Thursday, October 9, 2008

Mark Teixeira and Free Agency

With the Angels booted from the postseason, the speculation machine turns on again as faithful Halo fans look towards the free agency waters with a longing gaze. The pain of a season ending is usually tempered with enthusiasm about the future, and why not? The Angels have been one of the top teams in baseball for the last few years, and there's no reason to believe 2009 will be a season of marked downturn.

That said, the Angels really, really can't afford to be stupid this year.

The farm system leading to Gene Autry Way used to be one of the best in baseball, fueled by top draft picks from losing seasons and allowing top-notch free agents like Troy Glaus to leave Anaheim. At this point, though, the pickings are slim. Brandon Wood, Howie Kendrick, Jered Weaver...these are all former big names in the farm system who will likely have everyday jobs with the big club come spring 2009. The outlook is pretty bleak, with just a few stars (Walden, Conger) lurking in the depths of single and double-A.

Why am I talking about all of this?

Well, the Angels have lost draft picks for the last few years as a direct result of their signing free agents. Gary Matthews, Jr. and Torii Hunter have prevented the Angels from making high first-round picks for the last couple years, and the farm system shows it. This offseason, there looks to be some legitimate talent on the FA market, and the Angels need to stray from signing big names in the hope of buying a World Series. Keeping draft picks is a good thing.

And, with that said, two words: Marky Mark.

As far as free agents, it should come down to one thing. Either Reagins signs Mark Teixeira to a massively overpriced and long contract, or he doesn't sign anyone at all. Tex is a perfect addition to the lineup, bringing power and patience to a team which has neither. He plays great defense. He's not an enormous asshole, although Ranger fans will tell you he's not the greatest clubhouse guy you'll find. If the Angels sign anyone, it needs to be him. Otherwise, they'll be getting two compensatory draft picks which they can use to restock the farm. I'm not opposed to trading some major-league talent for prospects, either. The foundation of a consistently winning team is a solid farm system. Unless you're Oakland.

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