Monday, February 28, 2011

Its Going to be a Long Season

That is, if what is going on RIGHT NOW in Spring Training games is any indication. In the Angels Cactus League match with the A's, Jeff Mathis just grounded out to the Shortstop and Mike Napoli hit a 3 Run Homer for Texas against the Royals. I expect this to be the norm for the remainder of the season. By getting to play everyday, Napoli will put up something along the lines of .270, 30 Homers and 80 RBI's, while Jeff Mathis will do something in the range of .230, 5 Homers and 35 RBI's. While Jeff Mathis will probably play more sound defense and have a shot at a gold glove, but that difference in production will likely hinder the team more than Mathis' Defensive Output will help it.

I'm happy to have Jeff Mathis on my team, he is a cool guy, and there is nothing wrong with him as a player, but its just tough to think that a team that already has its offensive struggles could have had a considerable upgrade at a position not normally known for its offensive output. Its going to be hard to do, but I'm still going to root for Napoli to have great season in Texas, and put up career highs. I'm just hoping Mathis can do the same.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A Realistic Wishlist for the 2011 Season

The excitement for baseball to return is building up inside of me. I'll probably get back to writing a ton more, and today's post will just be a wish list of realistic expectations for the 2011 MLB Season.

  • To Buy a new Hat. I'm kind of sick of the California Angels cap I bought before last season, and according to my wife, I always just buy a new hat at the Stadium the first time we go to a game in April. (Odds: Even)
  • For Brandon Wood to never, ever start a game for the Angels. I think if Alberto Callaspo and Macier Izturis can stay healthy, this shouldn't be a problem. I mean, if he has to start some afternoon game I won't be able to watch anyway... that's ok. (Odds: 3-to-1)
  • For Scott Kazmir to have an ERA under 5.00. Listen, buddy. Before 2009, you had never even posted an ERA above a 4.00. Then, you decided to stink it up for the Rays, and got traded here, where in 6 games, your ERA was a respectable 1.73. Then, last year happened. Your ERA was almost at 6.00, and for times, you were the league leader in runs allowed. Not Cool. I'm not asking for too much, not even a return to form, just have an average ERA for a 5th Starter. (Odds: 4-to-1)
  • For Reggie Willits to make the Big League Roster. After a solid rookie campaign in 2007, Willits skid through 08 and 09, but Willits had a return-to-form in 2010, albeit in limited action. I'd like to see Reggie as a fourth outfielder, with the departure of Juan Rivera and Bobby Abreu's move to DH. Also, you don't lose any of the speed with Hunter, Bourjos or Wells out of the lineup. (Odds: 2-to-1)
  • For Vernon Wells to hit .280, 28 HR, 90 RBI, .330 OBP. Pretty much his career averages in hitting and OBP, and respectable power numbers. If we can rely on a healthy Morales to hit 30 and 100, that's a pretty good 1-2 punch in the middle of the lineup. (Odds: 4-to-1)
  • A Wild-Card Spot. Yeah, thats right, the Rangers can have the West. When the Angels win the West, they are 2-8 in playoffs series. When they win the Wild Card? 3-0. However, the East should have 4 good teams, the Central should have 3 again, and the A's are always competitive. So that leaves 7 teams to compete for a Wild Card (including the Angels), that will be a sticky situation. (Odds: 10-to-1)
  • A team that doesn't play in Boston or Philadelphia wins the World Series. I mean, we have already gone over how Carl Crawford is going to sabotage Boston, but Philadelphia has a Pitching Rotation for the ages. Once they get into October, they should be pretty unstoppable. (Odds: 20-to-1)
Thats pretty much it. I'm just so jazzed for baseball, that none of those things could happen (I don't get a new hat, Brandon Wood starts every game, Reggie Willits is stuck in Salt Lake all season, Vernon Wells has a season-ending injury on Opening Day, the A's win the Wild Card and Boston beats Philly in the World Series) and I'd still be thrilled that baseball is back. Other sports can cover up the fact that baseball is gone, but none could ever replace it.

I can smell the Aramark Cheese already......

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Kendry Unlikely to be Ready for Opening Day

The official statement today was that Kendry being ready for opening day isn't 100%. As an Angel fan, I read this first as "Kendry to be out for 2011", then as "Kendry back at All-Star Break", finally as "Kendry shelved till May". He has a tightness in the surgically repaired ankle he broke while celebrating a walk-off home run last May. A tightness. That could be anything from "the weather is changing" to "I'm never going to be the same, and you should trade me before I step on the field again while I still have some value."

How about that? Why don't we trade him now, before its too late? There is a gentleman in St. Louis who is looking for a giant contract extension from a team that isn't giving it to him... a 3 time NL MVP, Nine time All-Star, Current NL Home Run Champion and former NL Batting Champ. Is that so crazy? To want to trade for Albert Pujols? Who Doesn't?

Granted, we would have to give up a TON for him. Once he is here, he will also want about a billion dollars over 15 years, or something like that. However, I think the Angels have the pieces to make it work. Send Kendry Morales, Mark Trumbo, Hank Conger and a pitching prospect (pick one) to St. Louis for Albert Pujols. Trade a guy who will never be the same, two unproven rookies and an unknown arm... for a future Hall-of-Famer in the prime of his career? Seems like an easy choice, right?

I'm sure something like this will never go through. If there is something the Angels Front Office has proven, they don't like giving up prospects, period. I think they still feel burned by letting Bobby Jenks slip through their fingers. If this deal were to ever go through, it would take a complete change of heart by Tony Reagins, Arte Moreno and the whole staff. Its not going to happen, but if I were the Angels GM, I'd do this in a heartbeat. I'd also sign Albert to 29 Million a Year for 7-8 years... but that's just me.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

An Incredibly Tough Choice.

Let me preface by saying that I will not be a fan of the new team(s) in Los Angeles if its the Raiders or Rams. Ok, moving on...

Recently, plans were announced to start building Farmers Field in Downtown Los Angeles right next to Staples Center (where the Clippers, Kings and Lakers play), and construction would begin as soon as the league put the wheels in motion towards putting a new team in Los Angeles. This was both great news and terrible news, all at the same time.

On one hand, it would fantastic to have a local team to be able to actually see NFL games in person (Yeah, I could go down to San Diego, but there is a 100% chance I'd have to see a Chargers game, and that sounds awful), I'd have a team that I know would be on TV every week, and that I could find merchandise for very easily. (Well, in theory. The Clippers play in LA, but have you ever gone looking for a Clippers shirt? Impossible).

However, there is the tiny fact that I'm a die hard Jets fan. I love the Jets. I love Mark Sanchez, Rex Ryan, and the whole gang (except for Jason Taylor... screw him). I own Jets Jerseys, I have Jets blankets and sweaters. I get the feeling I'll be a Jets fan till I die. Its very unlikely the Jets will be the team moving to LA.

Thus, my dilemma. I'd love to root for the local team, go crazy for them in person and at bars. I'd love to strut around town in an LA Football Jersey (that isn't from the AFL, USFL or XFL, Go LA Xtreme!). But do I turn my back on my beloved Jets? OR, do I become that douche who puts it all in for more than one team per sport? Don't get me wrong, I will cheer for other teams in games/seasons where my team isn't in it... but this is on a totally different level.

I've got a few years to decide, and who knows, the Jets COULD pack their bags and head west, but that seems like an incredibly unlikely scenario. Until then, I've just got this awful decision hanging over my head.


Yeah, I know I said I wouldn't post anything that wasn't Angels Baseball anymore, but my other blog fell flat on its face, and I wanted my loyal readers to know I wasn't dead. Besides, the Angels haven't done anything since they traded for Vernon Wells (Which has not yet been confirmed to be a big April Fools prank, more on that April 2nd). Oh well, Pitchers and Catchers report in a week and a half.