Results tagged ‘ Ervin Santana ’

Waiting for Sunrise

It’s hard to describe how I feel as an Angels’ fan right now, it feels like rather than staying the course the Angels insist on making it hard on themselves. They decide not to give Torii Hunter and offer sheet, which would have at the very least guaranteed the Angels compensation picks if Hunter signs somewhere else. That’s a head scratcher. Why wouldn’t the team at least guarantee themselves compensation picks? It seems like a no-brainer, you have a player that came off a career year, why wouldn’t you at least guarantee yourself a plan B in case you lose a good player that made an impact on your team?

Dan Haren is another head scratcher, sure, he had a subpar and injury plagued season. One has to go with the times and exercise that option, especially since there is no pitcher on the free-agent market that would be worth risking major money, outside of Zack Greinke. Especially since recently traded away Ervin Santana to the Kansas City Royals for for left-handed reliever Brandon Sisk and cash considerations. This could be viewed as a salary dump, why get rid of a player who wasn’t spectacular but nonetheless held himself afloat and up to be the fourth or fifth Angels’ starter.

Give Torii Hunter the chance to win a championship with the Angels! I would hate to see him sign with the Rangers, and see them do exactly what Mike Napoli and Vladimir Guerrero have done to the Angels in the past. Think about it, Hunter signing with the Rangers is the most logical choice. Hunter lives in Dallas, he wants to play for a championship contender, and he would have the added bonus of playing his former team for most of a year. The Rangers fit all of Hunter requirements.

Jerry Dipoto seems to be in the mood of erasing any fingerprint with Tony Riggins on it, as our general manager is going to go that route; he should examine the contract of Vernon Wells. Vernon Wells has proven to be a bust in an Angels’ uniform. I understand that the Angels would be responsible for most, if not all of his contract. At the very least however, it would free up a spot on the roster that should be given to a youngster that wants to contribute to the team something Vernon Wells is no longer capable of doing in my opinion.

Things in the American League West have gotten interesting, the baseball realignment has happened. The Houston Astros are now in the American League West. It’s going to be intriguing to see how the introduction of the Astros into a new division of next the win and loss record of the other teams in the division. I believe the Astros are way over the head, they have entered a very tough division in at least for this year, they have been sent to feed the other teams, maybe with the exception of Seattle.
I don’t know what’s going on, I wish I did, but when above average players put on the Angels’ uniform the quality of play seems to take a dive. Vernon Wells is the most glaring example. However in another great example is Fernando Rodney who received the Comeback Player of the Year award for his stellar performance this past season with the Tampa Bay Rays. Where was that Fernando Rodney when he was with the Angels? For that matter, the Vernon Wells that played in Toronto? It’s perplexing how good players don’t seem to flourish with this organization.

Yes, it’s hard to describe how I feel as an Angels’ fan right now, however the beautiful thing is for every sunset there is a sunrise. The problem is sometimes the key pieces that you see before you read before you go to sleep, and expect to be there when you wake up, are just not there. When the sun rises on the new season I hope that the right pieces are there, not only to compete, but to contend this upcoming season. Just like we as fans wait for the on the rise on the new upcoming season, the Angels must wake up from their delusional dream and realize that they are keeping the wrong pieces and letting the right pieces go.

-ICE

As a Birthday Wish, I Wish My Hundredth Post Was About the Angels in the Postseason

It’s hard to believe that this is my 100th post. Yes, it is my birthday tomorrow, for the last three years the birthday gift I have received from the Angels has been not so fun.

After the end of a regular season, it takes a while for a diehard fan like me to come to terms that your beloved team is not participating in the playoffs. It takes a well for one to digest the fact that it’s over for the year. There is a period of time that instead of critiquing, analyzing, and re-examining what went wrong, what could have been done better, and arguments of that nature; one has to take a step back and just think the team for the wonderful year that they put forth and thank the ownership and the organization for keeping this wonderful team in Anaheim. Last but certainly not least think the players for the wonderful effort, the ones whom despite a slow start to their hearts out towards the end in order to keep themselves in the mix for as long as they could. I have stated numerous times before that I rather see my team be eliminated in late September to early October rather than late July.

Now that the mushy stuff is over it’s time to get down to business. The first thing on the agenda is the free agents. The Halos must take advantage of the exclusive signing period and ink the following players in no particular order. They have re-signed our starting catcher Chris Iannetta in the last 24 hours to a three-year contract and I hope they take the same approach to the players they have yet to sign.

Torii Hunter

“Spiderman” belongs in an Angels’ uniform. He is the heart and soul this team and also has proven that he is a clutch type player. For the first time in his career he had a Batting Average of over .300. He deserves a ring, he needs to stay with the team that can contend for one. Hunter loves the Angels and the Angels’ fans love him. He has expressed desire to stay with the Angels. I hope the Angels’ organization takes notice and re-sign soon quickly. I would hate to see him go and sign with a team like the Texas Rangers who probably will need a replacement for Josh Hamilton. Just to see him hurt us, just like former Angels turned Rangers like Vladimir Guerrero, and Mike Napoli. My hope is that the Angels give Torii Hunter a two year contract with maybe a club option for a third. I don’t care how they do it, the bottom line is we must re-sign Torii Hunter!


Zack Greinke

Greinke has proven his worth. He was an uplifting force when the Angels’ starting rotation was struggling he proved to be a solid ace in his own right, and he is a nice complement behind Jared Weaver.

Dan Haren

I can hear the collective groans already, before you write him off, please hear me out. Dan Haren had a below average season for an above average pitcher. Although he is not a free agent, the Angels in my view must exercise a club option. Dan Haren had an injury plagued season. When healthy he is a viable option for the Angels rotation. And he is a less risky proposition compared to free agent pitchers that the Angels may sign for more money.

I know that there are free agents like Ervin Santana that I have yet to talk about, but I think for me the preceding are the centerpieces that must be re-signed.

With the off-season comes a lot of waiting, but also a lot of excitement. It’s a wait-and-see what our General Manager can pull out of his magic top hat to make this team a contender.

-ICE

Rally Monkeys with Halos Are Swinging from Oak Trees

It’s early August and the dog fights are in full swing. Many predicted that the fight would be between the Angels and Rangers. Somehow the Oakland Athletics found a way to crash the party. I can’t really say that’s a bad thing, for Angels’ fans like me Oakland is a big part of the equation. I am actually glad that that they are part of the division battle and hopefully they knock out the Rangers for us. An Angels-A’s battle is more familiar and is much more meaningful for fans at least in California.

Oakland and Anaheim are separated by roughly a little bit more than 400 miles. For the most part of the first decade of the new millennium the Angels and A’s traded division titles. I distinctly remember at least three of the titles that the Angels captured were against the A’s during the last series of the season twice at the Oakland Coliseum and once at Angel Stadium. I recall these instances vividly since I was there for all three.

Believe it or not, the rivalry has its charm. I don’t know of any other team in baseball where you can be a wheelchair user and get field level seats at equal price maybe a bit more than the upper-level seats anywhere around baseball other than the Oakland Coliseum. Since I attended college in the Bay Area I was a regular at the Coliseum when the Angels played the A’s.

I can remember vividly fans coming in their stadium with devil horns and rally monkeys tied to a rope as if hanging from a noose and the fans spinning the monkey around as they exclaimed “Let’s Go Oakland!” The young women showing their Oakland pride by wearing skintight green baby doll tops with a yellow A’s logo that has fake rhinestones glued inside the letter and their hip hugging apple bottom jeans. (What can he say, I’m a guy) although it down inside I wish they were wearing a red top, with a red “A” with a rhinestone halo around it. (A man can dream, can’t he?)

The Angels contingent was usually pretty strong and well represented there is usually plenty of people there who are fellow Angels’ fans to high five. The 400 miles means nothing if someone loves their team that much. Besides, The Bay Area is a beautiful area as well so Angels’ fans get treated to quite an experience when they go to visit Oakland.

I found myself debating whether I should take the 90 mile trip on the Amtrak from the state capitol to Oakland to watch my beloved team now that the games against the A’s means so much, and if I wasn’t going home later this month to see the Angels against the Indians I would probably consider it. Oakland Coliseum, I miss you!

Okay, enough reminiscing, the Angels split the latest series against the Rangers 2-2. They might as well have been exhibition games since the Angels arrived five games back for the division lead, and they left Arlington five games back for the division lead. They then went on to lose two out of three against the Chicago White Sox. All in all, they came out for the onslaught okay, relatively speaking since they only had a net loss of one game, now, the Halos find themselves six games back of the Rangers when it could’ve been much worse.

The offense is fine, yes, it’s the bullpen again, they can’t seem to hold leads late in the game. Yes, one can explain away by using the injury to Scott Downs, one of the two only reliable bullpen members in my opinion in the Angels’ bullpen. the head scratcher is, why not leave Garrett Richards as part of the Angels team so he can help them solidify the bullpen. Even better, leave him in the starting rotation and send struggling pitcher Ervin Santana to the bullpen?

Whether one blames the on the bullpen, or whatever dynamic they choose, I believe the problem is much deeper than that, it’s a problem that the Angels have been facing since 2010; their inability to defeat their division opponents when they should. That’s what makes this series against the Athletics that much more important on the one hand, they need these games to cut significantly into the Rangers’ lead it’s starting to get a little too close for comfort. At the same time they have to hope that some other team defeats the Rangers in order to make this hypothesis feasible.

On the other hand the Angels need to prove themselves that they can defeat division opponents. While at the same time sending the message to this Oakland team that the Halos are not going away anytime soon. It is my humble leave in order to get these two goals are accomplished they must sweep the Oakland Athletics and hope they get some help from other teams in the Rangers’ upcoming series.

Nothing is set in stone and it’s still early enough in the season that things can change in this wonderful division. If anything, this battle serves to put the rest of baseball on notice that the American League West is a pretty tough division. Go Angels!

-ICE

The Angels Have Gone from Cranky to Greinke

Three days before the trade deadline and I find myself shocked yet again. I am not shocked that the Angels actually made a move before the trade deadline, I’m shocked as to how they did it. For those of you that read my previous entry you know that I humbly suggested that they take a shot at Zack Greinke. I postulated that it would take Peter Bourjos, Ervin Santana, and two or three draft picks and/or Minor Leaguers. Boy was I wrong, not about the Minor Leaguers; but about Ervin Santana and Peter Bourjos.

The Angels acquired Greinke from the Brewers in exchange for shortstop Jean Segura and Double-A pitchers Johnny Hellweg and Ariel Peña. I honestly thought the Halos would have paid a heavy a price as stated above, but Angels’ General Manager Jerry Dipoto has done it again, he brought Major League Baseball to a standstill when he signed Albert Pujols and now, Greinke.

I honestly have mixed feelings about this move on the one hand, I am excited; the addition of Zack Greinke has made the Angels’ starting rotation one of the most formidable rotations in all of baseball. On the other hand, Greinke is considered an “rent a player” he is a free agent at the end of the season and I hope the Angels have made the trade with realistic expectations of re-signing him. Greinke’s current status with the team concerns me very much.

The best part is that it makes the Angels even better than what has already talented team is, and it gives the Texas Rangers a serious threat to win the division. There was a high possibility that if the Angels did not sign Greinke that the Texas Rangers and that would have spelled disaster for the Angels hopes of capturing the American League West title.

There are wonderful things on the horizon for this Angels team. As a fan I can do nothing but sit back and enjoy the Angels have gone from being cranky because of the second-place position to the possibility of winning the American League West. Essentially they have gone from being cranky to Greinke. Go Angels!

-ICE

Will There Be a Halo over the Baseball Casino?

It’s that time of year again. The time of year when Major League Baseball resembles the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. The time a year with the wheeling and dealing begins. It’s known throughout baseball as the July 31 trading deadline.

There have been conflicting reports both over the Internet and in the local newspapers that cover the Angels. Some outlets are reporting that the Angels tend to stay pat, others are reporting that they plan to be minimally active. I think the Halos need to make a move especially since there has been a rule change regarding the wild-card the second wild-card and the play in game changes everything there are teams at this point I could very easily claim the second spot if they make the right moves. The Angels are one of those teams.

I believe that the Angels should trade for Zack Greinke from the Milwaukee Brewers for Peter Bourjos, Ervin Santana and maybe a couple of draft picks. It would be great if the Angels could trade Peter Bourjos for Zack Greinke. However, I don’t think the Brewers would give up a starting pitcher for an outfielder without someone to replace him on the pitching staff that’s why Ervin Santana will be included in trade. The Angels have a logjam in their outfield especially once Vernon Wells comes back.

The Angels need to be proactive now and prepare for the eventual situations that may come about. Zack Greinke would help the Angels compete for the wild-card were even overtake the Texas Rangers for that division lead in the American League West, but really all Angels need is a wild-card spot since we all know what happened last time they clinched the wild card. We don’t really need to win the division in order to win all, evidence of this is 2002 when the Angels were crowned the 2002 World Series Champions.

Tonight, ESPN Sunday Night Baseball features the Angels versus the Rangers in the Angels need to take advantage of these head-to-head matchups against the Rangers, since the Angels can’t seem to take advantage of Rangers’ losses when they need to the most.

-ICE

Jared Weaver “Weaves” a No-Hitter

Yesterday morning I was formulating a blog entry that I was supposed to write before last night’s game. I was going to talk about mainly about the perceived turnaround that the Angels have been making, as well as a missed opportunity that I believe the Angels squandered with Jorge Cantú who chose to opt out of his contract because the Angels decided not to use him at the major league level.

However all that went out the window last night because Jared Weaver masterfully orchestrated a no-hitter! The first one at home since the combined no-hitter of Mike Witt and Mark Langston. It is also the second no-hitter in two consecutive years going back to last year when Ervin Santana produced a no-hitter against Cleveland last summer in Cleveland. This time the victim was the Minnesota Twins.

I believe that this one however in my eyes is much more special, for starters Jared Weaver is a local kid. He grew up a Dodgers’ fan went to a local university, he attended Long Beach State, he was also coached by his father during his formative Little League years so it was only fitting that his father, his mother, and his wife were present during this history making event. The no-hitter was in doubt to the very end, until the last fly ball of the ninth inning was caught by Torii Hunter to cement history. It’s a great time to be an Angels’ fan, we recently have hosted an All-Star game, celebrated our 50th anniversary, and now deservedly so we are celebrating a special player in Jared Weaver.

Congratulations to Jared Weaver, his friends and family, and the Angels fan base; together, we witnessed history, for those of you that missed it, I’ve included links to the videos provided courtesy of Major League Baseball and both my Facebook and Twitter feeds, enjoy! Go Angels!

-ICE

Seven Is Definitely Not Heaven (2012): The Sleeping Giant

It feels like déjà vu all over again, sometime in 2010 I wrote a blog entry entitled “Seven Is Definitely Not Heaven.” At the time that I wrote the entry the Angels were seven games back of the Texas Rangers. Since history has repeated itself, and the Angels are 7 1/2 back of the Rangers once again I felt that reusing the title was appropriate.

The key difference is that when the Angels have struggled, it’s been easy for bandwagon and diehard Angels’ fans alike to call for the Angels to make transactions for talented players. Now we have those talented players, and we are still struggling. Angels’ fans are very frustrated. As am I; however, most true diehard fans like myself are willing to have the patience for this team to come together. Bandwagon fans are calling “Angel Talk” screaming, yelling, ranting, and throwing tantrums at Terry Smith as if he had control of the roster or if he had a say on how to make the Angels better.

Hello? Does anybody remember the Angels in the 1980s? Or 2001 when the Angels finished roughly 41 games out of first place? I am frankly tired of these bandwagon fans complaining about how bad the Angels are, Albert Pujols is getting used to a new league, he came from the National League remember that; it’s going to take time to get used to how a whole new slew of American League pitchers pitch in certain situations.

What the Angels need is an infusion of energy. I agree with Terry Smith maybe it’s time to call up Mike Trout to take the place of a slumping Peter Bourjos in the outfield both players possess similar speed hence the Angels would not be losing anything defensively and in turn infuse the lineup where the player in Trout that has a better average this season, he is hitting over. 400 and he may be just what the Angels need to turn things around.

In addition maybe switching the rotation would help infuse the pitching staff with the energy that they need to turn things around as well. If Santana and Wilson flip their spots in the rotation it would give the Angels a one, two, three knockout punch with Weaver, Haren, Wilson, and Santana; perhaps even bring in Garrett Richards to replace Jerome Williams in the rotation.

The Angels have the talent, they just need to figure out who goes where and get a chess pieces in place. It’s only a matter of time before the sleeping giant awakens.

-ICE

Will Four Aces and a Wild Card Red Bird Turned Red Angel, Give the Halos the Winning Hand into the World Series?

I am still trying to process everything that has gone on the last 24 hours, the Texas Rangers must have really left a bad taste in our collective mouths for the Angels’ organization to react this way. I guess seeing someone in your division represent the American League in the World Series two years in a row can do that to a team.

Since the big-splash signings of Vladimir Guerrero, Bartolo Colon and Kelvim Escobar before 2004,  Mark Teixeira, CC Sabathia, John Lackey, Chone Figgins and Paul Konerko and in trade talks for Roy Halladay and Miguel Cabrera; free agents, Carl Crawford, and Cliff Lee.one would think this would be a list of all stars, but they have all been failed acquisitions by the Angels.

Now they have signed both Albert Pujols and C. J. Wilson to long-term contracts essentially changing landscape of not only of the American League West, but of the entire American League. My little brother knocked on my bedroom door this morning and said, “did you hear the news?” Half asleep, I thought he was talking about Wilson. He goes on to say “I think they overpaid, but we have him for 10 years.” Slowly waking up, I thought to myself, “CJ Wilson for 10 years? I only remember the Angels offering five.” Then it dawned on me that he wasn’t talking about CJ Wilson at all, he was talking about Albert Pujols.

 

For those of you that have read my blog on a regular basis, you know I have brought this up as a possibility since the beginning of last year, but I myself didn’t believe that this was actually a possibility especially after the spectacular rise of Mark Trumbo, but truth be told it makes sense both from a team perspective and a business perspective as well.

 

For the last two years, the Texas Rangers have dominated the American League West, with the Angels coming in at a close second, this is a team that was used to trading division titles with the Oakland Athletics. We’ve always had a good team, but never a team that could compete with the American League East, the Yankees, the Rays and the Red Sox, particularly. We needed to make an impact move that would help the team get past the Rangers while at the same time help us compete with the rest of the power divisions in baseball such as the aforementioned American League East.

 

From a business standpoint, it also makes a lot of sense the Angels have always competed with the Los Angeles Dodgers for the Los Angeles area market, with the Dodgers in the middle of an ownership transition this was the perfect opportunity for Angels owner, Arturo Moreno to take advantage of this opportunity. What better way than to ink the best player in all of baseball of the modern era?

 

People are concerned about the length of Albert’s contract, but one of the advantages of Albert Pujols coming over to the American League is towards the back of his contract the Angels can now use them as a designated hitter. Extending his offensive influence on this team.



One has to wonder, what the Angels are now capable of doing, with a rotation that is arguably now one of the best in all of baseball with Jared Weaver, Dan Haren, C. J. Wilson and Ervin Santana. Offensively, we have the guy the heart and soul the offense Torii Hunter, Mark Trumbo, Mike Trout, and hopefully a resurgence from Vernon Wells. We would definitely be a team with a lot of depth, yet limited flexibility.

 

I am also concerned for the accessibility of Angels tickets to the average fan given this shocking news, next year will be my 30th anniversary as a loyal Angels’ fan and I just hope that tickets can still stay somewhat affordable so that future generations can enjoy the game of baseball just as I have over the years. For me it’s no longer a “Winter Wonderland” it now has become “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year”.

 

-ICE

The Keys to Creating a Winning Recipe for the Angels

The Angels continued to impress, Shortstop Erick Aybar has won his first Gold Glove of his career, joining Torii Hunter, Ken Berry, Rick Miller, Gary Pettis, Devon White, Jim Edmonds, and Darin Erstad.

The Angels potentially have a very bright future, in addition to Erick Aybar’s Gold Glove season; the Angels also have the American League Rookie of the Year Mark Trumbo; in addition 3/5 of their rotation Jared Weaver, Dan Haren, and Ervin Santana can go toe to toe with any starting rotation in Major League Baseball. Let us not forget young upstart Mike Trout, if the Halos were to add one or two decent arms to the starting rotation and maybe an above-average bat, quite possibly they may have the ingredients for a championship soup.

 As I stated before, the Angels need a a lot of reinforcements in different areas. In my previous entries I touched upon their need to address the bullpen. I also addressed how the Angels need to part ways with Jeff Mathis who is a sub .200 hitter for his career. Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder are maybe out of the question financially, but the Angels could possibly court Yadier Molina, who is a career .400 hitter that demonstrated in the 2011 World Series that he has a cannon for an arm that can throw runners out at any base. If the Angels are able to acquire the youngest Molina it would solve two issues at once, it would put a pretty good bat in the lineup while the same time address the need for a defensive catcher, the type that Mike Scioscia seems to covet so much.

Again congratulations to Erick Aybar for his Gold Glove and Mark Trumbo for being the American League Rookie of the Year. They are both very deserving of their individual awards respectively. It is my belief that the Angels have the right ingredients for a championship soup. However, it has yet to be seen if the new Angels’ General Manager can add the right spices to make the soup devastate and endear the taste buds of Angels’ fans simultaneously.

-ICE

The Synopsis of the Angels 50th Anniversary Season, at a Glance

The dog fights of summer, sometimes they win, and sometimes you lose. Unfortunately for the Angels they came up with a short end of the bat this year. They were officially a limited from playoff contention on September 26, 2011. However, like I mentioned to my friends and in previous entries; I much rather be eliminated in late September with three games to go than in early to mid August.


As fans we have a lot to look forward to, the return of Kendrys Morales, contributions from my pick for American League rookie of the year; Mark Trumbo, Mike Trout, and contributions from our veterans like Torii Hunter who was hurt in the beginning of the season hence limiting his contribution. We’ll must not forget Vernon Wells, who unlike many Angels’ fans; he has not lost my support and I still maintain that he will be an excellent contributor in the future. The problem is that many Halo fans expected him to make an immediate impact. Some people can, and some people can’t, I for one am willing to cut him a little slack.

 

Torii Hunter, I heard his interview on the Jim Rome show a few days ago, he stated that when his contract is up with the Angels at the end of the 2012 season, he would love to re-sign with the Angels. He loves Southern California, he wants to play for a contender, but above all he loves their fan base in Anaheim. A lot of his critics say he is too old, that we need to get younger. I unequivocally and vehemently disagree, Torii Hunter is one of the greatest influences on this wonderful team, it would be a travesty if the Angels do not retain him. He is not only a great player, he is a great leader in the locker room, and above all what I most admire about him is that he is a great humanitarian, in a very loyal player to his team; I’ve been told by people who I met at Angel games that he is very fan friendly. I personally have not had the pleasure of meeting him yet, but I hope I have an opportunity to change that very soon.

 

Now for some random thoughts about the off-season, there are some key free agents that the Angels might want to take a look at this off-season. I am principally speaking about Prince Fielder and Albert Pujols, the Angels should definitely consider signing one of those two players. However, as much as I would like a big bat, I think that the Halos would benefit more from a solid starting pitcher that they can add to the rotation to accompany Jared Weaver, Dan Haren, and Ervin Santana. There is an old adage, “Defense wins championships” I am a strong believer in that, because it really doesn’t matter how strong the Angels offense is, if we can not keep the opposing offense from scoring.

 

The bullpen must also be addressed, our middle relievers were atrocious this year, the Angels would be best served if they let Fernando Rodney walk away from the organization. Clearly a change of scenery would do both parties well, Rodney was unhappy with his role for most of the season. I believe he did not play into his role to earn further consideration; therefore, he must be given no further opportunities, my points fit verbatim for Jeff Mathis he has to go.

 

Well, as always it’s been a pleasure to write for you about the team that I love. This is the end of the Angels’ 50th Anniversary Season.  it would have been great to have the season capped off with a World Series Championship, however that was not to be. But as I mentioned before, I would rather go down fighting with three games to go, than to be eliminated in mid August.

-ICE

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