Saturday, February 09, 2008

Vlad makes me feel bad

One of the toughest things about being an SF Giants fan living in Los Angeles is being reminded about how Vladimir Guerrero is -- rightly so -- the face of the Angels franchise. There's a current billboard campaign by the Angels flagship station all over Los Angeles that simply says "Vlad" with a picture of his homerun swing, the station and Angel logo. No one has to ask, "Who is that?" even though Anaheim is 40 and 50 miles away from many of the billboard locations.

Thanks to the exceptional stupidity of Brian Sabean and Peter Magowan in the winter after the 2003 season, the Giants decided to cheap out and let the Angels sign Vlad to a five-year $70 million deal. Giants fans had been salivating over the prospect of Vlad and Barry Bonds in the same outfied but since Bonds continued to be extraordinarily productive in 2004, it didn't look like that horrible a decision.

But now -- with three straight losing seasons and Randy Winn and Dave Roberts as the probable starters in RF and LF -- the decision looks painfully stupid. Vlad has been a stud as an Angel and looks like he's headed for the Hall of Fame. This past season, he had 27 HRs, 125 RBIs, a .403 OBP and a .543 slugging average -- which was his lowest number since 1998.

Oh, and all the concerns about him being brittle were nonsense -- he's played 141, 150, 156 and 156 games in his four years as an Angel. They've made the playoffs in 2004, 2005 and 2007; it's clear that he was the best player on the team each year.

Meanwhile, Sabean's spent the Giants money on free agents like Brett Tomko, Matt Morris, Ryan Klesko, Dave Roberts, Armando Blownitez and Michael Tucker.

Again, this is why Tim Kawakami is a worthless dingbat weasel apologist.


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