Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Angels Come To Terms With DH Hideki Matsui

It's being reported by mlbtraderumors.com that the Angels have signed World Series hero Hideki Matsui, 35 to a one year, 6.5 million dollar deal.  The Matsui signing signals a likely end to the Angel career of Vladimir Guerrero who had served in the DH role this past season, and is a free agent.

Assuming that Guerrero is gone, the Angels went 0 for 3 on resigning their superstar players Chone Figgins, John Lackey, and Guerrero.

They also missed out on the Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee (who knew?) sweepstakes.  Reportedly, they are still in the running for BoSox OF Jason Bay (who would be the 7th outfielder), but what is their plan for pitching?

Not only have the Halos watched their team become diluted by exiting talent, but they have also sat on the sidelines and watched their AL West rival Seattle Mariners add serious talent to their squad in utility man Chone Figgins, and SP Cliff Lee.

Have we been bamboozled?

Friday, November 6, 2009

Angels, Abreu come to terms

The outfielder agrees to a two-year, $19 million deal to stay with the team.


ANAHEIM -- The last is first.

Veteran outfielder Bobby Abreu, left out in the cold for most of last winter's free-agent season, didn't sign with the Angels until the eve of spring training.

Aberu established himself as one of the best bargains in baseball this past season, and he and the Angels agreed to a two-year, $19 million contract Thursday on the first day eligible players could file for free agency. The agreement will pay Abreu $9 million each of the next two seasons with an option for another $9 million in 2012.

The third year vests if Abreu makes 550 plate appearances in 2011 or a total of 1,200 over the next two seasons. The Angels can buy out the option year for $1 million.

Abreu played this past season for $5 million plus $1 million in incentives.

"We have a number of decisions to make. This was definitely a significant step," Angels general manager GM Tony Reagins said of signing Abreu, one of seven potential free agents the Angels have this offseason.

"We felt Bobby was someone we definitely wanted back. He really transformed our lineup. He really brings so much to our lineup and to our clubhouse."

Abreu, 35, hit .293 with 96 runs scored, 15 home runs, 30 stolen bases, 103 RBIs and a .390 on-base percentage in 152 games.

He reached a number of milestones with those numbers: 12 consecutive seasons of at least 150 games (five players in baseball history have done that), seven consecutive 100-RBI seasons (only Albert Pujols among active players can match that), a fifth season of 30 steals and 100 RBIs (only the fifth player in baseball history with that many) and more than 2,000 career hits.

But it was Abreu's influence on the Angels hitters that proved as valuable as his production. Abreu took 67.6 percent of the pitches he saw this season, second most in the majors, and his patience and disciplined approach served as a positive example for other Angels hitters.

The fact that his approach was appreciated by the Angels went a long way toward making him want to return, Abreu said Thursday.

"If you see this season, the last three or four seasons have been the same (statistically for him)," Abreu said. "This year, I've been more recognized by the fans and one of the reasons is the Angels let the people know what I'm doing here.

"It means a lot to me this year to have a lot of respect on the field. This is a team that gives you an opportunity to be in the playoffs. My first time with them, I was very close to the World Series. Why not stay?"

Convincing the Angels' other free agents of that will be Reagins' task over the next two weeks. Teams have exclusive negotiating rights with their own free agents for the first 15 days after the conclusion of the World Series. For the Angels, that list includes John Lackey, Darren Oliver, Vladimir Guerrero, Chone Figgins, Robb Quinlan and Kelvim Escobar.

Abreu's quick signing would seem to make it less likely Guerrero will return. But Reagins said one free-agent decision does not preclude another.

"This is just Step One. It doesn't make our other decisions any more difficult or easier to make," Reagins said. "This just means we know we have Bobby in the fold. He can play right field, left field or DH. So one of those holes is filled."

Prelminary contract discussions with Abreu's agent had been going on for weeks before things were finalized in the past 48 hours, Reagins said. Discussions with the Angels' other free agents have not progressed nearly as far but "things can change quickly," Reagins said.

The other free agent likely to be as easy to re-sign as Abreu is Oliver. The veteran left-hander has said he would consider retiring after the 2009 season but Reagins said Oliver, 39, indicated to him that "he's interested in playing next year" but "that decision was not 100 percent made."
If Oliver wants to continue playing, the Angels have significant interest in re-signing Oliver, Reagins said. Over three seasons with the Angels, Oliver has a 15-3 record and 3.09 ERA.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Hex Shmex!!

For all the talk of Boston having the Angels number, they looked absolutely helpless last night at Angels Stadium.

John Lackey hadn't won a Playoff game since Game #7 of the World Series in 2002, when he was still a rookie. No matter!! Big John was pounding the strike zone, throwing darts, fooling Red Sox batters and scattering 4 singles into the 8th inning when, he was replaced with Darren Oliver. A huge standing ovation from the crowd enduced a snappy tip of the cap, almost signifying a "Thank You" to crowd and a "Take That!" to the opposing dugout.

On the hitting side, the biggest blow of the night came in the 5th inning when Torii Hunter ripped a 3R Home Run into the rockpile in Center Field. His emphatic flip of the bat, fist pump as he rounded 1st base and helmet slam and scream as he walked through the dugout served notice that he would not allow his team to fail. Not this night... Not against this opponent...

The energy in the stadium was electric and the fans were loud, loud, loud!! Unlike past postseason series against the Red Sox, the crowd was 99% Halo Power with just a few sprinkled Red Sox fans. Having managed only a few base runners the entire game, the few that were there were eerily silent, slumping over as batter after batter failed to make an impact on the game. Three errors by the BoSox summed up just how unprepared the players were for this crucial Game #1. Many felt the Angels had to win convincingly to show that they would not allow the past postseason failures of 2004 - 2008 to the Red Sox to repeat themselves. That they did!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Knee Operation To Knock Shields Out For The Remainder Of The Season

Angels middle reliever and major innings eater has decided to get knee surgery which will shut down the rest of his season. 

According to the LA Times, "Shields said he made the decision Saturday night after consulting with Dr. Lewis Yocum, the Angels' medical director."

This continues the Halos pitching blues that have been marred by injury and tragedy to their pitching staff.

Story Source

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Goodbye Howie!

This blogger is briefly lifting his self-imposed ban of acknowledging Howie Kendrick's existence to tell you that he has been sent down to the Angels triple A club. This blogger could not be happier.

As a fan, there's times when you just know that the so-called experts are wrong about somebody, and this was one of those cases. According to everyone who knows anything about baseball, Kendrick was a sure fire great hitter in the making. And this trip to the minors doesn't mean he won't be.

But you can just tell when a guy looks like the real deal, and in my viewing experience, Kendrick never did. I hope the Angels bring up Brandon Wood today, and judging by every other Angels blog I've ever seen, most of you agree.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Lackey Throws Two Pitches And Is Ejected

Recently off the DL, Angels Ace John Lackey throws two pitches and is ejected from the game.

The delayed due to rain game in Texas saw Lackey take the mound, throw his first pitch behind Texas Ranger Ian Kinsler, and then nail him in the ribs with his 2nd.

The Rangers have hit well against Lackey in the past.  The box score from Lackey's last start against Texas was 2.2 innings pitched, 12 hits, and 10 earned runs.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Starters Getting Healthy, Bullpen Relieved

ANAHEIM -- Angels ace John Lackey made it comfortably through 80 pitches and five innings on Sunday in his second Minor League rehab start for Triple-A Salt Lake, putting him right on schedule to go against the Rangers this weekend in a three-game series.

Ervin Santana, also having sailed through two Minor League rehab outings, threw a bullpen session before Tuesday night's game against the Red Sox and also could be activated when the Angels hit the road for a swing through Texas, Seattle and back to Los Angeles for an Interleague Series at Dodger Stadium against the Dodgers.

"We're making some decisions as the day's moving on," manager Mike Scioscia said. "There are a lot of things we're looking at. John's ready to pitch for us. He's going to throw a bullpen tomorrow or [Thursday]. Ervin, we're going to look and see how he comes out of this 'pen. He feels great."

Lackey, having yielded three runs against Portland in his five innings, left no doubt that his recovery from a strained right forearm has him strong enough to challenge the Rangers' explosive lineup in the series that opens on Friday night.

"I feel good," Lackey said. "Definitely, I think I'm past it. I threw 78 pitches [on Sunday] and felt like I had 10 or 15 left in me. That was a good sign."

Another positive sign was maintaining his stuff and command throughout, to the finish.
Asked about getting the call on Friday on his native turf, Lackey said, "Yeah, I feel like I am where I'm ready. I've been around the block once or twice. I even threw a couple of good changeups. I don't even do that here."

Lackey got enough outs with fastballs and curveballs in 2007 to finish third in the Cy Young Award balloting and win a career-high 19 games along with the league ERA title.

Having missed the season's first six weeks for the second year in a row with arm issues -- it was a triceps strain that cost him eight or nine starts in 2008 -- he's understandably eager to get started.

Santana wasn't as expressive or definitive as Lackey, saying only that he feels good in his recovery from a sprained right elbow ligament.

"I don't know when I'm pitching," Santana said. "That's not my decision. But I feel good. We'll see what happens."

Santana was an American League All-Star in 2008, emerging as one of the game's dominant starters with a 16-7 record, 3.49 ERA and 214 strikeouts (second in the AL) in 219 innings. He also was fourth in batting average against at .237.

"If they're ready to take that next step," Scioscia said, "it's going to be with us."

Two other Angels starters -- Kelvim Escobar and Dustin Moseley -- are in Arizona in extended spring training.

Escobar, eligible to come off the disabled list on June 4 in his recovery from shoulder surgery last July, pitched in a camp game on Monday and "threw very well," according to Scioscia.

Moseley, on the disabled list with tightness in his right forearm, had his first appearance in game conditions postponed by "a little issue up in his neck," Scioscia said. Moseley is being treated and it is not considered serious, the manager added.