For those of you that don’t know, I am a member of the Angels’ Booster Club, our latest meeting was last week. Our guest was Tim Mead the Angels’ Vice President of Communications. I have been a member of the club since last April, and from what I understand Mr. Mead has an annual tradition of participating in the January meeting. He complimented us on being such dedicated and loyal fans; both to the team and the franchise. He talked about the wonderful things to come during the Angels 50th anniversary season. He also talked about how the franchise as a whole was not happy with the results of the 2009-2010 season. He kept his comments brief and immediately opened the floor for questions.
Of course, being the inquisitive person and the diehard fan that I am, I immediately asked him about the Angels’ off-season transactions or lack thereof. I told him that I understood the business side of things, but I really wanted to know what actually happened that inhibited the Angels from making an off-season splash. I went on to explain that I understood that during the free agency period you win some, and you lose some, what I didn’t understand is how a franchise can lose them all. I told him I wasn’t comfortable with news reports claiming that the Angels have pulled contract offers away from the negotiation table. I communicated to him that I didn’t like that perception. I don’t mind losing out on free agents as long as we gave it 1000% effort. Mr. Mead explained to me that very lucrative offers were on the table for every free agent that the Angels were interested in, but the problem was that normally free agents don’t communicate with the team until they’ve actually made a decision on which team they will sign with.
Really? Although the argument is logical I find it a little hard to believe, perhaps I misunderstood, but I don’t believe that a team in any sport does not communicate with the player between the time that an offer is made and the time that a player makes his decision on who he wants to sign with. They may not communicate directly with the player, but they definitely communicate with a player’s agent. The agent’s goal is to find the most lucrative offer for his client. I find it hard to believe that an agent doesn’t call the team and say for example “the Yankees are willing to give my client $125 million over five years, are the Angels willing to offer a better deal?” That definitely goes on so it’s really not an issue of lack of communication, but it’s an issue of not willing to pay a lot of money because of the financial implications that effect that the franchise as well as the length of the contract. It is my belief that no player no matter how good he is, is worth risking the health of the franchise at any point in time.
At the same time, in order to be competitive one needs to improve the team during the off-season. While Mr. Mead and I, are in agreement that a team’s strength is their farm system, not the ability to acquire free agents, there needs to be an effort to be more active in the free-agent market. Yes, we agree that a team’s activity isn’t limited to the off-season and teams can make transactions via trade until July 31. However, the issue with the trade process is that one has to give up talent in order to get talent. In contrast to free agency you get talent by giving them money, and in the game of baseball it’s usually easier to generate money to replace the money one spends, then it is to find legitimate talent via the trade process.. I think both Mr. Mead and I can agree that there is a clear difference between a competitive team and a contending team and we both agree that having the former instead of the latter is not good enough.
I’m curious as to people’s opinion, some people may agree with me, and some people may disagree. I just want to know what’s on people’s minds. I would like to close by thanking Mr. Mead for taking the time out of his busy schedule to meet with the booster club. One thing is for certain no matter what difference of opinion we may have about the teams transactions lately; one thing is for sure, we all love the Angels and the ultimate goal of all parties involved is to see them win multiple World Series championships in the near future. Watching Mr. Mead speak reminded me of the president of the United States giving the State of the Union address to Congress. I guess the equivalent would be “The State of the Angels Address”. Go Angels!