The November 10th, 2011 edition of daily news for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim including DiPoto says not to rule out the Angels on big name free agents, he also hints at adding a closer, Trout likely to start 2012 season at Triple-A and much more...
The Monkey Says: DiPoto says he believes in signing big impact players, but he also says that the likes of Fielder and Pujols are not a priority to them right now, so it probably won't happen. However, he says he wants to get Downs and Walden "some help for closing out the last three outs of a game." That sounds a lot to me like he is going to make a play for a legit closer and not a lower-end setup man. Perhaps the combo of these comments means he is going to go after a big name closer free agent?
The Monkey Says: Add to that the article above in which DiPoto says he wants Trout to play everyday and that if he can't do that in the majors, he'll do it in the minors. It definitely sounds like they are readying us for Trout to start with the Bees. That makes a lot of sense since the Halos will at least want to try and give Vernon Wells a chance to rebound and make them look not so stupid. However, it is worth noting that they haven't always been honest about their plans for Trout. Don't forget that Scioscia and Reagins both said in no uncertain terms that Trout would NOT be called up to the majors at all in 2011, yet they went and did just that.
The Monkey Says: And his reward? The Angels dumped him from their 40-man roster and made him a minor league free agent earlier this week.
The Monkey Says: Your state tax dollars at work. A bunch of kids sitting in a stadium, not paying any attention to a "history class" with no real educational value. I can't imagine why the test scores in California suck so much.
Trading Trumbo would be asinine. There is absolutely no guarantee that Morales is going to come back, and if he does, to what level he will perform? He'd probably be a DH anyway, to keep as much pressure as possible off the leg. Plus, look what Trumbo did as a rookie... can you imagine what he'll do as he matures as a hitter? Why would you trade him??? As for Trout, there are two questions that affect when he will be back in Anaheim: will Wells bounce back, and more so, will Abreu? If Abreu isn't hitting by June, look for him to be cut - the Angels are not afraid of doing stuff like that. I'd like to see them get Heath Bell for three years, groom Walden while using him as the set-up guy, and have Downs be Mr. 7th inning. That was the kind of bullpen rotation they used from '02 through '09, but they lost their way when Scott Shields lost his stuff due to injury. Getting Bell would bring that formula back... and please don't suggest Papelbon instead of Bell - Papelbon is overpaid, under performing, and has a recent history of injuries.
As for the history class world record thing, thanks to our "leadership" in Sacramento, that's how California works these days - all show, no dough. Stuff like this makes me embarrassed to say I'm a native.
Finally, some stuff to sink your teeth into! Bowden also tweeted some things from his interview with Dipoto: http://twitter.com/#!/JimBowdenESPNxm. I know how giving a big contract to a closer is considered a bad idea given how often they get hurt, how few innings they pitch, and their history of not working out. But I still wouldn't have a problem signing Madson or Papelbon considering how important having a closer who can reliably protect slim leads is to our team. But I think Dipoto, having worked with master bullpen builder Kevin Towers, will go the trade route to secure a closer. I can see something like Trumbo for Hanrahan, then signing Ryan Doumit to play some 1B. But with his comments about prioritizing acquiring a RH impact closer/reliever and adding OBP to the infield, I think it makes the most sense to trade Trumbo to help fill the most holes. And if he wants an innings eating SP stabilizer, it doesn't sound like Bedard will be a target. Thank goodness we're not targeting Aramis Ramirez.
Oh, with a kid in ninth grade I could go on and on about why the education is failing so miserably in CA. The slogan used to be "At least we're not Mississippi so we're not last!" Now the spin is "We finally made it to last place!"
Anyway, I see that I was incorrect about Hugo "I'm the only president for life crazier than Kim Jong-Il and Ahmadinejad combined" Chavez's love of baseball, combined with his power position, being able to control the criminals enough to keep them from abducting baseball players. I see the Nationals' Wilson Ramos has been kidnapped, apparently for ransom, in Venezuela. Do we know if Trumbo's foot healed enough to send him there for winter ball? If so, get him home now. Why any team would send their players to a place like that is beyond me in the first place.
On the plus side, I hear there's a NL team desperate for a catcher. Maybe they will overpay for Jeff Mathis.
@bginsc Trumbo does have things going for him like his power and some metrics say his defense at 1b is good. I just think he is the likeliest to be traded because 1) he has enough value as a cost-controlled hitter with power to reel in a young shutdown closer 2) DiPoto has said he wants to increase OBP in the infield and 3) it is easiest to replace Trumbo via free agency. I personally am not expecting anything from Morales and would even consider non-tendering him. But we can sign a relatively cheap guy like Doumit, Willingham, or Johnson and stick him at 1b on a one or two year contract if need be until Cron is ready. I would think a second division NL team like the Pirates would love to get Trumbo and they don't need need a closer since they will finish under .500 with or without one.
@bginsc Lots of analysis have been made about Trumbo, and many claimed him to become another all-or-nothing batter because of his inability to draw walks. Trumbo may prove useful, but he has never shown great ceiling or potential. Also, checking his peripherals I must say he's not that great player some assume, therefore I believe he is a trade candidate now. I agree the Angels should adress 1B situation, but if we end up landing someone to man there, YES, we should move him.
@bginsc Trading Trumbo might actually be pretty smart. Sluggers that never take walks have a very poor history of sustained success, so the Halos could trade him now while his value is still high. But as you said, they can only afford to do that if they have confidence in Morales' health.
As for Abreu, I think they are done with him. His bat isn't coming back and they will either dump him or simply keep him around as a bench player.
I agree with you on Bell over Papelbon, but both will be very expensive thanks to Madson ruining the salary curve. I just don't know that they want to spend most of their available payroll on one reliever. As @scioscialite suggests, the trade market is looking like the way to go.
@scioscialite I like where you are going with the closer stuff. Madson totally blew up the market and my stance on not trading for a closer is definitely starting to change. Guys like Huston Street, Hanrahan and Andrew Bailey are all on the market this off-season, so the trade market actually could be flooded as well, meaning the Angels can get a good closer for cheap.
Just saw those Bowden tweets this morning, definitely will comment on them tomorrow. Very interesting to see him already rule out Ramirez.
Thing is, the Halos need power. Hunter is a good player and a great guy, but his skills are starting to decline. Wells is a huge question mark. Morales represents the great unknown at this point - will he come back or won't he, and to what level? Ergo, you can't trade the one consistent power hitter the team has. Plus, I think everyone is judging Trumbo prematurely on his ability to draw walks. Rookies hardly ever draw walks - that only comes with experience. No one knows if he'll ever get there, but judging that on his rookie season alone could be a big mistake. Besides, if the guy can hit .275 - .300, drive in 90-110, and hit 30-plus dings... then the walks don't matter so much; if he gets a few here or there you take it and smile. At least imho, anyway :)
@monkeywithahalo@bginsc@scioscialite True, the real thing the Angels need is finding a taker for Trumbo and sign either Prince or Albert. Expensive for sure, but we can handle it for an year, as both Hunter and Abreu will be gone at most at the end of 2012, freeing 27M of our payroll while leaving no position uncovered (Morales DH, Trout OF). I hope he can convince Arte to sign the check.
@scioscialite I think I'd rather go with your trade thing than spending too much money for too much time for some bigger name guy. I was just reading a piece by Dave Schoenfield entitled "Ryan Madson a bad risk at $40-plus million" which bore out the anecdotal evidence residing in my mind that a closer is mostly used up by the time he reaches free agency.
@bginsc True, the Angels do need power, so trading him would be a risk, but the patience thing will always be a killer. I would love to see Trumbo blossom, but he didn't draw walks in the minors either and he has never profiled as someone who would hit for average.
Yup, Bell is in noticeable decline and loss of a draft choice will not sit well with Jerry, I hope. Word is he also wants a multi-year deal, too, and I'm pretty sure Arte has been burned there once too often in the reliever market to go along with that idea.
@alansmafra @monkeywithahalo Not so sure about Bell. He just turned 34, and though he had some great years in the past, Fangraphs had him contributing 0.5 WAR this year. His declining K rate is worrisome, and I'm just suspicious of fly ball pitchers who succeed at Petco. He will also cost a first round draft pick and will be expensive. Papelbon will be mire expensive, but I think he's way less risky than Bell. But I don't see the Angels putting out the necessary cash to get a FA closer anyway.
@scioscialite Yes, similar results for Eckersley except his problem became something of a stamina issue. Those three years in the late 70's when he averaged 250 innings really wore on him later as a starter but he seemed to work out OK as a reliever. Interestingly, it was Oakland that recognized the cure for both of these guys. They were well ahead of the curve there, I guess. There must be somebody in the minors whose evaluation is, "Great stuff but can't figure out how to get out of the fifth." I'd feel better about Chatwood doing this if my memory banks didn't have too many of those He Got Hit Pretty Hard Early type of outing for the big club.
@Rick K. Also reminds me of hearing about how Rollie Fingers couldn't hack it as a starter because he would get so nervous the night before his starts he couldn't sleep. He'd be so tired the next day he couldn't get through the first few innings. John McNamara converted him into a reliever and the anxiety issue went away since he didn't know when he would be coming in. Kind of interesting because most relievers are converted because they lack a third pitch - Fingers had a full (good) starter's arsenal that he could use. It's awesome to watch those old A's - Dodgers World Series game replays where you would see Fingers being brought in the fifth or sixth innings and close the games out.
@Rick K. Great point that I'm certainly guilty of overlooking. Historically, the best relievers (esp. ones who can go multiple innings) are indeed failed starters. Hanrahan and Clippard, just to name two that come to mind, were starters throughout their minor league careers and early in their major league careers before they were converted and became dominant relievers. Dipoto and Co. surely have a list of both FAs and pitchers in other organizations who have put up marginal results as starters but who they feel have the stuff to be good relievers. It kind of sounds like Dipoto has in mind someone who has shown they can close already, but if they are too expensive in terms of money or trade swag, I can totally see him taking a chance on a failed starter, especially if it saves us enough money to really upgrade in another area. Can you see anybody curently in the Angels org who might fit the bill? Would Chatwood's fastball get even firmer and would his command get better if he stuck to two pitches for 1-2 inning stints?
@scioscialite Yes, you'd think if Morales was really improving we'd be getting weekly puff pieces on his medical care and workout regimen. In this case silence isn't golden, it's scary.
Like KLaw always says, used failed starters for your relievers. We've got plenty of those.
@Rick K. That was a good article. And I suspect that there's probably a certain snobbishness among the smarter GM about paying big bucks for a closer. The Rays are a great example of a team able to put together great pens out of scraps. If Trumbo does end up getting moved, I can also see Dipoto signing a guy like Kelly Johnson to a one or two year deal and sticking him at 1B until they feel CJ Cron may be ready. Or Kendrys, though I'm not counting on him at all.