Wednesday, February 18, 2009

California, Abreu. Santana, and Baseball (!)

California is a great place to live. The great weather means the roads, even in heavily-trafficked LA, stay in good condition for years longer than comparable asphalt in the Northeast. But eventually, even Los Angeles roads need to be replaced. Eventually, firefighters, teachers, and nurses have to be paid. Eventually, lawmakers need to be held accountable for their un-fucking-believable inability to pass a damn budget and save the state.

To the idiots who proposed the recall of governor Gray Davis that led to all of this in the first place: Please move. Wyoming's nice, I've heard. I hope you all lose your cushy state jobs because of this. Seriously.

To Arnold Schwarzenegger: What have you learned about a "no new taxes" mantra? Here's something you may have missed in government class: Government is supported by taxes. You can't provide services if you don't tax. A very small tax, when multiplied by the population of California, is worth a lot of money. You could have avoided this whole thing with a quarter cent sales tax increase when you took office. Or with the vehicle registration tax which you previously vetoed and must now approve to save the state.


In less aggravating news, the Halos signed Bobby Abreu a few days ago. I meant to comment on this earlier, but Northeastern sports combined with overall laziness prevented me from getting much done for the last week.

In short, I really like the signing. For (comparatively) next to nothing, the Angels get a legitimate #2 man in the batting order, a #2 who can bat leadoff if the Halos trade Chone Figgins for, well, someone good. He brings a career OBP which would have led the team last year, and even as he ages, he's keeping up his walks. Power is a trait which is leaving his abilities, but he still swipes 20 bags a season, something Mike Scioscia will love.

Most importantly, Abreu is a severe departure from the organizational philosophy in Anaheim. This signing shows a newfound interest in on-base percentage as a critical stat while simultaneously giving the Angels their first real DH since Brad Fullmer. If they start trotting Abreu out into the field, though, this deal loses significant value, as Bobby can't field.

More critically to the future of the franchise, the Angels signed Ervin Santana to a 4 year deal worth around $30 million. There's a fifth year club option, raising the total worth of the deal to a little over $40 million.

Santana has the best stuff of any Angels pitcher. His fastball velocity rose nearly a mile per hour between 2007 and 2008. He's throwing many more sliders, which is supposedly increasing the train on his elbow, but he's still young. This is a great contract. Well, unless he turns into 2007 Santana, in which case he'll be the highest paid minor league pitcher in baseball.

Spring training is here. It's exciting.

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