It's snowing for the first time here in western Wisconsin. Although it's too warm for it to stick, when the snow flies for the first time it reminds me that yes, summer is really over. And that's kind of depressing. At least I have a warm cup o' Halolinks:
- Is Billy Beane the smartest man in baseball? Probably not, but he's most likely in the top 5, or at least he knows the right people to give him the right answers. And he's identified the problem with the Angels. In this interview with Athletics Nation, Still playing moneyball: An exclusive interview with Billy Beane, Beane suggests home runs are imperative to a team's success: Can you win in the American League without hitting homers? - Baseball Nation. "Beane: Yes, it’s pitching and power in this league. Nobody has done it better the last 15 years than the Yankees. Listen, you go into Texas and you’re playing that lineup? You’re not going to bunt and steal your way to winning games. Not eight, nine, 10 games a year in that ballpark. Then they come here. You can call that my opinion but you can certainly prove it mathematically. It’s simply not going to happen without the home run. We haven’t had power and this year we did. That was a huge difference." The Angels finished 7th in the league in home runs, 8 behind Oakland. But guess what -- they finished second in stolen bases with 134 (Minnesota led the league with 135) and topped the A.L. with 47 sacrifice bunts. If Beane is right, and he usually is, his " You’re not going to bunt and steal your way to winning games" comment could point directly at the Angels and why they were sitting at home when the playoffs started.
- I get the feeling this is going to be a nail-biter off season. There's a lot of work to be done, with little free agent resources available...at least in the pitching department. That makes the Greinke-Haren-Santana storyline so compelling: With problem 'pen, rotation in tatters, Angels in holding pattern over Greinke - CBSSports.com. "In another time, at another place, the Angels zeroed in on another free agent they played sort of like Greinke: Mark Teixeira. As with Greinke, they acquired Teixeira in a midseason trade, both to help them win that year (2008) and figuring that half-a-season with him would give them an insider's edge when that winter's free agent market opened. Then, the Yankees blew the Angels out of the water in the Teixeira negotiations. Now, with the Dodgers and their bottomless bankroll, the Angels stand a real chance of the same thing happening with Greinke." This scenario is frightening, after letting go of Haren (not so much Santana) and then losing Greinke to the the Dodgers, there might not be a way for the Halos to salvage the winter. Good however. Those guys who get paid to know what's going on think Greinke will return: Seven offseason questions for baseball executives - ESPN. "2) Which team will sign Zack Greinke? For how many years and how much money? Responses: Los Angeles Angels 11; Los Angeles Dodgers 6; Atlanta 2; Texas 1; Kansas City 1; Milwaukee 1."
- Rev Halofan has pointed this out before; The Angels have the medical records, they know more about the player than anyone. And this may be the unspoken reason the Angels weren't in a big hurry to re-sign Haren. Dan Haren’s Health, and What We Don’t Know - FanGraphs Baseball. "Matt Swartz . In doing work on free agent pricing and valuation, he found that free agents who change teams perform significantly worse than free agents who re-sign with their original franchise, and the large gap comes mostly from the disappointing performance of free agent pitchers."
- The Royals' fans are starting to question the health of Ervin Santana's arm: Ervin Santana: Damaged Goods - Royals Review. Next it will be the brain.
- Beyond the Box Score looks at potential free agent bargain: Anibal Sanchez could be a nice bargain this off-season. - Beyond the Box Score. "Anibal Sanchez has been flying under the radar, but since 2010 he's actually been quite good. Based on past performances could be this off-season's best value pick up?" Or how about this guy? 4 A's free agents now free to go - SFGate. "(Brandon) McCarthy's 3.24 ERA was ninth best among AL pitchers, but he had two stints on the disabled list with shoulder issues. His health was the best it had been all season when he was struck in the head with a line drive Sept. 5 and missed the rest of the year." How about both!
- I'm REALLY looking forward to this: Angels set to go with Trout-Bourjos-Trumbo outfield - HardballTalk. However, this note makes me sad as it causes those recurring nightmares of Mike Scioscia inking the line-up card to include Wells since he's making superstar money (without the superstar output), "Besides leaving no room for Hunter, Dipoto’s decision also means Vernon Wells will be a $21 million fourth outfielder unless the Angels can trade him. He’s set to make about 10 times as much as the three starters ahead of him combined." Dipoto has his plans, but is Scioscia willing to follow them?
- Seriously? The Angels "would love" to get Lackey back? 20 baseball free agents to keep an eye on - The Boston Globe. "Vernon Wells, OF, Angels — He is being shopped to anyone and everyone, with the Angels willing to eat a lot of the $42 million he is owed. Wells, who will turn 34 in December, never panned out in LA. Worse, he has shown very little passion for baseball. The Red Sox are one team the Angels have tried to start talks with; the Angels would love to get John Lackey back, but the Sox are intrigued by what Lackey might look like after Tommy John surgery." Why would they love to get Lackey back? Because it means no longer having Wells? By the way, if you're curious about who else had TJ surgery, here's a list: Tommy John Surgeries: A More Complete List - Beyond the Box Score
- Here comes the award voting results: Miguel Cabrera voted top player by big leaguers - Yahoo! Sports. "Other awards went to Cabrera (AL outstanding player), McCutchen (NL outstanding player), Tampa Bay's David Price (AL outstanding pitcher) and New York Mets knuckleballer R.A. Dickey (NL outstanding pitcher). Trout and Cincinnati third baseman Todd Frazier were voted the outstanding rookies, and Adam Dunn of the Chicago White Sox and San Francisco catcher Buster Posey were chosen comeback players of the year." And,Players vote Mike Trout for AL's Outstanding Rookie - angels.com. "The Players Trust donated $20,000 to the charity of Trout's choice. He opted for the Millville Baseball Program in his hometown of Millville, N.J. "It gives me a chance to give back to the program and let kids have what I wanted when I was there," Trout said. "I'm just incredibly humbled and honored to get this award." And...IBWAA MVPs - baseballmusings.com, "1st Place: Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers 2nd Place: Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim 3rd Place: Adrian Beltre, Texas Rangers 4th Place: Josh Hamilton, Texas Rangers 5th Place: Robinson Cano, New York Yankees". Oh, don't let me forget: Wilson names Mike Trout top defensive player in AL - angels.com. "Trout's 23 runs saved ranked fifth in the Majors, according to FanGraphs.com. His Range Factor, 2.7, was tied for fourth among all center fielders."