Eight-in-a-row. I'm truly trying not to get too excited about a Spring Training winning streak, but after the last couple of years, it's hard not being just a little bit hopeful. It certainly hasn't hurt anything, and may give the players a sense of, dare I say it, good chemistry. Here's today's chemically-enhanced Halolinks:
- C.J. Wilson was very good last season, but with the Angels' thin rotation heading into 2014, a stepped-up Wilson would be huge. After his final spring start yesterday, it certainly looks like Wilson has become the co-ace of the Angel pitching staff: Angels close out Cactus League with victory - Orange County Register. "LHP C.J. Wilson, in his final tuneup before starting the second game of the season Tuesday, gave up one run on four hits in seven innings, throwing 99 pitches. The only run he allowed came in the third inning, when he minimized the damage after the A’s loaded the bases with no outs. Wilson finished the spring with a 2.20 ERA."
- It looks like it's coming down to the final days of spring before the Angels make their final roster decision, and Grant Green isn't making that decision any easier if the club is looking to keep an outfielder: Wilson, Gray wrap up their last spring starts - Yahoo Sports. "Angels second baseman Grant Green hit a two-run home run in the seventh and is batting .360 as he makes a final push for a big-league roster spot. Brennan Boesch also homered for the Angels."
- I'm really surprised by this move...nah, I'm pulling your leg, everyone knew this was coming: Angels decide Blanton's time is up - The Orange County Register. ""It’s regrettable," Dipoto said. "It’s a mistake on my part. There is no one else to blame. I made the call on signing Joe Blanton and bringing him in. Obviously, this isn’t the way he wanted it to work out. It’s not the way I wanted it to work out." "Coming to spring training, we just wanted to see some adjustment, some type of move forward, an improvement in performance that led us to believe something better was coming," Dipoto said. "We just didn’t see that."
- Geez, now I feel kinda bad...nah, I'm just pulling your leg: Angels release pitcher Joe Blanton, swallow his $8.5-million contract - latimes.com. "Though Blanton, 33, rarely pitched over the final two months, he remained an object of derision of fans and media, and that criticism continued this spring. "It got more personal than most — unfortunately, that happens from time to time," Dipoto said. "Joe didn't come here and try to pitch poorly. He worked hard, he was in the weight room all the time. It didn't work out here for Joe."
- Jose Mota: Knows just what to say, and how to say it, in every situation: Angels broadcaster Jose Mota discusses how Halos can rebound - angels.com. "If healthy, I don't question his (Pujols) ability. He can hit, he looks great. Now he's 34, he understands his body a little bit more, so I think there's going to be an adjustment with regards to the amount of work he used to do as a young player, the amount of swings he needed or wanted. And Don Baylor will be a big influence on that because Don Baylor went through a transition himself and was productive all the way to the end. But with Albert the key is the intangibles, what he brings. He's comfortable in Mike Scioscia's system; he's comfortable with the Angels. He wants to win very badly. That's one thing that Albert has been really hurt by the most. The contract, yes, that he hasn't played to his potential. But not winning -- he grew up winning. He grew up in that franchise where all they do is win and develop players and play together."
- The last piece of the big four pitching acquisitions from last off-season (Madsen, Blanton, and Hanson) is still trying to get healthy: Burnett pain-free after throwing bullpen session - angels.com. ""I'm feeling great now, pain-free and everything is good," Burnett said. "I threw the ball at 85 percent (Tuesday). There's good action and the ball is moving. Can I get it up to game speed? No, but I wouldn't say my bullpen was a failure or setback."
- I've always liked Chone Figgins, and I hope he has a great season: Chone Figgins is cherishing his opportunity with the Dodgers - latimes.com. "Games against his former team used to a be painful reminder of what he left behind. Over the next three days, when the Dodgers and Angels face each other in their annual exhibition series, they will be a testament to his perseverance."
- Forbes magazine has a big MLB writeup featuring valuations of clubs, some analysis of roster value, and the crowning of one of baseball's all-time greastest players who have ever, ever played the game as one of the greast leaders of the world (I think he's definitely under-rated): Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim - MLB valuations 2014.
10. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Current value: $775 million
Revenue (2013): $253 million
Operating Income (2013): $5.8 million
The Angels drew over 3 million fans to their ballpark for the eleventh consecutive season in 2013.
- Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim - The Best And Worst MLB Teams For The Money.
26. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Reg. season wins, 2011-13: 253
Playoff wins, 2011-13: 0
Avg. player spending, 2011-13: $156 million
Expense has been no object for the Angels in recent seasons, as the team spent big to bring in the likes of Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton. But those investments haven't provided immediate returns: The team hasn't made the playoffs for five years.
- Derek Jeter is 11th greatest leader in the world, per Fortune Magazine - CBSSports.com. "Fortune magazine has ranked "The World's 50 Greatest Leaders," and among a group of CEOs, politicians, the Pope (No. 1) and the Dalai Lama (No. 9) sits Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter -- at No. 11. Yes, a baseball player who isn't even a coach or manager nearly cracked the top 10 in the entire planet in terms of being a great leader." Derek Jeter - Fortune ranks the World's 50 Greatest Leaders. "Jeter, the son of two Army veterans, continues to stand out because of his old-school approach: Never offer excuses or give less than maximum effort."
- I've been optimistic reading different publications projections and predictions for the upcoming season, as they've been writing good things about the Halos. This is the first that's not so rosy: Baltimore Orioles underrated, Los Angeles Angels overrated by ESPN Forecaster - ESPN. "Projections think Forecaster is overrating these teams Los Angeles Angels Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton may very well have bounce-back seasons, but ZiPS doesn't believe that either will bounce back to their prime form. The computer doesn't see a lot of upside from the lineup, which mostly consists of known quantities: Howie Kendrick and Erick Aybar are good players, but neither are likely to break out and become superstars at this point. ZiPS remains skeptical about Kole Calhoun matching his 2013 production and thinks the David Freese trade was one of the worst moves this offseason. My computer has the Angels as a full four games worse than the experts."
- And finally, what happens when one
assholedistinguished writer opines about another assholedistinguished writer who's opining about the Angels? Nothing. No one cares what a couple of assholestalented gentlemen think, but for some reasonthankfully the OC Register still gives these assholesinsightful and refreshing writers column space: Miller: Angels will beat the odds, win World Series - The Orange County Register. "Remember, you read it here first, where the Register has learned, according to sources familiar with the way the baseball gods are thinking, that Mike Scioscia will guide this team to the second title in franchise history. Hey, everyone else reports the news this way today, without attribution of the facts, so why can’t we?"
- Simers: Angels to win it all? What's Miller thinking? - The Orange County Register. "Maybe he was so high he forgot Scioscia is still the Angels’ manager, or believes the team is so good it can overcome the manager he thought should be fired."