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Wednesday, June 22, 2011
The Angels and cost efficiency

By Mark Saxon

Ten days ago, I wrote a column stating my opinion that it's absurd to focus on hitting coach Mickey Hatcher for the Angels' mediocre play this season, though a struggling offense clearly is at fault.

If anyone should take the blame, I said, it's general manager Tony Reagins for assembling this group of players and relying too much on the return to health of slugger Kendrys Morales. A much more eloquent way of describing the market inefficiencies in the organization is now available at Bill Simmons' excellent new site, Grantland.com.

The story is entitled, "Cashing in on the new Moneyball," and it includes an analytical tool called Marginal Payroll/Marginal Wins (MP/MW), a pretty good way of assessing how much bang for the buck teams are getting. The Angels ranked No. 21 out of 30 teams last season, paying about $105,000 for 80 wins.

They're doing even worse this season now that their payroll is up to $139 million and they're on pace to win about 78 games. The most amazing thing about all this is that they have guys recently promoted from Triple-A making the league minimum at some pretty high-cost spots, including starting center fielder (Peter Bourjos), leading home run hitter (Mark Trumbo) and closer (Jordan Walden). When you consider the makeup of the team, the cost-inefficiency is simply staggering.

I don't want to speak for Angels owner Arte Moreno, but if it were my money, I'd wonder why so much of it appears to be going down the drain.