Thursday, January 21, 2010

By Brent Hubbard - Columnist

After looking at the Salary threads and Arbitration threads over the past week, I decided to look at the fifteen seasons of Angels Baseball.

I wondered who was the longest tenured player on each of the teams and how long the average player stuck in Anaheim. What I found was interesting in that under Mike Scioscia, homegrown players tended to last longer than free agents, but that turnover was less year-to-year than under Terry Collins or Marcel Lachemann.

Beginning with 1995, which was a strike shortened season, but the Angels won 78 games and lost 67 with a lineup that consisted of: Jorge Fabregas at C (2nd year), JT Snow at 1B (3rd year), Damion Easley at 2B (4th year), Gary Disarcina at SS (7TH year), Tony Phillips at 3B (1st year), Garrett Anderson in LF (rookie) , Jim Edmonds in CF (3rd year) , Tim Salmon in RF (4th year), Chili Davis as the DH (6th year, 3rd year current stint)

Rex Hudler (2nd year), Spike Owen (2nd year), and Greg Myers (3rd year) were the primary bench guys.

Chuck Finley (10th year) led the rotation which included Jim Abbott, Mike Bielecki, Brian Anderson, Shawn Boskie (1st year) and of course Mark Langston (6th year).

Lee Smith (1st year) led the pen with Troy Percival (Rookie), Mike James (1st year) and current Angel pitching coach Mike Butcher (4th year) among others.

Marcel Lachemann was in his first year as manager.

The longest tenured player was Chuck Finley who arrived to the Angels in 1986.

The 1996 team featured a new primary 2nd baseman in Randy Velarde. Hudler also saw more time. Erstad (rookie) played a bit of CF in his debut year. Third base was a rotating tandem of George Arias (rookie), Tim Wallach (1st year), Jack Howell (1st year), and others. Orlando Palmiero (rookie) also started on the bench. Jason Grimsley (rookie) made his debut in the rotation, along with Dennis Springer (1st year) and Jason Dickson (rookie). Brian Anderson left the team or was injured. Troy Percival took over the CL role.

Again, Chuck was the longest tenured Angel.

1997 featured a new manager in Terry Collins, and a new primary 1B in Darin Erstad, as JT Snow was traded to the Giants. Luis Alicea (1st year) manned 2B with Velarde being injured. Phillips (2nd year) was back but played everywhere, Dave Hollins (1st year) took over 3rd. Eddie Murray (1st year with Angels) was a DH for 46 games. Jim Leyritz (1st year) and Chad Kreuter (1st year) took over the bulk of the C Duties, but Fabregas was still on the team. Ricky Henderson (1st and only year with Angels) played 32 games, Todd Greene hit 9 HR in 131 AB as a C in his rookie campaign. Langston started just 9 games, as the bulk of the starts went to Finley, Dickson, and newcomers Dennis Springer and Allen Watson. Ken Hill was acquired in midseason and started 12 games. Shigetoshi Hasegawa (rookie) started 7, but mainly was a reliever to go along with Percy, Pep Harris (1st year), Mike James, and Mike Holtz (1st year). They finished a respectable 84-78. Chuck again was the longest tenured Angel.

So looking over that three year stretch, only 4 regular starters stuck in the OF and IF, and only one starter made more than 25 starts in each of 1995, 1996, and 1997. Percival was the only guy in the Pen in 1995 and 1995 and 1997.

1998 saw the Angels improve 85-77, with Matt Walbeck and Phil Nevin taking over the C duties in their first year with the club. Cecil Fielder (1st year) played 103 games as a 1B and DH, Justin Baughman (rookie) split 2B with Velarde, and Norberto Martin (1st year). Disarcina was the rock in the INF again. Erstad moved back to the OF, Garrett switched to RF, and Tim Salmon was the DH due to injury. Troy Glaus made his debut but Hollins played the majority of the time at 3B.

Chuck Finley again led the rotation with holdovers Dickson and Hill, as well as newcomers Omar Olivares, Steve Sparks, and Jack McDowell (1st years). Allen Watson and Jarrod Washburn (rookie) both made brief appearances in the rotation, as well as the pen as did Jeff Juden (1st year). Longest Tenured Angel again was Chuck Finley.

1999 featured the worst record of the last fifteen seasons at 70-92. Velarde was healthy again, and manned 2nd until being traded to the A's. Erstad switched back to 1B, Glaus took over 3rd from Dave Hollins. Palmiero played a lot of OF, as Edmonds was hurt, and Mo Vaughn (1st year), brought in to be the big bat at 1st, played most of the time as the DH. Todd Greene also filled in as DH and in the OF. Andy Sheets (1st year) came in to help out at SS after Disarcina was injured. Jeff DaVanon (1st year) made his debut. Bengie Molina caught a few games in his 2nd campaign after a September call-up the previous year.

The rotation was mainly Finley, Sparks, Olivares, Hill, Tim Belcher (1st year) and Jarrod Washburn. Alan Levine joined the pen, as did Mark Petkovsek and Mike Magnante (1st years), Ramon Ortiz (rookie) worked out of the pen and made starts, as did Mike Fyhrie (1st year). Schoeneweis made his debut in the pen (rookie).

Five seasons had passed since 1995, and quite a few players were around still. Chuck Finley led the way with 14 seasons (1986-1999) in an Angel Uniform, Disarcina (9 seasons). Salmon had been there for 8 seasons, and Edmonds has been there for 7 at this point. Percival and Anderson had been there for five.

6 players from the 25 man roster doesn’t seem like a lot.

2000 started a myriad of changes in store for the Angels. Despite the lack of consistency that was the previous five seasons, shown here previous, things were about to settle down in Anaheim.

The biggest change for the 2000 season was the hiring of Mike Scioscia as Manager. Edmonds was traded for Adam Kennedy (1st year) and pitcher Kent Bottenfield (1st year). Finley, an Angel for 14 seasons, left for the seemingly greener pastures of the Cleveland Indians, but I can guarantee he wishes he stayed around for the next few years.

The 2000 lineup changes were abundant under the new manager, with Bengie Molina taking over full time at C and Mo Vaughn playing 147 games at 1B instead of the DH spot. Kennedy started most of the games at 2nd, Newcomers Benji Gil (1st year) and Kevin Stocker (1st year) took over the SS duties handled so well by longtime Angel Disarcina. Erstad was the LF, Anderson manned CF, and Salmon was back in RF. Scott Spiezio (1st year) played all over the Diamond and Orlando Palmiero got a lot of time in the OF due to injuries. The DH began to be used as a rotating spot to keep guys healthy.  This offense was potent, with five guys hitting over 25 home runs. (Erstad, Salmon, Glaus, Anderson, and Vaughn).

The rotation, however, was a mess with Finley gone. Scott Schoeneweis, who had been a long man in the pen the year before, getting 27 starts, newcomer Bottenfield making only 21. Ramon Ortiz made 18, newcomer Brian Cooper made 15, Jarrod Washburn made 14, Ken Hill made 16, and Seth Etherton (1st year) made 11. That's not quite 162, so let's see who else started… Belcher made 9 starts and Kent Merker (1st year) made 7. Matt Wise (1st year), Jason Dickson, and Scott Karl (1st year), Al Levine, and Mark Petkovesk, made 6, 6, 4, 5, and 1 respectively. Derrick Turnbow made 1, so did Lou Pote. Why the shuffling? The offense was potent, but no starter with over 4 starts had an ERA less than 5.00 except Washburn. Percy led the pen, with Pote, Levine, Hasegawa, Petkovesk, and Holtz.

Longest tenured Angel at that point was Tim Salmon (9 seasons).

2001 saw Scott Spiezio take over primarily as the 1B. Wally Joyner returned to play 53 games at 1st also. David Eckstein (rookie) started his career at SS, Erstad and Anderson switched places in the OF. Yet Benji Gil still played a lot of games at SS and 2B, and Shawn Wooten arrived to DH along with Glenallen Hill (1st years).

The Rotation was now led by Washburn and Ortiz, who along with Schoeneweis made 30 starts or more. Newcomers Pat Rapp and Ismael Valdez rounded out the rotation along with Matt Wise.

Ben Weber arrived to stabilize the pen, which was mostly Percy, Shiggy, Levine, Pote and Holtz, though Scot Shields made a brief appearance. This team finished 75-87 but had remarkable consistency in the lineup compared to previous seasons.

2002 was the Angels best year of the decade, winning 99 games and the World Series.

All 8 primary starting fielders stayed the same from 2001. Brad Fullmer took over the DH spot. The bench was mostly the same as well.

The Rotation was again led by Ortiz and Washburn, with Kevin Appier arriving in the Mo Vaughan trade and Aaron Sele (1st year) arriving via Free Agency. Schoeneweis started off in the rotation but was moved to the pen for John Lackey (rookie) who arrived midseason. Percival led a great bullpen, with Levine, Schoeneweis, Ben Weber and Brendon Donnelly (rookie). Scot Shields was there as well, along with Lou Pote and lefty Dennis Cook.

Longest tenured Angel was still Tim Salmon.

In 2003 everyone came back again. Yet Erstad was limited to just 67 games and Salmon mostly DH'd while Fullmer battled injury, so Jeff DaVanon played a lot, as did newcomer Chone Figgins, who had made his debut the September before as a pinch runner. Eric Owens replaced Orlando Palmiero (as the primary backup OF. Jose Molina (rookie) took over the back-up C duties from Jorge Fabregas.

Scot Shields got 13 starts after Appier was released. Mickey Callaway (1st year) got 4, and Kevin Gregg (1st year) got 3, but the majority of the starts went to Washburn, Lackey, and Ortiz who all got 30 or more starts again. Sele got 25. Donnelly was an All-Star from the pen, which began a major overhaul with Francisco Rodriguez and Shields taking primary roles behind Percival and Donnelly. Schoeneweis pitched 39 games as a reliever, and a cast of a few others filled in the final spots, including Gregg and Turnbow.

2004 was the first year under new Owner Arte Moreno, and as such, a lot of changes took place.

New regular Outfielders Jose Guillen and Vladimir Guerrero joined the team, while Figgins took over half the starts at 3B. For most of the past decade, the OF was four names, Salmon, Erstad, Edmonds and Anderson. Now the Angels started two new OF for the first time in this stretch.

The fixtures now were Eckstein and Kennedy remained fixtures in the middle infield along with 1B Darin Erstad, but World Series Hero Scott Spiezio departed via Free Agency. Dallas McPherson made short lived debut as did Robb Quinlan and Casey Kotchman (rookies). Glaus spent a good portion of the year on the DL.

New Additions Bartolo Colon and Kelvim Escobar headed a rotation of Washburn, Sele, and Lackey. Ortiz worked both in the starting rotation and out of the pen. The Bullpen stayed remarkably consistent in 04, with Percival, Shields, Gregg, Frankie and Donnelly handling most of the relief duties.

Ten Seasons had passed since the 1995 team, and just three players remained: Salmon (13 seasons), Anderson (11 seasons), and Percival (10 seasons).

From the 1998 team just Erstad (9 seasons) along with the above. From 2001, add Troy Glaus (7 seasons), Jeff Davanon (6 seasons) and Bengie Molina (6 seasons) as well as Kennedy (4 seasons) and Eckstein (3 seasons) to the above.

2005 saw the departure of Jose Guillen  and the arrival of Juan Rivera (rookie) and Macier Izturis. Fan Favorite Eckstein moved to the St. Louis Cardinals in favor of slick fielding Orlando Cabrera (1st year). Troy Glaus left, as did Aaron Sele as well, replaced by Paul Byrd (1st year). Escobar's injury left the door open for Ervin Santana (rookie), but the other four starters made 29 or more starts each. Frankie took over the closing duties from Percival who moved to Detroit. Steve Finley (1st year) took over CF from Anderson, as Erstad stayed at 1B, Jeff Mathis made his debut in a September Call-Up.

The Longest Tenured Angel was technically Garret Anderson as Tim Salmon spent the entire season on the DL. Most of the team had been with the Angels for 6 or less seasons besides these two OF and 1B Erstad.

Only four starting bats remained from the 2000 team. The Rotation featured just Jarrod Washburn from the 1990's, and Washburn and Lackey from the World Series team.

2006 featured a new rookie catcher in Mike Napoli, as well as back-up Jose Molina. Kendry Morales (rookie) started 57 games at 1B, Erstad getting 40 and Kotchman getting 29. Kennedy stayed at 2nd, Cabrera at SS. Macier Izturis and Chone Figgins played a lot of 3rd. Chone also played a bit in the OF with Anderson, Guerrero, and Rivera. Kendrick (rookie) made his debut, playing a lot of 3rd and a lot of 2nd and some 1st. Tim Salmon returned to DH in his final season.

The rotation was headed by Lackey (4th year), Santana, Escobar, the Weaver brothers (rookie and 1st year, respectively) and rookie Joe Saunders, in addition to Bartolo Colon who was injured most of the year. Kevin Gregg and Hector Carrasco, who mainly pitched out of the pen also saw a few starts as did Dustin Moseley. Jason Bulger made his debut.

Only Lackey, Erstad, Salmon, Anderson, and Kennedy remained from the world series winning 2002 team, and only Salmon, Erstad, and Anderson remained from the 1995 team.

2007 was a return to the top of the division, winning the AL West with 95 wins. Casey Kotchman took over full time as the primary 1B, Kendrick took over 2B, and Gary Matthews took over CF, moving Figgins full time to 3rd.

Reggie Willits (rookie) made his debut and along with Macier Izturis and Robb Quinlan, they were the primary bench bats along. Aybar made his debut, Morales saw action in 43 games. Juan Rivera missed most of the season with a broken leg suffered in Winter ball, so Shea Hillenbrand (1st year) was signed to DH. Mathis took over the back-up/platoon catching duties when Jose Molina was traded to the Yankees midseason, and was then pushed into full time duty when Napoli was injured.

John Lackey, Escobar, Jered Weaver, Santana each had 26 or more starts, while Bartolo Colon and Joe Saunders each made 18. Dustin Moseley also made 1.

Shields, Frankie were the anchors of the pen with newcomers Darren Oliver and Justin Speier making their debuts. Chris Bootcheck pitched 51 games in relief, which was a surprise to me, looking back.

The longest tenured Angel was Anderson. The next longest? John Lackey who came on in midseason 2002. Scot Shields and Figgins were also around from the WS 2002 team as was Frankie, but none were big contributors. Five years had passed since the WS win, and almost the entire roster had been turned over.

2008 saw new centerfielder Torii Hunter's Arrival, marking the fifth primary centerfielder in as six years. (Hunter, Matthews, Anderson, Finley, Anderson, Erstad) 1st baseman Kotchman was traded at the deadline to the Braves for Mark Teixeira.

Cabrera was traded to the White Sox before the season ending his three year run with the Halos. Newcomer Jon Garland obtained in that trade made 32 starts. Lackey, Jered Weaver, Saunders and Santana filled out the rotation as Escobar was again plagued by injury. Nick Adenhart (rookie) made a three start debut. Rivera returned to the OF, in a four man rotation with Anderson, Guerrero, and Hunter. The infield was the same as 2007 with Kendrick, Aybar, and Figgins. Izturis was the main backup.

Longest Tenured Angel? Anderson.

2009 saw Teixeira's brief run come to an end, exiting in favor of Kendry Morales who had made his debut in 2006, while Rivera's promotion over long time Angel Anderson was the end of an era. Bobby Abreu's Arrival was a welcome surprise in February. The Longest tenured Angel was now Scot Shields, with Lackey right on his heels. Injuries plagued the OF, so Matthews still received a lot of AB's. All the MINF returned, and the Catching Duo stayed the same as well.

The Rotation was planned to be 80% the same as 2008, with the substitution of Kelvim Escobar back in for the departed Jon Garland. Yet Injuries led the team to open with a rotation of Saunders, Weaver, Dustin Moseley, and Adenhart. After the untimely passing of Adenhart in a car accident the rotation struggled to take shape. The bullpen too had injuries, with newcomer Brian Fuentes taking over for Frankie Rodriguez.

14 Starters were used, the most since the 2000 season. Yet the Angels won 97 games, and made it to the ALCS for the third time in 9 seasons winning their fifth AL West title under Mike Scioscia.

The off-season saw a few changes so far, with Guerrero, Lackey, and Figgins departing. Three of the four longest tenured Angels said goodbye, and only one link to the 2002 team remained. And he had pitched just 49 innings out of the pen, and had a 5.40 ERA in that World Series.

From 1995 to 2009, Anderson played the most seasons with 14 of the 15 (1995-2008). Salmon was next with 12 of the 15 (1995-2006). Erstad played for 11 of the 15 (1996-2006). Percival for 10 (1995-2004).

Shields pitched in 9 including a quick eleven inning call up in 2001. (01-10). Lackey pitched for parts of 8 seasons (02-09). Washburn (1998-2005) pitched for parts of 8. Frankie (2002-2008) and Kennedy played 7 (2000-2006) as did Molina (1999-2005).

No one else lasted for more than 7 seasons during this period.

2010 projected lineup & rotation with debut:

1B: Kendry Morales Debuted May 23, 2006 (LAA). Primary Starter 2009.
2B: Howie Kendrick Debuted April 26, 2006 (LAA). Primary Starter 2007.
SS: Erick Aybar Debuted May 16, 2006. (LAA) Primary Starter 2008.
3B: Brandon Wood Debuted April 26, 2007. (LAA) Primary Starter 2010.
C: Mike Napoli, Debuted May 4, 2006 (LAA)/ Jeff Mathis, Debuted August 12, 2005. (LAA)
LF: Juan Rivera, Debuted April 2005 (LAA). Debuted September 4, 2001 (NYY), Starter 2006.
CF: Torii Hunter, Debuted April 2008 (LAA), August 22, 1997 (MIN), Starter April 1999 (MIN).
RF: Bobby Abreu, Debuted April 2009 (LAA). Debuted September 1, 1996 (HOU) as a Starter April 1998 (PHI).)
DH: Hideki Matsui, Debut April 2010 (LAA). March 31, 2003 (NYY)

SP: Jered Weaver, Debuted May 27, 2006 (LAA). Starter
SP: Ervin Santana, Debuted May 17. 2005 (LAA). Starter
SP: Scott Kazmir, Debuted September 2nd, 2009 (LAA), August 2004 (TBD)
SP: Joe Saunders, Debuted August 16, 2005. Primary Starter mid-2007.
SP: Joel Pineiro, Debuted April 2010. (LAA) August 2000, (SEA)

RP: Brian Fuentes, Debuted April 2009 (LAA). June 2001 (COL)
RP: Scot Shields, Debuted May 26, 2001.
RP: Fernando Rodney, Debut April 2010 (LAA). May 2002 (DET)
RP: Kevin Jepsen, Debuted September 2008 (LAA).
RP: Jason Bulger, Debuted August 2005 (LAA).
RP: Matt Palmer, Debuted April 2009 (LAA).
Love to hear what you think!


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