Halos Daily

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Happy Birthday, Mike Trout!

August 7th, 2014
Even mom and dad sent a cake.

Even mom and dad sent a cake.

Hey, whaddaya know! Mike Trout is another year older today.

Mike turns the big 2-3 today, which is remarkable on several levels. It’s remarkable in that he’s already accrued nearly 2,000 MLB plate appearances to this point, that after all this time he’s still one of the youngest players in the game — not to mention younger than 12 of MLB dot com’s Top 100 prospects — and that despite all his success, he’s only now entering his “prime.”

Trout, like everyone else in the world ever, shares his birthday with several people of note, including Charlize Theron, Sidney Crosby, and bygone Hungarian countess Elizabeth Báthory, whose profession is listed as “Most Prolific Female Serial Killer in History.” So that’s terrible.

Anyway, we here at Halos Daily didn’t want to let Mike’s big day pass without commemorating it in some fashion. The folks at MLB dot com already devised a solid list of 23 fun facts about Mike Trout, so rather than duplicate that we decided to make a non-exhaustive list of notable 23s that Mike Trout is better at baseball than:

- Dr. Pepper

“Skidoo”

This terrible Jim Carrey movie

This Buzzfeed list

- Vanadium

This song

- Stable sodium

This X-men character

- Chromosome pairs

- Michael Jordan

 

***

 

And now, a stupid poem I totally made up:

1 Mike Trout is my shepherd, I shall not want.
2 He maketh me to sit down near green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of “playing the game the right way” for baseball’s sake.
4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of Oakland, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy glove and thy bat they comfort me.
5 Thou preparest an MVP campaign before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my MLB.tv feed with spoils; my cup runneth over.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow you all the days of your life: so I will dwell in the house of the Trout for ever.

Feel free to set that to music.

What the Big Deadline Deals Mean for the Angels

August 1st, 2014
Jon Lester, leaving the Green Monster for green uniforms.

Jon Lester, leaving the Green Monster for green uniforms.

The 2014 Trade Deadline came and went, featuring a couple blockbuster moves and Jim Bowen-inspired lulz. Meanwhile, the Angels elected to stand pat, either satisfied with their roster at hand or unable to do any serious maneuvering due to the lack of high-upside talent in the minor leagues (probably both). Jerry Dipoto & Co. already used their minor league bullets over the last month in trades for Joe Thatcher and closer Huston Street. The Angels were never going to be serious threats for Jon Lester or David Price — the farm is thin and the big club is filled with too many untouchables (Trout, Richards, and probably Aybar), immoveable contracts (Pujols and Hamilton), or players that just aren’t quite good enough to make a serious impression in a trade package (Skaggs, Cron, Navarro, etc.).

Despite sitting the dance out, the Halos will still feel the ripples from some moves. Let’s see which trades affect the Angels, and we’ll start in an obvious place…

Halos Stand Pat at Deadline, A’s and M’s Go For Broke

July 31st, 2014
"You're really holding fast on the whole luxury tax thing, huh?"

“How about now? Can we exceed the luxury tax now?”

As expected, all was quiet in Anaheim as the trade deadline passed Thursday. Dipoto had stated he didn’t want to give up big-league pieces and he’d already parted with six prospects this month, so there probably wasn’t really much the Halos could do, even if they’d wanted to. The rest of the division? Went crazy. The A’s, Mariners, and Astros were involved in a flurry of last-minute deals that saw a total of 16 players (!) move in and out of the AL West, most of whom were/are MLB players.

Here’s a brief breakdown of who went where, and what it might mean for the Halos down the stretch run:

 

Oakland A’s

Add: LHP Jon Lester, OF Jonny Gomes, OF Sam Fuld

Lose: OF Yoenis Cespedes, LHP Tommy Milone

__

Seattle Mariners

Add: OF Austin Jackson, OF Chris Denorfia

Lose: INF Nick Franklin, OF Abraham Almonte, RHP Stephen Kohlscheen

__

Houston Astros

Add: OF Jake Marisnick, 3B Colin Moran, RHP Francis Martes

Lose: OF Kiké Hernandez, RHP Jarred Cosart, OF Austin Wates

__

The biggest move, here, is Oakland’s addition of Jon Lester to its already potent rotation. They now have a top four of Lester, Jeff Samardzija, Scott Kazmir, and Sonny Gray, meaning the Angels’ chances of catching the A’s and avoiding a Wild Card coin-flip game just got that much bleaker. Oakland now has so much rotation depth that they literally tossed Tommy Milone — who hasn’t even entered his arbitration years yet — to the Minnesota Twins in exchange for a guy they DFA-ed in April. Who does that?

The Pros and Cons of the Street Acquisition

July 19th, 2014
"Wait, so I take the 5 Freeway *that* way?"

“Wait, so I take the 5 Freeway *that* way?”

The Halos front office went for broke Friday night, sending four prospects to the San Diego Padres to acquire closer Huston Street and minor-league reliever Trevor Gott. The price for Street was a steep one, as the Padres’ return includes three of the Halos’ top 10 prospects—second baseman Taylor Lindsey, shortstop Jose Rondon, and reliever R.J. Alvarez—and a fourth player—righty starter Elliot Morris—who has turned a lot of heads this season and may have creeped into the top 10 come September.

As a Proven Closer™, Huston Street will immediately usurp Joe Smith as top dog in the Angels bullpen and push everyone down a rung on the reliever hierarchy ladder. Just who exactly will be pushed off the ladder remains to be seen1 and is unlikely to be resolved until C.J. Wilson returns from the disabled list in the next couple weeks.

If one ever wondered the kind of ultimatum Jerry Dipoto got about what was required to keep his job at the end of the year, this trade provides a very clear answer: Either the Angels win big in 2014/2015, or he takes his ball and goes home. There’s really no other way to explain the jettisoning of five (!) top prospects in a three-week span from an already barren farm system for the purpose of netting roughly 100 combined innings from two relief pitchers. Dipoto has gone all-in on the present at the expense of the future, and either you really like that course of action or you don’t.

Let’s look at it from both sides:

Halos Reach Deal With Top Pick Sean Newcomb

July 18th, 2014

The Angels finally reached an agreement with 15th overall pick Sean Newcomb early Friday morning, less than 24 hours until the signing deadline. Newcomb will receive a $2.5184 million signing bonus, per Mike DiGiovanna of the LA Times, which is just $43,000 over the allotted vale for the No. 15 slot and, not coincidentally, exactly the amount of money the Halos had remaining in their team bonus pool for the first 10 rounds.

That the final figure matches up perfectly with the club’s remaining funds makes one wonder just what took so long for the two sides to strike a deal. The penultimate holdout among the team’s first 10 picks was third-rounder Chris Ellis, but he signed way back on June 29, meaning that the bonus pool has been sitting at $2.5184 million for almost three weeks. It’s difficult to fathom that it took Newcomb’s advisor that long to get the Halos to cough up an additional 40 grand, a paltry sum in the big scheme of things.

We here at HD have no inside window into the proceedings, so everything on our end about what the holdup might have been is guesswork, but we have at least a couple ideas about what went on. The first, and seemingly most plausible, is that Newcomb’s advisor, Legacy CEO Greg Genske, actually wanted the Halos to exceed their bonus pool by a good amount — say, about $288,000 — but had to settle for taking the club to the limit instead.

The second, and more nefarious, idea is that Genske wanted the Halos to sweat it out to the last minute because of the way things have gone between the club and his clients in the recent past. The Legacy Agency represents dozens of big-league players, and among those just happen to be the quartet of Scott Kazmir, Vernon Wells, Tommy Hanson, and Bobby Abreu. You might recall that none of their tenures in Anaheim ended on a positive note: i.e. Kazmir and Hanson were released while still under contract, Wells and Abreu were traded after losing their starting jobs. Again, this is all wild speculation, but it wouldn’t surprise me if Genske gave the Angels the cold shoulder purposefully as a sort of slap on the wrist for those past transgressions.

Whatever the reason for the delay, the most important thing is that Newcomb has signed. He’ll now likely report to one of the club’s Rookie Ball affiliates, where he’s expected to throw about 30 innings over the next month before shutting it down for the season. That innings amount would have been the same whether he signed last month or Friday because of his heavy workload during the college season, so the holdup in signing shouldn’t have any effect whatsoever on his development.

Counting Newcomb, the Halos have signed 35 of their 40 June draftees. That figure is a smidgen lower than last year’s take, but still a pretty good haul. All five guys who didn’t sign were late-round picks that decided to have another go at the college ranks.

Halos Daily

Dedicated to bringing you top notch Angels analysis!