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Saturday, July 2, 2011
Examining some of Tony Reagins' recent acquisitions

By Pedro Moura

The always-on-top-of-their-stuff team at ESPN Stats & Information has uncovered some interesting statistics concerning a number of recent acquisitions by the Angels and, more specifically, general manager Tony Reagins.

Four players the Angels have acquired over the last five years -- three while Reagins' has been GM -- have combined to eat up more than $90 million from owner Arte Moreno's pockets.

The four: outfielder Gary Matthews Jr., left-hander Scott Kazmir, right-hander Fernando Rodney and outfielder Vernon Wells.

Matthews Jr. inked a five-year, $50-million deal with the Angels after his 2006 fluke season but produced negative value over his next three seasons for the team -- before they released him two winters ago, with two full years remaining on the contract. In total, Matthews was worth -0.5 Wins Above Replacement Level, meaning a bargain-basement player would have theoretically been better than him during his stint with the Angels.

Kazmir, whom the Angels traded for in August 2009 after he had struggled mightily for the Rays, had a similar lack of success with the club before his contract was bought out last month. In 2010 and 2011, the Angels essentially paid Kazmir $20 million to produce pitching worth -1 WAR.

Rodney, still an Angel, is getting paid $11 million for the 2010 and 2011 seasons. He has been worth 0.2 WAR over that period, partially because he has been hurt but mainly because he hasn't been all that effective.

And Wells has already been paid $10 million this season by the Angels to produce work worth -0.4 WAR. And they owe him roughly $71 million over the next three years.

Those four players' current numbers add up to a total of $90.5 million already spent and a -1.7 WAR received.

From Stats & Info: "In conclusion, the Angels have spent approximately $90 million on players who have not only failed to live up to expectations, but who have actually provided a net negative contribution (relative to replacement level). Given that teams usually spend somewhere around $4 [million]-5 million per marginal win on the open market, the idea of paying over $90 million for negative wins is almost unfathomable.

"Perhaps the most eye-opening angle is that the team still owes Vernon Wells over $70 million, which means there’s a good chance this below-replacement-level-bill could ultimately exceed $150 million. Or, in other words, approximately the Florida Marlins team payrolls from 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010…….combined."