Sunday, July 8, 2012
Well, after a great 6-0 win on Sunday Afternoon, the Angels take a ton of momentum heading into the All-Star Break. Four Angels will be making the trip to Kansas City this weekend: Mark Trumbo, Mike Trout, Jered Weaver and C.J. Wilson (though Wilson be sitting out the game to heal from a blister, he will still be in KC for the festivities). So, what does any of this mean for an Angels fan? What do you have to watch? Well, lets take a look at where our Angels will figure in to the Mid-Summer Classic.
Mark Trumbo - Likely one of the favorites heading into the Monday's Home Run Derby, anyone who has gotten to a game a couple hours early knows what kind of show this slugger can put on in batting practice, and a glorified batting practice would be the perfect way to describe the Home Run Derby. He could be the first Angel's HRD Champion since Garret Anderson in 2003. It's unclear how A.L. manager Ron Washington will plug Trumbo into the game on Tuesday, but Trumbo can play any of the corners, infield and outfield. Considering his flair for the dramatic, he could even figure into the vote for All-Star Game MVP should the A.L. win (last Angel to do that: Also Garret Anderson in 2003).
Mike Trout - Likely to come in as a replacement around the same time as Trumbo, he could also factor into the MVP voting, and would likely come in as an Outfield replacement or a pinch runner. At 20 years old, many think the Rookie is lucky to just be in the game, but the youngster is starting to let the rest of the country know he is well on his way to becoming the best all-around player in the American League.
Jered Weaver - At 10-1, with a minuscule 1.96 ERA (He leads the AL in Win Percentage, ERA and WHIP), he SHOULD be starting his second consecutive All-Star Game for the American League, but Ron Washington opted to go with the more popular Justin Verlander instead. Also having a good year (though not as good as his 2011 Cy Young winning season), I think its fair that they trade off starting the All-Star game so long as they also trade off winning the Cy Young Award. No one has been as dominant (save for one bad outing against Texas) as Jered has been this season.
C.J. Wilson - If C.J. is your favorite Angel, you are going to need to tune into the game early, because once is name is announced, he will be taking up a nice warm seat on the dugout bench. As I pointed out earlier, Wilson is going to use the All-Star break to nurse a blister on his throwing hand. Jake Peavy will be taking his spot on the roster, but Wilson will still be in Kansas City for all the hoopla and festivities.
Non-Angels to Watch:
Chipper Jones, Atlanta Braves - Probably the best story this week. Chipper Jones has announced he will be retiring at season's end after 20 hall-of-fame years in the league (all with Atlanta). Along with Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez, Jones is among the last of the 1990's Superstars that I grew up watching and adoring. Perhaps the best switch-hitter in history, Jones has a career .304 batting average and 8 All-Star Game appearances. He won't be in the starting nine for the National League, but coming off the bench, it would be a great All-Star sendoff to see Chipper win an All-Star Game MVP award.
Cole Hamels, Philadelphia Phillies - Angels fans may want to catch a glimpse of the Phillies All-Star, because he figures to be available in the next week or so as the trade deadline approaches. It's been rumored that the Angels are incredibly interested in added yet another arm to their enormous staff of good starting pitching (Though Dan Haren and Ervin Santana haven't looked great this year, they both have the potential to be Ace's on just about any staff in baseball), especially with recent injuries to Wilson, Haren and Jerome Williams.
Fernando Rodney, Tampa Bay Rays - Yeah, I've had my fair share of crappy things to say about the former Halo, but Rodney is having a fantastic season in Tampa Bay stepping in as the full-time closer. I'm actually kind of glad Thug Life found a new home and has thrived (similarly to how I'm happy for Jeff Mathis and his six home runs as a Blue Jay). If nothing else, as a closer, Rodney figures to be an important piece for the A.L. at the end of the game, especially if it's close.
Half of the Texas Rangers (Mike Napoli, Adrian Beltre, Josh Hamilton, Yu Darvish, Matt Harrison, Joe Nathan, Elvis Andrus, Ian Kinsler) - This is just plain stupid. Ridiculous even. They only have the 2nd best record in baseball (behind New York by half a game), yet they still managed to dominate 8 of the 30 spots on the All-Star roster. Half of the problem: limited national exposure to every other American League team that doesn't play in Boston or New York. The other Half: Ron Washington. This is why I don't like the Manager getting so much say in who makes it and who doesn't. But, far be it from me to complain when the Angels got 4 All-Stars (even though you could make strong cases for Frieri and Downs). I hope the public lashes back at all this Texas support like they have lashed back at the aforementioned New York and Boston.
Official Angels Nation Predictions:
Home Run Derby Champion: Mark Trumbo (duh.)
All-Star Game: 6-5, American League
ASG MVP: Adam Jones, Baltimore Orioles
Sunday, June 17, 2012
My absence from posting the last few weeks hasn't gone unnoticed, and I'd like to preface by saying: I HAVE been watching the games (or most of them at least), and they have still been winning, so that's a relief.
So, what do I think of the last two weeks, including today? Well, brace yourselves, I have the answer to that question no one wants to know the answer to.
Regarding the Angels:
- Watching Ernesto Frieri right now is what I remember watching Francisco Rodriguez in 2002 was like. He came into the game, and you knew two things: no one was getting a hit, and more importantly, you were going to see one or more strikeouts (usually more). He is dominant in a way that I would have never expected. I'm really glad the club has the rights to him for the next few years.
- Garrett Richards is the real deal, and is ready to make a permanent impact on this team NOW. If we spend the next few months (probably the rest of the season) yanking him back and fourth between Anaheim and Salt Lake, trying to decide if we really trust Ervin Santana to look like June 16th Ervin or The Rest of 2012 Ervin, its only going to blow his confidence and then we have another Brandon Wood/Dallas McPherson/Kevin Jepsen on our hands. No one wants that. Either trade Santana or send him to the bullpen.
- Mike Trout deserves all the love he gets, from me and from anyone else giving it to him. His numbers make him an All-Star (should be a starter, but missing April will probably kill that chance), and god forbid he goes on another stretch like he did in May. He could be an MVP candidate at the end of the season. Oh yeah, and he will win a Silver Slugger and Rookie of the Year too, just because he can. When the Angels slim their salary this offseason (by either trading away/releasing Vernon Wells and Ervin Santana, plus re-signing Hunter at a huge discount), they need to focus on two things: giving Frieri support in the Bullpen (assuming Downs leaves as well), and saving up to give Trout the huge Evan Longorian contract extension he already deserves.
- On a more somber note, I want to see Peter Bourjos play everyday in a Major League lineup. If that has to be in Washington, or Houston, or wherever it has to be, he deserves to play. Sitting on the bench 85% of the time isn't going to warm up his bat. We can get some of that bullpen help now, or even a more capable defensive 3rd baseman than Alberto Callaspo. I know Callaspo doesn't commit errors, but I think that is more because of his lack of range and athleticism than his skilled defensive prowess.
Regarding the Rest of Baseball:
- The Washington Nationals are the real deal, people. They are going to make some deal at the deadline and run away with this division. The Phillies are dead in the water and neither the Mets nor Marlins are talented enough to make a serious run, in my opinion. The Braves could give them a scare, but they will likely choke it away.
Regarding the Rest of the Sports World:
- I'm happy for the Los Angeles Kings, and their devoted (read: not bandwagon) fans, but I'm still a bitter Ducks fan who won't be happy until their "dynasty" has dissolved and they are back in the draft lottery with us. That being said, its only two months until Training Camps! The Ducks have made a number of positive moves this offseason, I hope that can equate to the 3-4 extra wins they would have needed to be the 8 seed in the West (the seed the Kings were, and rode to the Stanley Cup).
- It looks like the NBA Finals isn't going to be as good as we all hoped. Lebron and the Heat seem to be running away with things (now up 2-1 after winning Game 3 in Miami about 15 minutes ago). Oh, and the next two games are in Miami too. With the way Kevin Durant and the Thunder have been choking away opportunities, I'm guessing its going to be a 5 game series and Lebron will finally get his ring.
Tuesday, May 29, 2012
Day 1 - After losing to the Athletics the previous day, not only was watching our team depressing (they were on a 3 game losing streak against San Diego and Oakland... brutal), but we had noticed the track record of our watching the games over the last month. So we agreed that until the Angels reached .500, we wouldn't watch another game this season. Result: Angels win, 5-0 (Oakland).
Day 2 - Well, those were some nice results on day one. But this study is going to take further testing until we get some solid results. Result: Angels win, 3-1 (Oakland).
Day 3 - Hey, this team is playing cohesive baseball, Albert Pujols has hit some home runs... Mike Trout continues to be the most exciting young player in baseball... well, this test is starting to sting as the team is finally becoming watchable, but hey, its pretty clear now that they are winning because we aren't watching. Result: Angels win, 3-0 (Seattle).
Day 4 - Ok, We now really want to watch this team play baseball... we are fixing the rules... When they finally lose, we can watch them again... that was put to the test almost immediately, when the Mariners were winning for most of the game on Friday night... you know, before the great comeback the Angels made in the 9th. Result: Angels win, 6-4 (Seattle).
Day 5 - Now the 3-day weekend has set in... surely they will lose at some point so we can watch the game on Memorial Day, right? Well, not today. Pujols homers in his 3rd straight game, plus Alberto Callaspo hits a pinch-hit grand slam. That was probably fun to watch. Oh Well. Result: Angels win, 5-3 (Seattle).
Day 6 - Ok, the Sunday day game... right before a plane ride back to Anaheim to face the Yankees on Memorial Day. There is no way they win this game, right? Well, Morales and Trumbo had other plans. It wasn't as exciting as the last couple games, but they have just swept 4 games in Seattle. Result: Angels win, 4-2 (Seattle).
Day 7 - So, I can't watch the game on Memorial Day? Fine. I've got to catch up on Mad Men anyway. I like our chances tonight with Weaver on the mound. But it is the Yankees, and you never know with them in town. My Mother is a lifetime Yankees devotee, and so I got some text updates during the game. The early 3-0 lead, Weaver leaving the game with a bad back... oh boy... this is where the wheels fall off our season. My experiment has taken a deadly turn for the worse. Well, 13 runs later, it's tied up 8-8 in the bottom of the 9th for Trumbo. He hits the walkoff bomb and the Angels have won 7 in a row, reached .500 and have begun to pull away from the bottom of the pack in the AL West. Sure, we are still 6.5 back of the Rangers, but only 2.5 back of the second Wild Card spot (new to the league this year). This is getting silly. Result: Angels win, 9-8 (New York Yankees).
So, here we are, Day 8 of our experiment, and we have both agreed that even though the Angels have reached .500, we can't watch this club until they finally lose and break this winning streak. So, I don't really know what I'm rooting for most... the streak to continue (and my odd superstition continues to work), or for the streak to end so I can finally watch this team play baseball. Because they are finally playing like the team we thought they were when it was assembled in December of last year.
Monday, May 21, 2012
It was only a matter of time before this kid took over the southland. He already has more home runs than Pujols, more steals than Bourjos, and a higher average than anyone on the team (if he qualified, he'd be tied for the 5th highest average in the majors).
Since joining the team on April 28th, Mike Trout has helped the Angels to a 12-10 record. It might not sound like much (and before the weekend collapse in San Diego, it was a far more impressive 12-8), but when you consider how this team started B.T.* (6-14, tied for the worst start in franchise history), its quite an improvement.
What really counts is that he is playing at his best when this team needs him the most. The Angels are still 18-24, and after the rough weekend, are back in the cellar in the AL West. This week could prove fruitful, as the next 7 games are against the A's and Mariners... so this could be the perfect opportunity to flirt with .500 before the Yankees come into town.
I told you guys about Amarista... it was a mistake to let him go, even though Ernesto Frieri is a great arm for our bullpen, Ammy is going to be that little Mr. Everything for the Padres. He almost single-handedly beat us on Saturday, then continued to play tough on Sunday. I'd much rather have him coming off the bench than Macier Izturis. I like Izzy as much as the next guy, but his production has almost fallen off the map the last couple seasons.
* - B.T. = Before Trout. B.T. and A.T. (After Trout) are how Angels Nation will be referring to the stages of the 2012 Angels campaign.
Saturday, May 5, 2012
Let me preface this post by saying that yes, no one loves bitching about my beloved Halos more than me. I have been calling for Mickey Hatcher's head for the better part of two seasons now... and I simply don't like Erick Aybar, but the stuff I've been seeing on Twitter and message boards recently is making me sad to be an Angels fan.
On twitter after tonight's loss against a good Blue Jays team, there is actually momentum behind firing Mike Scioscia... you know its not a good sign when the only guy to bring our team ANY playoff success is trying to be made out to be some sacrificial lamb. Like if we fire Mike and bring in some unemployed schmuck, he is going to turn this ship around and take us to the postseason. Get real people, Terry Francona isn't going to do anything but hasten our trip to mediocrity. He took maybe the best on-paper team of all time, the 2011 Red Sox... got them off to a 0-7 start, then back into contention, only to lose their playoff spot on the final game of the season after an epic collapse gave the Rays a chance. Yeah, he is who I want leading an already struggling club.
Mike is a two-time Manager of the Year (2002, 2009) and has more than 1000 victories as our manager, and has taken us to the playoffs 6 times... DOUBLE what ALL previous Angels' Managers combined had gotten before him in nearly 40 years. I think the man knows what he is doing, and I trust him to take us back there, even if its with a team that looks almost nothing like the one we have on the field.
The other person that people are rallying against is our new slugger, and future Hall of Famer, Albert Pujols. Yes, I will admit that he is having, by far, the worst 5 week span of his career. And yes, I'll also concede that the immediate future isn't looking good. But to think that a career .328 hitter (in St. Louis) isn't going to turn it around and raise his average back above the Mendoza line is ridiculous. I can sit here and make a ton of excuses, but the real problem isn't so cut and dry, otherwise Albert would have figured it out by now. He is just in a slump, and nothing is going to get him out of it better than letting him go out there and get his AB's in every day. Maybe give him a day off this weekend, but there is no need to consider benching the all-star, or cutting his playing time in any way.
So, you are sitting there, probably still unable to get your Angels gear off fast enough, yelling at your computer screen, saying "Well then, smart-ass, who do we blame for our 10-17 start?!".
The answer is simple: No one. It's 27 games... we have 135 left to play. If we finish the season playing .600 baseball (this team is more than good enough to play at that level), we finish the season with 91 wins. With the two wild-cards, and the additional win here and there, this club should easily find itself in the playoffs, at which point anything can happen.
Here at Angels Nation, we aren't going to be hitting any kind of panic button until we find ourselves under .500 after July 1st. When that happens, I'll be glad to write each and every one of you an apology, and I'll get out my "Fire Mike" signs.
Friday, April 27, 2012
For whatever reason, when it comes to closers (not named Brian Fuentes), Mike Scioscia seems to have them on a very short leash. After allowing to Tampa Bay Rays to come back and win in the 9th inning last night, Scioscialism seems to have pulled the plug on Walden being our full time closer (for now). He said today that the closer of the immediate future will be Scott Downs, who has easily been our most reliable arm out of the bullpen the last two seasons.
But is this the right move? Not only is it completely stunting the growth of Jordan Walden (who might never be the same after losing his job like this), but is the role right for Downs? He seemed very comfortable over the last few seasons as a lefty specialist and set-up man, but not everyone can make the transition from the 8th to the 9th. We know Downs is clutch, but it takes a special kind of player to get the hardest three outs of a ballgame.
Starting him off as the Closer in Cleveland is a very smart idea, its a lineup of predominately left-handed hitters, so any situation he might find himself in late in the game, he will likely see at least one left handed hitter. This is also the right time of the season to make changes like this. We just have to wait and see if its actually the right move for the Angels.
It was also announced today that Bryce Harper (Washington Nationals super prospect and former #1 overall pick in the draft) was going to get called up to the Majors on Saturday and would make his major league debut. My only problem with this? He is off to a cold start in AAA.
In only 82 Plate Appearances, Harper is hitting an incredibly average .250 with 1 home run, 3 RBI's and a few doubles. He is slugging only .355, which is an Ecksteinien number. The Washinton Nationals need this kid to be the next Ryan Braun, not the next David Eckstein. I have him in 2/3rds of my fantasy leagues, so I'm happy about that, but I still think the call-up is too soon for the blossoming star.
Just an observation I made yesterday that I didn't vocalize on Twitter (@Angels-nation): Angels radio announcer Terry Smith made a very solid call on the Walk-Off Home Run yesterday by the Rays. He almost sounded excited that he was there to be a part of it. Clearly not as excited as he would have been had the Angels been the ones walking off, but still happy for the Rays, none the less. Some might not care for that in their hometown announcer, but a bit of neutrality is good for announcers, even if they aren't on National TV/Radio. He just sounded happy to be witnessing a great baseball moment, no matter the team. I appreciate that, and there are few in the league as good as Smith. We are lucky fans.
This is from Reddit.com, and is awesome:
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
It's not the most interesting thing in the world, but lets take a look at some stats, shall we? (Stats taken from 2011 and first 10 games of 2012)
Player A: .219 Average, 27 Home Runs, 70 RBI, 94 K's, Grounded into 9 Double Plays, Makes $21 Million Dollars Per Year.
Player B: .263 Average, 22 Home Runs, 85 RBI, 136 K's, Grounded into 24 Double Plays, Makes $18 Million Dollars Per Year.
Player A gets booed by the home town fans, gets ripped apart by local and national baseball blogs, and is said to have the worst contract in sports history.
Player B is beloved by the home town fans, fans of other teams, and just about everyone in the sports media.
Now, as many of you have figured out, Player A is Vernon Wells and Player B is Torii Hunter, and yes, while Hunter hits for a higher average and has more RBI's for 3 Million fewer dollars per year, he also strikes out a ton and grounds into more double plays (almost 3 times as many). I get that a big part of this is that Torii Hunter is an extremely nice and funny guy, who often interacts with the media and fans, while Vernon Wells is more the quiet type, and is much more reserved around the few media outlets he speaks to.
At the same time, both are getting paid like they are top 10 outfielders, while neither is putting up the numbers. Both have won Gold Gloves for their defense, and while maybe Wells has lost a step or two, Hunter continues to have great success after making the move from Center Field to Right Field. I do think that over the last 172 games, Hunter has been the more valuable player, and is a super nice and personable guy who deserves all the praise he gets from the fans.... but, Vernon Wells doesn't strike out as much as we think he does, hardly ever grounds into double plays, and is far less of a liability out in Left Field than, say, Bobby Abreu.
Next time you think about booing Vernon Wells when he steps up to the plate (just a few minutes after you cheered for Hunter, who ended up striking out), maybe consider that if a few more balls found some grass (or the marine layer didn't knock down a few balls headed for the seats), that Vernon Wells would have numbers incredibly similar to Hunter, who we pay almost as much to do just as average of a job at the plate.
-Also, congrats to Jered Weaver for reaching 1000 career strikeouts last night against the Oakland A's. That is no easy task, especially in the AL, where you don't get to face the opposing pitcher 2-3 times a game.
-Another congrats goes out to Kendrys Morales, who hit his first home run since the Walk-Off Grand Slam (and resulting celebration, which took him out of the game for nearly 2 years). Got his first 4 RBI's of the season last night in a huge 6-0 win.
-Dan Haren looks to rebound tonight from a rough couple of outings against the same Oakland team. He will face-off against Tyson Ross, a 24-year-old right-hander who has a career 4.18 ERA in 35 Games.
Thursday, April 12, 2012
Yes, yes, its a bit silly to argue for a re-arranged lineup after a 9-run outing against the Minnesota Twins, but there is still so much room for improvement in that area. I'm going to go down the lineups and examine the problems with where guys are hitting, and try to figure something else out.
Leadoff - Erick Aybar
If you have been reading this blog for longer than a few weeks, you know my sour opinion of our gold-glove shortstop. Since his outrageous 2009 season, he has cooled off quite a bit at the plate. A .266 Batting Average, a .313 On-base Percentage, and an average of 75 strikeouts (already has 3 this season in 5 games). Those aren't good numbers for a lead-off hitter on an elite team (for example, Ian Kinsler has a .366 OBP and averages about 10 few strikeouts, plus more power, per season in that span), and Aybar has never been the most patient hitter, and when he tries to be, he ends up striking out even more. The Angels don't really have a true option here (Peter Bourjos is also a bit of a free-swinger, but has better speed).
2nd - Howie Kendrick
Yeah, this is about as appropriate a spot as any in the Angels Lineup. Kendrick has a good mix of speed, power and patience to be a perfect 2-hole hitter on this club. It's pretty clear now he won't be winning any batting titles in the near future, but he is still a great guy to have on a club, and hitting in this spot.
3rd - Albert Pujols
The best hitter in baseball should probably hit where the best hitter on your team is supposed to hit. Especially with the early power outage, if Pujols can just get on for Hunter and Morales behind him, this is going to be his best spot.
Clean-up - Torii Hunter (Lefties)/Kendrys Morales (Righties)
Here is my problem with the current Angels lineup, they have 3 #5 hitters, and a guy who gets paid like a Clean-up Hitter, but hits like a #8 hitter. Hunter shouldn't be the source of power and protection for Pujols. There is nothing that strikes fear into a pitchers eyes about Hunter. I love having him on the team, and he is a great clubhouse guy, but he should never be the clean-up guy, especially at his age. Morales seems like the clear choice here, but his struggles against lefties can be a concern. I say leave him in to clean-up against everyone, and on his day's off, have Trumbo DH and hit clean-up, just to see what he can do in that spot.
5th - Vernon Wells/Mark Trumbo/Torii Hunter/Kendrys Morales
Vernon Wells should never see the top half of the lineup ever again, even with his solid game offensively today. If you've been watching him all season, you know that is going to be the exception, not the rule. Mark Trumbo seems like a natural fit to hit 5th in any lineup with that mammoth power (and tendency to strike-out). My problem with Hunter hitting here is that, again, he doesn't quite have the power to put any fear into the pitcher. You can just put Morales on and wait for Hunter to strike out or ground into a double play.
6th - Mark Trumbo/Vernon Wells/Kendrys Morales
This spot can go a number of ways, the Angels haven't been getting a ton of production out of the 6 spot (with the exception of the few times Morales has been there), and that could change if you slip Torii Hunter down here. He isn't going to win any batting titles or silver sluggers, but Hunters still a solid hitter who could give you .275/20 HR/75 RBI hitting in the right situation, I think that situation is 6th.
7th - Alberto Callaspo/Mark Trumbo/Vernon Wells
If you are going to have Callaspo in the lineup, this is the perfect place to have him. The Angels likely want to continue to use him on a pretty regularly basis, and with good reason (Trumbo has had his fair share of struggles defensively at third base). His bat can be a bit streaky, but knows how to hit with guys on base. Vernon Wells should probably hit here if Callaspo is getting the night off.
8th - Chris Iannetta
Yeah, this seems pretty perfect. Iannetta isn't going to rock anyone's world, but he has probably been our best hitter with RISP this season, and hitting 8th, there is a good chance you will have plenty of guys on base throughout the course of the season.
9th - Peter Bourjos
Again, I can't complain too much here. He had 124 strikeouts this year, but he also can also round the bases in 14 seconds (in a home run trot from home to first, mind you). He has the speed of a lead-off hitter, but until he learns the patience of one, he is perfectly suited in the 9th spot.
Now, in a perfect world, here is what he Angels lineup will look like when take on the Minnesota Twins again in the beginning of May:
SS - Erick Aybar
2B - Howie Kendrick
1B - Albert Pujols
DH - Kendrys Morales
3B - Mark Trumbo
RF - Torii Hunter
CF - Peter Bourjos
C - Chris Iannetta
LF - Mike Trout
Yeah, that would be pretty outstanding. The Angels will have cut or traded Bobby Abreu, moved up Mike Trout from AAA (where he is hitting over .400 with a Home Run, a Triple, 4 RBI and gets on base in nearly half his plate appearances.), and have him in the starting lineup over Wells, who becomes the new 4th outfielder. Bourjos moves up thanks to his ability to hit into the gaps (and occasionally out of the park) and Trout will hit 9th until he shows he can put up those all-star numbers in the bigs.
Now, if we can get a decent bullpen, we might actually be able to hold the leads that amazing lineup would put up.
Things might be getting worse for the Bullpen. Scott Downs, who left today because of an injury to his left ankle, and is one of our more consistent relievers, might be missing some time. Nothing wrong internally (so it seems so far), but he was walking around with crutches. Likely will be seeing some time on the 15-Day DL.
Tuesday, April 10, 2012
Did I just blow your mind? I know I did. Much like the popular sausage races in Milwaukee, and the president races in Washington, the Angels need to continue to capitalize on the Rally Monkey.
The idea came to me the other day while at the game, and the Monkey was being used improperly. We were down 5 with no one on going into the 8th. Hell, he was busted out in the 6th, which is far too early if you follow the Rally Monkey rules put in place way back in 2000 (no earlier than the seventh inning, at the start of an inning or during a pitching change, and only when the score is tied or the Angels trail by no more than four runs.)
So, if the Angels and its fans are going to continue to drive the Monkey into the ground, why not liven him up a little bit and have Rally Monkey races. It will rejuvenate the Rally Monkey brand, and will be a far more entertaining mid-inning festivity than the pre-rendered Chevron Car races or tickets-in-a-box slight-of-hand videos. You can sell t-shirts (for kids and adults) representing each of the participating Monkeys, you can sell stuffed versions of each of the participants, and if things really take off, a series of straight-to-dvd kids movies featuring the monkeys getting into crazy shenanigans.
You can have a few different monkeys and apes represented as dudes in costumes. The Gorilla, the Orangutan, the Chimp, the Capuchin (the proper Rally Monkey) and a Baboon or something (kids will think the bright red ass will be hilarious, trust me). In the middle of the 4th inning, you have them race down the third base line (they come out from the Angels dugout and leave through the tunnel next to the bullpens), and everyone goes nuts for those 45 seconds, cheering on their favorite monkey.
I know we have a REALLY good product on the field this year with our Angels, and that isn't really the time you come up with silly stuff like this to bring people out to the park, but this is a free idea Arte.... just go with it.
Its the second week of April, which can only mean one thing: It's time to overreact to how well/poorly your favorite baseball team/players are doing! Here are a few of mine:
- The Kansas City Royals are clearly the best team in the AL Central.
- Bruce Chen and Luke Hochever are clearly early Cy Young favorites.
- Yoenis Cespedes is going to break Mark McGwire's Rookie Home Run Record.
- Barry Zito = All-Star Game?!?!
- Kendrys Morales is probably going to hit .400 this year.
- Vernon Wells might be going for the strikeout record if he doesn't lose his job to Mike Trout in a month.
Actually, that last one might not be too far off base. In 14 plate appearances this season, Wells only has 2 hits (one of those being a meaningless solo home run in garbage time of Sunday's loss to the Royals) but already has 5 strikeouts to his name. They aren't pretty either. The Royals were throwing eye level pitches that Wells was swinging at. It's kind of a bummer. I was actually rooting for Wells. I wanted him to do well this season, now that Morales and Pujols are in the linuep, he wouldn't have hardly any pressure, but he keeps finding ways to disappoint.
Should Vernon continue to struggle, its very likely that his tenure as the starting left fielder could be very short, and that the Angels will either bring up Mike Trout, or risk Bobby Abreu's poor fielding for a better OBP in the lineup (Abreu, as much as I wanted to see him go, has a .429 OBP and 3 RBI in two starts this season).
If you are going to start Abreu, you need to have Bourjos in center field as a bit of a crutch for the aging slugger. That game on Saturday with Bobby in left and Vernon in center was a disaster waiting to happen. If Abreu continues to produce like he has the first couple games this season, I don't mind seeing him in the lineup everyday, but if he goes back to the old Walk-or-Strikeout-Looking Abreu of 2011, I'd rather take my chances with the youngster.
Friday, March 30, 2012
Will accept: Bags of baseballs, gift certificates to Red Lobster, Brandon Wood.
After failed attempts at a match with New York and Cleveland, we are just trying to find a good home for old Left Fielder, Bobby. After we got some new players, we just didn't have the time to spend with him anymore, and he has done nothing but mope around the house for the last month. If you think you have the space and can give him the attention he needs, we'd be more than happy to make a trade with you. We will just take just about anything for him at this point, he just needs a home.
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
1st -San Francisco - 94-68
Colorado - 85-77
Arizona - 84-78
Los Angeles - 80-82
San Diego - 70-92
San Francisco, while still not having much in the way of offense, is getting back their star catcher in Buster Posey, and that young rotation is only getting better. This is a very winnable division (as Arizona showed last year), and the Giants are primed to make it back to the postseason. The Dodgers could improve now that they have been sold to the group headed by Magic Johnson, but it might take them some time to turn dollars into wins. Colorado could compete for a playoff spot, but needs more pitching to have a chance.
2nd - Milwaukee - 93-69
St. Louis - 84-78
Cincinnati - 82-80
Chicago - 81-81
Pittsburgh - 79-83
Houston - 59-103
Houston will go days on days without wins, and the rest of the division is pretty close, but in the end, I think the Brewers have the pitching (both in the rotation and the bullpen) to pull away in September. The Cardinals or Reds could make a push for that 2nd Wild Card spot, but I wouldn't hold my breath.
3rd - Philadelphia - 90-72
4th - Miami - 88-74
5th - Washington - 87-75
Atlanta - 79-83
New York - 65-97
Miami and Washington went out and got a lot better in the offseason, while Philadelphia stood their ground, and while they still might have the best 1-2-3 punch in all of baseball in that rotation, they are going to lose Utley and Ryan Howard for big chunks of time due to injuries. Can Jim Thome, Placido Polanco and Jimmy Rollins really carry that offense? Atlanta takes a step back after their epic collapse at the end of the 2011 season, and the Mets continue to be the Mets.
3rd - Detroit - 95-67
Cleveland - 83-79
Minnesota - 78-84
Kansas City - 75-87
Chicago - 70-92
Detroit looks like the clear winner in this division, which might be the worst in baseball if Cleveland and Kansas City take a step back from their 2011 campaigns. I still don't trust the lineup around Prince Fielder and Miguel Cabrera, nor the rotation after Justin Verlander. If Morneau and Mauer bounce back in Minnesota, they have the supporting pieces to make a decent run, but that is a big "if". Chicago is going to be bad. They lost their manager and their ace to Miami, and everyone else just got a year older, on an already old team.
1st - New York - 101-61
4th - Tampa Bay - 95-67
5th - Toronto - 90-72
Boston - 81-81
Baltimore - 70-92
I think after the collapse last year, coupled with Bobby Valentine's antics and a team that is just asking for that one injury to either Ellsbury or Gonzalez to completely cripple their season, Boston is not ready to make the jump back into the postseason. The Yankees had the offense last year, but no one in that rotation wanted to step up behind CC Sabathia. Now they have an improved offense, and a bolstered Roation, which includes sophomore studs Michael Pineda and Ivan Nova, as well as former Dodger Hiroki Kuroda. They also have Raul Ibanez playing at DH, who is going to LOVE the short porch and jet stream out to right field. Tampa Bay might have the best overall pitching staff in all of baseball behind the Angels, and if their hitting can keep things going (despite not really having any stars outside of Longoria), they should lock up the first wild card spot pretty easily, unless Longoria goes down, which opens up things for Boston or Texas. The Blue Jays are much better this year, and if they can find a pitcher at the trade deadline to compliment Ricky Romero, they might be the scariest team in baseball come Mid-August. The Orioles are going to be better, but under the weight of being in the best division in baseball, they will struggle all year long once again.
2nd - Angels - 100-62
Texas - 88-74
Seattle - 70-92
Oakland - 58-104
Oakland - Yes, this is the worst team in baseball. After watching them over the last month in spring training, and seeing their game against another terrible team last night, this is just a bad baseball club. They have little to no offense to speak of (outside of Jemile Weeks and Cuban import Cespedes), and there isn't much going on in the rotation after Brendan McCarthy (especially with Dallas Braden out with an injury until at least May). This should be an easy victory every time out for the Halos, and I'll have to rename my favorite segment "I Wish We Could Play Oakland All Year Long". If this club can find something to rally behind (like McCarthy or Cespedes), a best case scenario would be 3rd place ahead of Seattle, but Seattle has better young hitters and maybe the best pitcher in baseball. The Athletics have Coco Crisp and Bartolo Colon.
Seattle - This is a team on the rise, granted, there wont be anywhere for them to go with Anaheim and Texas leaps and bounds ahead of them in the division, but they will be fun to watch all season long. Once they begin to weed out some of the crap (Figgins, Brendan Ryan, etc) and plug in young, exciting players, they could be the Angels biggest competition for the next decade of Pujols. Until then, they still have King Felix, who is probably the best pitcher in baseball, and Ichiro, who with four hits last night, looks like he back to the same old Ichiro. They are a little shaky in the rotation behind Felix, but they are good enough to finish within 10 games of .500.
Texas - Lets see, they lost their Ace to their biggest rival, and their rotation of constantly injured sluggers are all a year older and a few years slower (thanks to those injuries). But they are still apparently the toast of the AL West, according to many "experts". To me, this team is relying on too many "maybes" and "ifs". Yu Darvish will probably start out well, but he is set up for failure. Getting used to that Mid-Summer Texas heat is going to be brutal after a lifetime in temperate Japan. Neftali Feliz, their former closer, is being moved into the rotation. This didn't work for someone like Joba Chamerblain (who just went out for the season in a freak trampoline accident), and historically hasn't worked well for anyone. Speaking of which, the oft-injured Joe Nathan is taking over for Feliz in the closer role. Can he stay healthy for a full season? Next "if": can the lineup stay together? Odds are not good. Cruz, Kinsler, Hamilton and Andrus are all injury prone, and what happens if they all go down around the same time? Then its Mid-Summer and Darvish has fallen off the deep end, and Feliz can't keep his stamina up, forcing Ron Washington to go to the bullpen earlier than he'd like to? Also, lets face it, the rotation behind Feliz and Darvish just isn't very good. It's a serviceable Major League Rotation, but this "AL Powerhouse" club isn't going to win 100 games with Colby Lewis as the 3rd starter.
Angels - The Angels got better EVERYWHERE in the offseason, even where they didn't need it. The pitching staff, which had the best ERA in the AL last year, added C.J. Wilson, Jason Isringhausen and LaTroy Hawkins. Three former all-stars. Isringhausen and Hawkins are going to bring depth and experience to an already solid bullpen featuring Walden, Downs, Takahashi and Jepsen. They will help groom the youngsters into better big league bullpen arms, as well as suck up innings if Wilson, Santana or Haren have an off night. The Angels starting rotation was solid in 2011, even if Chatwood was inconsistent, and Jerome Williams didn't come on till late. Swap out Chatwood with Rangers ace C.J. Wilson and give Jerome Williams a full season, and they Angels will be tough to score runs on in ANY game.
As if that wasn't enough, they went ahead and added the best hitter in baseball (possibly ever), got a catcher who can actually get on base and keep rallies alive, oh and are getting back an all-star caliber DH in Kendrys Morales. Pujols brings consistency to an inconsistent lineup, and there isn't anything else I can say about his talent that I or someone else hasn't already said 100 times. He will make everyone around him better. Kendrick, Morales and Hunter are going to see better pitches to hit, and will likely have more guys on when they get to back. Chris Ianetta will bring some consistency to the plate from the catchers position. While he is no Mike Napoli (I still think that move single-handedly got Tony Reagins fired), he will be a huge improvement over Jeff Mathis and Bobby Wilson. Throw in Vernon Wells, who can only get better this season (and will now have much less stress with Pujols and Morales in that lineup) hitting 6th or 7th, and this is, top to bottom, one of the most complete lineups in all of baseball. Only the Yankees and Red Sox might be more talented 1 through 9. Coming off the bench, we have Bobby Abreu (although I doubt that will last long), either Alberto Callaspo or Mark Trumbo, Hank Conger/Bobby Wilson and Macier Izturis. That is a bench that any manager would love to have.
Wild Card Round:
Washington Nationals over Miami Marlins
Tampa Bay Rays over Toronto Blue Jays
League Division Series:
San Francisco Giants over Washington Nationals
Milwaukee Brewers over Philadelphia Phillies
Los Angeles Angels over Tampa Bay Rays
New York Yankees over Detroit Tigers
League Championship Series:
San Francisco Giants over Milwaukee Brewers, 4-2
Los Angeles Angels over New York Yankees, 4-1
Los Angeles Angels over San Francisco Giants, 4-3 (AL Wins All-Star Game)
NL - Ryan Zimmerman
AL - Robinson Cano
NL - Tim Lincecum
AL - Jered Weaver
Rookie of the Year:
NL - Tyler Skaggs
AL - Matt Moore
Manager of the Year:
NL - Ron Roenicke
AL - Joe Maddon
Misc. Angels Awards:
1B - Albert Pujols
DH - Kendrys Morales
1B - Albert Pujols
SS - Erick Aybar
OF - Peter Bourjos
Monday, March 19, 2012
For about 4 years now, Twitter has been a popular place for athletes (both current and retired) to connect with their fans. From the incredibly popular (like Chad Ochocino and Shaq) to the relatively obscure (Logan Morrison), many athletes can now quickly establish a huge fan base by simply being interesting or funny on twitter.
Well, last night, C.J. Wilson may have crossed a line. As a prank, he tweeted the phone number of former teammate and current Texas Rangers catcher/first baseman (and former Angel) Mike Napoli. Now, for many Angels fans (myself included), Napoli was always a favorite. Even as a Ranger, we rooted for him to do well. For the most part, we have no ill will towards the former backstop (many of us even think he unjustly lost playing time to the offensively inept Jeff Mathis), but he seems to have quite a bit of ill will towards his former teammates.
Things always seemed tense last year when Nap played against the Angels, especially when Jered Weaver was on the mound. It makes you wonder if there was more going on behind the scenes than Angels fans knew about. Could tension between Weaver and Nap led to his being traded for a terrible contract? Maybe I'm reading too much into it, but regardless, things are about to get even more tense between the clubs.
As reported by Drew Davison, of Foul Territory:
"I don't even know why he did it," Napoli said. "You don't do that. I am not taking it as a prank.
"You know, I haven't even talked to him since the end of last season. We don't have that type of relationship."
Wilson tweeted this later: "Okay I think we've all had a good time, I'm even with mike for saying he can't wait to hit homers off me."
Napoli doesn't remember saying he wanted to hit home runs off Wilson specifically, and was confused why Wilson took it that way.
"I don't even remember saying I want to take him deep," Napoli said. "But as every power hitter, you're always trying to take pitchers deep. So I'll say it now, I'm going to try and take him deep."
So, its pretty clear that outside their working relationship as a pitcher and catcher, Wilson and Napoli didn't really get along in Texas. Things aren't going to get any smoother with the recent "prank".
I'm quite conflicted as an Angel fan right now. I want to side with Wilson, as he is now "my guy", but what he did was a little messed up, even if its an easy fix for Napoli (get a new number). But, at the same time, I want to chastise Napoli for coming off as a bit of a jerk in the media surrounding the incident this morning, but the dude did just get his phone number sent out to 100,000 people, and has likely been fielding prank calls and texts for the better part of 12 hours.
I think I'm going to have to wait and make up my mind during the season, and watch how the whole thing plays out. For the next week, its going to be sensationalized by the Dallas Media, and laughed off by the Los Angeles media. Then, it will probably be forgotten about until the teams meet up for the first time this season on May 11th in Texas, where C.J. Wilson will be hit with a wall of boos.
In the end, it will likely just be another chapter in the Angels/Rangers rivalry, which is shaping up to be one of the best in baseball in 2012.
Saturday, March 17, 2012
But first thing's first... can we please put an end to holiday uniforms?
The atrocity that reminded me to even do this article in the first place were the Phillies hideous green alternates that they wore for their spring game today against Toronto (more on the Jays later). Here is Scott Podsednik walking to first base in one of these atrocities:
He looks like Christmas... not a good look for Mid-March. I get it if you are Boston, a city steeped in Irish heritage (and their special uniforms in Basketball and Hockey are quite alright), but everyone else should just back off.
While we are on the subject, lets just do away with those awful flag hats for Memorial Day, July 4th, etc...
Ok, now that I'm done with the festive nonsense invading baseball, lets move on to a more pressing matter, the hideous quality of the new-look Miami Marlins. Their new logo looks like it belongs to a fast food chain that serves seafood. While the regular white and grey default jersey's don't look too bad (and the Black alternate is almost kind of sharp), the home ORANGE alternate is one of the worst things I've ever seen...
But you know what? They are so awful, they almost become awesomely bad, in the sense that the 1980's Rainbow Astros jerseys were awesomely bad, and I kinda want one...
The only other team that really underwent a severe Jersey makeover in the off-season (New logo, new colors, everything) was the Toronto Blue Jays, and oh my god, this is how you re-invent yourself.
Seriously you guys... Even Jeff Mathis can't look bad in these stunners. Going back to the look and feel of the jerseys they first came into the league with, but properly avoiding light blue, while still having the freshness of a new jersey. While they aren't the best jerseys in the league (Cardinals, Dodgers and Yankees all tie for first), they are certainly the best revamp job since the Angels switched to Red in 2002. Not only does Toronto have maybe the best farm system, top to bottom, in all of baseball, but they are going to look good too. The next decade of success couldn't have happened to a better group of fans. Now we just need to fix everything about the Royals.
One last thing I need to touch on. While the Orioles didn't go all out in revamping their jerseys, they did bring back an old friend to all their caps and logos this year, The Bird!
I have a personal admiration of The Bird, and have always been a fan of the black cap with the white front and orange brim. This causes problems at my home, because my wife hates The Bird. She says he looks like a Saturday morning breakfast cereal mascot. I don't understand why that is a problem. He is awesome, and the caps look great.
It's going to be another rough season in Baltimore (only because the other four clubs in that division are so much better), but things are going to be looking up in the future, and they are going to continue to have some of the best caps in the league.
Oh hey, I almost forgot to mention that the picture I led with, of the Texas Rangers throwbacks, is what the Rangers are going to be using to commemorate their 40th season. That's right, they are ripping off our idea from last year, for a less important anniversary season. I don't understand why they would want to look back so fondly at those hideous jerseys (the second from the left, from the late 80's/early 90's isn't so bad, the rest are awful)... they didn't make the playoffs in Texas until 1996, and didn't have a World Series appearance until 2010. Some history.
In actual Angels news:
- Garret Richards looked GREAT yesterday in his spring start against the Indians, I really hope he wins the 5th starter spot. He is going to have a good season, no matter where he plays.
- Kendrys Morales is making quite a few starts for the minor league teams in spring training now. He might actually be ready for April 6th!
- Chris Iannetta, who left the game in the 2nd inning yesterday with tenderness in his wrist, is day-to-day.
In Angels Nation news:
- A regular season preview post should pop up sometime next week full of terrible predictions that will never come true (I picked the Phillies over the Sox last year, haha).
- Angels Nation will be making its pilgrimage to Arizona for spring training next weekend, very excited.
Thursday, February 23, 2012
So, you want to play every day? Good luck, buddy.
In a recent radio interview, Bobby Abreu said he is still an everyday player in the major leagues, and if the Angels don't see it that way (and they don't, between Mike Trout, Mark Trumbo and Kendrys Morales, there isn't going to be anywhere for him to play), they should just trade him somewhere where he can play every day.
Here is the problem with that, Mr. Abreu. You are a liability in the field, so you can't really go to the NL. Now you look at the teams in the AL who would need DH's. MAYBE Texas, although they need somewhere for their constantly injured players to ease their way back into the lineup. Otherwise, its a lot of teams who already have a DH and Outfielders more capable than you are.
At this point, you are looking to go to a Kansas City, Houston or Pittsburgh where you are going to lose, A LOT. You are telling me that being an everyday player on a 60 win team is better than being an important role player on a World Series contender?
Have fun in Houston buddy, see you next year.
Wednesday, February 8, 2012
In October of 2015, when the Angels have finished off another World Series run (their 4th in a row), whose names will be engraved on the bottom of the trophy? What up and coming prospects will have made an impact, and what key players are still around? Lets take a look.
Mike Trout - By 2015, he will probably be a perennial All-Star and MVP candidate. By then, the outfield tandem of Trout and Bourjos will have taken the league by storm. Covering enough room to let Right Fielder Torii Hunter (see below) take most plays off, not that Hunter ever would. He will hit for average and power, drive in runs, steal bags and take away plenty of hits with his glove. A five-tool guy in every sense of the word, Mike Trout has become everything Angels fans wanted and more.
Jean Segura - After winning his first World Series title in 2012, Eric Aybar took his talents elsewhere through free agency after the Angels let him know that they weren't going to pay him like he wanted. It was a clean split, and Aybar currently enjoys playing beside David Wright and Skip Schumaker in St. Louis. This opened up a big hole that couldn't be filled by Macier Izturis every day, so the Halos called up Segura, a great defensive shortstop with a solid bat. He doesn't blow anyone away, but establishes himself as a solid Top 10 Shortstop for the next decade.
Alexi Amarista - He is that everyman kind of guy that every Championship team needs. He can play wherever and whenever, and does so with a good glove and a steady bat. The diehards love this guy because he plays for the team and not himself. Ammy comes up with the occasional big play that cements him as the ultimate utility player for years to come. He will eventually sign a contract to play everyday in a smaller market, but he never achieves the level of success he found in Anaheim.
Kendrys Morales - Well, did he recover? Never reaching his true potential, Morales would stick it out for 5 more years, having some success as a DH. While he almost never plays in the field, nor plays more than 140 games a season, Morales does have key hits in every one of the Angels Back-to-Back-to-Back-to-Back run of championships. After 2015, Morales will play one more season as a Yankee, but retire and ultimately become a successful hitting coach.
Torii Hunter - After re-signing with the team in 2013 for a bargain, the 40-year-old Hunter still plays serviceable outfield, and splits some time at DH with Morales. While not the superstar he was before, he is still beloved by the fans and contributes enough to keep himself in the lineup. Now with 4 rings to his credit, Hunter has all but cemented his Hall-of-Fame resume, and retires peacefully back to his home near Dallas.
Jered Weaver - Without Weaver, the Angels don't accomplish half of what has been laid out before you. Weaver keeps up the Cy Young pace, taking home the award twice in the four years, and wins nearly 100 games in that span. Though backed up by Haren (until 2014) and CJ Wilson, Weaver is clearly the ace of the staff, winning just about every big game down the stretch and in the playoffs.
Jeff Mathis - Lol, jk. That bum is never coming back. Just wanted to see you get all worried there for a second.
So clearly, this is all a big pipe dream. I'd love to win the next four WS titles, but even the most optimistic fan knows that just isn't in the cards. I still think we take 2 of the next 4, especially while Pujols, Haren, Weaver and Wilson are at their most effective. I do think, that besides the four titles and multitudes of awards, these are pretty reasonable expectations of the next 4 years. Maybe Weaver only gets to 75/80 wins, but that is still really damn impressive. I do think Segura takes over for Aybar in a year or two, and that Hunter resigns next winter for pennies on the dollar.
As for Trout, well, half the fun of having the best prospect in baseball is watching him develop into a superstar or fall flat on his face (aka The Dallas McPherson Effect).
Name of my first baseball book: The Dallas McPherson Effect. It will a super futuristic Sci-Fi where all the good baseball prospects can't make the transition from AAA to the bigs. Its up to Tom Cruise to find out why (yes, I've already cast the movie).
Saturday, February 4, 2012
There are many reasons to look forward to the Super Bowl. An excuse to eat food that is terrible for you, a chance to catch up with friends and family, to stare blankly at the terrible commercials that American corporations thought were a good waste of a few million bucks, and hell, there is even a football game on.
This years super bowl isn't much different. A great rematch in New England vs New York, plus plenty of stuff to keep the non-fans tided over at parties. Let's go over a few of the best storylines on the field and off.
Tom Brady's supermodel wife.
I don't care how little the person you are talking to knows about football, just about everyone has heard of Tom Brady and his supermodel wife, Gisele Bundchen. Expect many cuts her luxury box, especially if Tom throws a touchdown or, even better, an interception.
His biggest rival (Tom Brady) is not only trying to win his 4th super bowl in his home field (at least until he gets cut later this month), but Brady is using Manning's locker for the week. That's right, the last person to use Petyon Manning's locker in Indianapolis is Tom Brady. So not only does Peyton have to worry about Brady cementing his legacy as the best QB of his generation on his (soon to be former) home field, but he is trying to do it against his little brother. The same little brother who is going for his second Super Bowl ring in 4 years, both since Peyton won his last (and so far only). Watching Peyton look frumpy next to his parents is going to be my favorite part of Sundays game.
Madonna's halftime show.
It really doesn't matter what you think of her now (I personally don't care for her), but at one point, you have enjoyed and probably sung along to a Madonna song (or 10). We all know her new song (featuring Nicki Minaj) will be one of the songs in her set, but the others will be classics we all know and love. Throw in other current pop acts like LMFAO and Cee Lo Green joining Madonna on stage, the potential for a great show is there. At the very least, it can't be as bad as the Black Eyed Peas or Janet Jackson's nipple.
Even if you are a monster, and don't like the commercials, Madonna, Peyton Mannings sorrow or hot models, you love snacks. Be it chips, wings, crackers, veggies & dip, or pizza, we all love food. Any party you go to will have plenty of it, and will probably be delicious. At the very least, they will have enough shitty beer there to make it taste good by comparison.
Friday, January 27, 2012
Welcome to the Alternate Universe MLB, where things that didn't happen did, and things that did happen didn't. We begin our adventures with the legacy of one Prince Fielder, and what would have happened if he went to another of his father's teams, the Toronto Blue Jays.
Let us go back in our time machine of choice (mine is the TARDIS) to one week ago, when Prince Fielder was still deciding what Major League city he should make his home for the next 5-10 years. When visiting Toronto, they roll out the red carpet. They offer him big dollars, long years, incentives, a lifetime supply of Maple Syrup and the Key to Canada (which it turns out only opens bland beer factories and a safe full of Bryan Adams and Celine Dion records). He gets to bat after the great Jose Bautista in an already electric lineup (that just added big time slugger Jeff Mathis), and has joined a club with one of the best fanbases in the league.
April rolls around and the new-look (down to the Jerseys, which are damn fly, and I'll get to in an upcoming "In Which I Obsess About Uniforms" column in the near future) Blue Jays are off to a fast start. Fielder starts to shed a bit of weight to be able to last the entirety of his huge contract he signed with the Jays. After finding themselves in first place at the end of May, Toronto begins to put its eggs in the Felix Hernandez basket. They want an Ace who can help put the exclamation point on an already great club.
June 15th, 2012, and the Blue Jays just finished off a deal that sends half their farm to Seattle for King Felix. They also increase the food budget for travel days, which was already getting strained keeping Prince Fielder happy. Now with both the King and Prince, the Jays are poised for a postseason bid, their first since becoming back-to-back World Series Champions in 1993.
October 3nd, 2012, The Blue Jays wrap up the Division Title, finishing with an even 100 wins, a full 10 games ahead of the 2nd place Yankees. Felix and Prince both figure into the Cy Young and MVP discussions (respectively), and John Farrell is the clear favorite for Manager of the Year. Things are going to be tough in the postseason, as the Jays need to take down the two-time AL Pennant winning Texas Rangers, who won the Wild Card.
October 10th, 2012. In just 3 short games, the Blue Jays finish off the Rangers and look forward to Albert Pujols and the resurgent Angels (did you really expect anything less?). After many battles in the NL Central, Fielder and Pujols already have a long rivalry. The Series goes 7 games, with King Felix outdueling Dan Haren in a 2-1 Jays victory. Toronto is back in the World Series!
October 30th, 2012. In 6 games, three of which were won by King Felix (who won the World Series MVP and eventually the AL Cy Young), the Toronto Blue Jays defeat the Philadelphia Phillies to win the World Series!
This begins a long and storied chapter in the franchises history. After re-signing Bautista and King Felix to huge extensions, the Great White North becomes a free agent destination for the better part of the '10's. Prince retires in 2019 after 573 Home Runs and 4 World Series Titles. He enters the Hall of Fame on his first ballot in 2024. Like Joe Carter before him, Prince will transcend the game of baseball in Canada, becoming the most beloved ballplayer in Canada.
Obviously, none of this happened or will happen, but this is the kind of BS I have to write about when the Angels have done jack diddly since signing Pujols and Wilson. At least Pitchers and Catchers report in few weeks.
Tuesday, January 10, 2012
Its only January and the Angels have already made the biggest splash of the 2012/13 offseason. They re-signed All-Star 2nd Baseman Howie Kendrick (perennial favorite of this site, and many Angels fans) to a 4 year deal worth $33.5 Million. This effectively takes one of the most prized possessions of the 2012 Free Agent field off the market.
Looking like a 5-tool player (if his power numbers continue to rise) at 2nd base, Kendrick was sure to get a nice big contract after the season. Now, the Angels have locked him up for what seems to be a bargain (at about $8.4 million a season) for the next 4 years. Now, anyone on the team who has even sniffed an all-star team, (Kendrick, Weaver, Haren, Pujols, Wilson, Santana, Walden, Hunter, Wells, Bourjos) is locked up with the Angels through at least the end of the 2013 season. 2 whole seasons of the current club could spell trouble for the rest of the AL West.
Speaking of the rest of the West, the Texas Rangers and Japanese pitching phenom Yu Darvish have still yet to agree on a deal, despite having obtained the exclusive negotiating rights over 20 days ago. With about 8 days left to sign a contract with the club, Darvish seems to be getting closer and closer to heading back to Japan for at least another season.
Wednesday, January 4, 2012
Just wanted to let everyone know I'm not dead, and neither is the site... its just REALLY BORING right now. With Spring Training still nearly 60 days away, we have nothing to talk about but rumors and heresay, especially with most owners and GM's taking days off for the holidays.
Hopefully we get some news these final weeks leading up to pitchers and catchers reporting to Arizona and Florida. Prince Fielder has to sign with someone, doesn't he?
Oh well, there is plenty of Clippers Basketball to keep me entertained until then...
Its going to be a long 60 Days.