Jerry Dipoto is the General Manager of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
Mr. Dipoto, I'm assuming, is a capable baseball man. But the metaphorical anvil that hangs over his days is one Michael Trout. The best player in baseball is entering his 3rd year. He just signed Mr. Trout to a 1-year $1 Million dollar contract – the largest pre-arbitration contract in MLB History.
But that was only a prelude to the real end-game…
Some very smart analytics people have estimated that in today's current market, Trout's valuation would be $49 to $58 million dollars.
He's not going to get that. Probably not close to that. But the guy is going to get paid. And soon. Trouble is, the Angles already have 2 mega-contracts in place – Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton – that will see both players paid $25M+ starting in 2015.
Can you field a championship team when 3 of your 25 players are making, say, 65 million dollars? The Angles are about to find out.
Meanwhile teams like Tampa Bay, St. Louis and Oakland (all playoff teams in 2013, the Angels – not so much) are using cost-effective, cold-blooded decision making to build their organizations.
Is it by choice?
The plot thickens: According to @Ken_Rosenthal, the Cardinals' offer of Shelby, Adams, & Kozma for Tulo was rejected by Rockies, pre-Peralta
— viva el birdos (@vivaelbirdos) March 24, 2014
That bit of drama was dropped in the midst of March Madness. We did know that the Cardinals had some interest in the Rockies All-Star shortstop, but we didn't know we had that much.
Shelby Miller doesn't get his due in St. Louis. If he was on (literally) any other baseball team, he'd be heralded as one of the top young arms in baseball. He won 15 games in 2013 as a rookie. with an WAR of 3+. Salary? 490K
Matt Adams had 17 home runs in less than 300 at bats in 2013. He's slugging over .640 in Spring Training this year. Salary? 490K
Peter Kozma… now wait… before you laugh this off, remember that Kozma has played in only 185 MLB games in his career. That's it. We've done our fair share of dumping on the guy, but he's got more experience in those 185 games than most. Put him in a place like Colorado where they aren't gunning for World Series' right away? I'd take that chance. Salary? Right. 490K.
So add it all up. A front of the rotation starter. A everyday 1B. And a guy that could be a replacement plus level player at shortstop. All for less than 1.5M.
Troy Tulowitzki? he makes 130M over the next 7 years. The Rockies haven't had a winning season since 2010.
The Cardinals dodged a bullet with this deal. And if Matt Adams develops into a plus guy at 1B, The Rockies are going to wonder just why they passed on this one.
Then again, if teams like the Angels and Rockies are going to continue to pay guys preposterous amounts of money so they can watch the Cardinals in the playoffs? More power to them.