Way to go Troy Percival

November 30, 2007

percy.jpgTroy Percival, during his long career with the Angels, emerged as one of my favorite players. He was a consistently good closer for them, and I’ll always remember that intimidating squinting stare he had to read the sign from the catcher.

But that’s not why I’m writing this.

In this modern era of baseball, it’s becoming more common for fan-favorites to leave their teams at the end of their careers because either their team doesn’t want them anymore, or the player wants more money.

Percival has signed with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, continuing a great trend of only playing for non-threatening teams that aren’t rivals of the Angels. He has never put me in the awkward position of having to root against him. Off the top of my head, I can think of Johnny Damon, Jeff Kent, Roger Clemens and Luis Gonzalez, who after playing the bulk of their career with one team, left for a division rival. I know there’s many more examples like them.

When Percival first left for the Tigers, they were awful, and when they got good, Percival got hurt. He came out of retirement to play for St. Louis, which wasn’t bad because they’re in the NL and former Angels account for half of their team anyway. And now he’s with Tampa, which has to be the most non-threatening AL team possible.

Way to go Percy. In the perfect world, I’d want him back on the Angels as their 4th or 5th best reliever after Frankie Rodriguez, Scot Shields and Justin Speier, but I get that he wants to pitch somewhere where he has a more important role, and where he can get some money.

I’m just glad he didn’t go to Oakland, Seattle, Texas, the Yankees, Boston or the Dodgers. Because then I’d have to root against him, and I don’t want to have to do that.

OK, this is getting ridiculous. Are the Marlins trying to make the Angels and Dodgers enter a bidding war against each other for Miguel Cabrera?

Arte Moreno has said his team had a deal in place with the Marlins, and they later backed away from it.

Why does this seem to happen to the Angels? The Miguel Tejada deal was supposedly done a year ago, now the Cabrera deal was agreed upon, only to be taken away.

Johan Santana to the Angels?

November 28, 2007

It’s a longshot, but after the last couple of weeks, I’m willing to believe anything.

The LA Times mentioned it is a possibility (Hat-tip to Halos Heaven).

So, is Arte Moreno turning into George Steinbrenner?

Houston Nutt’s last game — win over #1 LSU
Dennis Franchione’s last game — win over rival Texas
Bill Doba’s last game — win over rival Washington

All three of those men have resigned or been fired within the last week.

Dan Guerrero, are you listening? You can fire Karl Dorrell even if UCLA beats USC on Saturday. Let the overall body of work be more important than just one game.

Links of the Day

November 27, 2007

I’m not the only one who thinks that the UCLA/Oregon game may have been the worst game ever. (Rumors and Rants)

Johan Santana could be headed to the Yankees. Yeah, no one saw that one coming. Next you’re going to tell me Torii Hunter went to the Angels. (Babes Love Baseball and Twins Territory)

The Cubs have re-signed Kerry Wood to a deal that actually makes sense. Wow. (Bugs & Cranks)

Cooper Manning is better than Eli Manning. (Hugging Harold Reynolds)

There is no such thing as a moral victory in sports, including for the Philadelphia Eagles’ near win over the Patriots. (Larry Brown Sports)

My favorite baseball quote ever. Is it really still November? It seems like an eternity since baseball ended. (Center Field)

Two Torii Hunter links. USA Today did a great story detailing how the Hunter signing happened, and Sabernomics thinks the money in the Hunter deal was about right, and I hope they’re right.

rbowl.jpgI always thought going to the Rose Bowl would be an incredible achievement. I always thought going to the Rose Bowl was something to be excited about and proud of.

But even though UCLA would clinch the Rose Bowl with a win over USC and an Arizona State loss, it doesn’t feel exciting. I’m not in a blissful state like I am when my other teams have great seasons. It doesn’t really feel like UCLA has achieved anything. They’re 6-5 for crying out loud.

Should UCLA make it to the Rose Bowl, I’d feel kind of bad. I’d feel like they stole something that doesn’t belong to them. I’d feel like they didn’t deserve it, and someone else should be there in the Bruins’ place.

This season has not been fun and exciting. It has been frustrating and depressing. UCLA fans came into the season dreaming of a potential national title run, and the team was ranked as high as #11 early on. Now, the Bruins are a mediocre 6-5, barely becoming bowl-eligible.

The only UCLA win that has been inspiring and thrilling at all was against Cal — and seeing how Cal has collapsed down the stretch, that win doesn’t really mean as much anymore. The Oregon game was quite possibly the worst display of offense the sport has seen. UCLA was playing badly against Oregon State until the 4th quarter, when the Beavers had the worst quarter of football by a decent team ever. And BYU should’ve beaten UCLA, but beat themselves more than the Bruins outplayed them.

And those are just the wins — you know all about the historic losses. They got demolished 44-6 to a Utah team playing without its starting quarterback and running back. They lost to the worst Notre Dame team of all time. They lost to perennial Pac-10 doormats Washington State and Arizona. They did play Arizona State close, but when only one of your five losses isn’t demoralizing, that’s bad.

So yeah, this hasn’t exactly been a season to remember.

All that being said, I’m a fan, and I will be rooting for UCLA (and an Arizona State loss) on Saturday. I can’t not root for this team, especially when they’re playing USC and with the Rose Bowl on the line. I know full well that a Rose Bowl berth would also likely secure Karl Dorrell’s job security for a while (even though it shouldn’t), but I can’t bring myself to root against UCLA and for USC. Who I root for doesn’t affect what happens on the field, and I’m confident in Karl Dorrell’s ability to screw up this game somehow, so I can root for the Bruins without hesitation.

I thought going to the Rose Bowl was supposed to be exciting. Instead, I’ve spent all season getting my hopes up only to be let down, then fearing the worst every time UCLA has a lead. Is this what going to the Rose Bowl is supposed to feel like?

hunter2.jpgI was gone most of Thanksgiving weekend, so I didn’t get to post about this earlier. As fellow bloggers Ben and Larry Brown Sports have already written about, the Angels signed Torii Hunter to a 5-year, $90 million contract.

I’m of a different opinion than they are though. I actually don’t mind this deal. Is it a great deal? No. Is it a bad deal? No. But for the short-term at least, it does help.

Hey, it’s not my money.

As long as Arte Moreno doesn’t decide to cap the payroll in the next few years, signing Hunter is a good thing.

His walk rate, OBP and age do worry me. But he has been a consistent above-average offensive player the last few years, and will likely be one in 2008 and 2009. 2010 and beyond are a different story though, and I fully expect Hunter to decline then.

But hey, if Moreno is willing to fix that mistake in a couple of years, why not splurge now? With A-Rod gone, Hunter was one of the best hitters available in free agency. The Angels didn’t have to give up any prospects for him. And they can now put Garret Anderson and Vladimir Guerrero at DH regularly, something both of them need.

This signing does have the potential to be horrible in a few years if Moreno decides to cut payroll. But if he has an unlimited budget, there is no such thing as a bad free-agent signing. If the player does horribly, just sign someone else. The Yankees and Red Sox have been extremely successful over the last decade with that strategy. Why not the Angels?

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