28 July 2010

thoughts: Lackey, .500, Pineiro out

I've been able to read the paper daily to get my Angels news. You can imagine my surprise to see this:
Lackey said he didn't know what kind of reception to expect from Angels fans but added that he "hopes they respect the things I did here, for sure."
If Lackey had an accurate memory, he would know better than to expect anything less than the reception he got.

Sure, Angel fans were caught off-guard with his signing with the RedSox. I'm sure many fans, young and old struggled to accept that he would be with a team every Angels fan has learned to hate. I know I certainly did. But I think they, and I, would have been able to get over the shock and accept the fact that Boston offered a contract that was much better than what the Angels were offering. See Figgins, Chone.

Had he left with grace, with the consciousness that his move to the RedSox would hurt Angels fans, maybe he could have expected a better homecoming.

But he did not.

He left scorning the organization, the team, and the fans. Is he so arrogant that he believes he's above the consequences of those actions?

25 July 2010

goodbye Saundo..

Okay Tony, I get this one.

Dan Haren was traded to the Angels today for Saunders, RafRodriguez, Pat Corbin and Tyler Skaggs.

Haren is an obvious upgrade with a large and excellent body of work. While he's having a down year, he's also proven to have ace-abilities and be quite durable.

I get that Tony, but it still hurts.

Most baseball talking heads and fans have been blasting the D'backs on this deal. I won't say that the Angels didn't do well here - it's an obvious win on the Halos' side - but they didn't give up nothing.

RafRod is completely replaceable (though the awful D'backs 'pen could certainly use him), but it's the inclusion of the two young lefties. In a farm system that's thin-but-on-the-rise, Corbin and Skaggs were two legit prospects having great years. Skaggs is the one that particularly hurts, given the hype/projectability. The other concern is that Tony's already raided two of the top 5 picks from last year's awesome draft that was supposed to be the next wave of homegrown talent. In addition to the fact that he just shipped out Smith, another up-and-coming LHP, I hope that Tony doesn't become too fast-and-easy with the prospects on the farm.

(Oh, and don't skewer me for complaining over prospects. I know the difference between unproven prospects and established MLB players. But I also know that a healthy farm system begets a healthy major league organization. I only worry that carelessness today will hurt ten times more in the future.)

But what hurts the most is probably losing Saundo.

Okay, I understand that Haren is an upgrade. But that doesn't change the fact that Saunders was genuinely a favorite. I loved his cool demenor on the mound, I loved the class on and off the field, I loved the boyish joy he showed (after the Greinke game), I loved his personality (his garish golf clothes at spring training!), I loved his toughness (pitching through kidney stones is crazy), and I loved his underdog roots. Statheads could say all they wanted about him being average, but I loved all the little things he did - including finding a way to win.

I hope Joe knows that he has a lot of friends here. I hope that being a D'back will give him more time at home with his daughter. I hope that the NL West will give him the stats to go with everything else. And I wish him the best. I'll be watching the box scores.

kaz is broken, but not trash

Obviously, I've been putting off writing about Kaz for a while now. It's actually been a lot longer than July 1st, when I promised a Kaz post. In fact, it's been on my mind since early-June, when Kaz's "progress" was clearly slow-moving. After each shaky start I kept hoping, "hey, maybe he'll turn it around in his next start." And since that disaster in Boston, he had generally spared me the indignity of admitting just how wrong I was. But as Kaz continued to dovetail, it became obviously apparent just how cowardly I have been.

Well I suppose that it's better that I just get it over with.

This post?

Yeah, I was wrong.

Frankly, Kaz hasn't been ace-like. Not even close. He hasn't been close to worth his contract this year ($8M this year, $12M next) nor has trading for him been really a win (SRod has improved and is doing passable in Tampa Bay - the Halos certainly could've used him for infield depth). Kaz has been frustratingly tantalizing - good and bad, and always prone to a bad inning. And then he and Butch would discuss trying/working on something new. After all the promise of his offseason workouts, the sum of him this season has ranged from mediocre to spectacularly bad. That's probably a part of why he's been a target for fan disenchantment - he's been an epitome of a disappointment, and a summation of the team as a whole.

I know I can't defend his play. And I know that his results do not justify his pay.

But whether it's pride, stubbornness, faith, or complete idiocity, I'm still optimistic.

24 July 2010

welcome back callaspo...what were you thinking tony?

My internship has been working me hard and there's been little time to keep up with angels news and angels&aimee. I didn't hear about the trade until Terry mentioned it on the radio broadcast. My first thought was "Uh-oh, who did they trade?!"

I briefly saw the report by Mark Saxon about the FO's attempt to trade for Callaspo but didn't think much of it. I didn't think (I still don't think) that it would be a great pickup for the Angels and I didn't really see the upside of picking up another infielder with Izzy close to being back. Well now that its been done and the price is known, I still hate the trade.

My opinion is no disrespect to Callaspo. He's a nice everyday/super utility infielder, but I just don't get it, Tony. Sure, the Angels need offense, but the infield is full. Do the Angels really need seven (Izzy, Callaspo, Franderson, BWood, Aybar, Howie, Naps) infielders? Furthermore, I think a platoon of Izzy/Franderson would be almost as good as Callaspo at third. This isn't much of an upgrade. Callaspo is a nice piece, but he isn't going to put the Angels in the playoffs. I get that, in hindsight, it's usually the little moves that matter the most. But there are so many more things that are wrong with the Halos that adding him figures to be a small, if any, boost.

09 July 2010

thoughts: swept by sox, cliff lee, bench plugs

Geez, lately I've had to start most of my posts with apologies for being MIA. I started my internship this week, so I don't expect that practice to stop, unfortunately.

Anyways, I'll try my best to keep up with Angels news (I didn't find out about the Cliff Lee trade until 5pm!) and post during the weekends.

Also, the shocking trade today and recent (lack of) play by the Angels have thwarted my attemps to post about Kaz. I've got most of the post formed in my head, so it'll be up shortly.


The last two series have been absolutely discouraging. After the high of winning the Texas series and really the way the team won those games, their play against the Royals and the ChiSox was disgusting, to say the least.

It's unacceptable for the Halos to lose a series to the Royals. Not only are the Royals woefully bad, the Halos have a history of absolutely crushing them. I'd like to thank them for making the Angels' scorching hot June/July last year possible. Remember what I wrote about the Halos needing to take advantage of opportunities? Well, playing a bad team whilst the Rangers played the respectable WhiteSox, qualifies as an opportunity. But its not only that the Halos lost the series and the chance to gain ground, it was the way the team lost those games. Really, how do you manage to score only one run against a Royals starting pitcher not named Zack Greinke? How do you get no-hit by Bruce Chen for 6+ innings? At least the boys showed up for national tv (perhaps they didn't want to get embarrased in front of the whole nation), pounding out 11 runs.

But things didn't improve much in Chicago. I get that the White Sox have a really good pitching staff. But I also understand that the White Sox are not an elite team. They have a respectable lineup with Rios and Konerko, but they also have the likes of Juan Pierre and Andruw Jones. Not to mention the fact that AJ and Quentin are underperforming. Winning one of the four games was a modest expectation. The Angels couldn't muster anything, despite the fact that Peavy pitched less than 2 innings. When I checked the score on Thursday, all I needed to know was the fact that the Angels managed two (two!!) hits. John Danks is very good, but that's just pitiful.

04 July 2010

on all-stars and the angels

I'm putting off writing about Kaz.

First of all, happy Fourth of July. This holiday is perhaps the most underappreciated American holiday, besides MLK Jr. Day. So make sure you take some time, if you haven't already, to appreciate the founding fathers, early citizens, and all those before us that have sacrificed so that our democracy could survive and flourish.


Anyways, I had a nice holiday morning, though I skipped my usual newspaper reading and sports online updates. So I didn't find out about the announced all-star rosters until about an hour ago.

Some thoughts about it:

I didn't expect the Angels to have many representatives. I don't think that the Angels are constructed a way that gives them a good chance to have many all-stars. To get an all-star nod, you need a player that is a bonafide superstar, has an incredibly hot start, or has gaudy numbers. The Angels don't really have a superstar - Torii is a star, but he isn't the type of player that is going to be know by casual fans of other teams. Kendry has been on his way to superstardom, but he obviously isn't a viable candidate this year. To make matters worse, the Angels as a whole started slowly and thus most players haven't been able to compile the kind of stats that would wow players and fans. (Frandsen is the only Halo that has cracked the .300 AVG!)

Of course, Jered Weaver has put up great stats. The only reasoning I can fathom is that Jered isn't a superstar. This is his second great season and well, maybe he hasn't been able to shed the label of a mid-rotation starter that those statheads been saying since he's come up. (The fantastic no-name Padres pitching staff has zero representatives.) The halosphere is justified in their outrage - Weave has done absolutely everything to be selected. I don't care about the assurances that Girardi will find a way to get him onto the team. The fact that he wasn't on the original roster is a snub that can't be taken back. He should've have the honor of being selected - not by replacing an injured RedSux.

Truthfully, I didn't think any of the Halo position players as slam-dunk worthy of an all-star nod. I think most have underperformed for large chunks of the first half. Jered is different. He has done everything for the staff and the team. He's lead by example and by actions (anyone catch him snapping at Torii to stop fooling around?). He's been a stopper and a big-game pitcher. He's been consistant and electric. Every time his rotation spot comes up, I know he'll keep the Halos in the game. (Perhaps unfairly, I assume the game should be won. I keep forgetting to account for the rest of the team.) If anyone was worried about the vacuum Lackey left, there's no question who has filled it.

I'm sure the Halos took note of Jered's ommission. And I hope they realize that the best way to capture the nation's attention and turn it away from the east coast is to win.

Just keep winning.

The Lakers have shown that a powerhouse team can thrive in the West and they did that by winning. Win all the way to November and I'm sure that no one will be able to omit Weave anymore.


I noticed a little blurb in the LATimes this morning. It claimed that Trevor Bell is going to be recalled to start Monday in Chicago against the White Sox. I haven't seen it anywhere else, but if this is true, I would think that either:
1. They're going to skip Kaz's start to give him more time to work on his troubles.
2. They're going to push everyone back in the rotation so Weave could pitch in the All-Star Game.

Of course, now #2 would seem a moot point. And given the situation now, I don't think that Sosh should readjust his rotation for an "exhibition" game. Before the selections were announced, I thought it was too bad that Weave wouldn't be able to pitch, and even though I understood Sosh's reasoning to leave his rotation as is, I also would've supported a plan to get him into the All-Star game.


I say screw the All-Star game, the Angels should think about themselves and winning the West. It seems the only way to get deserving Halos into the game is to get Sosh in as the AL Manager.

01 July 2010

on vlad and vengence

Just a short thought:

I think it is absolutely ridiculous for Halo fans and media to criticize Vlad for showing some emotion and focus in burning the Angels.

First of all, let's not write revisionist history. We know that Vlad looked like a shell of himself last year. We know that mostly everyone doubted he could regain his former glory. And we know that the FO didn't want to give Vlad a multi-year deal (and most Halo fans agreed). Vlad wanted more than what the FO was willing to give and so both sides moved on. By the time Vlad realized that a multi-year deal wasn't going to happen, the Halos had moved on and signed Matsui. Timing just wasn't there. Vlad did NOT turn his back on the Angels and he did NOT bad-mouth the organization (a la Lackey).

Sure, Vlad might have taken the lack of free-agent offers to motivate him and get in shape during the offseason. A good player uses whatever they can to motivate them to constantly strive to be better. And that kind of disappointment is a great motivator. And the prospect of displaying his talents to the Halos (and others) may be pushing him.

But you know, there's also the fact that Texas and the Halos are in the same division. That they're rivals. That this series is actually important, despite what Michael Young says. I'm sure any good athlete tries to step up their game when playing a rival. I'm sure if it was Torii, or Bobby that hit 3HR and got 8RBI in this series, we'd be lauding their ability to perform in the big games.

The point I'm trying to make is that yes, Vlad is looking motivated and doing so well this series. But has anyone thought it might not be because he's looking for revenge, but because this is a big series between two big division rivals?


I'm gathering my thoughts for a later post on Kaz and the state of the infield. So hopefully by tomorrow my disappointment and discouraged state will have dissippated, and I'll have a clearly thought-out post.