November 2008 Archives

Baseball Dialogue

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It's a holiday weekend and there's not much much baseball news out there, plus it's snowing here in Wisconsin which means it's movie watching time.  I have read many list of baseball's greatest movies on other sites, and mainly they all list the same movies..."The Natural", "Bull Durham", "Field of Dreams", etc.  I wanted to do something a little different.  This is my list of the best dialogue from a baseball movie.  This means one line quotes such as "If you build it, he will come", or James Earl Jones' baseball "...reminds of us of all that once was good and it could be again" speech from "Field of Dreams" isn't on the list. 

1)  The Natural wasn't just my favorite baseball movie, but my favorite movie-movie for a long time.  It was the first baseball movie that captured the "magic" of the game,  the main reason I love baseball.

Pop Fisher: You know my mama wanted me to be a farmer.
Roy Hobbs: My dad wanted me to be a baseball player.
Pop Fisher: Well you're better than any player I ever had. And you're the best God damn hitter I ever saw. Suit up.

I love this scene.  From the lighting coming over Roy's shoulder creating a glow around his body, to the way we see Pop Fisher as a reflection in the mirror.  Even if this wasn't a baseball movie, it'd still rank high on my list just because it's a beautiful movie.

2)  When "bull Durham" first came out, I wasn't that impressed with it.  It was released shortly after "Field of Dreams", a movie that I thought captured the essence of baseball, so "Bull Durham" suffered by comparison.  (I went back and checked my facts about the release dates, and I'm wrong.  "Bull Durham' was released in June of 1988, while "Field of Dreams" hit the theaters in April of 1989.  Isn't it weird how our minds work in remembering things, I would have swore "Field of Dreams" came out first.  So now, I have no recollection of why I didn't like it)  I've changed my mind about that though, it's one of my favorites, and it's because of dialogue like this...

Annie Savoy: Oh, where are you going?
Crash Davis: After 12 years in the minor leagues, I don't try out. Besides, uh, I don't believe in quantum physics when it comes to matters of the heart.
Annie Savoy: What do you believe in, then?
Crash Davis: Well, I believe in the soul, the cock, the pussy, the small of a woman's back, the hanging curve ball, high fiber, good scotch, that the novels of Susan Sontag are self-indulgent, overrated crap. I believe Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. I believe there ought to be a constitutional amendment outlawing Astroturf and the designated hitter. I believe in the sweet spot, soft-core pornography, opening your presents Christmas morning rather than Christmas Eve and I believe in long, slow, deep, soft, wet kisses that last three days.
[pause]
Crash Davis: Goodnight.
 

Everyone remembers the  "I believe..." line from the movie, but the lines leading up to it are just as good...especially the "After 12 years in the minor leagues, I don't try out.".  Who hasn't felt like that before?

3)   Another baseball movie that was released at the end of the '80's (April 1989) was "Major League".  In my opinion, not as good as "Bull Durham" or "Field of Dreams", but entertaining none-the-less.  It's one of those movies that when you're flipping through the channels, when you see it's on, you have to stop and watch.

Serrano: "Ahh, Jesus, I like him very much, but He no help with curveball."
Harris: "Are you trying to say Jesus Christ can't hit a curveball?"

One thing that bothers me about this movie is  a couple of the actors don't "look" like ball players.  The Ed Harris character looks like someone's grandpa trying to play catch with the kids, and Tom Berenger just doesn't pull it off to me.  On the other hand, Charlie Sheen looks like he just stepped off a minor league pitcher's mound.

4)  There are two things I don't like about "Fever Pitch"...it centers on the Red Sox winning the World Series and having to watch Drew Barrymore talk out of the side of her mouth (although, I still think she's hot), but it's still a funny movie that centers on my favorite sport.

Ben: You know what's really great about baseball?
Lindsey: Hmm?
Ben: You can't fake it. You know, anything else in life you don't have to be great in - business, music, art - I mean you can get lucky.
Lindsey: Really?
Ben: Yeah, you can fool everyone for awhile, you know? It's like - not - not baseball. You can either hit a curveball or you can't. That's the way it works...
Lindsey: Hmm.
Ben: You know?
Ben: You can have a lucky day, sure, but you can't have a lucky career. It's a little like math. It's orderly. Win or lose, it's fair. It all adds up. It's, like, not as confusing or as ambiguous as, uh...
Lindsey: Life?
Ben: Yeah. It's - it's safe.

At the end of this movie, after Drew Barrymore runs across the field and is about to get arrested, the first thing Jimmy Fallon asks her is what the outfield grass feels like.  You gotta love his priorities.

5)  Okay, this last one's not from a baseball movie, but it has to be included in this list.  From the movie "The Naughty Nineties":

Abbott: I say Who's on first, What's on second, I Don't Know's on third.
Costello: Are you the manager?
Abbott: Yes.
Costello: You gonna be the coach too?
Abbott: Yes.
Costello: And you don't know the fellows' names.
Abbott: Well I should.
Costello: Well then who's on first?
Abbott: Yes.
Costello: I mean the fellow's name.
Abbott: Who.
Costello: The guy on first.
Abbott: Who.
Costello: The first baseman.
Abbott: Who.
Costello: The guy playing...
Abbott: Who is on first!
Costello: I'm asking you who's on first.
Abbott: That's the man's name.
Costello: That's who's name?
Abbott: Yes.

And on it goes...

Angel Off-Season Moves - Update

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Many things have been written about possible Angels' off season moves.  I've written a little about what I think might or should happen, but here's my updated thoughts on what I think will happen.  I have no inside information or special skills that make my predictions carry any weight, but I read a lot of information and I do have some common sense.  I've rated my predictions as: ●●●●● = Done Deal, ○○○○○ = Ain't Happenin'.

Angels Do Nothing (●○○○○)
The easiest thing the Angels can do is nothing.  Don't sign any free agents, don't make any trades and let the season start with what they already have.  This wouldn't be the worst thing to happen as the Angels already have a good team with deep pitching and adequate replacements for their departing free agents, plus the additional picks they would receive for other teams signing their free agents would help rebuild the farm system .  They are fortunate to be playing in the weakest division in the American League where no other team is likely to put any pressure on the Halos for the top spot.  Oakland has made one big move so far this off season by adding Matt Holliday, and look to be in the hunt for Rafael Furcal.  The A's are the best team to challenge the Angels and with the addition of one or two players, they have the ability to make the division race very close.  Projected line-up:
 

C - Napoli SP - Lackey
1B - Morales SP - Santana
2B - Kendrick SP - Saunders
SS - Aybar SP - Weaver
3B - Wood SP - Mosely
LF - Figgins  
CF - Hunter CL - Arredondo
RF - Guerrero  
DH - Matthews  

Not bad, but would need breakout years from Brandon Wood and Kendry Morales, and a healthy Kendrick to have any chance in the postseason.  Maicer Izturis would provide some infield depth, but they would lack proven outfield help except for Reggie Willits.

Angels Sign Mark Teixeira (●●●○○)
I'm not as convinced of Teixeira's return as I was a month ago.  I was previously 90% certain Teix would re-sign with the Angels, but now that Boston has seriously entered the Teixeira market, I'm not so sure, as the Red Sox have the means to put up the cash to get him.  In a Fox Sports article by Ken Rosenthal, there is a poll with the question; Where Will Teixeira sign?  46% answered "Red Sox" (23% answered "Angels")  Of all of the things I've read recently, none of the articles state that the Angels have even made an offer.  Today I read this.  The writer of this article doesn't say who the source is, but writes the Angels are reluctant to offer Teixeira more than 6 years because they've seen "something in his knee that bothers them".  If there's something wrong with his knee then why even offer him any contract?  Others claim the Angels are now focusing their attention on signing C.C. Sabathia in order to make Teixeira/Boras think they're starting to lose interest.  I don't think Arte Moreno does business that way and if they truly are now looking into signing Sabathia, then so long Teix.

Angels Sign C.C. Sabathia (●●●○○)
New articles (here, and here) out in the blogoshere claim the Halos are now focusing on Sabathia.  Signing Sabathia would give the Angels the best starting rotation in baseball, plus it would give them depth to trade for an impact bat...or else they could have Sabathia DH on his days off (just kidding...kinda).  I still think the Yankees will make him an offer he can't refuse.

Angels Sign Manny Ramirez (●●○○○)
For 3 years and $78M.  Some people state it'll take 3 years and $90M to sign Manny, but I just don't see that happening.  There is already rumblings about the economy and player contracts, without any player signings.  I may be naive, but I think once that first big contract gets inked, we'll be hearing a lot more complaining about salaries. And not from just fans, but from baseball and media people, enough to depress contract amounts.  Not a lot, but a little.  Anyway, Manny in Anaheim?  HELL YEAH!

Angels Trade For Jake Peavy (●●○○○)
I don't think this will happen for two reasons; 1) Peavy wants to stay in the National League, and 2) I don't think the Angels have the depth to trade away what the Padres want in return for Peavy...unless they sign Sabathia. 

Angels Sign Adam Dunn (●●●○○)
Dear Tony Reagins - Please sign Adam Dunn.  Thank you.  Okay, let me clarify that.  Please sign Adam Dunn to a reasonable contract and have him bat behind Guererro (who is hitting behind Teixeira).  40 home runs and an .386 OBP would fit nicely into the Angels batting order, regardless of the number of times he strike out.  It's kind of weird looking at Dunn's stats, he's got a horrible batting average, but in 4 of the last 5 seasons he's driven in at least 100 runs and scored 100 runs (okay, 99 in 2006).  It might be hard for some fans to look past the batting average.

Angels Sign Pat Burrell (●○○○○)
Dear Tony Reagins - Please do not sign Pat Burrell.  Thank you.  See Adam Dunn, but 3 years older and worse in the field.

Angels Sign Sabathia and Trade for Peavy (●●○○○)
How awesome would that be??  "That's two Cy Young Award winners (Sabathia and Peavy) from 2007 and three All-Stars (Lackey, 2007; Santana and Saunders, 2008): five starters capable of winning 18 to 20 games each, all 28 or under as the 2009 season opens", writes Lyle Spencer of MLB.com.  The 2009 Angels would essentially be the same as the 2008 Angels, except Kendry Morales would take over at first base, Chone Figgins would replace Garret Anderson in left, and Brandon Wood would become the full-time third baseman.

Angels Sign Somebody (●●●●●)
You know it, I know it, Tony Reagins knows it, everyone knows the Angels will sign someone.  It might be the big splash of one of the players listed above, or a minor signing of a player such as Randy Johnson or Raul Ibanez.  The Angels will sign someone.

And finally...

Angels Sign Teixeira, Sabathia, Ramirez, and trade for Peavy (○○○○○)
Payroll would approach $160M, but come on...how frickin' AWESOME would that be?  If that team stayed healthy, who could beat them?  Imagine how fun that season would be...ahh, a guy can dream can't he?

Garret and Scott

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Garret Anderson has a new BFF.  Anderson has hired Scott Boras as his agent.  Anderson was without a player representative since his previous agent, Chris Arnold, negotiated his contract extension with the Angels in 2004.  To me, Anderson's hiring of Boras means he's serious about his desire to be a fulltime player in 2009 and beyond.  I read a comment that it's now possible for Anderson to get a deal possibly in the 3 year range for a salary of $36M.  I think this is ridiculous...maybe. 

Can an agent create a market?  Obviously, the Angels didn't feel Anderson was worth $14M to return next season, or else they would have exercised the option they held.  Tony Reagins has stated that the Angels might be interested in having Anderson return, but at a significantly reduced salary and role.  GAnderson.jpgAnderson ranked 18th out of 25 in Value Over Replacement (VORP) of the left fielders with at least 400 plate appearances last season with a value of 14.9.  In 2007, he ranked 14th out of 22 with a VORP of 22.1.  In 2006 his replacement value was 9.0, which ranked him 22nd (out of 27).  And in 2005 he was the 18th best left fielder of the 24 who qualified.  I realize it's just one statistic, but I believe it is a very good statistic to show a player's value.  In the last 4 seasons Anderson has never been above average, so why would a team feel he's worth giving significant playing time to?  Probably because Boras will talk them into it.  Boras will tell them last season, Anderson's batting average was higher than Ryan Braun's, Jason Bay's, Pat Burrell's, Adam Dunn's, and Alfonso Soriano's.  He'll tell them that Anderson has never accumulated less than 400 at-bats in 13 years.  He'll add that Anderson provides the type of "veteran leadership" a team requires.  And some General Manager will buy it.  Or I should say, a team's owner will buy it as they're the one's who are responsible for the signings.  So, getting back to my original question; can an agent create a market?  I don't think so.  The people running teams are very smart men and know the same things agents do, but agents tell them exactly what they want to hear.  Or at least what they think their fans want to hear.  If you're reading this blog, or any of the Angels' fans sites, you're not the typical fan.  If you stand out front of Angels Stadium and ask 20,000 of the fans going into the game if they think Garret Anderson is a good player, I'd bet at least 15,000 of them will say "yes".  And those are the fans that team owners cater to, not the few hundred die-hard fans who know the meaning of VORP or realize OPS is a better indicator of a player's hitting ability than batting average.  This is the only logical explanation I can come up with as to why a team will sign a player like Anderson.  They have the stats, and scouting reports, and people analyzing player performance to know who's valuable and who's not.  So I think a better question to ask -- Do teams sign players based on fan popularity rather than expected performance?  If so, that's the market a player's agent will exploit.  A market that doesn't need to be created, because the market is already there.

Daily Notes:

  • Mark Teixeira has stated he'd like to sign his next contract before Christmas

    "I don't want to put a timetable on it, but Christmas morning, I want to know where I'm going to be for the next couple of years, so hopefully, by Christmas it will be done," Teixeira told ESPN sideline reporter Erin Andrews during the Miami/Georgia Tech football game in Atlanta on Thursday.

    This is good news for the Angels, and any other team looking to sign Teix, as an early signing will allow teams to move on to their Plan B options.  According to this article, the Angels Plan B may be C.C. Sabathia:

    The Angels, obviously, do not want to be in a similar place to where the Astros were after the 2004 season. That winter, Houston waited and waited for Carlos Beltran, a Boras client, to decide, and the center fielder picked the Mets in mid-January. The Astros had not secured their No. 1 target, and so much offseason clock had elapsed that their second and third choices had vanished, as well.

    "One thing I can tell you about (Angels owner) Arte Moreno is he won't get jerked around," a rival executive said.

    Translation: He will make a substantial offer to Teixeira with a time limit. I believe it is possible the Angels have told Sabathia's representatives to be patient because if Teixeira goes beyond that time limit, then the Angels will refocus on Sabathia.

    Sign Sabathia?  Cool.  But is he going to hit too because the Angels' batting order is going to look pretty weak without Teixeira or a decent replacement.  If they do get Sabathia, there won't be much money left over for a free agent hitter if the team maintains last season payroll amount.  Look forward to a lot of 2-0, 3-1 losses next season unless Tony Reagins can turn some of that pitching depth into an impact bat.

  • The halos may lose another free agent, relief pitcher Darren Oliver has 10 teams kicking the tires on signing the lefty.  This is probably good news to the Angels, as Oliver is a Type A free agent meaning if another team signs him, the Angels will get that team's first round pick plus a supplemental pick.  There seems to be a few decent replacements on the free agent market (Joe Beimel - Type B or Will Ohman), or through a trade (George Sherrill - Bal).  Brian Fuentes would be an excellent addition, but would could at a big expense in both salary and draft picks since he's a Type A free agent as well.  The Angels have until December 1st to offer Oliver arbitration.
  • Read this in the LA Times.  It looks like the Oakland Athletics are close to signing Rafael Furcal to a 4-year, $48M contract and according to ESPN's Rob Neyer:

    "If the A's do sign Furcal, this winter we're going to have to take them seriously as contenders in the American League West. Because the Angels can be beat."

    What?  No Halo love from Rob Neyer?  I'm shocked.  Actually, I kinda agree with him.  If Oakland does sign Furcal, and with the recent addition of Matt Holliday, the A's will be a much better team in 2009 than they were in 2008.

1979 Player Profile - Al Fitzmorris

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Al Fitzmorris
Alan James Fitzmorris
Bats: Both  Throws: Right
Debut: September 8, 1969
  vs. OAK 3.0 IP, 2 H, 1 SO, 0 BB, 0 ER, W
Final Game: September 29, 1978
Born: March 21, 1946 in Buffalo, NY
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Al Fitzmorris didn't play for the California Angels during the 1979 season, but his 1979 Topps card was included in the set so I figured I'd start the 1979 player profiles with him.

I admit, I knew nothing about Al Fitzmorris before doing some research for this post.  I had intended to have a caption under his card stating, "Why is this guy smiling?", as in what does this nobody have to smile about.  But I learned Fitzmorris was a good player during his 10 year career, and was a very good starting pitcher between 1974 and 1976, winning 44 games. 

Fitzmorris spent 10 years in the major leagues, playing for 3 different teams.  Originally signed by the Chicago White Sox as an amateur free agent in 1965 as a switch-hitting outfielder, Fitzmorris has the distinction of being drafted twice during major league expansion drafts, the first time in 1968 by Kansas City, and again in 1976 by the Toronto Blue Jays.  From bestofbuck.com:

In 1968 Al led the Carolina League in strikeouts and in November of that year was taken in the expansion draft by the Kansas City Royals. Fitzmorris was called up to the Major Leagues in 1969 and spent the next eight years in Kansas City. In 1976 he was a member of the first Royals team to win the Western Division Championship.

In his major league debut on Spetember 9, 1969, Fitzmorris won in three innings of relief against Oakland.  Primarily used as a reliever/spot-starter during his early career, the Royals converted him to a full-time starter during the 1974 season.  Fitzmorris responded by going 13-6 and finished 5th in the league with an ERA of 2.79 in 190 innings.  He built on his 1974 success by winning 16 games in 1975 with 11 complete games, compiling an ERA of 3.57 in 242 inning.  Kansas City went to the play-offs in 1976, but Fitzmorris didn't appear in any games.  I'm assuming he must have been hurt and unavailable as he was one of the Royals best starters during the season, a season in which he went 15-11 and with a very respectable 3.06 ERA.  He was left unprotected by the Royals, again I'm assuming because he was injured, and was selected in the 13th round by the Toronto Blue Jays, but he never played a game with Toronto, as he was traded the same day to the Cleveland Indians.  Fitzmorris spent the entire 1977 season with Cleveland, but struggled in 29 games (21 starts) losing 10 of 16 decisions and having a career worse 5.41 ERA and continued to struggle into the 1978 season by posting a 6.28 ERA in seven games.  On July 7th, Fitzmorris was released by the Indians and signed a week later by the Angels.  Used exclusively out of the bullpen the remainder of the season, he pitching 31.2 innings for the Halos with a team best 1.71 ERA.  Fitzmorris was granted free agency after the 1978 season and signed with the San Diego Padres, returning to the area he grew up.  He finished out his professional career as a player-coach in 1979 in Hawaii which was the Triple A affiliate of the San Diego Padres.

G GS W L PCT ERA CG SHO SV IP H ER HR BB SO
1969 KC 7 0 1 1 .500 4.22 0 0 2 10.2 9 5 1 4 3
1970 KC 43 11 8 5 .615 4.44 2 0 1 117.2 112 58 14 52 47
1971 KC 36 15 7 5 .583 4.17 2 1 0 127.1 112 59 6 55 53
1972 KC 38 2 2 5 .286 3.74 0 0 3 101.0 99 42 10 28 51
1973 KC 15 13 8 3 .727 2.83 3 1 0 89.0 88 28 5 25 26
1974 KC 34 27 13 6 .684 2.79 9 4 1 190.0 189 59 8 63 53
1975 KC 35 35 16 12 .571 3.57 11 3 0 242.0 239 96 16 76 78
1976 KC 35 33 15 11 .577 3.06 8 2 0 220.1 227 75 6 56 80
1977 Cle 29 21 6 10 .375 5.41 1 0 0 133.0 164 80 12 53 54
1978 Cle 7 0 0 1 .000 6.28 0 0 0 14.1 19 10 3 7 5
1978 Cal 9 2 1 0 1.000 1.71 0 0 0 31.2 26 6 2 14 8
                             
10 Years 288 159 77 59 .566 3.65 36 11 7 1277 1284 518 83 433 458

November Sucks and I'm Guilty

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Did I mention I hate this time of year?  We had our first snow of the year here in Wisconsin, which thankfully didn't stick (but it was a forewarning of things to come), and the lack of news makes it hard to come up with original topics to post.  Unless you have insider information (not like this), all a blogger can do is spew regurgitated information that's been spewed and regurgitated multiple times already when they want to write about Hot Stove happenings.  Since Tony Reagins doesn't have me on speed-dial (yet) and I'm not on Scott Boras' payroll, all I can do is re-write what I've read on other websites.  I don't want to do this...too much.  I admit there are things I read that I find interesting that I want to share, but most of you have probably already read it too.  When I first started writing for this site, my plan was to write about the Angels and baseball in a different way.  From more of a personal angle.  It's not that my life is interesting, in fact, my life is so mundane and boring that if I were to write strictly about me the title of this site wouldn't be "The Halo Is Lit", but "I'm Boring As Shit", or "The Life Of A Twit".  My goal for this site was to be more along the lines of Josh Wilker's Cardboard Gods.  If you haven't visited his site, you're missing a very good read about baseball and Josh's life.  I wanted to write about the Angels foremost, but interject some interesting and hopefully amusing personal tidbits that others would enjoy reading. 

For some reason I have a hard time letting things go and carry with me a lot of guilt.  Guilt that I should have been a better husband and father, should have provided a better home-life for my family, volunteer more...sorry, some of my time to worthy causes, etc.  Bascically the typical guilt-trip stuff that others are able to get over, yet I tend to hold on to.  For example, my dad died quite a few years ago and one of the first things I thought of was the last time we went to a baseball game.  It was a home game for the Angels against the Toronto Blue Jays and we had tickets from my wife's law firm...good seats between third and home on the field level.  At one point during the game, Lloyd Moseby hit a foul ball our way that I ended up getting.  It landed a few seats to my left in the row in front of us.  After we sat back down, I asked my dad if he had tried to catch the ball and he said, "yeah, until you knocked me down."  (no, this isn't me)  What's better than fathers and sons at a baseball game?  Nothing, until you knock the old-guy down going after a ball.

The other day I was spending sometime over at Halo's Heaven, something I do about 8 hours a day, and I did something I normally don't do...I baited another person while responding to a comment.  The comment I replied to was in response to something I posted about the rumor that Magglio Ordonez might be traded to the Angels.  I am of the opinion Ordonez would be a good fit in the Halo's line-up and posted that opinion.  Another frequent visitor and comment poster to the site commented it would be a mistake to acquire Ordonez because he's old and on the decline.  The comment went on to read that the Angels could also sign Manny Ramirez, Raul Ibanez, re-sign Garret Anderson and trade for Jermaine Dye thus cornering the market of 35+ outfielders with legs of cement.  My response was "sure, get all those players and score more runs, win more games than the 2008 Angels and possibly win the World Series".  The problem was, the person I baited was Matt Welsh.  Matt is a professional writer, having recently written a book about John McCain, appearing on FoxNews as a political commentator, and deeply knowledgeable about the Angels.  Matt has written for the Washington Post, L.A. Times, and various other respected media outlets.  In other words, I was bringing a handful of spit-wads to a bazooka fight.  Fortunately Matt is so smart he didn't take the bait and ignored my comment.  I don't quite feel guilty, but I do feel kinda bad.  I suppose if you're going to get your ass kicked it may as well be by someone outside of your weight-class.

This cracked me up.

Daily Notes:

The Pervert

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I suppose I could write about the trade the Yankees made yesterday acquiring Nick Swisher and the impact it might have on the Angels' ability to re-sign Mark Teixeira, but I don't think I have anything new to add to the 50 other articles already written on other sites.  Instead, this story has nothing to do with the Angels, or baseball for that matter, but for some reason I was thinking about it this morning.

A long time ago, in fact, a completely different lifetime ago, I was stationed in Grand Prairie Texas with the Marines.  In 1983, I was 21 years-old, married, and looking back on it...naively happy.  My wife's sister was leaving to go back to California after spending some time with us and as the three of us were sitting in the airport waiting area, (those were the days when people could go to the airline gate without a ticket or strip search), waiting for the boarding announcement, we noticed three other people sitting across the aisle from us...a man and two women.  For some reason there weren't a lot of people there waiting with us, maybe we were early or something, but they were sitting directly across from us without any interference from other passengers.  As we sat there waiting for my sister-in-law to board the plane, my wife noticed the guy was looking at us.  Not looking as in "I'm bored, what can I look at" type looking, but staring...creepy-like staring.  We sat there for maybe 10 minutes and this guy just kept looking.  At one point my wife leans over and tells her sister, "If he sits next to you, ask the stewardess for another seat.  He looks like a pervert." the_great_santini.jpg

Being in the Marines, one of my favorite movies at the time was "The Great Santini" about a Marine pilot, played by Robert Duvall.  Since it was one of my favorite movies, and I'm kinda a movie person who'll watch a movie over and over again, I'd seen it at least 10 times.  So, it's now my turn to lean over and say something, and I say, "He looks like the Great Santini".  And my wife replies, "No, he looks like a pervert."

Needless to say, that was no pervert, it was Robert Duvall.  Apparently he had been in Texas filming his next movie, "Tender Mercies" and was probably thinking "When are these people going to come over here and bother me for an autograph" or something like that.  Here was a guy who had been in two of the greatest movies ever made, "The Godfather" and "The Godfather Part 2", and uttered two of the most famous lines of dialogue in film history (From "Apocalypse Now"):

Kilgore: Smell that? You smell that?
Lance: What?
Kilgore: Napalm, son. Nothing in the world smells like that.
[kneels]
Kilgore: I love the smell of napalm in the morning...the smell, you know that gasoline smell, the whole hill. Smelled like... victory.

and...

Kilgore: Charlie don't surf!

But to us, anytime we saw him in a movie, "Hey, there's the pervert!".

Daily Notes:

  • Okay, here's my take on yesterday's trade between the Yankees and White Sox.  According to Yankee GM Brian Cashman, Nick Swisher's their new first baseman.  If that's the case, that's very good news for the Angels and their fans, as the Yankees may have pulled themselves out of the Teixeira sweepstakes and are focused on the free agent pitching market.  This doesn't guarantee a return to the Halos, but it does weaken his agent Scott Boras' position to play the Yankees and Angels against each other.  It probably now comes down to the Angels and Red Sox as Teix's landing spot.
  • Read about the Tigers possibly looking to trade Magglio Ordonez.  In this article, it's stated the best first is with the Angels because of their depth at catcher and shortstop, a couple of needs the Tigers have.  The debate over at Halo's Heaven is how much of a career decline Ordonez is in and if he's better than Kendry Morales, who he'd likely replace in the line-up.  My feeling is Ordonez would be a big upgrade over Morales in 2009, but at 3 more years at $17M, Ordonez may be a liability and roadblock in the two seasons after.  I say go for it if the deal is right and worry about 2010 after next season.  Angel fans want a World Series win and Ordonez is a step in that direction.
  • So much for rumors I hear about.  Yesterday I wrote that the Marlins were going to trade Kevin Gregg (and Jeremy Hermida) to the Angels, and shortly after I posted that, he was traded...to the Chicago Cubs.  With that trade the Cubs have said good-bye to last season's closer Kerry Wood.  Another Wood in Anaheim?
  • According to this posting, Randy Johnson isn't in the Angels plans.  To bad, I thought he'd be a great fit in the Halo rotation as their #5 guy, plus the bonus of his likely to get his 300th victory this season (he needs 5 wins).
  • Today's the day teams can make offers to other teams' free agents.

Manny Could Be Manny in Anaheim

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I start each day by going to various websites looking for Angels news.  I visit MLBTradeRumors, ESPN, Fox Sports, CBS Sports, Yahoo Sports, L.A. Times, O.C. Register, and where ever else mouse clicks lead me (if you know of any good sites, please let me know).  I hate this time of year.  I realize there'sMannyRamirez.jpg not much going on, but at each of these sites it's the same story, over and over again.  I read yesterday on MLBTR about Angels' owner Arte Moreno's radio interview on SoCal radio station AM 830.  So I went to the radio station site and listened to the interview, and then had to read about it on every other website the rest of the day and this morning.  For those of you who haven't heard the interview or read about it on one of the other 247 websites; Arte Moreno stated they have turned the page on K-Rod.  "Believe it or not, we really spent a lot of time and effort trying to re-sign Frankie," Moreno told AM-830. "There were six different offers on the table at different times, and this time last year, we thought we had him signed.  Then Rivera got his deal.  I'm not one of these never-never people, but I think as a whole, it's time to turn the page and move forward and get to things we need to do."  When asked about the possibility of signing Manny Ramirez, Moreno stated, "That's a question for Mike and Tony," referring to Manager Mike Scioscia and General Manager Tony Reagins.  "For us, Manny hits.  He's a clutch guy.  He did a great job with Boston, and he did a great job with the Dodgers.  Some people just hit, whether they're 30, 32 or 37.  And I think he's better fitted for the American League because we have the designated hitter."  My opinion on signing Ramirez...get him.  I think Scioscia and Reagins are the type of management who could keep Manny in line if he starts dogging it.  Imagine a batting order of Teixeira, Ramirez, Guerrero, and Hunter.  That'll score some runs.

Daily Notes:

  • I recently heard from a family member in Florida that the Marlins were talking with the Angels about trading Kevin Gregg and Jeremy Hermida to the Halos for Nick Adenhart and Reggie Willits.  Seems like the Angels would be giving up a lot when you compare that deal to the deal the Marlins made earlier in the week when they traded Olsen and Willingham to Washington for a utility infielder and a couple minor leguers.  It was one of those, "I heard from a friend who has a friend in the Marlins front office..." remarks made during a round of golf.  I suppose that'd fill a couple of holes in the Angels' roster, but only if Hermida rebounds to his 2007 numbers and Gregg stops walking batters.  It's not much of a gamble on the Angels part, as Adenhart's value fell after a disappointing second half in Triple-A and Willits was relegated to the bench in 2008.
  • Exclusive negotiating rights for teams' free agents expires tonight at midnight.  I expect the rumors to heat tomorrow as players can start talking contract with all teams.  The Teixeira negotiations should finally start to move along, as the Angels have stated they want to resolve his situation quickly.

 

Breaking the Seal

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I used to own a bar and we were always looking for promotions or "gimmicks" to bring people in.  A couple of other bars in our area had a weekly event where for $5 you had all the beer you can drink...until you had to go to the bathroom.  Once you broke the seal on your bladder, the all-you-can-drink beer was over.  I always pictured people standing around doing the "pee-pee" dance until their bladders were about to exploded, trying to get that last glass of beer down, and then making a mad dash to the restroom.  I imagine that's what last weeks GM meeting was like as teams' GM's stood around doing the dance looking for potential deals, trying to get the last bit of information or leads on prospective trades before the seal breaks and the mad dash for deals start flowing.  Well, the seal has been broken as two trades went down yesterday.  The Washington Nationals stole Scott Olsen and Josh Willingham from the Florida Marlins, giving up a projected utility infielder and two minor league prospects with just average potential.  I don't get this deal from the Marlins side except it frees up some payroll, but Washington got two good players for relatively nothing.  Where was Angel's GM Tony Reagins when Florida was looking to deal?  If that's all the Marlins were looking for to deal Olsen and Willingham, two players who would fit nicely on the the Halo's roster, were the Angels involved in talks?  I haven't heard anything about the Angels involvement in acquiring Olsen and/or Willingham, but I'm disappointed that those two players aren't moving to Anaheim, especially at such a low cost.  The other deal has an impact on the 2009 Angels season as division rival Oakland250px-Matt_Holliday.jpg A's traded for Matt Holliday.  I've always respected Oakland's GM Billy Beane for the bold moves he's not afraid to make for either immediate improvement or set his team up for future strengths. The deal has Holliday going to Oakland for pitchers Greg Smith and Huston Street, and OF Carlos Gonzalez.  It's rumored the Rockies will flip Street in another deal.  I'm not sure I believe Street will be traded again as he fills a need the Rockies have in their bullpen with the departure of Brian Fuentes, but if that's true hopefully the Angels could look into Street's availability.  With the addition of Holliday to the Oakland line-up, the A's may be putting themselves in a position to compete in 2009.  They were on the edge of competing in 2008 prior to their July trade of Rich Harden to the Cubs, basically giving up on the season and looking towards the future.  Apparently Beane thinks the future is now.  There were rumors Holliday might have been coming to Anaheim to play leftfield for the Angels, a move I wasn't too excited about because of Holliday's numbers away from Coors Field.  With Holliday moving from hitter-friend Colorado to the pitcher-friendly Oakland Coliseum, and the switch from the NL to the AL, one could expect to see a drop in his production.  But the deal is still a decent one for Oakland as they get a player who can put up respectable numbers, something Oakland's outfield has been missing for a couple seasons.  If the A's are truly making a play to compete in 2009, expect to see Beane make another deal or two to improve their pitching.  Here are some links regarding the two deals:  ESPN - Nats/Marlins, Fox Sports - Nat/Marlins, CBSSports - Colorado/Oakland, and Athletics Nation's take on the deal.  Now that the first significant off-season deals have been made, and the end of teams' exclusive rights to their free agents, we should see the Hot Stove start to heat up.

Daily Notes:

  • Apparently I was wrong about the cost of Randy Johnson.  I was projecting Johnson as a possible addition torandy johnson.jpg the Angles pitching staff at a reasonable salary.  What I was expecting as reasonable was a deal in the $5M - $7M range.  While my expectations were probably on the low side, I felt spending more than that on a #5 starter would be a mistake.  According to this article, Johnson could expect more on the free agent market than the Diamondbacks can afford to offer.  Arizona figures to spend $10M on Johnson and a second baseman.  In other words they're offering about $8M to Johnson to stay.
  • In this LA Times article by Mike DiGiovanna, the Angels aren't expected to make Mark Teixeira an offer before he hits the free agent market.  The Angels have exclusive negotiation rights with Teixeira until midnight Thursday, but it appears they'll wait until he can hear offers from other teams before making their own sales pitch.  "All parties understand how we're going to move forward in this process," Angels GM Tony Reagins said. "At an appropriate time, we'll make an offer to try to bring him back. We both understand when that time will be. The communication among the parties has been good."
  • Trevor Hoffman's days in San Diego are probably over.  Within this article by Ken Rosenthal, the Padres refused to meet with Hoffman to discuss his future with the team.  Hoffman made $7M last season and the Padres were not interested in going over $4M to have their closer return in 2009.  Although his abilities have declined, the 41 year old reliever could be an option to the Angels bullpen...if the price is right. 

       "Hoffman's 3.77 ERA last season was his highest since 1995, but he still converted 30 of 34 saves, striking out 46 and walking nine in 45 1/3 innings."

    If 2009 is to be the last year of his career, Hoffman might be interested in playing for a team with play-off potential at a discounted rate11-8cordero.jpg.
  • Another former closer is interested in joining the Angels, and the feeling may be mutual.  According to this article on MLB.com, Chad Cordero could be in the Angel's plans:

    "Another possibility has emerged in veteran right-hander Chad Cordero, who became a free agent after having shoulder surgery while in the employ of the Nationals.  According to a baseball source, the Angels, Mets, Rangers and Tigers are interested in Cordero, and each club has asked to look at his medical records.  Cordero missed most of the 2008 season because of a labrum tear in his right shoulder. He had surgery on July 8 and is expected to be ready for Spring Training. Cordero visited Dr. Lewis Yocum for a checkup last week and is expected to start throwing in a week.  Cordero's first choice reportedly would be the Angels. He is from Anaheim and grew up an Angels fan. Cordero also wouldn't be averse to a reunion with Mets general manager Omar Minaya, who drafted him in the first round of the 2003 First-Year Player Draft when he was with the Expos."


     

The 1979 California Angels

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(This is the first part of a series following the 1979 season throughout the upcoming year.) f70144ligot.jpg


It's time to go back to the past...to the year 1978.  The disco era was just past its peak and started its decent into becoming the joke that defined the decade as punk rock had landed in New York City and was spreading west.  The number one song in the nation on November 11th, 1978 was Donna Summer's "MacArthur Park", and "Y.M.C.A." by the Village People was still on the charts at #31 after peaking at #2 earlier in the year.  "The Deer Hunter" won the Academy award for Best Picture and Emmy awards went to "All In The Family", "The Rockford Files", and "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson".

The 2009 season will mark the 30th anniversary of the first Angels team to win a division title.  In 1979, the California Angels finished 3 games ahead of the defending American League West Division champion Kansas City Royals.  Thirty years ago the California Angels had just completed their best season in franchise historyBobby Bonds.jpg finishing the 1978 season in second place in the AL West, 5 games behind the Kansas City Royals. 

1978 AL West Final Standings

Team Wins Loss Pct. GB
Kansas City 92 70 .568 -
California 87 75 .537 5.0
Texas 87 75 .537 5.0
Minnesota 73 89 .451 19.0
Chicago 71 90 .441 20.5
Oakland 69 93 .426 23.0
Seattle 56 104 .350 35.0


Prior to the '78 season the Angels had traded RF Bobby Bonds, OF Thad Bosley, and minor league pitcher Richard Dotson to the Chicago White Sox for catcher Brian Downing, pitchers Chris Knapp, and Dave Frost.  Bonds had had a great year for the Angels in 1977, leading the team in home runs, RBI (with 40 more than the next highest amount), runs scored, hits, slugging percentage, stolen bases (tied with Jerry Remy), and walks.  Although the Angels sent their best hitter to the Sox, they received two pitchers who went a combined 19-12 with a 3.72 ERA in 1978 and Frost won 16 more rod carew.jpggames in '79.  In addition to the two pitchers, the Angels acquired Brian Downing who would go on to become one of the all-time great Angels and one of the key pieces to the '79 offense (Downing finished 14th in MVP voting in 1979).  During the off-season prior to the 1979 season, the Angels made two important trades.  In early December the Angels sent 1B Ron Jackson and DH Danny Goodwin to the Minnesota Twins for Dan Ford.  Jackson had batted .297 in 105 games for the Halos in '78, while Goodwin a former number one draft pick of the Angels had been a part-time player for them over the last couple seasons.  "Disco Dan" Ford would become another key ingredient to the success of the '79 season by hitting .290 with 21 home runs, 101 RBI, and 100 runs scored while manning rightfield.  Later that off-season, in another deal with the Twins, the Angels sent Ken Landreaux, Dave Engle, Paul Hartzell, and Brad Havens for future Hall of Famer Rod Carew.  Up to that point, Carew had been Rookie of the Year (1967), won a MVP award (1977), and had been an All-Star 12 times.

Daily Notes:

  • Apparently Garret Anderson feels he can still be a full-time player in 2009, and he's surprised the Angels didn't pick up his $14M option.  Actually, I'm surprised he's surprised.  Except for re-signing him for sentimental reasons, the extra $11M the Angels would have paid him can used towards Teixeira or another player.  I still hope he comes back for another year because he definitely has value, but not at an extra $11M.  I also still think a leftfield of Rocco Baldelli / Anderson at $6M each would make sense.
  • No news on Mark Teixeira.  The Angels have 5 more days to negotiate exclusively with him, after that time, players can solicit offers from other teams.  "We have an understanding of how we're going to move forward on this thing," Angels' GM Tony Reagins said. "At the appropriate time, we'll sit down with him and his people. ... That time is not now."  "We've already had meetings with the Angels because we're local," said Teixeira's agent Scott Boras, whose office is in Newport Beach. "We've had a number of conversations. I think they know where we stand and we know where they are and we're going to continue to talk."  Also, Reagins would not rule out the possibility of the Angels being in the bidding for the two most attractive players on the free agent market -- 1B Mark Teixeira and LHP CC Sabathia. "But we're going to act reasonably and responsibly," Reagins said.  Greg Genske, who represents star pitcher CC Sabathia, said Wednesday he's had discussions with the Angels.  "All things being equal, of course he'd like playing in his home state," said Brian Peters, Genske's partner at the LS Legacy Sports Group.  Sabathia grew up in Vallejo.
  • Angels CF Torii Hunter was named to the 2008 AL Gold Glove Award team.  It is the eighth consecutive year Hunter has earned the honor.  Only two outfielders in baseball history have won the award more often in the American League -- Ken Griffey Jr. and Hall of Famer Al Kaline (10 times each).  Hunter is the first Angels outfielder to win a Gold Glove since Darin Erstad in 2002.  Hunter did not make an error in 354 chances during the regular season (Sports Xchange).
  • Angels play-by-play announcer Rory Markas had surgery this week to remove a blood clot in his head and is recovering at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, an Angels spokesman said.  Doctors told the Angels the procedure went well.  "The doctors were optimistic and positive about it, and so is his family," Angels vice president of communications Tim Mead said.  Markas, who has been calling Angels games for seven seasons, serves as voice of the Angels on 710 ESPN and is the play-by-play man on FSN West and KCOP. He also is the play-by-play voice for USC men's basketball and a reporter for FOX 11 KTTV in Los Angeles.  Mead said he's optimistic Markas will return to work next year with the Angels.  (Press Enterprise story)

     

The Road After Teixeira

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The next few weeks should be pretty interesting as far as player movement goes, and the Angels should be right inTeixeira.jpg the middle of any trade talks or free agent signings.  Obviously, the Angels #1 priority is dealing with player agent Scott Boras and signing his client Mark Teixeira.  Almost any move the Angels make will be dependant on their ability to re-sign Teix, as he's the first domino in the line of potential transactions.  There are a few moves I see the Angels making that aren't dependant on Teixeira; Garret Anderson returns at a reduce salary and limited role, and Darren Oliver returning to the bullpen.  Unless Anderson gets an offer from another team (Tampa Bay?) to play full-time, I think he'll be the Angels part-time DH/LF.  Oliver had the misfortune of being classified as a Type A free agent meaning any team who signs him would have to give up their first round draft pick.  I doubt any team is willing to give up the pick to sign a 38 year-old set-up guy.  Below are my predictions and thoughts as to which moves the Halos should make dependant on what happens with Teixeira.

Angels Re-Sign Teixeira
I've read in a couple different web postings that Teixeira has already picked out a house in SoCal which would indicate his desire to stay in Angel Red for the long term.  If this is the case, the Angels will sign the free agent first baseman to a contract of 6 to 7 years at approximately $20M/year.  With Teixeira signed, the Angles will look for a replacement in their rotation for the departing Jon Garland.  They have internal options in Nick Adenhart and Dustin Mosely as the two likely candidates, but I'm not sold on either of them.  The Angels have the luxury of having 4 good/great starting pitchers already set for their rotation, so they can slot in one of those two and not worry too much about it affecting their season and chances of returning to the post season.  However, if one of those four get hurt or fail to repeat their 2008 seasons, the Angels shallow starting pitching depth could become a concern.  It's possible that the Angels sign both Teixeira and stud pitcher C.C. Sabathia, but that would drastically limit any payroll flexibilty they have to address a couple other roster needs.  If the Angels sign Sabathia, Jered Weaver would become, in my opinion, the best #5 starter in the majors and the Angels would easily have the best rotation in baseball.  Signing Sabathia would probably be overkill in addressing the need for one more starter, but it would allow the Angels the opportunity to trade either Saunders or Santana for some offensive help, most notably in left field if they decide to deal Figgins.  I don't see Sabathia playing in Anaheim next season except when the Yankees come to town, as the Yankees most assuredly will break the bank to sign the lefty.  Here's what I think will happen, or what I'd like to see happen if Teixeira returns to the Halo line-up:

  1. Angels trade Erick Aybar for relief pitching.  Somewhere like the White Sox for Matt Thornton would be nice.  I'm not sure about Thornton's availability, but the Sox could use a shortstop to replace Orlando Cabrera.
  2. Colorado trades Garret Atkins to the Angels.  I'm not saying I'd like that to happen, but it seems the Angels are intent on getting one of the Rockies hitters and I'd rather have him than Matt Holliday since he'd cost less to acquire.  Would the Angels send Kendry Morales to the Rockies?  He'd be expendable with Teix manning first, plus Colorado's first baseman is Todd Helton and there's a question of if he's healthy enough to play everyday after having back surgery.  An Atkins / Morales deal would probably have to be expanded to include other players, hopefully one of the other guys coming over would be Taylor Buchholz.
  3. Angels sign one of Randy Johnson, Braden Looper, or Freddy Garcia if they are sign-able at the right price.  If not, Mosely will start the season as the Angels #5 starter.  One possibility I'd like to see happen but won't, is for the Angels to take a chance on a "project" starter.  What I mean is, one of the starters coming off an injury year or a season that totally tanked.  They could sign a player like Carl Pavano, Mike Hampton, Mark Prior, or Brad Penny to an incentive-based contract with an extremely low base salary (as San Diego did with Prior last year) and hope they return to their previous or projected levels.

Line-up:
C - Napoli
1B - Teixeira
2B - Kendrick
3B - Atkins
SS - Wood / Izturis
LF - Figgins
CF - Hunter
RF - Guerrero
DH - Matthews / Izturis

SP - Lackey
SP - Santana
SP - Saunders
SP - Weaver
SP - Johnson
CL - Arredondo
 

Angels Don't Re-sign Teixeira
I've recently been reading the Boston red Sox might be interested in signing Teixeira.  I'm not sure if that's just posturing to drive up the price on the Yankees/Angels or if they truly are interested in Teix.  They have the means to sign him and they could use him at first while moving Youkilis to thirdbase replacing Lowell and his surgically repaired hip.  The Yankees seem more interested in Sabathia and another frontline starter as their number one priority.  Even if they do sign two big-salary pitchers, they'd still have the cash to chase Teixeira.  The Angels have two roads to follow if they lose out on Teixeira, either spend that money on another top free agent or make a couple smaller moves and retool for the future with the draft picks they'll receive from their free agents signing with other teams.  The other big hitter available is Manny Ramirez, but I don't see that happening although he'd be a good fit in the Angels batting order.  Here's what I would like to see happen if Teixeira signs elsewhere:

  1. Angels sign Adam Dunn to split time with Vlad Guerrero in RF and DH.  Regardless of how much Dunn strikes out, he still gets on base 40% of the time and hits 40+ home runs and would be a good addition to the team. 
  2. Rocco Baldelli is signed to split time with Garret Anderson in left field.  Baldelli's not an everyday player, and neither is Anderson, but together they'd make a pretty productive left fielder hitting .280 - .290 with 30+ home runs.
  3. Garrett Adkins still gets traded to the Angels, but in a deal involving Chone Figgins as Kendry Morales is the everyday first baseman.  Signing Rafael Furcal is unlikely to happen, but could make sense if Figgins is dealt for Matt Holliday instead of Atkins.  Furcal would be the ideal lead-off hitter the Angels could use, plus it'd allow Brandon Wood to start at third and become two deep in the middle infield.
  4. Erick Aybar, Reggie Willits and Nick Adenhart get traded either individually or combined in some form for pitching.  Huston Street is reportedly available.  So is Javier Vazquez and Edwin Jackson.  Matt Cain might be.  As well as J.J. Putz.  It might be tough trading for Street or Putz since they play for division rivals, but I don't know why that'd hold up a deal.  Actually trading with Tampa for Jackson might be a good fit.  Tampa is looking for an outfielder/DH type and Willits is cheap.  The Angels would probably have to add more to the deal to get the Rays to bite, but Jackson would be a good and relatively cheap #5 starter.
  5. If the Angels don't make a trade for a starting pitcher, then the same scenario as #3 if they sign Teix, except the Angels have a little more to spend on another starter.  I still think Randy Johnson would make sense, if the price isn't too much.  Plus, it'd be fun to see Johnson win his 300th game as an Angel.

C - Napoli
1B - Morales / Atkins
2B - Kendrick
3B - Atkins / Wood
SS - Wood / Isturis
LF - Baldelli / Anderson
CF - Hunter
RF - Dunn / Guerrero
DH - Guerrero / Dunn / Wood

SP - Lackey
SP - Santana
SP - Saunders
SP - Weaver
SP - Johnson or Jackson
CL - Street

Predictions (please let me know what you think and/or how full of crap my predictions are.  I'm interested in what everyone thinks will happen):

    1. Teixeira stays.  The Angels will make a good offer and he'll decide to stay in Anaheim. 
    2. Sabathia doesn't sign with the Angels (he signs with the Yankees)
    3. Erick Aybar and Kendry Morales get traded.
    4. Angels sign Randy Johnson.
    5. Garret Anderson stays in Anaheim at a reduced salary and retires as an Angel.
    6. Angels get Garrett Atkins from Colorado.

Daily Notes:

  • It looks like Jake Peavy playing for the Angels isn't going to happen.  Apparently he'd only approve a trade to 3 NL teams (Braves, Cubs, and Dodgers) and the rumors he would be willing to go to New York or Anaheim were not true.
  • According to Larry LaRue via MLBtradrumors.com, the Braves are interested in trading Jeff Francoeur.  I wonder why Atlanta is willing to give up on him after just one bad season.  I also wonder if he'd be a good fit for the Angels is Anderson doesn't return.  Is it just me, or is anyone else concerned about the Angels' outfield next season?  As I wrote above, I think the Angels should take a long look at a Rocco Baldelli/Garret Anderson platoon in left.  Maybe see what Bobby Abreu would want to come to Anaheim.  Or what the White Sox would want for Nick Swisher (although many people at Halo's Heaven think that's a bad idea), but ESPN's Rob Neyer writes (subscription required) and I agree with:

"Yesterday I wrote a bit about Javier Vazquez, whom the White Sox reportedly would love to trade. Well, he's not the only one, as apparently Nick Swisher is available, too. Well, I said teams would be lining up around the block for a shot at Vazquez, and I suspect the same might be true with Swisher. If you look at Swisher's .219 batting average this year, you'd think he had a lousy season. You'd be right. But even more, it was an unlucky season. Swisher's walk percentage, his strikeout percentage, his line-drive percentage … they were all right in line with his career norms. So what happened? He just hit too many atom (as in, "at 'em") balls. Sometimes this happens, though usually not to Swisher's extreme degree. Just watch. Next year, if he's healthy, he'll hit .250 and score 100 runs."

  • A couple articles stating C.C. Sabathia may not be worth the money he'll receive as a free agent are at Sports Illustrated and O.C. Register.  Both articles have the same headline..."Buyer Beware".  It is true, pitchers are more fragile than position players and their performance isn't as consistent, but Sabathia showed me a lot last season with the Brewers.  He knew his free agency was looming and there was a risk for him pitching so many times on 3 and 4 days rest, but he was all for doing whatever he could do to get the Brewers into the playoffs.  I admire him for putting his team before himself, as it says a lot about the kind of person he is and the type of team mate he'd be.  I don't think he's another Bartolo Colon.

Rodriguez and Lidge - Comparing the Competition

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I think I've mentioned before that I drive a POS truck with no radio and I drive about a half hour to and from work.  I usually use that hour each day to think of things to write about here (or lament about how crappy it is driving an hour without music).  During one of my trips I started thinking about the quality of hitters a relief pitcher faces and how it affects his stats.  There are many places to find a pitcher's stats showing what his batting average against is, but I couldn't find where it stated the quality of hitters a pitcher faced and how he did against them.  Obviously, if a pitcher faces the bottom half of a line-up he'll typically do better than having to pitch against the heart of the order.  Below are some number for Francisco Rodriguez and Brad Lidge.  They had similar numbers during the season, beside the Saves total, but I wanted to see if either pitcher benefited from facing weaker hitters.

First, here's their season stats:

W L ERA G SV SVO IP H ER HR BB SO
Rodriguez 2 3 2.24 76 62 69 68.1 54 17 4 34 77
Lidge 2 0 1.95 72 41 41 69.1 50 15 2 35 92

                     
AB H 2b 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG
Rodriguez 250 54 13 0 4 25 34 77 .216 .310 .316
Lidge 253 50 10 1 2 17 35 92 .198 .295 .269


There were approximately 284 plate appearances against Rodriguez and 288 against Lidge.  In those PA, the hitters each pitcher faced had these accumulated season totals:

AB H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO AVG OBP SLG
Rodriguez 59560 16190 3426 324 1825 8121 6053 10984 .272 .339 .432
Lidge 59854 16335 3327 345 1914 8006 6271 11336 .273 .342 .436


To get these totals, I compiled a list of hitters each pitcher faced and then added the hitter's season stats.  Lidge faced marginally better opponents, which to me was surprising since I read about how much better the American League hitters are than National league hitters.  This might be a random event where Rodriguez happened to face weaker hitters over the season.  This is what their adjusted averages looked like.  Adjusted average is their AVG/OBP/SLG minus their opponents slash stats:

Adj Avg Adj OBP Adj SLG
Rodriguez -0.056 -0.029 -0.116
Lidge -0.075 -0.047 -0.167


Looks like Lidge did slightly better than Rodriguez as the difference between the two pitchers' number increased due to Lidge having the better stats against better competition.   The next thing I wanted I looked at was how well each pitcher did against different levels of competition.

The cumulative season totals of the hitters each pitcher faced:

vs .300+ Hitters                    
AB H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG
Rodriguez 36 6 1 0 1 6 4 12 .167 .250 .278
Lidge 40 10 3 0 1 8 5 13 .250 .333 .400
                     
AB H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO AVG OBP SLG
Rodriguez 8256 2574 547 49 294 1285 927 1280 .312 .381 .497
Lidge 11517 3604 730 67 399 1674 1370 1745 .313 .386 .492
                     
Adj Avg Adj OBP Adj SLG                
Rodriguez -0.145 -0.131 -0.219                
Lidge -0.063 -0.053 -0.092                

               
vs .280 - .299 Hitters                
AB H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG
Rodriguez 81 17 5 0 1 7 9 28 .210 .289 .309
Lidge 72 15 3 0 0 4 3 20 .208 .240 .250
                     
AB H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO AVG OBP SLG
Rodriguez 17670 5101 1047 129 521 2443 1716 2892 .289 .352 .451
Lidge 17270 4969 1061 125 561 2405 1602 3019 .288 .348 .461
                     
Adj Avg Adj OBP Adj SLG                
Rodriguez -.079 -.063 -.142                
Lidge -.079 -.108 -.211                
                   
vs .260 - .279
Hitters
                   
AB H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG
Rodriguez 51 14 3 0 0 6 7 10 .275 .362 .333
Lidge 56 10 1 1 1 3 9 19 .179 .292 .286
                     
AB H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO AVG OBP SLG
Rodriguez 14916 4041 893 68 435 1967 1397 2689 .271 .333 .427
Lidge 13726 3680 750 68 459 1869 1327 2598 .268 .333 .433
                     
Adj Avg Adj OBP Adj SLG                
Rodriguez .004 .029 -.094                
Lidge -.090 -.040 -.147                
                   
vs .240 - .259
Hitters
                   
AB H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG
Rodriguez 40 10 2 0 0 3 4 13 .250 .318 .300
Lidge 46 11 1 0 0 2 6 23 .239 .327 .261
                     
AB H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO AVG OBP SLG
Rodriguez 9554 2380 484 42 331 1320 952 2012 .249 .317 .412
Lidge 8527 2126 403 44 258 1068 950 1814 .249 .325 .398
                     
Adj Avg Adj OBP Adj SLG                
Rodriguez .001 .001 -.112                
Lidge -.010 .002 -.137                
                 
vs .239 and below
Hitters
                 
AB H 2b 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG
Rodriguez 42 7 2 0 2 3 10 14 .167 .327 .357
Lidge 39 4 2 0 0 0 12 17 .103 .314 .154
                     
AB H 2B 3B HR RBI TB SO AVG OBP SLG
Rodriguez 9164 2094 455 36 244 1106 3353 2111 .229 .309 .366
Lidge 8814 1956 383 41 237 990 3132 2160 .222 .303 .355
                     
Adj Avg Adj OBP Adj SLG                
Rodriguez -.062 .018 -.009                
Lidge -.119 .011 -.202                


The way I interpret these numbers is Rodriguez did better against better hitters, but for some reason he allowed weaker hitters to get on base at a higher rate against him, while Lidge was pretty consistent against everybody.  Not to discount what Rodriguez did for the Angels in 2008, but if Lidge had been in the same position in the Angels' bullpen, I would think he'd have done just as well...if not better.

Daily Notes:
(I haven't included Daily Notes in the few previous posts since there really hasn't been anything new going on, but now that the World Series is over and there should be some free agent movement and other signings, I'll start including Daily Notes in future posts)
 

  • As expected, the Angels exercised Vlad Guerrero and John Lackey's options for next season, while declining to pick up Garret Anderson's.  The Angels will pay Guerrero $15M and Lackey $10M in 2009.  I personally would like to see Anderson return next season, but at a reduced role and at a reasonable salary.  Hopefully Anderson and the Angels can work something out.
  • Mark Teixeira filed for free agency the first day he was eligible to do so.  Not a big surprise there, as he's always stated he was going to field offers from other teams.  The Angels do have a 15 day period where they have exclusive rights to negotiate, but Teixeira's agent Scott Boras won't do anything until he's sure he's heard from each interested team.
  • Nothing new on the Jake Peavy trade-front.  From everything I've read, Atlanta was the favorite to land the Padre's ace, but recently they've stated they weren't willing to part with the top prospects the Padres were interested in.  Peavy would look good in Halo Red, but not at the expense of Santana/Saunders plus others I think San Diego would ask for.



Blogs In The Network


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