Letter to Tony Reagins
May 29, 2011
Mr. Tony Reagins
At the one-third point in the season, I thought it would be instructive to check how you and your team are doing.
The Angels are 27-27 thus far. That's right, your $142 million payroll has produced mediocrity for the second year in a row.
Looking forward to next season, I see where you have already committed $80M to seven players. This group includes two starting pitchers, two relievers, two outfielders, and a utility infielder. Unfortunately, you still need to come to terms with three members of your core roster: Jered Weaver, Howie Kendrick, and Kendrys Morales. These arbitration-eligible players will probably cost $10-12M, $6-8M, and perhaps $5M, respectively, next year. Add 'em all up and you've topped $100M for just 10 players, three of whom will do little other than pitch the middle innings out of the bullpen and provide insurance at 3B, SS, and 2B.
I understand Vernon Wells has an opt out after 2011. As such, you may be able to reduce your payroll by more than $21M should he exercise it. Do you think the left fielder who is "hitting" .183 and will turn 33 in December will seek greener pastures? I didn't think so. Enough said!
What were you thinking when you guaranteed Bobby Abreu's option for 2012 at a cost of $9M in the event he accumulated 1,100 plate appearances in 2010-2011? With just 200 to go to qualify, I suggest you order Mike Scioscia to use him sparingly the rest of the way. You're already on the hook for $39M for two aging outfielders next season. No reason to make it $48M by adding Abreu to the mix unless you're happy with a combined 12 HR in 609 PA this season from these free agent signings of yours.
How's that Hisanori Takahashi contract working out? Only 1 2/3 years to go at an average of $4M per! While the 36-year-old reliever with an ERA over 5.00 is neither the worst contract (that honor would go to Vernon Wells), reliever (tie between Brian Fuentes and Fernando Rodney), or lefty (hello, Scott Kazmir) you have signed or acquired, can we agree that it made no sense to ink *two* aging southpaws in Takahashi and Scott Downs to multi-year deals last off-season?
Turning to your contract, the Angels signed you to a long-term extension in November 2009. While no terms of the agreement were reported, would you care to at least divulge the length of this arrangement? If not, can you give us a hint? I mean, is it shorter or longer than Wells' contract (through 2014)?
Maybe you're just in a slump like Wells, Abreu, Hunter, Takahashi, Rodney, and Kazmir, and will work your way out of it like ... umm ... let me think about that and get back to you.