Daily Links for the LA Angels including Santana makes his spring debut, Walden on the closer's track, the Angels payroll officially checks in at $138 million and much more...
The Monkey Says: Santana didn't look real sharp, but he was clearly experimenting out there as we saw when he uncorked a wild pitch that was supposed to be the new splitfinger pitch he has been working on (back to the drawing board, Ervin). One interesting development from the game is that Mark Trumbo clubbed a big home run. It is early yet, but Trumbo is starting to turn heads and if he keeps it up, he is going to put a lot of pressure on Angel management to maybe keep Mark on the Opening Day roster at the expense of Brandon Wood.
The Monkey Says: I think the Angels want him to be and so do the fans, for sure. But it is important that we all stay realistic with Jordan. His velocity is clearly impressive, but his minor league stats are actually a bit underwhelming considering his innate talent. Walden certainly could be the closer someday, I just think he has to prove himself a bit more before he is entrusted with such an important job.
The Monkey Says: This is actually a pretty important number. The Halos entered the off-season with an alleged payroll target of $135 million, which means they are $3 million over budget. That could mean the Angels will look to dump salary if they are out of contention at the trade deadline or, even worse, they won't be able to take on salary should they still be in contention.
The Monkey Says: Guess who wrote this? You'll never get it. That's right, Lyle Spencer! I'm shocked too. OK, I am going to be nice here and save the standard anti-Mathis tirade. Instead, I offer up a treaty. How about I layoff the Mathis-bashing if the pro-Mathis camp (which I am pretty sure is just Lyle) promises to refrain from trying to convince us that Mathis is finally going to break out with the bat until he actually does something positive at the plate during the regular season. Deal?
The Monkey Says: I am interested to see how exactly they intend to do that since they pretty much have the same infielders as last year. They do get Kendry Morales back at first for a full season (hopefully), which will help since he is far better than the inexperienced bums the Angels tried to replace him with. However, the real onus is on Erick Aybar and, to a lesser extent, Howie Kendrick to rebound from poor defensive performance in 2010 after strong performances in 2009.
The Monkey Says: My money is on Alfredo Griffin, who has started to generate a bit of interest this off-season. However, I do think that new bench coach Rob Picciolo could become a popular candidate very quickly as people were raving about him when the Halos brought him on board.
The Monkey Says: Chatwood, who is only 21, is the Angels' best starting pitching prospect right now, so a lot of eyes are on him. It will be interesting to see if the Angels do get aggressive with him and start him out in Triple-A even though he only played about half a season in Double-A. They might be a little reticent to promote him so aggressively since they did the same thing with Trevor Reckling, who was also quite young, last year and it blew up in their face.