The Angels finished the 2013 season with a 78-84 record. While I'm typically a glass is half-full kind of guy, the best I can do before sitting through the fourth-straight October of meaningless baseball is 48.1% full. The other 51.9% of the glass is topped off with disappointment, frustration and heartbreak. That .481 winning percentage is the lowest since the horrible, post-World Series season of 2003, and ranks as the third-lowest win total of the Scioscia era. There are going to be plenty of the "this is what the Angels should do" type posts, articles, fanposts, comments, and suicide notes over the next 4 or 5 months. And as everyone knows, there are many things the Halos need to address in order to return to October baseball, but let's take a moment to catch our breath and wipe our tears. Sit back and read today's Halolinks. I promise, we'll get to those sign-trade-release-shoot posts soon enough:
- Today's award for the most obvious headline goes to this Alden Gonzalez post. Sorry, I'm just being crabby. As with most Gonzalez' posts, this one is pretty informative: Angels had high expectations, but underachieved - angels.com. "Next year is now, while 10 other teams get primed for the postseason, because the Angels dug themselves yet another early hole they couldn't crawl out of. In 2012, they signed Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson, began the season 18-25, catapulted themselves back in the race and ultimately came up short. This year, they added Josh Hamilton, lost 27 of their first 42 and never strung together consistent baseball until the very end, when it had long been considered too late. Now, it's general manager Jerry Dipoto and skipper Mike Scioscia whose jobs may be on the line, as the Angels venture into an offseason that will be crucial with regards to getting back on track." And there's the first order of business for the Angels' front office; who's going to be driving? Hopefully we get that answer this week. The second big question, how much will the GM have to construct a better team? Offseason questions linger for Angels, but stars are set to return - angels.com. "With $126.5 million already tied to their payroll for next season -- a figure that includes $18.6 million for Vernon Wells, but doesn't include their eight arbitration-eligible players -- they must find a way to bolster a starting rotation that crippled the Angels until the very end, when they finally got some consistency out of a staff with Weaver, C.J. Wilson, Garrett Richards, Vargas and Jerome Williams. That's where Dipoto and Scioscia -- or perhaps somebody else -- will have to get creative." Once again, we're treated to this stupic Scioscia quote "Early, we were built around batter's-box offense, and when the batter's-box offense struggles, it becomes one-dimensional," Scioscia said. "I think we need to have a broader look at that." I'm not sure if it's the same quote from last time, or if Scioscia's caught in some sort of broken record excuse tirade. Regardless, I'm still confused as to where another offense would be built around. The last time I looked, the offense starts in the batter's-box. Kinda hard to get a hit from the bullpen.
- You know your favorite has hit on hard times when people start comparing the owner to Steinbrenner: Best Move for Los Angeles Angels? Arte Moreno Backs Off - Yahoo Sports. "Seeing Moreno in action for the last couple of years is a reminder of ownerships like those of George Steinbrenner and Ted Turner, highly intelligent and successful men whose interference destroyed baseball teams. Baseball is a peculiar business. It's peculiar, period. One of the best remarks ever made about the game has been attributed to Wes Westrum, who caught for the New York Giants in the 1950s: "Baseball is like church. Many attend, but few understand."
- Simers' schtick gets old quickly: Simers: Angry Arte a common sense violator - The Orange County Register. "When we have news to announce, we will announce it," he said. "That’s pretty much the manner we conduct business." Mead is the best public relations specialist in town, so good that when he’s telling you to get lost, you don’t even realize it as you are headed for the door." Common sense violation: Not knowing when you're not welcome.
- I thought this was unintentionally humorous: Trout shines in another dismal season for Angels - Yahoo Sports. "The 22-year-old Trout is one of the game's best players in just his second full major league campaign. But Trout also has never been to the postseason, and he's currently a gem surrounded by mismatched spare parts on an aging, expensive roster." Because, don't you know, EVERYONE who is good gets their team into the playoff by at least their second season.
- Hey Seattle, have I got a deal for you: Finding new manager No. 1 priority for Seattle - Yahoo Sports. "Another offseason. Another Seattle Mariners managerial search. By now, the Mariners should be adept at this process. They'll spend the early part of this offseason hiring their eighth manager or interim manager since 2002." Slightly used, slightly overweight managerial genus available. Take over payments.
- This is the type of guy I wish the Angels had running the ballclub on the field: For the Dodgers, Don Mattingly is leader of the pack - latimes.com. ""Once the game starts, he's still got that player mentality," pitcher Clayton Kershaw said. "He's pretty competitive. You definitely see why he was a successful baseball player." Mattingly's calm demeanor in the clubhouse makes the players comfortable. His intensity in the dugout is what earns their respect. They feel as if he's protecting them."
- Remember this guy? Yep, that Vernon Wells deal is like a Hallmark card: Free Agent Profile: Mike Napoli - MLBTradeRumors.com. "Napoli is one of the top sluggers on the free agent market, as he leads all qualified free agents in isolated power. He's tied for sixth among all free agents with 23 home runs and is fourth in slugging at .482, assuming Adam Lind's option is picked up. Napoli is one of just ten players to hit at least 20 home runs in each of the 2008-13 seasons."