Preview: Haloville - Land of the Angels
Haloville - Land of the Angels
A fans thoughts about the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
OT: Dislocated Patella
So, I went with the wife, triplets, parents and family friend to Morro Bay for the day to do a glass-bottom boat ride. The kids first boat ride.
As I was climbing to the bottom deck of the boat I felt CRAZY pain in my left knee and couldn't move. I reached down and felt my kneecap floating around on the posterior part of my leg. It dislocated - BIG TIME. After standing on the ladder for a second - I straightened out my leg and POP back into place it goes.
At that time I thought that I really screwed up my knee - and seems I might have been right. 24 hours later it is swollen up like a watermelon and pretty sore. I'm heading to an orthopedic surgeon this afternoon to see what I did to the knee. Could be as bad as ligament tears (PCL tear being most likely) with bone chips which would require surgery. Or, it could just need 3 weeks of rest and babying. We'll see. I'll probably be posting less for a bit - just FYI.
Diet begins today!
Dallas McPherson: What Could Have Been?
So, my intermittent blogging makes it hard to keep up with ancillary stories with regards to the Halos. But, one story just needs some attention and it won't take many words to convey this tale to you - my three readers...Dallas McPherson
was at one time a prized prospect in the Angels system. A tall, powerful, left-handed hitting 3rd baseman that was so highly thought of that the Halos felt that resigning Troy Glaus
- World Series MVP Troy Glaus - was not a priority. McPherson hit 43 homeruns in 2004 between AA, AAA and the Majors. He posted a .384/.670 line and seemed destined to take over at 3rd base in Anaheim and at least turn into a .340/.460 type player with the chance to become a .380/.520 type player. I was sold. In his call-ups he obviously had holes in his swing and K'd a lot, but I still saw a ton of potential. I figured he'd develop just fine, strike out a lot and provide a ton of offense with passable defense.
Unfortunately, in 2005 he injured his hip and missed half the season. In 2006 he returned and in July that previous hip injury led to a back injury which caused him to miss the rest of the season. As spring 2007 approached, D-Mac was primed to make another shot at the 3rd base job, but a recurrence of his chronic hip/back problems required him to undergo surgery. That surgery caused him to miss the entire 2007 season. He rehabbed like crazy with hopes of returning in late August or September, but to no avail. Then, in December 2007, finally healthy and ready to take one last shot at a job in Anaheim, the Halos unceremoniously released D-Mac making him a free agent.
The Florida Marlins signed him, assigned him to AAA (Jorge Cantu is playing 3rd in Miami) and let him work his way back into playing shape. In August, 2008 his stats are stunning: .413 OBP, .695 SLG with 39 homeruns and an OPS of 1.108. He is mashing.
I still think the Halos should have kept him and let him battle for the job at 3rd base here in 2008. I just don't understand why the team would cut bait after he had surgery and rehabbed to a point where he could play again. That is an investment that the Halos can't get back – why not see if your money was well spent?
Now we know it was – he could be helping this team. Couldn’t he be taking Quinlan’s roster spot? Backup 3B and 1B with major pop?
Re-Sign Juan Rivera - NOW!
So, the signing of Gary Matthews Jr.
was panned throughout the Halosphere when it was signed. I talked about it here
. Rob at 6-4-2 talked about it here
. Rev Halofan talked about it here
. There were lots of reasons to hate that signing - from the length of the contract to the crazy cash, to the fact that Matthews Jr. pretty much sucks at baseball. But I also thought that this ill-advised deal spelled the doom of Juan Rivera in Angel Red. Sure, he wasn't going to play much in 2007 after breaking his leg in winter ball between his breakout 2006 season and spring training 2007, but when he DID
recover, he had nowhere to play.
Rivera, if you recall, crushed the ball in the 2nd half of 2006
to the tune of .335/.381/.538. That is Teixeira territory folks. That was flat out sick. He cemented his place in the Halos plans that season. Unfortunately, he broke his leg and needed 9 months to recover. he returned in 2007 to post very modest numbers in limited action.
After the signing of Torii Hunter
in the 2007 offseason, there was REALLY nowhere to put Johnny Rivers. During the first half of 2008 Matthews Jr. was given every opportunity to play himself out of a career-long funk, to no avail. So, finally, mercifully, in late June, Mike Scioscia started playing Juan Rivera instead of Matthews and his $50 million contract. The first game was here - a 1-0 win over the Dodgers where Juan collected 2 of the teams 6 hits. And he has continued to hit. And hit.
Rivera has played in 20 of the 25 team games in July and started 15 of the last 17. In July, Rivera has hit .316 with an OBP of .379 and a SLG of .596. He his 5 HR's and knocked in 13 runs while drawing 7 walks. He isn't a walk drawing machine, but he will never be confused with Garret Anderson or Howie Kendrick either. He can work the count and lay off pitches when needed.
Rivera posted an OPS of .975 in July. Is he as good defensively as Matthews Jr. in LF/RF? No way, but Matthews Jr. isn't .300 points of OPS better with the glove. Not even close.
So, this brings me to my initial point: should the Halos resign Rivera to play the OF in 2009 and beyond. My answer is an emphatic "Yes".
I said - back in December of 2007
- that the Halos should re-up Rivera then to a low-risk high-reward contract of 2 or 3 years at $5 to $7 million per year. That seemed high to a lot of folks at the time, but José Guillen
signed a 3 year $36 million deal with Kansas City last offseason and Guillen is a pretty good comp for Rivera. Rivera was NEVER
given a good shot to start in the majors before 2006 and he crushed that year. Then, broke his leg and lost a year to surgery and recovery.
Anyway, this post is far too long for the simplicity of the answer. I would sign Juan Rivera right now for 3 years at $8 to $10 million per year. He could anchor LF or RF (depending on the result w/ Vlad
) and give the team .360/.500 production. For a team with as little pop as the Halos this needs to happen to solidify the Vlad protection past 2008. Remember, Teixeira
will probably fly the coop this offseason.
Extend the contract of Vlad Guerrero?
So, this winter Angels GM Tony Reagins will be trying to extend or resign Vlad Guerrero
, Mark Teixeira
, Frankie Rodriguez
, Juan Rivera
(hopefully), Garret Anderson
(hopefully not) and maybe John Lackey
Here is my take on Vlad...
I'll do similar write ups on all of them this week..
Should they let him walk if he continues to fall off the cliff that got him this year? Methinks his decline is real – and it is fabulous.
His SLG has dropped for four straight years. From .598 in 2004 to .478 so far this year. He has seen his OBP go from a great .403 to a mediocre .346.
I am all for picking up the option next year. But, if those numbers continue to track downward next year you can’t resign him. Not for $20 million per, or whatever he might want to get. That would be a travesty.
How much do you pay for a guy putting up .350/.475 in RF? Those are Kotchman numbers and we as much as we loved Kotchman no one thought he was a $20 million player. And that is before Vlad and his awful RF defense.
It all depends on how steep this decline is. Another year will give Arte and Tony a good idea about how Vlad is aging. I would wait until the end of next year before I thought about an extension.
We’ll see in November.
Teixeira/Kotchman Swap: Day 2
My first reaction to the deal was frustration because the net gain in runs this year - or in a short series - is minimal. The team has a 12 game lead - they are going to make the playoffs. My immediate thoughts went to the fact that resigning Teixeira
will be near impossible and then, "who starts at 1st base in 2009". Well, Kendry Morales
is the answer to that question, like it or not. He is similar to Kotchman v. 2008. So there isn't a big drop offensively. Defensively, that is another story. But, this deal does help in 2008 - and if Teixeira blows up in the post-season he could be a HUGE difference. We'll see how this plays out in October/November. Because Kendry is able to emulate Kotchman in 2009 - this deal is really quite good. It is a win/win for the Halos. They get Teix now and aren't REQUIRED
to resign him because they have an in-house replacement that is similar in production to the guy they traded for Teixeira.
What I appreciated about Kotchman
was his eye and ability to draw a walk. I knew he had doubles power, but figured it would increase as he aged, and coupled with his good eye, he could hit 22-28 HR's a year. Well, Kotchman has regressed this year - I wrote a big post
on this (specifically his BB rate) last week on Halos Heaven
As a few of my comrades from HH and other Angel blogs rightly pointed out that Kotch - when he is patient - has the ability to show good power. This year he is - for whatever reason - swinging earlier in the count and performing worse than last year. But, 2007 was a good year for a 24 year-old, especially when I considered that he would be progressing for a couple of years. If he is heading to an organization that respects plate discipline, maybe his BB rate can return to pre-2008 levels. If so, his development will continue upward. His BB rate this year is 4.7% of PA's. It was 10%+ last year. A few of us speculated that Mickey Hatcher might have finally caught up with him - along with GA. Hopefully a change of scenery and coaching will bring back that important part of Kotchman's game.
Anyway, here's to hoping that he rediscovers his ability to draw ball four in ATL and help the Braves for years to come. He is a class act and a stunning defensive first baseman.
Kotchman & Marek traded for Teixeira
So, you have certainly seen the news by now that 1st baseman Casey Kotchman
and AA RHRP Stephen Marek
were traded to the Atlanta Braves for switch-hitting 1st baseman Mark Teixeira
This deal, without question, makes the Halos better in 2008. But, looking forward, there are questions to deal with.
Teixeira is represented by Scott Boras and has stated publicly in the past that he wants to play on the east coast. He is a 28-year old thumper of a hitter with a good, good glove at 1st base. He has a career OPS of .909. He draws walks and hits for power. Something the Halos need a lot of - as does every other team in MLB with hopes of competing year in and year out.
Contract negotiations with Teix will begin - at least - with a 5-year deal for $90 million bucks. But, it is rumored
that he wants at least $20 million per year.
There is no question that Teix is a better - much better - player than Kotchman. The question is this: is he worth $20 million more than Kotchman? That is what he will cost next year. $20 million more than Kotch. If they can sign Teixeira at all.
If Teixeira walks at the end of the year, the Halos are looking to enter 2009 with Kendry Morales as the starting 1st baseman. He is Kotchman-lite. He doesn't have the high OBP history of Kotchman and he is a butcher with the glove compared to Casey.
Anyway, simply put. In 2008, the Halos are better with Teixeira. In 2009, if Teixeira signs elsewhere, the Halos will have the pleasure of watching Kotchman enter his prime in the NL while they watch Kendry Morales try to figure out how to be a major-leaguer on a team that will expect to compete.
Fun with Lineup Analysis...
There is a great tool available online via Baseball Musings called the Lineup Analysis Tool. Basically, you input the names, OBP and SLG for the nine guys in the starting lineup and through a series of calculations, the software tells you how many runs that lineup will score (on average). Sounds cool, huh? Well, it goes a step further. It also spits out the best and worst alternative lineups using the same names and stats. So, if you are curious is batting Izturis third is a problem, you can test your hypothesis with this tool. If you think that Napoli, no matter how low his BA gets, is the better offensive force, you can test that. So, tonight is the first post in a short series of work I will publish here and on Halos Heaven dealing with the 2008 L.A. Angels, their offense and their lineups.For starters, here is the lineup (w/ 2008 stats) that I used as a baseline. This is the lineup that Scioscia is using right now. It is a lineup without Matthews Jr. and with Jeff Mathis catching. Similarly, I named Izturis the starting shortstop because he is getting the lion's share of starts right now.Figgy (.372/.319) Kotchman (.330/.445)Izturis (.325/.350)Vlad (.347/.482)Hunter (.342/.479)Anderson (.308/.398)Kendrick (.355/.502)Rivera (.308/.422)Mathis (.302/.376)Now, these numbers will shift from moment to moment and day to day. I used the numbers from Sunday night, July 27. Hopefully, you are screaming at your computer right now. Because these are not good numbers. Rivera is raking, and most of these numbers are below the career norms for these players - especially Vlad who sports a career line of .390/.575. But, I am going to run many numbers - career numbers, three-year average numbers, 2007 numbers, 2006 numbers, etc. So, I should cover a wide array of possibilities. So, the above lineup - with those stats - will average 4.795 runs per game.The optimal ordering of those players yields an average of 4.870 runs per game. A modest increase. But how is the lineup different to account for an extra tenth of a run per game. Here is how:FigginsKendrickKotchmanGuerreroHunterAndersonMathisRiveraIzturisThat lineup LOOKS better intuitively. Why? Well, Kendrick should not be hitting below 5th in the order. He leads the team in OPS and is just a better hitter than most everyone on the team right now and the fact that he is routinely hitting behind Izzy or Anderson - not to mention Aybar! - is silly. He needs AB's. A lot of them. But, that is the only glaring change from what Scioscia is putting out there on a daily basis.What if we replace Anderson with a favorite of mine - OBP machine Reggie Willits? Well - using his 2008 numbers seems unfair. He hasn't played much at all and has not posted good numbers. What if we use his career line - something bolstered by his great season last year and slightly diminished by his sporadic play and performance this year. That line is: .380/.325. Here is the lineup I used with Willits in place of GA:FiggyKendrickKotchmanGuerreroHunterRiveraMathisIzturisWillits (.380/.325)This lineup generated 4.932 runs per game. That is an increase of .14 runs per game. Which means every week the Halos score 1 more run. That means that the team scores about 23 more runs per year and that equates to roughly 2 extra wins a year if all else remains equal. That isn't a small increase in offense over the course of the year.Also, the tool changed the lineup to create even more runs!To get to 4.96 runs with this crew, the tool spit out the following lineup:WillitsKendrickKotchmanGuerreroHunterMathisIzturisRiveraFigginsThis lineup would score about 27 more runs per year. Now we are approaching 3 extra wins by putting the right guys in the lineup.What if we start making adjustments based on past performance. Like - using Rivera's career numbers instead of his weak 2008 numbers. This is fine[...]
Kotchman - WHAAAAA HAPPENED???
I decided to look at the Halo stats
last night for shits and giggles when I stumbled upon what I thought must be a typo...
Kotchman has 18 walks this year. Eighteen!
That is GA-erific. That is Howie-esque! Kotchman isn't emulating the patient, double-ish Mark Grace like we thought, but channeling much lesser first baseman...like J.T. Snow.
I hadn't noticed that his walk rate dropped so much between 2007 and 2008
. Last year he walked in 10.7% of his PA's. This year it is down to an enimic 4.7% of his PA's. His OBP is only .330. That is horrible compared to the .372 he put up last year. He has lost .72 points of OPS this year. That is a serious regression.
I am worried about him - big time. Never thought I'd say that, and I am more than a little worried that the teams hack-first-ask-questions-later approach is impacting the first legit OBP guy the system has produced since...
wait for it...
and before that...
be in Baltimore by 4 PM today?
Gary Matthews injured - Gene Autry is smiling...
Matthews has a slight tear in his ACL and is out indefinitely. I couldn't be happier. This will force Scioscia to keep Matthews on the pine and insert Rivera or Willits into the lineup on a daily basis for a while.
Rivera had already supplanted Matthews, and put up great numbers in July - with an OBP of .455 and a SLG of .704. But, this will make the move a little less likely to dissolve after a couple of bad games from Rivera or a sudden return to ignorant deference to veterans by Scioscia. It is his most glaring weakness as a manager.
Anyway, I don't love rooting for injury, but as injuries go, this is a net positive for the team on the offensive side of the equation.
Trot Nixon and other stuff
So, your starting LF'er goes down with a broken leg that might sideline him for 8 months and you don't attempt to sign Trot Nixon
Anyway, what would Stoney want with a guy with a career OBP of .366?
Instead, we get Shea Hillenbrand
Also from the recent past:Dallas McPherson
could be done for the year
. Bummer, I really like D-Mac, probably more than I should, but he can friggin' square-up a baseball. When he hits a ball hard, he does damage. Hope the surgery goes well and he can get a normal life back.Casey Kotchman
seems to be doing better. (Same article)Kendry Morales'
knee is a little funky from a collision while playing winter league ball in the Dominican Republic. (Same article)
Ick! v. 2.0
So, let me get this straight - Stoneman signs someone to block Kotchman
and that person is Shea Hillenbrand?
I don't believe this off-season.
He signs Lil' Sarge
- for $50 million.
He trades Donkey
for a LHRP
with some upside, then they sign Darren Oliver
, a LHRP with no upside.Juan Rivera
breaks his leg while playing winter ball and now this.
Stoneman has done nothing to make me think that he is anything more than a piss-poor GM this winter.
Kudos to Stoneman for one thing...
Inking Kelvim Escobar to a below-market value contract extension on May 31. I hadn't thought about this lately, but Stoneman signed Kelvim to a 3-year, $28.5 million deal
on May 31. That deal looks like a genius move in retrospect with Gil Meche reportedly having received an offer from St. Louis that was worth $36 million over 4 years.
If Kelvim was on the open market right now and that was the going rate for a Gil Meche, I expect that he'd command upwards of 4 years and something approaching $50 million.
Anyway, with my utter disdain for Bill Stoneman at an all-time high after the signing of Gary Matthews Jr., I figured I should remind everyone of a smart thing he did in the recent past.
Well, the deal for Gary Matthews Jr. got me thinking about the tenure of Bill Stoneman as general manager of the Anaheim Angels, aka the LAAoA.
The first few years were definitely intriguing. The Brian Cooper for Brad Fullmer trade was nails and the signing of Kelvim Escobar prior to 2004 was inspired. Going after Colon was a good move even after a sub-par 2004 and 2006 injury aside. The signing of Jose Guillen to start in LF was genius. Guillen had a monster year in 2004 even though the end of the year was stupid and he ended up being a complete ass, the idea to go after Guillen was a good, outside-the-box idea that worked out from a production standpoint. Then, as Gullen fell out of favor and became a persona non grata in Anaheim, Stoneman was able to swindle the Expos out of Maicer Izturis AND
Juan Rivera for Guillen. That trade, right there, made me believe in Stoneman as a legit GM. A big-picture guy, a thinker and risk-taker. Not so much anymore, but we'll get to that.
Those moves were obviously good moves, but there were obviously bad moves too. Edmonds for Bottenfield and Kennedy comes to mind first, Callaspo for Bulger and the JC Romero deal (Casilli?, Casilla?) are too new to completely lambaste, but we're getting there.
The extensions to Erstad and Anderson reek of stupidity as does the releasing of a bullpen's worth of quality relievers: Jenks, Turnbow, Peralta and Woods. Young, cheap talent is what allows you to go get the big name player to round-out your club. The team released those bullpen arms and went and spent upwards of $30 million on Yan, Carrasco and now Speier. That is money that could be spent elsewhere.
There are other moves that Stoneman doesn't deserve too much credit for - as they were moves that fell into his lap. Landing Guerrero seems to have been sheer luck. Realize, I don't condemn him for this move, but he shouldn't get too much credit either.
However, there are a couple of moves that really made me change my thinking on Bill Stoneman. The first happened only a few days after the trade of Guillen for Izturis and Rivera. The releasing of David Eckstein and then the signing of Orlando Cabrera to play SS. At the time the team acquired Izturis I assumed that he would take over for Eckstein if they wanted to go in another direction at SS. At no time did I think that spending $32 million on a bad offensive player was an option. The fact that this year Izturis was not significantly worse than OC in a good offensive year for OC speaks to the fact that Izturis (aka Mice-Tits) should have been given the SS job in 2005 and OC should not have been signed.
Then there is the signing of Sarge Jr. I am flummoxed. I can't find words to describe the crappiness of this signing. It is mind-numbing.
Bill Stoneman is not a good GM. Bill Stoneman is, in point of fact, a bad GM, and this free agent acquisition has absolutely sealed the deal on his status.
"What if this is as good as it gets?" - Jack Nicholson from As Good As It GetsSarge, Jr.?
Stupid. Fucking. Move. Period.
What to do in the offseason?
If I was called by Bill Stoneman for my input, here is what I say:
1) Upgrade the offense by pursuing a top-tier center fielder. That basically means Vernon Wells or Andruw Jones. The Blue Jays need middle infield help. O-Cab should be shopped in this hypothetical deal, but if they don't take him I am willing to part with Aybar in this deal. So, for Vernon Wells, I assume that a package of Saunders, Aybar and Figgins gets the deal done, and the other condition is a window to negotiate a long-term deal with Wells. If he or the Jays balk at that demand, screw them. Wells wants to go to Texas - we can't let him hit the market after 2007.
The trade for Andruw Jones is a different beast. The Braves need relief pitching. Scot Shields should be the centerpiece of this hypothetical deal with Chone Figgins and maybe Saunders rounding the deal out. I really haven't thought this one though as much as the Wells deal, but that seems about right. Also, a long-term deal from Jones is necessary for this to fly. The Halos can not end up renting a guy for a year - that won't work, it is too risky to give up that much for a one-year rental.
2) Don't, whatever you do, trade Ervin Santana unless the booty in return is Miguel Cabrera. With A-Ram unavailable, give Mr. McPherson another shot at 3rd base - he and Quinlan are a dynamite platoon tandem unless Cabrera is available. Then you start with Santana and Kotchman/Morales and see what the response is.
3) Upgrade the bullpen - he already signed Speier to a stupid-long contract, but Speier is pretty damn good right now, so only years 3 and 4 are really looking sketchy. The trade of Gregg to Florida isn't great, it isn't bad - it just is.
4) Don't go after Soriano, Zito, Lee or any other "top" FA this year. It is a stupid market right now and you will regret the contract in two years.
This is where I start - in that order.
We'll see what Stoney does...
7 1/2 back on August 31...
Well, it COULD
be worse I suppose. But, truth be told, this is an uphill battle. The only real saving grace is that there are seven games against Oakland in our future. Very simply, anything short of 5-2 in those seven makes this defecit really difficult to overcome.
With all of the rumblings going on here
about fandom and faith in your team, I feel a little bad for saying that the season is over a few days ago. However, I think I was right then, and I think I am right now when I say, "The season is STILL over."
The Season is over...
Simple as that. They won't be going to the playoffs this year folks. Methinks that 5 1/2 games in the next 6 weeks is a bit too much for this club to overcome.
There are a few reasons this team will, most likely, come up short in 2006. They are:
Casey Kotchman getting sick and the revolving door at 1B that ensued.
Adam Kennedy playing much worse than anyone anticipated and Mike Scioscia not doing anything about it.
A much less effective bullpen than in years past.
Not enough offense from 1B, 2B, 3B, CF and DH.
J-Mo starts third straight game...
With Mike Napoli
(aka side salad
) in a month long slump Mike Scioscia has reverted to his J-Mo
I really wish that 60-80 at bats was seen as the small sample that it is instead of a reason to make a change. Napoli has seen his batting average drop almost 100 points in the last month, but his OBP is still sitting at a robust .382 and his defense has been stellar. Molina has heated up with the lumber this month, but come on, he is Jose Molina.
Here is my question: "Mike, why don't you go with the guy that has a chance to be an above average major league catcher instead of the proven mediocrity"?
Well - another three month hiatus is out of the way so it must be time for a few busy days of massive posts before I take a nap until Christmas.
Anyway, since I last contributed to this blog:
Edgardo Alfonzo was released...
Jeff Weaver was released...
Esteban Yan was released...
Jered Weaver turned into Cy Young...
Joe Saunders turned into Jimmy Key...
Jeff Mathis was dismissed to AAA after 39 AB's...
Mike Napoli was promoted and started hitting like Adam Dunn v. 2001, then slumped and started hitting like Adam Dunn v. 2006...
Casey Kotchman got mono and is dizzy...
Dallas McPherson got hurt - again...
Kendry Morales was promoted and looked great, then not so much. Unfortunately, just as he started looking good again Stoneman demoted him to AAA...
Howie Kendrick was promoted and holy crap does he look good....
Kelvim Escobar has a gimpy elbow...
Juan Rivera is hitting like Sammy Sosa v. 1998...
Bartolo Colon has an injured shoulder...
Orlando Cabrera is earning his salary this year...
I still think that Maicer Izturis is better than Orlando Cabrera...
Brendan Donnelly, Hector Carrasco and J.C. Romero aren't any good anymore...
Thank god for Scot Shields and a sometimes shakey K-Rod.
The team stunk from April through June...
The team rocked in July...
Bill Stoneman didn't do anything stupid at the trade deadline - but he didn't do anything inspired either...
The team is smelling a little funny in August and sits in 2nd place, 3 games back of Oakland...
Anyway, that about sums up the season up to this point.
2006 Season is Here...
Well, after a strange off season the 2006 season is here.Here are the things I like about the Halos right now:
1) Casey Kotchman
seems to be entrenched as the 1st baseman, even against leftys.
2) Jeff Mathis
and Jose Molina
are the only two catchers on the roster.
3) Tim Salmon
made the team - rightfully so - it seems. If he just has an OBP of .350 and a SLG of .425 he is worth the roster spot.Here are the things that I don't like about the Halos right now:
1) Dallas McPherson
is in AAA and Darin Erstad
and Garret Anderson
are playing instead.
2) Orlando Cabrera
is still hitting 2nd in the order while Adam Kennedy
- he who can actually get on base pretty well - is hitting 9th.
3) Chone Figgins
is playing 3rd base. He is more valuable as a Super-Utility guy - roving around covering injuries and giving days off.
These are small things, but nonetheless in a division separated by maybe 2 or 3 games these could be big decisions.
Well, my last protracted absense has come to a close and all that had to happen to get me blogging is for the season to start...
I honestly don't know if I have this in me, I mean - I enjoy reading the blogs of other folks (6-4-2
and Halos Heaven
primarily) more than I enjoy putting down my thoughts because, frankly, I know what I think. But, you guys don't all know what I think - so I'll try to be better about writing.
Brothers will be Brothers...
Well, it didn't take Jered Weaver to do his best impersonation of his big brother Jeff. Apparently, he was cited for public drunkeness in Long Beach on February 9th.
Here is the story in the LA Times
World Baseball Classic News
This story in the Times
talks about the circumstances surrounding three important cogs in the Halos rotation and their status regarding the WBC.
Colon seems in at all cost - even though he has yet to throw a legit fastball, Escobar is in, but only if he will be used as a starter and Santana was concerned that Scioscia and Black were trying to get him to bow out of the tournament, which is not allowed. Apparently Santana was informed about the importance of this spring training for him and he took that to mean that he should be wary of committing to the Dominican for the WBC. Anyway, interesting read.
Music to my ears...
The LA Times mentioned that Mike Scioscia plans to only carry two catchers this year.Jeff Mathis
and Jose Molina
Good news for all of us that lamented the roster spot taken up by Josh Paul over the last two years.HERE
is a link to the article that also says:
is having visa problems and won't be in camp until Thursday at the earliest.
-- Dallas McPherson
is fighting for at-bats and taking grounders at 1st base as a way to increase his versatility.
If Scioscia doesn't get D-Mac 350 AB's this year he has failed. Here's to hoping that Erstad blows out his hammy BIG TIME in March and we can go into April with Figgy in CF and D-Mac at 3rd base. That is the best offensive line-up the Angels can muster and with an improved A's team the Angels will need all the runs they can get.
Well - I'm back, sort of...
With the return of pitchers and catchers to my daily life, I will again ease back into this blog. When I last left you Stoneman was courting Paul Konerko, so it has been a while. However, with triplets, Christmas, a full load of teaching intensive Music courses, composing music for a play, promoting concerts and performing regularly I just can't get here as much as I'd like to. However, with many great bloggers out there, I am sure that I am not missed too much.
Anyway, gotta go give a lecture on 1960's jazz, so I'll take another 3 month hiatus now - see you in June.
Konerko talk - and a scary Plan "B"!
Ok - the final exams aren't over and the grading isn't anywhere near finished, but I just can't contain myself any longer. As all of my cohorts
in the blogging
world are pointing
out - Bill Stoneman seems determined to do something stupid this offseason. Now mind you, this isn't merely Stoneman v. 2004, Orlando Cabrera stupid - this is Cam Bonifay, Chuck LaMar, Bill Plashke stupid.
If the Halos somehow are unable to ink Paul Konerko
to a 5-year deal worth roughly $60 million they have a plan "B" in place. Now, it is likely that we are all happy that there is a plan "B", but upon further review plan "B" is scary beyond belief. Remember, plan "B" is contingent on NOT
signing Konerko, and consists of trading Casey Kotchman
for Mike Sweeney
Yes, trading the 22 year old first baseman of the future - whose dad has coached in the organization for many years - for a 32-year old DH that has played in 150+ games once since 2000 is plan "B". Also, Sweeney is owed $25 million over the next two years while Kotchman will likely make less than $1 million over the same period of time. Now, is Sweeney a better hitter right now? Probably in 2006, Sweeney will out-hit Kotchman. But, in 2007, it is a toss-up offensively. If we add defense to the equation it is likely that Kotchman is a better player right now than Mike Sweeney for 1/25 the cost.
Why, then is Stoneman considering this move? Well, it was a deal that was in place on July 31st according to one report found HERE
and apparently Kotchman's impressive 2nd half of 302/369/526 didn't convince the braintrust that he is worthy of a starting gig. If that isn't good to dethrone Erstad - a HORRIBLE offensive player - from first base then this organization is in trouble. Similarly, if that output makes you tradebait - this organization is doomed.
If this trade happens, I predict that other GM's will be lining up to inquire about Kendry Morales, Howie Kendrick, Brandon Wood, Erick Aybar, Jered Weaver and other top prospects in the best farm system in the country. Why do the Halos build a farm system, get prospects to the cusp of big league stardom to contemplate trading them away? Why does this organization think that spending $25 million on a player that is superfluous is a good idea?
Anyway, I have to go give a final exam right now, but I couldn't contain my anger any longer and had to vent a bit about the wayward ideas emanating from LAofA these days. Let's hope Stoneman isn't this stupid...