Results tagged ‘ Kendrys Morales ’

Keep the “Trum-Bombs” Coming

Mark Trumbo, the “Trum-bomber” has launched the home run bomb in six of the last nine games; this is the sole positive that the Angels have this season. I know that in an earlier entry I mentioned that the team had tuned out Angels’ manager Mike Scioscia. However, I’m beginning to think that the problem is not Mike Scioscia, but Jerry Dipoto; the Angels’ General Manager, he was quoted on May 8, 2013 in the Los Angeles Times:

“There is no move to make,” “Our best talent, our best team, is here. There really isn’t a quick fix, a magic bullet, a singular player move you can make that would turn things around. The best thing we can do is show up today and play hard.”

Mr. DiPoto, lifelong Angels’ fans like myself, and especially season-ticket holders who spend their hard-earned money on this team deserve a better explanation than that. Yes, there is no quick solution, on the other hand, at least own and admit your mistakes.

Mistake number one: Ryan Madson, a player coming off arguably risky Tommy John surgery, He yet has to play an inning for the Angels; at times these players don’t really recover, yet you decided to give him a contract.

Mistake number two: you used money that was earmarked for re-singing Zack Greinke, to sign Josh Hamilton, instead of using that money to upgrade pitching which includes the bullpen. This is an area of need that the Angels have had for the last two years, yet, you do-nothing of meaning to improve this glaring weakness.

Mistake number three (which is closely related to mistake number two): you traded Kendrys Morales, a power hitter whom the Angels’ farm system developed, for an average pitcher Jason Vargas. A smart move would have been to keep Morales and go after a few above average pitchers using the money that was earmarked. What you did is replace Morales with Hamilton, a player who may have more name recognition but can’t hit the inside fastball which was one of my concerns when you gave him a contract.

Mistake number four: Joe Blanton: 0-6, a pitcher that clearly does not fit in the Angels’ system. The Halos’ offensive production is negated by the poor pitching performance of the entire pitching staff, a pitching staff, which you are ultimately responsible for putting together. Please remind me why you decided not to re-sign Dan Haren? Picking up his option is a better decision than signing Joe Blanton. Haren may not be the player he used to be, but he sure a better player than Joe Blanton at this point.

The Halos have the talent that they need to succeed, but it needs to be managed better, the front office needs to make better decisions. Until then, for the foreseeable future let’s keep the “Trum-bombs” coming.

-ICE

Related Articles: http://angels.mlblogs.com/2013/05/05/the-angels-use-the-home-run-boom-to-dodge-the-broom
http://angels.mlblogs.com/2013/04/12/stomper-mercilessly-stomps-out-the-rally-monkey-then-swept-him-away
http://angels.mlblogs.com/2013/02/13/i-dont-want-peanuts-or-crackerjacks-give-me-the-baseball-glove-and-the-baseball-bat
http://angels.mlblogs.com/2012/12/21/the-halo-is-removed-the-cuban-missile-is-disarmed-and-moved
http://angels.mlblogs.com/2012/12/13/josh-hamilton-trades-in-his-cowboy-hat-for-a-halo

The Halo Is Removed, the Cuban Missile Is Disarmed and Moved

Kendrys Morales, “The Cuban Missile” has been moved from his launching pad at home plate in Angel Stadium to a new platform constructed just for him atop the Space Needle in Seattle. Morales was traded to the Seattle Mariners recently for Jason Vargas. Yes indeed, the Angels were a need of pitching, and although both players are in the last year of their contract, I for one am not comfortable with this trade.

I’m not convinced that he should’ve been traded within the American League West. I’m not a big fan of trading within the division, it is quite possible that he may become known as an “Angels Killer” similar to Vladimir Guerrero and Mike Napoli did when they were both with the Texas Rangers. Trading Morales severely limits the Angels’ flexibility at first base. For example, Mark Trumbo is interchangeable between First Base, the Outfield, and the Designated Hitter position. While both Kendrys Morales and Albert Pujols are interchangeable between the Designated Hitter and the first base positions. It was supposed to be this ability to mix and match coupled with the acquisition of Josh Hamilton that would’ve made the Angels a potent offensive lineup.

With Morales no longer in the picture that ability is now gone. This leaves the door wide open for Vernon Wells to infiltrate the Angels’ lineup as a Designated Hitter from time to time. Wells in my mind has really become a non-factor and is more of a hindrance than an asset to the Angels.

I understand that the Angels need pitching badly, but it seems they have gone away from developing a good farm system so they don’t have to trade valuable assets like Morales. We all know the names: Francisco “K.-Rod” Rodriguez, Troy Percival, Jared Weaver, among others. Our farm system is depleted, at what point do we start reloading it? Morales was an in-house product, had our farm system been developed; we wouldn’t need to trade such a wonderful talent.

Who knows, Vargas may work out, the question remains whether this particular way of the Angels doing business will be sustainable for the long-term ability to contend for multiple World Series championships.

-ICE

A Chameleon with a Halo

After a short hiatus, I am back I wanted to post sooner but I didn’t have access to a computer, much less voice recognition software. I went home and I was able to catch the Angels game last Tuesday which was Albert Pujols bubblehead day. I’m fascinated by the freefall this team has taken. They have all the talent in the world yet they are an astounding seven games behind the Texas Rangers and the seller of the American League West. As of today before tonight’s game two against the Baltimore Orioles the Angels are five and nine. This is clearly not the expectation that Angels’ fans had for this team especially with the acquisition of both C. J. Wilson and Albert Pujols.

Unlike some Angels’ fans, I am not ready to walk off the plank or jump off the ledge. I think that is what separates diehard fans like myself and the bandwagon fans. I remember when this team was unbelievably bad. Fans like myself just learned to get used to it. Much like the Chicago Cubs’ fans have gotten used to their beloved “Cubbies” losing. Rather than suggesting a major overhaul, or suggesting that Mike Scioscia, Mickey Hatcher, or Mike Butcher is a problem. I will examine what is happening in my eyes, the beautiful thing is that my observations can be easily implemented.

Yes, the bullpen is a problem especially when it collapses in the late innings however, that wouldn’t be an issue if the Angels could get men on base. I think the Angels need to first settle on the lineup they’ve had numerous minor changes in these first 14 games they need to play to their talents, something that in my opinion they haven’t been doing. First, they need to utilize their speed with players like Erick Aybar, Maicer Izturis, Peter Bourjos, and let us not forget the “Prince Fish” Mike Trout in the minor leagues. It is my strong belief that the Angels must mix and match, put the speedsters in the lineup early by maybe bunting for a base hit more often (more often than one may think) and get themselves on base, and once they are on they have to be a bit more aggressive on the base paths they should attempt more steals regardless of weather they will be thrown out or not. That way it keeps the opposing pitcher off balance knowing that the speedsters are going to run and risk it all win or lose. In turn, this unbalanced opposing pitcher is more likely to make mistakes in the strike zone allowing the power hitters to take advantage the power hitters like Pujols, Trumbo, Morales, Hunter, and Wells to do what they do best.

Speaking of Mark Trumbo, the Angels need to find a way to utilize him in the everyday lineup the Angels are where they are right now because Trumbo was not in the lineup for most of those losses, for that matter most games this season. They need to also find a way to utilize Jorge Cantú since there is an opt out clause in his contract if he is not in the major leagues by May 1, 2012. The Angels should call him up to see how he can contribute to this offense and defense; especially with a losing record and especially since he wasn’t on the opening day roster. I’m genuinely shocked to find that the Angels are not utilizing him more since he had an above average preseason.

This team is too talented to have a record they have, and they simply need to put the right pieces in the right places and not allow themselves to be defined as a one-dimensional team such as a power team, a speed team, or a small ball team. They need to be a metaphorical chameleon and keep the other teams around the major leagues off balance. They are losing because the Angels have become too predictable other teams already know what to expect. This communion must have a halo.

-ICE

Kendrys Morales and the Comeback Kids

Baseball in the post-steroid era, this is a very interesting time to be a baseball fan because one hears stories about 50 and 100 game suspensions due to drug violations a player missing time because of a violation is expected. However, when a player misses time because of injury, one anxiously anticipates that players return; especially when said player brings power to a lineup, and quite possibly his absence explains the reason why misses the postseason two years in a row.

This is the case for the Angels and Kendrys Morales, Morales was back in the lineup yesterday after nearly a two-year absence; he went two for three and seemed to move on the basis very well. In particular, he moved from first base to third base on a play very fluidly. Will Morales ever be 100%? If he does return to form his power combined with that of Albert Pujols, Mark Trumbo, and a possibly a resurgent Vernon Wells, the Angels are sure to be an offensive juggernaut.

It will be interesting to see how teams will adapt to Kendrys’ switch hitting power, or if he will even have the same hitting power at all. There is great uncertainty, yet great anticipation of what this player will be able to contribute to his team. Will he be able to relax knowing that with Pujols, Trumbo, and Wells in the lineup is power will not have to carry this team? Or will it be a competition between the heavy hitters in the lineup? PTMW can possibly be a powerful force for the Halos and this is without considering what Torii Hunter will bring to the table.

This looks like is shaping up to be a very fun season, so I invite you to join me during this baseball journey of 2012 in routing and supporting the Angels. We are about a week away from Opening Day, contrary to what people may say about football; baseball truly is America’s pastime.

-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

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

Chronicles of a Diehard and Faithful Angels’ Fanatic

When one has a favorite team, and becomes a diehard fan, one signs a contract of sorts. One promises to be a fan regardless of the ups and downs a team may go through. In exchange, the team gives a fan a connection to wonderful memories that will last a lifetime.

It seems that fans are losing faith in the Halos, and I can understand why as of today they are 5 1/2 games behind division leading Texas Rangers and the offense is struggling; however, let me put everything into a analytical perspective. Let me first address the Texas Rangers, have no doubt that the Rangers are where they deserved to be in credit needs to be given where it is due. The Rangers are a spectacular team.

In my previous entries I pointed out the Halos’ shortcomings this season, in this entry I want to put everything into a more palatable perspective. The Angels so far have been involved in eight extra inning games including the loss to the Tampa Bay Rays last night. Yesterday was also their 15th game in which there has been a one run differential between the participating teams, most of which the Angels have come out on the losing end.. What does that say about the Angels? If the Angels were able to come out on the other side of the situation; and things would have gone a little differently I would be discussing a much different story right now. Although the team has glaring problems, they are on the cusp of greatness.

For those of you that read my blog last season, most of you know my feelings towards Brian Fuentes. In the alternative I suggested that Fernando Rodney become the Angels’ closer. I’m glad to say that the Angels made the right decision in getting rid of Brian Fuentes, should the same be done with Fernando Rodney? I would argue no, for the simple reason that when the Angels severed their ties with Brian Fuentes, Fernando Rodney was there to take his place. The problem then becomes if Rodney is indeed released then who would take his place in the bullpen? I think Rodney struggles is more endemic of the Angels’ overall situation rather than his personal struggles. When Fuentes was let go the Angels were a much different team, I don’t think the same can be said if they decide to release Rodney.

I strongly believe are still feeling the effects of losing Kendrys Morales last year, he was supposed to be a potent power hitter Morales was supposed to help the Angels this season. However, due to complications with his ankle that was not to be. Now the Angels are expecting him by spring training of 2012. Not the news the Angels are looking forward to. It seems like his teammates have not been able to get the freakishness of his injury out of their heads, that’s one of the many reasons why the team is performing the way it is up to this point in the season.

Many fans believe this is the reason why the Angels are a third placed team, however I’m taking a vastly different approach yes, I concede that their way the Texas Rangers are playing right now, it will be extraordinary difficult yet not impossible to overtake the Rangers by the end of the season. I remind everyone that last night was only game number 64 of an 162 game season. The Angels’ chances are not over by any stretch of the imagination. However they will need to find a way to get out of this psychological funk that they are in. As a diehard faithful fan, I have to believe that things will turn around for them. It is often said that baseball is a game of inches, the same thing can be said for the psychology of baseball, the Angels are not getting blown out by any means they just have to correct the mistakes; and swing the pendulum in their favor so as they continue to add to their extra inning games and one run differential statistics the Angels are the ones that must come out on top.

Perhaps with the Angels need is to actually get away from Angel Stadium, this upcoming road trip involves inter-league play. The Angels the Angels have done well in inter-league play and maybe this is exactly what they need to get back to their winning ways.

-ICE

Hunger for a World Series Championship Is Reborn in the Hungry Halos

What a difference a year makes, the Angels don’t look like the team they were a year ago, they look very hungry, non-complacent and ready to reclaim what’s rightfully theirs; the American League West championship. Maybe this is exactly what he needed, being a three-time defending American League West champions may have caused them to get a little too comfortable in that position. They were lacking the drive and the hunger to succeed last year.

 

Maybe it was the bullpen as everyone remembers the Angels collapse started with the bullpen last year. That translated into offensive fatigue add to that the injury to Kendrys Morales in early May, and one has a recipe for disaster.

 

Not making the playoffs last year seemed to really affect the Angels by reinstalling hunger for success, they kept veterans that were the leaders of the club last year such as Torii Hunter, Jared Weaver, Dan Haren, and infused some youth into the team, such as Hank Conger, Mark Trumbo, and Jordan Walden. The perfect mix of leadership and youth seems to be paying off. It is this mixture of talent that has allowed the Angels to put together a five game winning streak while at the same time mollifying the great start by the Texas Rangers.

 

As of yesterday they were both tied for first place in the American League West, the Angels lost 7 runs to 1; everybody who follows baseball knows that teams are going to win some, and they’re going to lose some. What concerns me at this point is not the win loss record because I strongly believe that the Rangers can and will be beat, I wonder to the condition of our starting rotation, he’ll fit their reorganization of bullpen seem to work and offense seems to have found their groove without Kendrys Morales. The starting rotation however will need work, which Joel Piñeiro out with an injury, the Angels are unable at this point to really assess what the starting rotation will look like. I hope they both are able to play very soon.

 

It is very intriguing how the Angels have managed to construct the beginnings of a catcher controversy between Hank Conger and Jeff Mathis, according to an article in the Los Angeles Times a few days ago Mathis requested a closed-door meeting with Angels’ manager Mike Scioscia regarding his playing time, I fail to see the controversy, Hank Conger is a young, hungry, enthusiastic, power hitter that is ready to help the Angels on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball. Mathis on the other hand, has been a sub . 200 hitter, in his career granted, he is an above average defensive catcher, but Conger is equal to Mathis on the defensive side, and is clearly better on the offensive side. Jeff Mathis is a good backup catcher, he has had an opportunity to prove himself the last few years, he hasn’t, so it’s time to make room for someone I can do the job for this team.

 

The Angels having no glaring holes at this point, but they do need to address certain small issue before they become good eye problems. Overall, the Angels were a far cry from the team they were last year. I believe that they will do great things; although it is a long shot I do believe with a few tweaks in the problem areas this team has the talent to win the World Series. Go Angels!

 

-ICE

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