Thursday Halolinks: Angels could be surprise team of 2014

Scoring runs shouldn't be a problem for the 2014 Angels. - Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

They need everything to "click", but the potential is there.

Although once again the temps here in Wisconsin are sub-zero, I'm so excited!  I bought my plane tickets to Arizona last night and will be at Spring Training for the first time in over 10 years.  I'll be in the warm sunshine from March 10th-14th (Monday-Friday), so if you're in the area, please let me know and we can possibly meet-up.  Until then, here are your Halolinks:

  • This post looks at last pre-season's two favorites to make the play-offs; the Toronto Blue Jays and the Angels.  While both teams missed the postseason, some feel the Angels "under-the-radar" off-season could payoff with meaningful games in October.  Sure, I'm an optimist when it comes to my favorite team, but I truly believe this year is going to be FUN!  The Post-Hype Sleepers - MLB Daily Dish.  "Add in the new acquisitions in the rotation, and hopefully strong, healthy seasons from Wilson and Weaver, and it wouldn't be absurd to expect the team to contend in 2013. Baseball Prospectus' PECOTA standings have the team pegged to win 87 games, one behind the Athletics for second in the East (West)."  Those PECOTA projections have the Angels as the second-highest run-scoring team in baseball with 774 runs (eight behind the Red Sox).  If the club's pitching staff can keep runs off of the board, 87 win could be the low end of the potential win total.  What's the best way to keep those runs from scoring?  Great relief pitching: Around the Horn: Angels' bullpen - angels.com.  ""Ernie has been the ninth-inning guy for two years and has done a tremendous job," general manager Jerry Dipoto said just before the start of the offseason, "so we'll go out and try to add more depth." Dipoto zeroed in on Smith from the onset because he felt he'd be the perfect fit as a bridge to Frieri. Smith's sidearm style offers a very different look for a bullpen made up mostly of over-the-top, power right-handers. He's a master of getting ground balls -- a useful skill for a 'pen that ranked 27th in ground-ball percentage -- and he boasts an impressive track record, with a 2.42 ERA and 1.16 WHIP in 213 appearances for the Indians the past three seasons."  The Smith-Frieri backend could surprise a lot of people with how effective they can be.
  • Seriously?  Los Angeles Angels Should Sign Bronson Arroyo - Yahoo Sports.  "The Angels should know better than to sleep on players who are about to turn 37. Last year, they let Torii Hunter go entering his age 37 season, and they lived to regret it. The Angels seem to have learned some lessons in the past year. It is to be hoped that the education doesn't keep them from bringing in a pitcher who can make them much better."  Sorry, but the Angels didn't regret not having Torii Hunter and his $26M/2-year contract.  So signing another aging player for multiple years isn't the way to go, but that really doesn't seem to matter anyway: Dodgers, Orioles, and Diamondbacks among finalists for Arroyo - MLB Daily Dish.  "The Dodgers' rotation is already spectacular, but after losing out on Masahiro Tanaka, the Dodgers have been looking for an added rotation option, particularly one who doesn't require the loss of a draft pick. Given their financial resources, if Los Angeles wants Arroyo, it is hard imagining that they wouldn't land him. Olney noted earlier today that the Dodgers should be willing to offer Arroyo a two-year deal, whereas most teams probably aren't inclined to give him more than a single year."
  • This is amazing for two reasons: Hank Aaron portrait painting going into Smithsonian for his 80th birthday - Yahoo Sports.  "Rossin's attention to detail and artistic abilities created a likeness that could easily pass as an expert piece of photography. It's perfect and pristine, which is why he's often called upon to paint realistic portraits of world leaders, celebrities and historical figures."  1)  The image below is a painting, not a photograph, and 2) I hope I look that great when I'm 80 years-old.
    Aaronpainting_medium
  • Here's a summary of all things legal: Your All-In-One MLB Legal Roundup - FanGraphs Baseball.  "In any event, there have been a few recent developments in MLB-related legal matters; perhaps not significant enough to warrant their own post, but important enough to mention as part of this legal roundup. When readers ask me on Twitter, "Hey, what’s happening with such-and-such lawsuit," I’ll be able to send them a link to this article. At least for a while."
  • They spelled that wrong, shouldn't it be "Glob Life Park in Arlington"? The Ballpark in Arlington is now Globe Life Park in Arlington - CBSSports.com.  "The multimillion dollar deal with Globe Life is for 10 years."

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