If it wasn't for this cursed offense who knows how far up in the standings the Angels would be?! I've seen countless games this season that should have been won had it not been for this offense breaking down and playing rather pathetic baseball. But then again, if it wasn't our lack of reliable relievers who knows how many close games the Angels could have come out on top of. One too many games have been blown by Rodney and his lefty Asian counterpart Hisanori Takahashi. These are the two most pressing problems for the Angels going towards the trade deadline, but which one do the Angels need the most? A big bat or a bigger arm?
Pitching Probables: LAA -- Dan Haren (10-5, 2.61 ERA) OAK -- Brandon McCarthy (1-5, 3.66)
Game Info: 7:05 PM PT; TV - FS-West; Radio - KLAA 830 AM
The Angels open the official second half of the season in arguably the worst stadium in baseball chasing one of the hottest teams for supremacy in the AL West. The Texas Rangers are on one of those refuse to lose jags that make you sick to your stomach when it isn't your team. As hot as the Angels have been the past few weeks, they are in danger of losing ground if they don't come off the All Star Break and pick up right where they left off.
Time for Free For All Friday, a time to talk about all the Angels-related topics that slipped through the cracks this week, as well as any other totally unrelated topic you feel like bringing up.
Here are a few topics for you to discuss amongst yourselves:
- I fully planned this week to write some brilliant proposal for a perfect trade that the Angels could make to clear a starting spot for Mike Trout for the rest of the season. But as hard as I thought about it, I just could not find a deal that the Halos could actually pull off and still come away just as good (or better) as they were before. What bothers me about that is that the Angels will still have pretty much the same problem this off-season, though they should have more options then. What doesn't bother me about that is that I don't think Trout is ready to be a regular in the bigs right now, so the logjam in front of him will force him back down to the minors for the rest of the season, where he belongs.
- Can someone explain to me how technology has become so advanced that I can pretty much launch satellites with my phone but vending machines still can't accept my dollar bill if it has the slightest crease in it? Why do I feel like this is still going to be a problem long after we all travel around via jetpacks and flying cars?
- You know, I was on the fence about a potential deal for Aramis Ramirez, something people have suggested all season long. But when the Mark Saxon impersonator pulled off the hoax saying the Angels had trade for Aramis, before we all go word that it was actually a hoax, my deep-down real world reaction ended up being a positive one, so I guess my subconscious must've signed off on the deal somewhere along the way without telling me. Too bad Ramirez is too expensive (this year and next, his 2012 option vests if he gets dealt) and unlikely to waive his no-trade clause.
- So, one weird observation I've had since moving to Seattle is that the company that makes all the port-a-potties is called Honey Bucket, so there are all these portable toilets that say Honey Bucket all over the place. Whenever I see the "Honey Buckets" I always imagine that some bear is going to find its way into the city and see this giant thing that says "Honey Bucket" (because, in my imagination, bears are literate) and get all excited that he just found the mother lode of sweet, sweet honey only to discover how horribly misleading that sign was and immediately go on a rampage. Hmmm, maybe I just shared too much?
- Mayber this makes me "not a true fan" but I really enjoy the All-Star break, especially this year. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE baseball, but even I need a break sometimes, especially since I started this blog and started working for Bloguin too. It isn't just a break for the players, it is a break for hardcore fans like me. A nice little three-day baseball detox every few months is exactly what I needed.
Or just feel free to bring up a topic of your own. I don't really care (as long as you keep it clean) because it's Friday.
From the emergence of Jered Weaver as an elite starter to the wretched start of Vernon Wells and back to Howie Kendrick's breakout first half, the Angels first half of the season has seen a lot of ups and downs. At the end of it all, they stand at 50-42 and poised for what could be an epic battle with the Rangers for the 2011 AL West division title.
If the Angels are going to emerge victorious come the end of the season, they are going to need to keep getting strong performances from the kids and the veterans alike, but what they need more than anything is Torii Hunter to step his game up and lead the team on the field as well as he leads them in the clubhouse.
The Angels first-half success was predicated on their outstanding pitching, something they can expect to sustain them in the second half. Even with the continued dominance of Jered Weaver and Dan Haren, the Angels are far from a lock to regain their AL West crown, not with the offense always a looming threat to drag the team down. But as we have seen the last few weeks, if the lineup can produce with some consistency, the Angels are very difficult to beat. Figuring out how to keep that offensive momentum going should be the team's paramount concern the rest of the way.
Since addressing that issue via trade is looking less and less likely, the Angels will have to look within to keep their offensive fire lit. They shouldn't have to look far though as one man has the ability to stoke those flames: Torii Hunter.
The July 15th, 2011 edition of daily news for the LA Angels including Bourjos targeting a return to action this weekend, Angels expected to "pinch pennies" at the trade deadline, Segura climbs Law's prospect rankings and much more...
The Monkey Says: The team has not confirmed that, but if he is running on a treadmill and shagging balls, he can't be far off from a return.
The Monkey Says: I've said it a hundred times in the last month, but this is pretty obvious news. The Halos can't afford to add major salary right now, but I don't think Moreno will be so miserly as to prevent Reagins from adding a million or two for some bench or bullpen depth.
We spend so much time talking about what trades we would love for our teams to make whenever the trade deadline nears, but as we Angel fans know all too well, there are also trades that we should be hoping our teams don't make. Instead of waiting for Tony Reagins to make his next potential blunder, I'm issuing a pre-emptive strike and listing ten deals this Halo faithful fan would rather not see come to fruition.
Have we learned our lesson yet, Tony?
- Carlos Pena. I keep seeing this rumor and I just don't get it. Mark Trumbo isn't great, but he isn't bad either. Pena does have power and patience, but I don't really think Mike Scioscia is interested in adding another guy with an average barely over .200 to the middle of the order.
- Ramon Hernandez. This was floated by some outlets recently and while I like the idea of the Angels acquiring a catcher that can actually hit, I don't like the idea of the Halos giving up prospects for a catcher that Mike Scioscia will still find a way to slot behind Jeff Mathis on the depth chart.
- Francisco Rodriguez. Fortunately, the Brewers already traded for K-Rod, so he is off the market which is just fine by me since all the hair I lost suffering through K-Rod's last years as an Angel only just grew back
- Alfonso Soriano. Soriano isn't being mentioned in any trade rumors since he has arguably the worst contract in baseball... kind of like Vernon Wells did before Tony Reagins traded for him. Don't do it, Tony!
- Octavio Dotel. Maybe I'm just imagining things, but I feel like Dotel is harbinger of doom for teams that trade for him at the deadline. He's been passed around the league because his numbers are always good, but never great, and some desperate team always seem to take a flier on him but that team never goes anywhere. I don't want the Angels to be that team.
- Luke Scott. He could be the lefty-power bat they want, but I don't know how well a "birther" is going to fit in in a blue state like California.
- Daric Barton. This has been an under-the-radar rumbling, and he certainly wouldn't cost the Angels much, but the last thing this team is to have minimal power at every single infield position.
- Anyone from the Tampa Bay Rays. Last time Reagins dealt with Andrew Friedman, Scott Kazmir happened. No thank you, sir.
- Jeff Mathis. Yeah, I know, he's already on the team but the fact that the Pirates showed any kind of interest in giving up a real player with an actual pulse for Mathis is something the Angels would be fools not to take full advantage of, especially since he is a likely non-tender candidate this off-season. Oh, that and he is absolutely, truly terrible.
- Nobody. I know the budget is stretched to the limit, but this current Angel roster just isn't quite good enough to be true contenders. I don't necessarily think they need to add a star, but they have a few holes that need to be shored up if they are really going to overtake the Rangers and challenge for the World Series.
The July 14th, 2011 edition of daily news for the LA Angels including Aramis Ramirez trade rumors are just a hoax, the Halos could sit out the trade deadline, Howie Kendrick is a top candidate for a second half slump and much more...
The Monkey Says: Someone made a fake Mark Saxon Twitter account and tried to say the Angels had completed a deal for Aramis Ramirez, but Saxon himself refuted the report. Buster Olney even followed up on it and both teams said they haven't even talked to each other about Ramirez, which could be true since Aramis has a no-trade clause and has said he would block a potential trade out of Chicago.
The Monkey Says: Of course, any team has the potential to not be able to pull any trades off. I doubt the Angels will be completely inactive though, especially since Tony Reagins went out of his way a few weeks ago to publicly state that the team can add payroll via trade and even said he intended to do so. At a minimum, they figure to be pretty likely to add a veteran arm to the bullpen.