Giants, Angels Swap Past-Their-Prime Veterans
by Asher B. Chancey, Baseball Evolution
December 22, 2005

In perhaps the most meaningless trade of the off-season so far, the Giants sent Edgardo Alfonzo to the Angels for Steve Finley. How it is that the Giants expect Finely to fit into their plans next season remains to be seen the 17 year veteran centerfielder missed 50 games last season for the Angels after signing a substantial free agent contract. After slugging 36 homeruns for the D'Backs and Dodgers in 2004, Finley managed only 12 homeruns for the Angels while going .222/.271/.374 for an OPS of .645, hardly the kind of numbers Finley has put up during his career. Oh by the way, Finley will be 41 next season. This may make Finley and new teammates Barry Bonds (41) and Moises Alou (39) the oldest outfield in baseball history.

The best part about the Finley acquisition is that he has two things in common, other than age, with his new outfield teammates. He and Moises Alou are both current sitting on 297 homeruns, and primed to join the 300 homer club together. More importantly, he currently has 313 stolen bases and 297 homeruns, meaning that he is only 3 homeruns from becoming the fifth member of the 300/300 club. Humorously, Finley's new teammate Bonds is the only active members of the club, and two other members of the club, Willie Mays and Bobby Bonds, are former Giants legends. If the Giants could sign Reggie Sanders, who should also join the club next season (292/297), the Giants outfield could sport half of the 300/300 club by season's end.

The website stated in its article covering the trade that both Alfonzo and Finley hope to rebound from down seasons in 2005. While this is true for Finley, Alfonzo's 2005 season was hardly a "down year." The truth is that Alfonzo has been a below average player for the last three years, and his solid on-base percentage in 2002 (.391) did little to produce runs for the Mets that year. Alfonzo was a very good player in offensively inflated 1999 and 2000 seasons, but has failed to recapture the magic ever since.

The move is a curious one for the Angels. It must be assumed that this was a salary dump for the Angels because if not, they have simply clouded their third base situation, adding Alfonzo to a mix which includes third baseman of the future Dallas McPherson and third baseman plus everything else of the present Chone Figgins. Alfonzo also plays second base, but Adam Kennedy has been holding down that fort for the last six years. It is doubtful that Alfonzo will be a starter for the Angels, and one would think he would be dealt before the 2006 season starts.