related Expenditures’ for all 30 clubs and how they measure up, and how they differ from payroll rankings. I believe the Jays still have the largest scouting department in the majors but that’s never taken into consideration by people claiming that Rogers is unwilling to spend on the team. Things like IFAs, draft bonuses, cash transferred in trades and the Rule 5 Draft would all fall under this ‘B.R.E.’ number – you could also include front office staff salaries. It’s a tall order, and I don’t expect the new version of Cot’s to be able to gather all the information (especially the parts that aren’t made public) but it might provide some interesting insight.

        • That should say “measured” in the first sentence. Jeez, you’d think my first language was Danish or something!

  2. Denmark’s GDP is in the billions – with a ‘b’ – not millions. A simple googling of Denmark GDP returns $310 billion USD.

    • wow, you’re totally right. I misread the source I was going on. This would roughly be why I’m not a math or economics major. Thanks, I’ll fix it

  3. Thanks for the response but I think your being a bit simplistic here. As a tried and true capitalist, including a long stint within a certain pension plan that owned a certain sports entity in town, I can tell you that there are all sorts of reasons for spending within large corporations with different cost and profit centers. I guarantee you the guys at Rogers Media and Wireless are all for having the Blue Jays as content but surely will fight tooth and nail before any of their divisions revenues are attributed back to the Jays. I would like the intelligent media like yourselves to hold Rogers’ feet to the fire when it comes to allocating value to the Blue Jays and putting a winning product on the field. That doesn’t mean spend for the sake of spending, but spending intelligently withing AA’s plan.

    AA said himself he wished he didn’t have to give up Molina for Sanchez. Are you saying that if Rogers gave AA payroll parameters of 100-120mm tomorrow that he wouldn’t be able to improve the team? Prince Fielder wouldn’t help for the next few years of Bautista’s prime? Really? Do you not think that if we agree to take on a contract like Figgins, that Seattle would not listen to a deal for Felix? Or that the Giants wouldn’t listen to a deal for Matt Cain if we also took Zito?

    Also, the point about spending on scouts and int’l signings is incomplete. Yes, that is the foundation for building a winner. But scouts are paid 50k-100k per year. We annually spend the total of one traditional free agent on int’l signings. Compared to player salaries, those items give the organization great bang for the buck but are not a significant cost.

    My point is that there has been a sea change in the value of premium sports content in the past few years, and it is not being talked about in relation to Rogers’ value gained from owning the Blue Jays and their lack of willingness to spend to win, instead of waiting to win before spending. Rogers and Bell just paid 2Billion, including assumed debt, for MLSE. That is largely because of the value of the content for advertising.

    If a portion of that change in value was given to AA to spend I believe he would use it in a very intelligent manner that maximizes value and puts a winner on the field in 2012. I believe the changes made in the 2nd half and so far this offseason, have added 8-10 wins over last years’ total. We are close. A more realistic allocation of Jays-related revenue back to the team would give us a much better shot at playoffs this year. In AA we trust, and so should Rogers.

  4. Good writing, but please take heed — only one space after a period!

    See here: http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/technology/2011/01/space_invaders.single.html

    Thanks!

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