For all intents and purposes, the Angels off-season is over. Amazingly, I have not once had to resort to one of these random thought pieces in order to content flowing throughout the winter. Turns out that overhauling the front office and then signing the greatest player alive gives us bloggers a lot of material to work with. Who knew? Anyway, I've finally run out of full blown topics to discuss, so kindly allow me to fling some random Angels-related thoughts at you.
- This probably means less than nothing, but on the Angels official website's depth chart, Mike Trout is listed as the main back-up at all three outfield positions.
- I tried researching this for a full article, but the data available was a little hinky. The basic premise was the Angel bullpen having very good ERA yet the general perception by fans being that the relief corps was miserable. Surely there had to be an explanation. Sure enough, there was. The Halos relievers led the league in average leverage index. That means they were pitching in pressure-packed situations more than most teams. Therefore, when they spit the bit, it really hurt. What I wanted to do was figure out what their collective ERA was in high and medium leverage situations compared to the rest of the league, but the data was no good, so this is as far as it went. Anyway, this led me to believe that even with just the addition of LaTroy Hawkins, the Angel bullpen will be better this year because the offense is better, meaning the relievers won't constantly be protecting slim leads, so when they do stumble, it won't hurt as much.
- Not to rain on everyone's parade, but Jerry Dipoto is pretty much being treated like a genius by Angel fans right now. Not to knock the guy, but he has a lot left to prove. Signing Pujols was a great display of his ability to close a deal and be a salesman, but it was also a potentially catastrophic gamble. Picking up Wilson was a good move too, but C.J. practically begged the Halos to sign him, so just like with Pujols, all Dipoto needed was Arte Moreno to approve the cash expenditure. I'm just saying the degree of difficulty of what he accomplished might be somewhat overstated. For everything else, the jury remains out. For the record, I think he will do an excellent job, but I also think our perception of him is tainted by the way Reagins' reign went down in flames.
- If you thought the moronic trade speculation around Peter Bourjos was bad, just wait until you see what could happen by mid-season with the rest of the roster. Imagine how many ridiculous rumors will involve Ervin Santana if Jerome Williams has a strong season in the fifth starter slot while Garrett Richards dominates Triple-A. However, that will pale in comparison to what we will be in store for if Kendrys Morales returns to form, thus making Mark Trumbo even more extraneous than he already is. Hypothetically, the Halos are positioned to become crux of the rumor mill come the trade deadline.
- File this under a good problem to have: what if Vernon Wells has a great season this year? I don't mean that from a roster standpoint, I mean that from a "who will we channel our hatred at" standpoint. Mathis, Kazmir and Rodney are gone, so Wells is the de facto target for Angel fan bile, but it he ends up playing well, there really isn't a logical heir apparent.
- I don't care much for the MLB Fan Cave thing, but for those who do, voting is now open. I only mention this because of the 50 finalists, five are Angel fans, which is pretty great. If you want to vote, vote for one of them, preferably Ricardo Marquez (aka @iBlogBetter and satirist at LA Angels Insider). He's funny and he's good people.
- Here's a question I am hoping one of you has an answer to: why must all Spring Training games start at 1 PM? I feel like we live in a day and age where these games would find a decent sized audience if broadcast on the team's regional sports network, yet they are on in the middle of the day instead of a more viewer friendly time. I get not showing them during prime time, especially since RSNs probably have NBA, NHL or college basketball games to show, but what would be wrong with a 4 or 5 PM start? Or This is either a great idea or maybe I should just shut up and DVR the games instead (which I can't do since I live in Seattle, so it really doesn't matter what time the Angels ST games are on because I won't be able to watch them no matter when they are on).
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May I mention that March used to be my favorite month because I could listen to a Dodgers game at 10am and then switch to the Angels for the main course at noon, when the Dodgers lineup was now all scrubs? It's a great way to pass the time at work and if you go to am830.net you should be able to click on the "Listen Live" button and ease the burdens of your work day. I'm a little puzzled as to why Fox would cut back on the Angels telecasts in Seattle. Is there a competitive AL team nearby?
The Fan Cave. Ridiculous. I'd be lying of I said I hope your boy wins because I'll never see him if he does.
Continuing with the media theme o' the day, MLBTV's Hot Stove really had to stretch to tell us about "the problem in Anaheim", too many outfielders. As if BA could be considered an outfielder anymore. He's just a wart on the roster at this point. Wait, I meant to say "DH insurance" since OPB is the altar we all bow in front of.
I love the depth chart thing. It matches perfectly with my (continuing) thought the Angels should have him spell left and right once or twice a week and center once a week. Maybe that's for later in the season after Abreu gets DFA'd and the old guys get tired(er).