Results tagged ‘ Rangers Ballpark in Arlington ’

The Repercussions of the Josh Hamilton Contract

“Hindsight is 20/20.” “You can’t cry over spilled milk.” “Monday morning quarterback.” These are all terms people use to express the feeling of what’s done is done; although these terms are very true, they can not be applied in my opinion to the Josh Hamilton contract.

Don’t get me wrong, I am ecstatic that the Angels did not sign Masahiro Tanaka. What’s really bothering me is the report that the Angels didn’t even extend an offer because they did not want to go over the luxury tax. It was indeed bad money management that put the Halos in the position they are today. A position they wouldn’t be in had they passed on Hamilton.

It appears this team is suffering from selective amnesia, the money that was used in the Hamilton contract was earmarked for pitching. They chose instead to ignore that, and sign Hamilton to a contract which ultimately led to patchwork repairs of the pitching staff. The cost? They lost a homegrown player with a huge upside in Mark Trumbo. They essentially let go of a young player for someone with inflated numbers who hit in a hitters park in Arlington.

The Angels had a backup plan, Matt Garza if and when the negotiations with Masahiro Tanaka fell through. Well, they did, and Garza signed a four-year contract with the Milwaukee Brewers. Now what? According to the Angels general manager they are “prepared to move forward with their current roster.” What does that mean? A fifth consecutive year without a playoff appearance? If that’s the case, how did the Josh Hamilton contract change anything? Did Hamilton make the Angels more competitive this past year? Of course not, so what’s going to be different this year? If the Angels would have been more careful with their money, The Halos would have money in the budget to sign a high quality pitcher without relying on a backup plan.

How will that translate when it comes time to re-sign Mike Trout? If the Angels weren’t competitive with Tanaka, how do they expect to be competitive with Trout? Will the Angels be willing to go over the luxury tax with a Trout contract? I sincerely hope so, I would be willing to go one more year without a playoff appearance if that meant the Halos would sign Trout to a long-term contract. On the other hand, how is this team going to remain attractive and a viable option for Trout if the Angels do not make the playoffs this year? It has yet to be seen if the current roster will make an impact this year, as a fan, I sincerely hope so. However, I highly doubt it.

-ICE
Related Articles: http://losangeles.angels.mlb.com/news/article/ana/angels-sit-out-masahiro-tanaka-sweepstakes?ymd=20140122&content_id=66964996

http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article/mlb/anthony-castrovince-los-angeles-angels-need-to-figure-out-what-mike-trout-is-worth?ymd=20140211&content_id=67635368&vkey=news_mlb

Texas: “The Lone Halo State”

Texas: “The Lone Star Halo State”

With the first series of the season over, the Angels had a less than stellar performance, only winning one of three games. Yes, it is the first series of the season. Yes, the Angels had the distinction of being the first team in Major League Baseball history (along with the Cincinnati Reds) to play an interleague series in the first series of the season. Yes, it was in a National League ballpark with National League rules. Yes, the first series does not make a season.

Now that all possible explanations for the Angels’ poor performance have been stated, here’s the truth; the Angels have the best record overall when it comes to interleague play. They were in a hitter friendly ballpark in Cincinnati. There is no reason why the Angels shouldn’t be hitting the cover off the ball, in the series the Angels fell victim to 36 strikeouts and they left 27 men on base. These were the determining factors that led to the Angels downfall. The bullpen on the other hand was pleasantly surprising. I was especially impressed by Mark Lowe who kept the Angels afloat in the 13 inning marathon opening-day, if the bullpen stays solid and the hitters can find their groove, the Angels should be alright this season.

The Angels go to a hitter friendly ballpark in Arlington for the next series, a showdown with the Texas Rangers. Another hitter friendly ballpark, under American League rules which means an extra hitter, with the incorporation of the DH, no more pinch-hitting for the pitcher which should alleviate the taxing of the bench.

I hope with these different variables, the variables that the Halos are accustomed to; they can get back to form. They cannot have 36 strikeouts and 27 men left on base and expect to survive against a talented team like the Texas Rangers. Arlington Texas is in “The Lone Star State”, now with the incorporation of the Houston Astros into the American League West, the Angels will be traveling to Texas twice as much from this point forward and they must dominate the Texas teams on the road. The Angels must make sure that Texas is known to the baseball world as, Texas: “The Lone Star Halo State.”

-ICE

The Big White Elephant in the Room

The Tampa Bay Rays took two out of three from the Angels this past weekend. I’m not going to include any statistics or try to explain away why the Angels lost, except for maybe one statistic that jumps out. The Angels have gone the last 22 innings without scoring a run. Despite a good outing by Zack Greinke in his Angels’ debut.

The dog fights of summer have really begun, this was supposed to be a two team race between the Angels and the Rangers. After the Angels signed then free agent Albert Pujols, the Rangers responded by signing Yu Darvish. The chest game between these two teams has gone on since this past off-season, with the Rangers coming off of two straight World Series appearances and being one strike away from winning the championship. The Rangers are doing everything they can to get back to the World Series, while the Angels are trying to reclaim the American League West as their own; much like he did last decade training titles with the Oakland Athletics. The Angels are also trying to make it back to the World Series on their 10th anniversary since claiming the 2002 World Series Championship.

The Oakland Athletics, all I can say is wow! Somehow they have managed to slip into second place ahead of the Angels by a half-game. They’ve only lost four games in the month of July, including a sweep of the New York Yankees in recent weeks. They have unexpectedly become relevant in the American League West. Can they keep it up? Who knows, the Angels are used to the battles with the A’s and the Rangers are used to the battles with the Angels; can the Rangers really handle fending off two teams? While the Angels are used to dealing with both the Athletics and the Rangers. So it is my belief that the Angels would have the upper hand in this scenario.

Tomorrow the Angels begin a big four-game series with the Rangers in Arlington, I wonder who Athletics’ fans will be pulling for in the upcoming series? On the one hand, they wouldn’t want the arch-rival Angels to get ahead of them in the standings given our history, but then again, they can ill afford the Rangers pulling away any further in the division lead. This should be very, very interesting.

For years now the American League West hasn’t gotten the respect it deserves, whether one calls it East Coast biased, or otherwise I guess the West Coast games are on too late for the sportswriters and they need their sleep since most of the time they are too busy covering the East Coast teams.

The situation has become very exciting, the Athletics have made it exciting for baseball fans outside this division to want to pay attention. For fans like me who have followed this division for as long as I can remember, it’s just another day at the ballpark. Long live the beauty of baseball!

-ICE

Yu Darvish, Don’t Be Blinded by Albert Pujols’ Shiny New Halo

Let the gamesmanship begin, the Angels and the Texas Rangers started the game of one upmanship during the off-season. The Texas Rangers made it to the World Series two years in a row as the American League representative. The Angels responded by signing Albert Pujols to a 10 year contract, then delivering a crippling blow to the Texas Rangers by swiping their ace C. J. Wilson. The Rangers countered by bidding, winning, and singing Japanese phenom Yu Darvish, and now both teams are playing poker; neither team wanting to give away the hand that they strategically have. Both Wilson and Darvish were scheduled to face off during today’s spring training game. Alas, we will have to wait until the regular season and see the skills of the phenom from the land of the rising Sun, compete against the Halo.

Can it be a Rangers are just a little bit nervous in regards to the power of Pujols and the damage he can do in a hitters park like Rangers Ballpark in Arlington? Are they afraid that Albert Pujols will somehow tarnish Darvish? I think it’s neither, the Rangers are very wisely saving their aces until the games count, they want to win this poker game so they won’t keep their collective poker face on the table for as long as they can. The American League West will come down to a wild West style shootout. Where I believe the Halo war is from the ashes, and once again claim was rightfully theirs; the American League West Championship.

I don’t believe this sparring match will end in the regular season. Don’t be surprised if the American League wild card comes out of the American League West. I don’t believe the Rangers will go away that easy. But then again, neither will the Angels. I strongly believe that the American League West in the American League East are the two strongest divisions in baseball right now, and I don’t think one should pencil in the Yankees or the Red Sox or for that matter the Rangers just yet. The Angels will have a lot to say about how the postseason turns out before this is over. And when we look back at the 2012 season, at least for the Angels and Rangers the games began well before opening day, they began during spring training March 2012.

-ICE

Scrappy Doo and Pujols Too

Growing up as a kid in the 1980s was a really fun time. Watching Gilligan’s Island, He-Man, and Scooby Doo was all a kid could really ask for. In the later episodes of Scooby Doo they introduced a character named Scrappy Doo, Scooby Doo as pint size nephew who was small in stature but had the heart of a lion. Scrappy had a phrase “puppy power” when he was about to embark on something that may be over his head.

Curiously this cartoon reminds me of Angels baseball in a way; the phrase “puppy power” can now be replaced with “Pujols Power” unlike scrappy, there’s nothing small about Albert Pujols but I think juxtaposing these two images is appropriate because I think the rest of Major League Baseball is in over their heads with this entire Angels team.

Granted, I understand that it’s only spring training but we have already seen what Pujols Power can do, he is already belted three Home Runs in this preseason, and I am not talking little dinky shots either, I’m talking about mammoth Home Runs. For those of you that have not had the opportunity to really check out what Pujols has done this preseason I invite you to take a look:

Pujols’ Solo Home Run

I’m curious how the American League is going to deal with Albert Pujols, are we going to see teams treat him like Barry Bonds during his time with the San Francisco Giants? While they pitch around him? Or will teams take their chances and pitch to him? How will the Texas Rangers pitch to him in their ballpark? Since the ballpark in Arlington is a hitters park. It will be interesting to see what happens during the course of the season.

Tomorrow the Angels face the hated Los Angeles Dodgers, with Pujols back in the lineup, will they avenge the ugly 9-1 loss of a few days ago? It’s a great time to be a baseball fan, and an Angels’ fan in particular. Go Angels!

-ICE

The Royals, King Pujols and Prince Fielder Cause a Shift of Power between the American League and the National League

Here we are, it is late January and this upcoming baseball season has proven to be one of the most exciting and anticipated seasons in recent memory. I recently moved from Southern California to Northern California, I will be here at least for the next year. I went from living 3.5 miles away from Angel Stadium a 10 minute ride, to living 412 miles away in the state capitol. Needless to say I’m going to miss going to the ballpark in the next year, with the exception of going to games when I visit my parents. To top it off, just when the Angels signed Albert Pujols; what luck. As the old saying goes, “you can take the boy out of his home, but you can’t take home out of the boy.” So I think MLB TV and I along with game day audio stream and I will become the very best of friends over the next year. Thank you God for giving Al Gore the ingenuity to invent the Internet! Just kidding, you know I love you, Mr. Vice President.

For those of you who read my previous entry you know have already talked about the impact of Albert Pujols of green dual contract with the Angels, But even more significant Prince Fielder not singing with the Texas Rangers. I know what you’re thinking, and before your imagination runs away with you; let me clarify I would have loved if Prince Fielder came to an agreement with the Rangers. I’m a strong believer in competition, that move would’ve solidified the American League West as the Premier division in all baseball, even surpassing the American League East; the Yankees and the Red Sox would’ve had a run for their money. I do believe however, acquisition of Prince Fielder to the Rangers would’ve given the Rangers a clear advantage over the Angels. Why? Simply because the ballpark at Arlington is a hitters park therefore, given the Prince a real power advantage since he would’ve worked with the shorter field than Pujols in his home park, at Angel Stadium. I know my fellow blogger Steve; will probably have a lot to say on the subject.

Baseball purist say that the National League is the league of real baseball, I don’t disagree however, I enjoy the designated hitter rule I’m okay with getting rid of that rule if and only if coaches decide to actually teach pitchers how to hit. I don’t honestly a pitcher bunt to advance the runner every time he comes up to bat. Let the pitcher hit, I do realize that it’s not worth risking an injury to a star pitcher just because he swung the bat wrong, hence that is why the designated hitter is such a beautiful position. It doesn’t give a pitcher a break it forces him to keep focus, while the same time it allows hitters to hit.

That’s why it is such an advantage for Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder to doing the American League; it essentially extends their respective careers, and only solidifies their Hall of Fame potential. It is a beautiful time to be a baseball fan, let’s get the season started!

-ICE

“Walking in a Winter Wonderland”

It seems like it’s going to be a busy off-season for bloggers like me, either one of two things have happened, either the Angels have been intensely reading my blog, or Jerry Dipoto is shaping up to be a very valuable magician pulling rabbits out of hats that I didn’t even know existed. I believe it’s the latter.

 

Today, Saturday, he traded Jeff Mathis a player who had virtually no trade value for Brad Mills of the Toronto Blue Jays. For those who read my blog regularly, I’ve been calling for the Angels to move Mathis in some way, shape, or form for a while now. The Jeff Mathis “error” (era) as most Angels’ fans call it is officially over. I prefer to call it an era simply because it’s a segment of history in Angels baseball that can’t be dismissed as an error. I prefer to call it the Mike Napoli/Jeff Mathis saga, because one can’t talk about one player without talking about the other, and it is how these players relate to each other that made an impact on Angels’ history.

 

When they were both still with the team, I myself questioned why Mike Scioscia opted to play Mathis over Napoli, yet I understood Mathis had virtually no trade value even then, at that time, the Angels were shopping Napoli around because the Angels needed an offensive constant. Mike Scioscia wanted Jeff Mathis to get acclimated with the team since the trade of Mike Napoli was a very probable one. Mike Napoli at the time was a very streaky hitter. He had the most trade value so it made sense to trade him away when the Angels acquired Vernon Wells, whether that was a good trade is a totally different story, but from a logical standpoint the Angels made the most logical move. Vernon Wells’ contract aside, the Angels felt that they were getting a much more consistent power hitter in Wells then Napoli. There was no way the Angels could’ve predicted that Wells would struggle in Anaheim his first year.

 

When Mike Napoli was traded to the Blue Jays, there was no way that the Angels could’ve foreseen that the Blue Jays would turn around and trade Napoli to the division rival, the Texas Rangers. Before I stir grumblings among Angels’ fans, let’s take a look at the situation with some perspective, there is only one main reason that Napoli had a career year in Texas and a stellar World Series; the Rangers home stadium.

 

Angel Stadium, “The Big A” is a bigger stadium in its dimensions compared to Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.”The Big A” is a hitters park during the daytime, but becomes a pitchers park during night games. The ballpark in Texas has smaller dimensions than Angel Stadium couple that with the warmer temperatures in Arlington and the ball carries even for evening games. Thus, when one combines the warmer temperatures at night with the smaller ballpark it creates an artificially inflated statistic when it comes to power numbers such as Home Runs.

 

In my opinion that’s the case with Mike Napoli if he were still in an Angels uniform, Angels’ fans would still be complaining about how streaky of a hitter he is. I for one I’m just glad that the Angels’ organization came to their senses and trading away Jeff Mathis. If I had to pick between Mathis and Napoli of course I would’ve picked Napoli, who wouldn’t?

 

It’s important for Angels’ fans not to confuse the business and logic of the game with a passion for a team. As a fan, between the two; Mike Napoli is bar none the better choice, but from a business standpoint since Jeff Mathis had no trade value, it made sense to trade Napoli.

 

The Major League Baseball Winter Meetings begin this coming Monday; I have already received an early Christmas present, the Angels trading away Jeff Mathis. Ladies and gentlemen this is the magic that is the Christmas and holiday season, I can’t wait to see what magic Jerry Dipoto does next to make this truly a Winter Wonderland.

 

-ICE

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