Results tagged ‘ Diamondbacks ’

Calling All the Angels

I have supported the Angels as a fan for over 30 years. I had the privilege to grow up in the shadow of Angel Stadium. In that time, I have seen the organization go through its ups and downs both on and off the field. Unfortunately, this has also included tragic events for the organization, including the passing of Nick Adenhart and now, Tyler Skaggs.

His passing yesterday of course was sudden and unexpected. At first, I thought it was a cruel joke. I was poring over statistics on the Angels’ Facebook page and verifying the Angels’ lineup for Sunday in preparation for an unrelated entry when the Angels statement on his passing was posted. Since I thought it was a hack at first, I went to cross-reference the news through other sources. There was nothing on the Angels’ official page, nothing on ESPN, and no other references posted the news. Deep inside, I was holding out hope that it was a hacker. Unfortunately, that possible alternative was dispelled from my mind about 10 minutes later when the news started spreading. I am heartbroken. It’s only a few months later after the 10th anniversary of Nick Adenhart’s passing.

Tyler Skaggs was on his way to being the ace of the rotation. The Angels have not had a solid ace since Jered Weaver was in his prime. Skaggs was drafted by the Angels in 2009, the same year of Adenhart’s passing. He worked his way through the minor leagues, and he was traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks before Skaggs could make is major league debut with the Angels for Dan Haren. He was traded back to the Angels a few years later as a result of the multiple contract debacles of Josh Hamilton, C. J. Wilson, and Vernon Wells. Skaggs rejoined the Angels when he was exchanged for Mark Trumbo.

My brother and I have tickets for the first game when the Halos come back home to Angel Stadium after this current road trip. As part of the Angels pregame rituals, they show a video of Angels’ history with the song “Calling All the Angels” and introduce their starting lineup with the song “Spirit in the Sky.” For the rest of the season and beyond both songs will have a different meaning for the organization, the players, and the Angels’ fans just like they did 10 years ago.

Tyler Skaggs was a phenomenal athlete, however, sometimes we forget that they are people first. Baseball players are just people playing a children’s game. Today, I want to honor Tyler Skaggs the person rather the athlete. Tyler, rest in paradise.

-ICE

The Angels Gain an Iceman but More Importantly Lose a Trumbomber

Wow! What a whirlwind off-season it’s been in Major League Baseball. Prince Fielder is now a part of the Texas Rangers, and the Angels acquired David Freese this entry was originally intended to concentrate on that transaction more specifically on the effects of this acquisition on the Angels specifically how Fielder has resurrected his career in my opinion by joining a team that calls a hitters park home.

That has changed however, the details are still sketchy but Mark Trumbo is now a diamondback. The trade involved the Angels, the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Chicago White Sox.

What is our general manager doing? Yes, it’s clear the Angels need pitching but he is the one that messed up the Angels’ pitching staff to begin with, he counted on the ability of our offense to negate any deficiencies there were on the Angels pitching staff by s giving superstar players to long-term contracts. He decimated our farm system in the process, and now the Angels have unproductive superstars while practically giving away young talent.

Mark Trumbo was a key piece to the Angels success, with Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton not producing Trumbo was the player along with Mike Trout that kept the Angels afloat. This is my raw immediate reaction. I did promise my readers that I would throw a few curveballs, this is indeed one of them. Frankly, I am speechless I don’t know where the team goes from here without decimating the few positives that are left about this team. I promise I will deliver a more analytical entry once I’ve had time to process. Unbelievable!

-ICE

postscript: I would love to hear what other Angels’ fans have to say about the team’s current situation.

Related Articles: http://www.latimes.com/sports/la-sp-angels-trade-trumbo-20131211,0,729014.story

Halos, Elephants, Cowboys, Sailors, and Comets? I Personally Prefer a Rattlesnake over the Comet

The off-season brings about intrigue to a franchise; the Angels’ organization is no exception. There is a lot of uncertainty yet great anticipation of what was what is, and what can be. It’s also the time of year that my entries become less analytical and more based on my fan enthusiasm. This is where reflection, anticipation, and expectation converge.

I believe angels made a statement this past season, although they were eliminated from postseason participation this year, they were still able to make an impact. Jared Weaver was the runner-up to a 2011 American League CY Young Award, and Mark Trumbo was a runner up for the American League Rookie of the Year Award. Clearly this demonstrated to me that the Angels have the talent to be a championship caliber team they just lack if you pieces that need to be in place to reinforce an already talented team full of potential.

Potential is not always good, the team has to be developed said potential, in order to accomplish that. They must be crafty in the way they approach the transactions both made in the off-season and during the season. Angels’ General Manager, Jerry Dipoto was quoted in the Los Angeles Times as saying that free agency was not the only option; the team has the option of improving and solidifying itself via trade as well. Let’s think about that for a second, on the one hand, I agree with him the Angels must stay away from bad contracts. Then why go after C. J. Wilson? The 31-year-old left-hander wants a six-year contract; let’s do the math this multimillion dollar contract would end when he is 36 years old. Isn’t that the essence of a bad contract?

If one is going to risk that much money why not go after Albert Pujols or Prince Fielder? At least in Pujols’ this case one is taking a similar risk but I think a reward would be much more likely. In the 2011 World Series, Wilson was a lackluster player who seemed to crumble under the bright lights of the fall classic. As opposed to Pujols who seemed to shine especially in game three and tied Babe Ruth and Reggie Jackson for the most home runs in one game. Wilson reminds me a bit of Chone Figgins. Who is a great player during the regular season, but seems to wither away during the playoffs.

The winds of change are apparent in Major League Baseball, in the way of division realignment, it seems to be a done deal; the Houston Astros are coming to the American League West. Giving all divisions in Major League Baseball five teams.

I myself would rather see the Arizona Diamondbacks transfer over to the American League West simply because that would keep all the teams in the Pacific time zone; the Angels, the Athletics, and the Mariners, from traveling to time zones to face a division opponent, and the Rangers would go to the Pacific time zone something that they’re already accustomed to doing with the other three teams in division. This move would keep the American League West strong by adding a quality Baseball team like the Diamondbacks, and not give them the East Coast pundits one more reason to downgrade the quality of baseball in the American League West. Let’s face it, the Astros don’t really help the American West solidified itself as a strong division, and with the exception of the Texas Rangers that he wasn’t Astros don’t really mean much, nor are they as strong attendance draw for the rest of the American League West. From a financial standpoint it doesn’t make sense to bring in a weak team into the division. I’m certainly not opposed to bringing a fifth franchise into the American League West. I do believe in balance, however let us bring in the team that strengthens the division while at the same time makes geographical sense, and does not put one team at an advantage over the other three teams in the division.

-ICE

The Five Seasons of Baseball

As any true baseball fan knows, the Major League Baseball cycle consists of five phases of what I call the five seasons of baseball; more like mini seasons.  Spring Training, the first half of the season, the second half of the season after the All-Star break, a postseason and finally the off-season.

 

With that being said, Major League Baseball is in the transitionary period between the postseason, which I see as a last phase of the cycle, and the off-season which is a first phase that begins a new baseball year. The Angels as an organization have already made news in both of these cycles with Mark Trumbo winning The Sporting News American League Rookie of the Year for 2011 as voted by his Major League peers.

The Halos have also selected Jerry Dipoto as the new Angels General Manager. the former Diamondbacks Vice President was signed to a five-year deal. I have yet to do research on his background since news of the selection only hit the media yesterday, and he was formally announced as the General Manager today.

 

It’ll be interesting to see what kind of General Manager he turns out to be. I can sit here and dissect everything he said during the press conference today. But obviously as we all know playing to the media versus actually following through with what you state are two different things altogether. I honestly hope he is an aggressive general manager that can bring a plethora of championships to this organization since he seemed to understand during the press conference that this is the direction the organization wants to go, win championships.

 

How does Jerry Dipoto do that? Well, first and foremost he is not building a fantasy team. So to those Angels’ fans that argue that we should go after both Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder; are being a bit unrealistic. First how do you plan to use to first baseman? Especially with the bounty of first baseman that we already have, I am mainly talking about Mark Trumbo and Kendrys Morales. The argument that’s been floating around in the media and various blogs is to convert Mark Trumbo to third base. Although that’s entirely possible, and I do as he that move happening, what do we do with both Pujols and Fielder? Both individuals are going to want to play every day. How do the Angels handle that balancing act and their personalities? Second, I don’t think it would be wise for the Angels to sign both players from a financial standpoint, if you stockpile at one position that doesn’t leave enough room to rebuild the bullpen and perhaps add another arm of the starting rotation. Which in the case of the bullpen especially, it needs to be revamped, most of the games that ran away from us this past season was because our middle relief was atrocious.

 

Jerry Dipoto talked about the building are minor-league farm system which I completely agree with, let’s find and develop our own homegrown talent and pay them what they deserve rather than look for a high profile and high paid free agent, however, before that can happen I think it is quintessential to make the passive fans to believe once again in the Angels product so they can spend their money this would in turn allow the organization to gather the money necessary to do everything they need to do. But in order to do that they need to be able to get butts in the seats.

 

Well, that’s all for now if anything of note happens in the off-season this is the place to read about it, for example, if the Angels sign a key free-agent, make a big trade, because one thing is for certain they can’t even dream about getting back to the postseason without aggressively filling in their weak points.

 

-ICE

Lack of Power Is Causing the Golden Halo to Flicker

[ updated May 30, 2011 9:38 PM ]

The American League West has the distinction of having all four of their teams lead in that category over the lowest team Earned Run Average in all of Major League Baseball number one through number four. The starting rotation for each of these teams is nothing to sneeze at. The offense however, at least for the Angels is a different story.

 

Over the last few days Angels’ broadcasters and fans alike, have been highlighting the lack of Angels’ offense. And I can’t really say I disagree even with the offense of explosion that allowed them to defeat the Kansas City Royals by a final score of 10-8 today, I would have to say that the increase in offensive production is more due to the weather conditions of today’s game rather than a sudden discovery of an offensive groove.

 

I am not for a minute taking away the Home Runs launched by Mark Trumbo, Peter Bourjos or the two Home Runs by Torii Hunter, who also was able to score his 1000th Run Batted in of his career. The Angels lack power not because they don’t have it, but because they haven’t discovered how to use it properly. Power in the lineup is something that develops naturally over time, it’s something that naturally happens. If one swings for the fences in every at-bat of eventually that player is going to over extend themselves and become tired and ineffective. Even with the signing of Russell Branyan who was designated for assignment by the Arizona Diamondbacks but Angels total resolve the power outage at the Halo power plant.

Angels’ fans have pointed out on Angel talk that the Angels or in need of making a major trade or transaction, some callers were asking for reasonable trades, while some proposals by fans border on the ridiculous. I would venture to say these are fantasy owners that know nothing about the game of baseball.

 

Although I tend to agree that the Angels need power why not look for the answer within the organization? For example somebody like Mike Trout? Some would argue that he is not ready for the big leagues, I would argue on the other hand, that he is, keeping him in the minor leagues for two long may have a detrimental effect on his career, Brandon Wood is a prime example that I believe that the Angels kept Wood in the minor leagues too long and that may have hindered his development. Wood was eventually designated for assignment about a month ago.

 

There is a lot of money coming off Angels’ payroll next year perhaps they will be able to re-sign Jared Weaver to a long-term contract and keep their spectacular starting pitching rotation intact, and possibly pursue a power bat.

 

I think the issue is that a lot of Angels’ fans want to win now and don’t really see or care about their long-term welfare of this fabulous organization. I think it is best determine the direction that this team is going before we start talking about who were going to sign or trade for.

 

It’s still a long season and we all have yet to see where the Angels end up. I will tell you this much we are in a much better position this year than at the same point last season. Last year everything was falling apart, the Angels were free-falling in the standings and every facet of the game went wrong. Today all we have to complain about is the lack of power and lack of performance of some pictures in the bullpen. Like I said before, the power will naturally come, although we are lacking power we are still in the mix to contend for the American League West title. At this point in the season as an Angels’ fan what more can one ask for?

 

 

-ICE

One Angels’ Ace in Search of 29 Other “Lost Souls”

For those of you that are familiar with my MLB blogs in the past, you may remember my list of “lost souls”, which was a creative and fun way to refer to those that were not necessarily Angels’ fans but were just as diehard for their respective teams as I am about the Angels. For those of you that may remember my past blogs I haven’t been able to logon to this site in a little under a year, now with the move to WordPress, I’m glad to say that that issue is resolved. However I lost my original list of lost souls. With the exception of the rays’ renegade and the original Washington Senators fan who represents the Texas Rangers, I am still looking for 28 other lost souls to be part of my main list. Especially since the MLB blogs main page doesn’t exist anymore; I would like these bloggers to be active, passionate fans who I can get my non-Angel information from. If you are interested please reply with your blog location the team you blog for, and a little information about yourself, I would look over your blog. And add you to my list.

 

Thank you,

-ICE

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