2014 Angels: Mike Trout may be a god

MakMan44

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So the obvious big news is Trout's 6 year/$144.5 million dollar extension. 
 
Other than that, they released Joe Blanton:
 
https://twitter.com/EKayAngels/status/448858258367721472
 
Thus eating over $8 million in salary. 
 

WenZink

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The Angels are off to a deflating start, having been swept, at home, by the Seattle Mariners, being outscored 26-8 in the series.  In 2012 the Angels went 8-15 in April, and last year they started the season with a 9-17 record.  Given all the expectations and hype with the signings of Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton, as well as the recent contract given to all-world Mike Trout, these deflating starts are creating an atmosphere eerily similar to Lakehurst NJ.  The normally mild Angels' fans are "mad as heck."  Even the players are now openly second-guessing the Big Ragu -- manager Mike Sciosica.
 
I can't think of a big market team in worse shape.  At least the Mets have payroll flexibility going foreward.  The Angels will have $75 million committed to just 3 players for the next 4 years (Pujols, Hamilton and Trout).  And their farm system is ranked at the bottom of MLB, so there's no hope of cheap reinforcement.  Pujols has been nicknamed "Albertross," the hatred for Hamilton borders on the pathological, and fans of Trout wonder if it wouldn't have been better for his career if he'd played elsewhere.  Meanwhile, Scioscia is beneath contempt as he begins just the 5th year of his 10 year contract.
 
It's so bad in Anaheim, Dan Shaugnessy might consider relocating to Orange County for the next few weeks.  The LA/Cali/Anaheim Angels have always been the most cursed of baseball franchises ranging from a team bus crash, to a Donnie Moore committing suicide, to Nick Adenhart getting killed by a drunk driver.  CHB would have a great time wallowing in all the misery.
 

MakMan44

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Mike Trout has angered people!
 
the reason the deal rankled is that there’s a code in baseball, and that code involves not taking an under-market-value contract. Fans might laud Trout opting for personal financial security that also insures he’ll be with his original team for a while. Players, though, cringe, because one contract affects the next, and so on.
 
It's sort of funny because I can't really think of another player that would fit into Trout's situation. It's so unique, a complete outlier, that really shouldn't have any impact on any other negotiations. 
 

LogansDad

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I think Longoria comes kind of close, but I don't see how complaining about how a guy taking a 6 year/$140 million+ contract is going to affect salaries going forward will garner anybody any sympathy.
 

MakMan44

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Well I meant it more along the lines of Trout being the best player in the game for 2 straight years, all before turning 23. It's going to be really hard for a guy like Desmond or Harper to argue that their situations are comparable at all. 
 
EDIT: Orel's got a good point though, these types of contracts are becoming more and more common place.
 

Orel Miraculous

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MakMan44 said:
Mike Trout has angered people!
 
the reason the deal rankled is that there’s a code in baseball, and that code involves not taking an under-market-value contract. Fans might laud Trout opting for personal financial security that also insures he’ll be with his original team for a while. Players, though, cringe, because one contract affects the next, and so on.
 
It's sort of funny because I can't really think of another player that would fit into Trout's situation. It's so unique, a complete outlier, that really shouldn't have any impact on any other negotiations. 
 
That is one of the worst articles I've ever read. A headline that says Trout "ruffled feathers" is followed by an article that offers not one spec evidence to support that claim. Not a single quote, not even a single "there are rumblings yadda yadda yadda." And there's a reason for that: Trout's contract is perfectly understandable and is of a type that has become commonplace throughout MLB. Longoria, McCutchen, Braun, Kemp, Weaver. . . the list of elite players who have opted to forgo or delay free agency in exchange for security is long and growing.
 
The writer also used "of course" as a clause in back to back sentences, so, again, terrible article.
 

MakMan44

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http://www.latimes.com/sports/la-sp-angels-20140408,0,5332315.story#axzz2yLGhx8NW
 
Josh Hamilton starting the season on the right foot. Biggest improvement? Drawing walks. He has 6 Walks in 7 games and his O-Swing is down at just under 30%. For comparison, he was at just over 40% last year. He also credits "bouncing around" at the plate before loading his swing with his early surge this season. 
 
In sadder news, it's been 5 years since Adenhart passed all too soon. 
 

MakMan44

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Hamilton left last night's game with an apparent thumb injury. Getting an MRI today
 

MakMan44

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Ah crud my stuff got lost too. Joe Blanton left the A's AAA team and David Freese is having a crappy start to the season. 
 

WenZink

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Last night, the Angels' closer, Ernesto Frieri, imploded in the top of the 9th to blow a 2-1 lead over the Oakland A's, which prevented the Angels from going over the .500 mark in more than a year.  Nonetheless, Hector Santiago pitched 7 innings of 1 run ball, allowing just 5 hits and 1 walk.  If the Angels have any chance of staying in contention they must get serviceable performances from the 3-4-5 spots in their rotation.  22 year old Tyler Skaggs and 26 year old Garrett Richards have been impressive in their first two starts, although Richards has had to survive 8 walks in his 12 IP (but only allowed a total of 4 hits).  With Weaver apparently on the decline, and CJ Wilson subject to bouts of inconsistency, a lot rests upon the unproven trio of Skaggs, Richards and Santiago. The Angels' rotation portends the Red Sox rotation of 2015 if the Sox decide to "go cheap," allowing Lester and Peavy walk this winter, and try to integrate unproven pitchers like Webster, De la Rosa, Owens and (the more experienced) Workman into next year's starting mix.
 
Middle reliever Joe Smith has been the bright spot in the Angels' thin bullpen, appearing in 6 games and allowing just 3 hits and no walks in 6 IP.  Although his FA signing of 3 years and $15.75 million was thought, by some, to be excessive, Smith has earned his paycheck for at least the first two weeks of the season.
 

MakMan44

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Raul Ibanez with a PH 3 run double to win the game for the Angels tonight. 
 

MakMan44

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Ernesto Frieri's may soon be out of the closer's gig, no matter what Scioscia says. Frieri's ERA is now at 9.35 through 8 innings and Joe Smith may be next in line, though his season hasn't been amazing either. 
 
In other news, some guy named Pujols hit his 500th HR making him the 26th player to reach that goal. 
 


Pujols is the first player to collect his 499th and 500th homers in the same game, according to STATS. About three months past his 34th birthday, he's also the third-youngest to get to 500; Alex Rodriguez and Jimmie Foxx were both 32.
 
http://espn.go.com/los-angeles/mlb/story/_/id/10824476/albert-pujols-los-angeles-angels-hits-500th-career-homer
 

WenZink

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MakMan44 said:
Ernesto Frieri's may soon be out of the closer's gig, no matter what Scioscia says. Frieri's ERA is now at 9.35 through 8 innings and Joe Smith may be next in line, though his season hasn't been amazing either. 
 
....
Frieri has allowed 5 home runs in just 8.1 IP this month.  Smith, has just 3 saves in his career vs 17 blown saves, although the stat is mis-leading since he's rarely been used as closer.  Not to mention that Scioscia likes his middle relievers to relieve in the middle.  Barring a trade, there's not much available to replace Frieri.  (Maybe Dan Bard should give the Angels a call...)
 
On the plus side the Angels lead the league in Slugging and Home runs and are a close second in runs per game.  Their team ERA(4.05) is just a bit worse than league average (3.98).  So, in spite of their utter bullpen failure, the Angels could stay in the AL West race for a while.  They might even pay dearly for an Edward Mujica... if they had anything of value to trade -- perhaps an International Draft pick?
 

WenZink

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Designating Smith as closer is a classic anti-sabermetric move.  Who gets the game to the 9th for him?
 
Why not just say they'll try and use Smith only in the highest leverage situations?  (as best as you can discern in real time, of course.)
 

WenZink

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I'd hate to see the Angels' stadium razed.  The best thing about the park is how well the seats are angled/aligned, far better, for instance, then Orioles Park at Camden Yards.  It's also hard to believe that the park will soon be 50 years old... Fenway was 50 years old when I attended my first game there.
 

MakMan44

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Top prospect CJ Cron is promoted while David Freese heads the 15 day DL. 
 
He [Freese] had actually been hitting better the last week so the timing couldn't have been worse. 
 

MakMan44

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Hector Santiago became the second pitcher to 0-6. Not only has Santiago been awful this year, but the Angels haven't been providing run support, going 0-7 in his starts. Santiago is averaging less than five innings per start, and he has a 5.19 ERA to go along with a 1.59 WHIP. 
 

WenZink

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Matt Shoemaker (RHP) to start for the Angels tonight vs the Phillies.  Shoemaker was called up from SLC in the wake of Hector Santiago's being dropped from the rotation. 
 
Shoemaker has pitched out of the pen for the Angels earlier this year, and made his MLB debut last year in a 5 IP start.  He is 27 and not considered a prospect.  His ERA in AAA has averaged over 5.00 the last 3 years, and is at 6.31 in 5 starts (25.1 IP) this year.  He is coming off an excellent start last week, and does have an excellent K/9 rate, but a WHIP of 1.675.
 
Not a high-quality reinforcement, but the Angels don't have a lot of depth in their system, especially considering they started the season with an unproven trio of Richards-Skaggs-Santiago filling out the 3-4-5 spots in their rotation, and exhibit C in why the Angels' long-run outlook for 2014 is not very bright, IMO.
 
Of course, having said all that, watch Shoemaker throw a 2-hit shutout tonight.
 

WenZink

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Before last night's loss to the Astros, the Angels had won 8 out of 10 to take over 2nd place in the AL West and 3rd best record in the league.  2b Howie Kendrick has been hot during the streak,and Pujols is still putting up solid numbers after a good April.  Mike Trout, however, leads the league with 56 K's, and is batting only .161 in the month of May, with a .641 OPS.
 
The starting pitching as been reliable, with Matt Shoemaker, (the replacement for Hector Santiago) going 2-0 in his 2 starts, allowing just 9 base runners and 3 ER in his 11 innings as a starter.
 
Josh Hamilton, on the DL since thumb surgery, a month ago, is scheduled to begin a rehab assignment next week.
 

MakMan44

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Josh Hamilton recently reinjured his thumb, though it was just a bone bruise. Probably doesn't set his return back that much further. 
 
Angels are still in second place, 1.5 games back of the A's.
 
CJ Cron has been a nice surprise for the Angels, as he is batting .300 with 3 HRs through 63 PAs.
 
Sean Burnett is back on the DL after only 3 games back from his 9 month DL stint. 
 
Finally, Mike Trout is unsure if wants to participate in the HR derby and wishes that Target Field had a dome because "It's [Minnesota] so cold."
 

WenZink

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Sean Burnett will likely need a second TJ surgery.  He had his first in 2005.  He missed most of last year due to an injury to his flexor tendon, and part of 2012 due to bone chips in his elbow. 
 
Matt Shoemaker had been sent down last weekend, after a 13 Inning game that drained the bullpen.  In his place the Angels had called up veteran pitcher Wade LeBlanc.  LeBlanc had been scheduled to start this weekend, but, in lieu of Burnett's injury, they were able to recall Shoemaker to make the start.
 
LeBlanc will work out of the Angel's pen.  Without Burnett, LeBlanc is the lone lefty. 
 

MakMan44

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Mike Trout has been having back problems for the last week or so and just left tonight's game because of it. Huge blow to the Angels if he hits the DL