Prospect Lists and Game Endings. Oh yeah and Vernon Wells.  Halolinks

2011 Top 250 Prospects: Special Version - Deep Leagues
Prospect lists are normally limited to players signed by a major league team.  However, since this is irrelevant for fantasy purposes, the following is a version of our top prospects list that includes professional, amateur, and international prospects. 

Just wanted to lead off with a non-Vernon Wells link.  Interesting list if you're into this kind of thing.  I get links emailed to me now that my email address is the only one listed at the bottom of the HH pages.  Usually they're for some product being sold or from a blog looking for some exposure.  I like getting these types of emails because sometimes there's a good story behind the link.  Anyway, in the email for this link, the author (Brad O'Neill) included this note, "As for the Angels, Mike Trout received a high ranking. Conger and Segura also scored well. A number of the pitching prospects (Chatwood, Richards, Walden, Bedrosian, Martinez-Mesa) made the list. I also found a spot for Grichuk. The most controversial exclusions were Amarista, Trumbo, and several intriguing players from the draft."
MORE LINKS AFTER THE BREAK...

10 worst endings to postseason games - The Hardball Times
But wait, what exactly is a terrible ending to a postseason game? Basically, it's a game decided not by the victorious team achieving something, but by the losing team screwing up badly. That's the main definition. It can be broadened if need be to a game's ending that seems horribly wrong based on what had occurred during the game. Ultimately, deciding what constitutes one of the worst endings is fairly arbitrary.

And another non-Wells trade link...but still a bummer for Angels' fans.  Can anyone guess which Angels game was included in this list of depressing ending (it doesn't feature Dave Henderson)?

After roster move, are Nats talking with Indians? - MASNsports.com
On another front, one pretty consistent source tells me that the Nationals are working on "a number" of other trades, though didn't have enough specifics to flesh anything out. Another big league scout tells me he'd heard some "conversations" had taken place between the Nats and the Indians about starting pitcher Fausto Carmona and outfielder Grady Sizemore.

Hey, maybe they'd take Mike Napoli and Juan Rivera.  Wait, what?  Okay, bad joke.  But how about Peter Bourjos and Tyler Chatwood for Sizemore and Carmona?  Is that enough?  Too much?  Since last Friday I've become so confused as to what's a fair trade!

Andy LaRoche signs minor league contract with Athletics - HardballTalk
Once regarded as one of the game’s top prospects, LaRoche has a lowly .224 batting average to go along with a .304 on-base percentage and .338 slugging percentage across 1,228 plate appearances in the major leagues.

I'm a huge fan of the spring-training-invitee thing.  This could be a serviceable signing for the A's, and could have been a serious signing for the Angels and their weak 3B situation.  I mentioned Hank Blalock in another post, as I thought he'd be a good invitee.   Hell, bring 'em all in and see who sticks. 

All eyes on Kim - The Basketball Jones

This is just funny.

Okay, here we go...

The Most Inexplicable Trade Ever? - FanGraphs Baseball
This isn’t one of those moves where there are reasonable arguments on both sides of the coin – this is the kind of deal where it is almost unanimous that the Blue Jays took the Angels to the cleaners. No matter how hard you squint to try to find positives in Wells’ game, it’s still just a complete head-scratcher that the Angels would agree to take on a contract that size for a player of his abilities. This deal got me thinking – when was the last time there was this kind of near-unanimous reaction to a trade? In short, is this the most inexplicable deal in recent history?

Our buddy Dave Cameron opines about the deal, and I find it hard to disagree with him.  Is it possible for everyone to be wrong and the Angels FO to be right?  I hope so.

Needing youth, quickness, Angels instead opt for Wells - CBSSports.com
What does make sense is this: Catcher Mike Napoli and outfielder Juan Rivera, who went to Toronto in the deal, are two players the Angels wanted gone. Napoli continually clashed with Scioscia over his defensive work, to the point where he spent some time on the bench late in 2010 and couldn't understand why. Rivera's lack of defensive range was overshadowed only by his lack of interest in improving it. Within the Angels clubhouse, Rivera was viewed as lazy.

This is interesting.  And possibly answers the question as to why the Angels even included players in the deal.  Perhaps the Angle FO thought it was one of those situations of addition-by-subtraction.  We'll never know if Napoli and Rivera were truly such a negative presence in the clubhouse that the organization thought they'd be better off with them gone, but the possibility can't be ignored.

Angels overreact, add Wells - Rob Neyer - ESPN
Look, I'm not a huge Peter Bourjos fan; he just hasn't reached base often enough as a professional to get me real excited. But if Bourjos hadn't been so awful in the majors last year, the Angels probably wouldn't have traded for Vernon Wells. If the Angels hadn't struck out in their bids for Crawford and Beltre, they almost certainly wouldn't have traded for Wells, if only because there wouldn't have been room for Wells' HUGE contract in their budget. But both of those things did happen, and the Angels overreacted. Sort of classically.

I'm not too sure the Angels think Bourjos was so awful, but then, they do think Mathis is worth $1.7M and a roster spot.  They may be a little gun shy after last season's Brandon Wood debacle, but not to the extent of paying $86M.

SECRETLY TAPED CONVERSATIONS OF THE HOT STOVE LEAGUE: 2011 EDITION - Bugs & Cranks
Anthopoulos: (Toronto GM, holding MUTE button on cell phone) "Hey Jay! (Sartori, Assistant GM) I got Tony on the line…No, not Fernandez, Reagins…Angels. Yeah, Tony. Anyway…dig this…they want Wells…(pause)…Napoli! But that’s not all, Rivera too! (audible: Sartori spews Molson from nose and mouth)…Yeah! I know! What should I tell him?…HA! Just kidding!"

This post was meant as a joke, but I'm not too sure it's couldn't be pretty close to the truth.

Barry Zito, Alfonso Soriano among most immovable contracts - USATODAY.com
There are a few other clubs, with massive contracts and mediocre players on their hands, who would love to copy the Blue Jays' debt relief plan. The Daily Pitch looks at the five most immovable contracts in baseball:

Or in other words, this is a list of players the Angels have targeted to acquire since Carl Crawford and Adrian Beltre were too expensive and signed to too long of a contract.

The Orange County Register has quite a few article about the Wells/Napoli/Rivera deal, here's a link to their blog page if you haven't already been there or have the link saved:  Angels blog : The Orange County Register.  Below are a couple posts that I thought were interesting...

An attempt to explain Angels’ thinking - Bill Plunkett
For anyone who followed the Angels last season, an objective list of the issues that needed to be addressed this off-season would have included these three items at or near the top (in reverse order of importance, in my opinion): * Outfield defense (just ask Jered Weaver how frustrating it was to be a fly-ball pitcher on the Angels’ staff last year)
* Bullpen depth (how many one-run deficits became irretrievable four-run deficits in the sixth, seventh or eighth innings last year?)
* Offense (a 202-run dropoff from 2009, the largest in the majors, and the Angels’ lowest run total in a full season since 1992)

I agree with his first point, the deal does improve the outfield defense and makes the Angels pitching staff better, and the FO did improve a leaky bullpen with the sigings of Downs and Takahasi.  I'm not sure how much of an offensive upgrade Wells will be, especially if last season was an outlier.  However in my opinion, one of the most important items is missing from the list and that's improving third base.  If Trout is going to be as good as most think he is, the outfield shouldn't have been a higher priority than third base, a position where the Angels have no clear options in the very near future.

The Angels traded two players to the Toronto Blue Jays for three-time All-Star and Gold Glove winner and Worst trades in Angels history  - The Orange County Register

These two posts are examples of something the Register has been doing a lot of lately, the "CLICK ON THE PHOTO" to read type posts. 

And finally, my opinion of the trade...

I've been a fan of the Angels for almost 40 years.  Throughout most of that time, the Angels were always perceived as the bumbling little club in Orange County that few people outside of the area took too seriously.  With the exception of a couple years of success, the Angels never seemed like they were relevant in baseball.  But 2002 and the last 8 eight years changed all of that.  Finally it was fun to be a fan of a team others didn't laugh at.  A team who were being run in a professional manner like a big-market team.  A team other took SERIOUSLY!  I usually don't care what the fans of other teams think, just as I don't think they care what I think, but it was cool to be on top with nothing to look forward to except continued success. That's been wiped out in 3 short months.

This feels like the seventies all over again.

January 25 - BR Bullpen
Events, births and deaths that occurred on January 25.
1945 - Larry MacPhail, Dan Topping and Del Webb purchase the New York Yankees for $2.8 million from the heirs of previous owner Jacob Ruppert. The new owners announce that Ed Barrow will remain in place as general manager, but a month later they will install MacPhail as GM.  This may be the reason the Yankees haven't tried to get Mathis from the Angels.  Why would they trade for a player who's making $1.7M when the previous-previous owners of the team only paid $2.8M for the entire club?
1974 - Ray Kroc, fast-food entrepreneur (McDonald's), buys the San Diego Padres for $12 million.   See comment above.
Happy b-day:
1978 - Derrick Turnbow, pitcher; All-Star  Really, Turnbow was an all-star?  Didn't know that.
1986 - Oney Guillen, minor league infielder  Bobby Jenks says, "Happy birthd...who?  Oh f##k him."

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