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Angels Open Against Mariners

March 31st, 2014

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The offseason ends tonight. Angels against Mariners. Jered Weaver against Felix Hernandez. First pitch at 7:00 PM PST.

The Angels have had a relatively quiet offseason, in that they didn’t spend ravenously on the free agent market. Instead, the Halos added talent via the trade market, dumping Peter Bourjos and Mark Trumbo and bringing back David Freese, Hector Santiago, and Tyler Skaggs. The idea is that these additions, in conjunction with bounce back years from Albert Pujols, Josh Hamilton, should be enough to push the team back into October for the first time since 2009.

Seattle did things differently this offseason. General Manager Jack Zduriencik shelled out $240 million to bring Robinson Cano to town before adding Corey Hart, Logan Morrison, and Fernando Rodney. The Mariners should be much better this season, but it’s unclear whether or not they’ve done enough to challenge for a postseason berth in the increasingly competitive AL West, and their pitching staff has taken some early hits, with both Hisashi Iwakuma and Taijuan Walker slated to miss time early in the season.

In this three-game series, the Mariners will send Hernandez, Erasmo Ramirez, and James Paxton to the bump against Weaver, C.J. Wilson, and Hector Santiago. Here’s how the Angels’ projected lineup has fared against King Felix in the past:

  1. Kole Calhoun: 0-for-4
  2. Mike Trout: 15-for-38
  3. Albert Pujols 5-for-26
  4. Josh Hamilton: 10-for-61
  5. David Freese: Never faced.
  6. Raul Ibanez: 2-for-11
  7. Howie Kendrick: 20-for-67
  8. Chris Iannetta: 2-for-15
  9. Erick Aybar: 15-for-69

And here’s how the Mariners’ projected lineup has performed against Weaver:

  1. Abe Almonte: Never faced.
  2. Kyle Seager: 3-for-15
  3. Robinson Cano: 12-for-32
  4. Justin Smoak: 7-for-27
  5. Corey Hart: Never faced.
  6. Logan Morrison: 0-for-2
  7. Dustin Ackley: 6-for-19
  8. Mike Zunino: 0-for-2
  9. Brad Miller: 0-for-6

King Felix has remained awesome into his late twenties, posting the best strikeout-to-walk ratio of his career in 2013. The 28-year-old relied much more heavily on his sinker and change-up last season, and that trend appears to be continuing this spring. Felix has both deception and stuff, so he’s usually a good bet to get a lot of people out.

Weaver looks to stay healthy early this season. After going 200+ innings for three straight seasons, the 31-year-old missed a handful of starts in 2012 and failed to reach the plateau. Last season, Weaver fractured his non-throwing elbow when he was struck by a line drive in his second start. When he’s been on the mound, he’s been effective, regardless of his loss in velocity.

It all starts tonight. The grind begins.

Angels Agree To Extension With Mike Trout

March 28th, 2014

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The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and superstar outfielder Mike Trout have reportedly agreed to a six-year contract extension worth $144.5 million. The deal begins in 2015, meaning that the Angels will retain Trout for his first three would-be free agent seasons. The deal includes a no-trade clause.

In general, like this deal for both sides.

The Angels have locked up the best player for three seasons beyond his arbitration years. Those arbitration years were likely to be outrageously expensive, and, assuming Trout continues trouting, any deal following them would certainly come with an average annual value greater than $24 million, especially as baseball’s economy continues to inflate.

Trout gets $144.5 million. That’s enough money to cover roughly 3,000 teachers’ salaries in the United States.

Trout gets security. If something horrible were to happen and he should become, like, a four-win player, it wouldn’t be that big of a deal because he will have enough money to host several End of The World Parties.

Trout gets a crack at free agency while he’s still in his twenties. If he trouts for the next seven years, the open market competition for Trout’s services would be LeBronian. (The Internet would shut down if Trout signed with the Marlins.)

There are at least three more things to think about from the Angels’ perspective.

First, the deal includes no option years at the tail end, which could be a major issue. If Trout were to remain great, options on the back end of the deal could be used to retain him at very high salaries that would, in theory, be worth it because of his production.

Second, the Angels did not guarantee a ten-year deal. Let’s not forget how risky long-term contracts are. This seems like it can’t go wrong because it’s Mike Trout, but there are actually many ways that this could go wrong. Serious injury is a real possibility, despite its relative unlikelihood. The Angels are not prohibited from negotiating another deal halfway through this one, if they’d like to extend at that point.

Third, the Angels get cost certainty. As they look to supplement their team over the next few years, they’ll know exactly how far their long-term commitments leave them from the luxury tax threshold, which is apparently very important to ownership.

Ultimately, this is a win-win deal. It would have been kind of cool to see Trout go to arbitration, just because there really isn’t a fair, modern-era comparison for him, but it’s just as cool to watch him laser the ball to all fields, steal bases with ease, and patrol the outfield diligently.

President Obama Comps Farm Bill To Mike Trout

February 7th, 2014

Earlier today Barack Obama, the guy who is president, spoke at Michigan State. The speech made its way to the recently-passed farm bill, which Obama described as a jack of all trades.

“It’s like a Swiss Army knife…it’s like Mike Trout, for those of you who know baseball. It’s somebody who’s got a lot of tools and multitasks. It’s creating more jobs.”

Baseball Prospectus’s PECOTA system projects 6.8 WARP (Wonderful Agricultural Rating Points) for the farm bill in 2014, strengthening the president’s comp.

The farm bill is good for conservation (power), should work quickly (speed), will strengthen the American infrastructure (defense), is going to hit .330, and has a fringy arm.

How exactly Trout will create jobs is sort of indirect. When he inevitably signs the largest contract in baseball history, Trout should drive up the value of free agents and contribute to the further inflation of the baseball industry. Since baseball continues to re-invest in its products, it’s likely that the inflation of the industry will create jobs.

Seriously, Obama nailed it.

(Hat tip to Mike Digiovanna of the LA Times.)

Angels Sign Carlos Pena, Brennan Boesch

January 29th, 2014

The Angels have agreed with Carlos Pena and Brennan Boesch to minor league deals, according to Mike DiGiovanna of the LA Times.

Carlos Pena appeared in 89 games with the Houston Astros and Kansas City Royals in 2013, slashing at a .207/.321/.346 clip. Pena had outstanding seasons in the late 2000s, but his on-base ability has plummeted as he’s reached his mid-30s. In 2013, his once glorious power faded, making him the type of player who gets a minor league contract.

Brennan Boesch, whose last name is pronounced like Miami Heat forward’s, was equally droll in 2013, appearing in 31 games between Triple-A and the Majors for the Yankees.

Both players figure to compete for bench spots on the 2014 club, having also been invited to Major League Spring Training, according to Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register. It’s likely that the deals include opt-out clauses if the player does not make the Major League team by a certain date, though the specifics have yet to be released.

Halos Daily

Dedicated to bringing you top notch Angels analysis!