Monday, July 21, 2014

By Glen McKee & Nate Trop, Columnist & Satirist

As we write this, the “Angels Acquire Huston Street” thread is at 48 pages and it’s only been a little over a day since the news was breaking.  That may be more than even the Pujols signing generated in such a short time.  It’s a combination of the scope of the trade and having nothing else to bitch about at the moment that is making that thread grow like Hamilton’s strikeout total.  So, you’d think there would be nothing else to say about the trade.  48 pages, plus a handful of related threads.  Yep, that’s enough.
You’re not new here, right?  If not, you know that’s nowhere near enough repeating of the same points, just in different ways.  If there’s one thing we’re good at here at the P/CP headquarters, it’s talking about a subject after its relevance has faded.  The other thing we’re kinda good at is beating a dead horse.  We wouldn’t post here if we weren’t.  Without further padding, here is the ultimate P/CP for the Huston Street trade.

Good trade – by Glen McKee

First, let me pick a bone with Huston Street and Anjelica Huston – your name is Huston, not Houston.  It should be pronounced to rhyme with bustin’ or dustin’, not Houston.  Get it right!
That aside, I like this trade.  I don’t love it, but I like it.  If it was a car, it would be a Tesla.  Too expensive but a helluva ride.  Immediately before the trade our bullpen was performing well.  Did we really need another front-end reliever?  Yes, abso-damn-lutely.  The bullpen is one of those areas where you can’t have enough top-shelf arms because you never know when you’re gonna burn through them.  Jeppy is great right now, but he could revert.  Smith is aces as the closer but he was the same as the setup guy.  Getting Street moves everybody down a notch in the pen and that’s a good thing.  At the start of the year our bullpen was a question mark, and it showed.  Dipoto took action and now it’s an exclamation point.  This is especially important with the abundance of unproven starters the team has.  Now they only have to get through five innings before the pen can safely take over.
Think about it: a bullpen pecking order now looks like Street, Smith, Jepsen, Grilli, Salas, and other dudes.  That will be extremely helpful as the season drags on.  We also now have a closing duo of Street & Smith.  It’s like a guide to how to end games.  That’s what’s called kismet.  
My esteemed counterpart will surely point out the cost of acquiring Street.  Whatever.  A few things to consider: first, we were probably the only team that was talking to the Padres about Street.  Even if that isn’t true, it really is.  It was a seller’s market for the Padres and we paid the price.  It may seem like a steep price but it was a price that had to be paid.  
Second, you have to consider the volatility of prospects.  The names of the failed can’t-miss Angels prospects are legion, say them with me: Jason Dickson…Brandon Wood…Dallas McPherson…Ryan Leaf.  Well, not the last but it seems like he could have been on the Angels.  Sure, we got that Trout kid and he’s working out okay so far, but prospects are always a crapshoot.  I will confess that I think that Rondon plus one should have done the deal, but I’m not a major league GM.  What do I know?
Yes, this trade may kick us in the ass later.  All trades are like that.  In the old animated “Robin Hood” movie by Disney, Little John gives Robin some sage advice: “a faint heart never won a fair maiden.”  Street is our fair maiden.  He alone won’t guarantee us anything (you fool, there are no guarantees in baseball!) but he sure makes us a lot better right now, and that’s what we need.  To end with another quote, “right now is your tomorrow.  Right now is everything.”  
Let’s worry about next year, next year.

Absurd Price to Pay for a Closer! By Nathan Trop

Glen, you ignorant slut.

Full disclosure, I have the luxury of writing this after seeing Street’s first performance as an Angel while my counterpart was not able to.  Some more boring details; the Angels traded their top RP prospect, and two of the top 3 position players and some dude I never heard of for Street and a guy named Gott, who immediately opened up our esteemed forum to a cavalcade of “You have Gott to be kidding me” puns.  This alone should have been enough to turn everyone against this trade.

The reason for my disclosure above is I saw Street pitch in his Angels debut last night.  He pitched a scoreless inning giving up one hit and struck out one.  He mostly threw strikes and got his strikeout on a high fastball, but the thing that stood out to me is he only throws 91.  He didn’t look like a dominant closer to me.  Dominant closers have to throw mid to upper 90s and have an electric breaking ball.  A dominant closer must be fearless with the ability to overpower any hitter.  You know who else threw in the low 90s and was an esteemed closer before he came to the Angels?  Brian Fuentes.  We know how that ended up.  At least we only gave up money for him.

For Street we gave up Rondon, a SS that hits the crap outta the ball and plays amazing defence.  SS is the most important and hardest IF position to fill behind only third base.  Let’s face it, Aybar might be having a nice season, a resurgent season but he isn’t getting any younger.  He is signed through the 2016 season and considering that he sucks on a bear turd sized wad of chew every game you have to wonder how healthy he is.  Imagine not having to dip into FA to look for a SS, Rondon would have been ready to take over for him.  We also gave up RJ Alvarez, an electric reliever that is absolutely dominating AA.  You can’t have enough of these in the system.  The Angels now don’t have any in their system, which means several more years of over paying for washed up relievers on the FA market.

Take a look at the teams that have had great postseason runs lately.  Texas, Boston, StL and Detroit have all done it with many home grown players.  They develop pitchers, they develop position players and they have minor league depth.  The Angels have struggled with all of that.  The reason why, aside from years of poor drafting is that they keep overpaying on the trade market for pitchers and this trade is the worst.  It smacks of desperation.  If the Angels win the World Series in the next two seasons then sure, this trade is ok, but how likely is that?  If they don’t everyone that has been screaming about “win now mode” better be ready for four more years of garbage because that is what we get for dumping the farm yet again.

Every team, it doesn’t matter if they are the Yankees, Red Sox, Dodgers, etc, has to develop talent from the farm in order to be successful.  Money does not buy wins, it just fills gaps.  By trading away the farm yet again, the Angels will have too many holes to fill.  Look no further than the Angels playoffs runs from 2002-2009.  They certainly didn’t do that with Stoneman trading away the farm every year.  It is hard for me to admit but, I miss Stoneman, he did a darn good job.
Love to hear what you think!

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