Thursday Halolinks: Mike Trout talks, gives good face

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

It's a good time to be an Angels' fan if you're into watching a generational player.

Mike Trout spoke with the media yesterday, so there's about 47,000 stories with Trout quotes.  I'll get to those, but first is the other news:

  • Okay, I'll admit it...I'm a hypocrite.  Wait, that's not typically the case, I'd like to think my word and principles are consistent, but when it come to the Angels, I suppose my feelings will "wander".  Normally, I think those scuzzy deals cities make with ballclubs are, well, scuzzy.  They promise all kinds of increased revenue to the city coffers if only they'd shell out hundreds of millions of dollars to build a billionaire owner a new cathedral.  However, when it comes to the Halos I'm all in favor of doing whatever it takes to keep them in Orange County (unless Arte wants to move the club to Bangor, Wisconsin (pop. 1400)).  "The one constant is baseball", and in my world, baseball belongs in Anaheim because that's where it always has been, and should always remain.  Tustin, California mayor tells the Angels the city won’t pay for a ballpark - HardballTalk.  "Same old tired story. Eventually someone is going to give the Angels a gift in the form of land or tax breaks because that always happens. And as they do it, they’ll shout increasingly loudly about how it’s not really a handout."
  • I'm on record as writing Dane De La Rosa sucks.  And now I want to be on record as writing I was wrong: The Bullpens of the AL West - Yahoo Sports.  "After a mechanical change brought the former realtor back into baseball, Dane De La Rosa showed enough to snag a couple saves last year when Frieri was iffy. Because his change was fairly radical in terms of mechanics, it's not super instructive to look at his old numbers. Last year, on a per-pitch basis, all of his pitches save the curve were above-average by whiffs. And the curve got a 72% ground-ball rate. If he retains all his rates, and maybe mixes in what looked to be a plus slider more often, he could easily be a good mid-tier closer, with a ground-ball rate to make him a *safer* option than Frieri. Newcomer Joe Smith should have the best ground-ball rate of the crew, but he throws his fastball 89 and is basically a league-average pitcher against lefties. Expect him to set up and get most of the righties in the late innings, but De La Rosa to be the closer in waiting."  I wrote in the link above about constants in baseball, and one of the constants with a winning Angels team is a strong bullpen.  This year's pen looks to be back on track to becoming a pivotal part of a winning season.
  • Two things from this post; 1)  Arte wants the club to have fun.  Yipee! And I'm excited about the list of special instructors: Owner Moreno to Angels: Have fun - angels.com.  "Arte Moreno addressed the entire team Wednesday morning prior to the Angels' first full workout, on the heels of a frustrating four-year absence from the playoffs. The owner's words, simply: "Have fun." Special guest instructors for Angels Spring Training will include Chuck Finley (Feb. 17-21), Tim Salmon (Feb. 19-21), David Eckstein (Feb. 24-27 and March 17-20), Jim Abbott (March 10-13), Adam Kennedy (March 11-14), Garret Anderson (March 14-15) and Bobby Grich (March 15-20)." 
  • An Angel's player made the list!  2014 Baseball America Top 100 Prospects: The 25th Edition - BaseballAmerica.com.  "#93 Taylor Lindsey 2b 22 2015 Lindsey’s bat has made him a top prospect. He’ll need to maintain his athleticism and agility to avoid becoming a liability at second base."
  • There was a link last week about this, but here's another: Baseball sued over low minor-league wages - SFGate.  "The 6,000 current minor-leaguers have no union or bargaining power and are paid on a fixed scale, set by Major League Baseball, that starts at $1,100 a month at rookie Class A leagues and rises to $2,150 for the top-level Triple-A leagues, the suit said. It said salaries average $3,000 to $7,500 for playing seasons of three to five months."
  • What a bunch of jerks: The Phillies ratted out a draftee to the NCAA for negotiating with an agent - HardballTalk.  "Fitt surmises that the Phillies did so due to sour grapes over Wetzler deciding not to sign and instead returning to Oregon State for his senior year... the Phillies — or at least someone who works for them — ratted our Wetzler. Apparently out of spite. And in doing so there is an NCAA investigation pending against him which could cause him to be ineligible for his senior year and put his very future in baseball in peril."
  • Men accused of 2011 Bryan Stow beating expected to accept plea deal Thursday morning - abc7news.com.  "Louie Sanchez and Marvin Norwood, both from Southern California, are facing trial for the March 31, 2011, incident. The district attorney has been in discussion with defense lawyers about a "guilty" or "no contest" plea deal to avoid a potentially lengthy trial."
  • Here's a very interesting article well worth the time: Connie Mack’s Less Than Graceful Exit - The Hardball Times.  "The Yankees made them do it. That’s the time-honored explanation for the American League’s decision to move the Philadelphia Athletics to Kansas City in 1954. After strong-arming the rest of the league to install a friendly, compliant owner in Kansas City, the Yankees looted the Athletics franchise, acquiring such key players as Roger Maris, Ralph Terry and Clete Boyer in return for nobody in particular."
  • And now, Mike Trout...
  • Phil Rogers: Mike Trout set to become face of baseball after Derek Jeter retires - angels.com.  "No one in Major League Baseball wants to see Derek Jeter walk away at the end of this season. But if the planets continue to align like this, we'll have a ready-made replacement as the face of the sport in Mike Trout. "I try to always do the right thing on and off the field," Trout said. "I stay out of trouble."
  • View from Studio 3: Angels' Mike Trout suited for spotlight - angels.com.  "Trout's back in his natural position that was filled in 2013 by Peter Bourjos. Trout admitted that at times last season playing left field was a distraction. "Playing it your whole life, you always want to stay in your home," he said. "It's like taking you out of your home."
  • Mike Trout of Los Angeles Angels won't talk about contract - ESPN Los Angeles.  "In contrast to last spring, when Trout arrived in Tempe at 241 pounds, his weight is not an issue. He finished last season at 238 pounds, and checked in Tuesday at 235 -- precisely where he wants to be."
  • This is still confusing, and hopefully I can get this cleared up today: Pondering a Mike Trout extension … - Gonzo and 'The Show' "An important note about a potential Trout extension, which is worth repeating: Even if both sides agree to terms tomorrow, Trout can’t sign the deal (and thus the Angels can’t announce it) until after Opening Day because the organization doesn’t want it to count towards its Collective Balance Tax payroll until 2015, when Vernon Wells and Joe Blanton are off the books and the Angels have more wiggle room."  Both Stirrups and I looked in the CBA and came away with the same understanding; the tax isn't computed until December 1st.  Were we wrong, or does most think the tax is based on the opening day payroll?
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