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Wednesday Halolinks: Angels Have Payroll Flexibility, Alex Rodriguez A Potential Halo?

With approximately $36M in payroll flexibility, the Angels can make a "big splash" this off-season.

Patrick McDermott - Getty Images

The playoffs continue, and I feel like the least popular kid in high school who doesn't get a chance to go to the prom. Which, strangely enough, is exactly what happened to me all those years ago. I'll show those stuck-up creeps what's what. I'll make it big I tell ya! Huge! I suppose I better get started. Here's some Halolinks:

  • This is good news. I was somewhat worried about how much the Angels would be able to spend this off-season after having so much committed for 2013. Apparently this article was written before Chris Iannetta signed his 3-year, $15M extension, but the $5M annual salary doesn't have much of an impact on the club's payroll/signing decisions. Angels' course for 2013 starts with Zack Greinke decision - "The Angels have a lot of money coming off the books and, without going into detail, Dipoto said he has "quite a bit" of financial flexibility this offseason. But the Angels also have a lot of money committed already. The Angels already have about $88 million committed to Wells, Weaver, Albert Pujols, C.J. Wilson, Howie Kendrick, Erick Aybar and Scott Downs. If they decline the options for Haren and Santana, and bring back Iannetta, that puts them at about $97 million. When you add in the potential arbitration cases of Kendrys Morales, Alberto Callaspo, Jerome Williams, Kevin Jepsen and Bobby Wilson, you're looking at about $115 million." That $115M gets the Angels 13 players leaving approximately $36M to fill out the rest of the roster, assuming the team goes with the same $151M payroll as last season. More than half of that available money will go to Zack Greinke if he re-signs with the Halos. Also, let's not forget about Torii Hunter and the roughly $9M it'd take for him to return. That leaves about $7M to rebuild the bullpen and fill out the rest of the roster.
  • For those of you living near Arizona, there's baseball being played: Angels in the Arizona Fall League - Gonzo and 'The Show'. "The 20th Arizona Fall League season starts Tuesday, with the Angels — along with the Giants, Nationals, Phillies and Red Sox — sending prospects to make up the Scottsdale Scorpions." The player I'm going to keep my eye on is 3B Kaleb Cowart. Here's the rundown on the Angels #1 prospect:
    Drafted: 1st round (18th overall), 2010.
    Age: 20
    Prospect report: Cowart is a switch-hitter with a lot of bat speed that generates plus raw power from both sides of the plate. He started tapping into that power more consistently as he’s started to mature and learn the strike zone better. He’s athletic and has decent speed, which should help him stay at third long term. So will the plus arm that made him a legitimate pitching prospect in high school. He handled full-season ball well, earning a promotion from Class A to the Class A Advanced California League in June.
  • But...but..but, he won the triple crown! Is Miguel Cabrera Even the 2nd Best MVP Candidate? - Beyond the Box Score. "Miguel Cabrera was hands down the worst (fielding) third baseman in the American League this year according to UZR/150."
  • Beyond the Box Score recently re-posted this important article written by Sky Kalkman in 2009 about creating the best batting order. The reason I write "important" is this seems to come up in almost every batting order thread, regarding who should be hitting where (according to this post, Albert Pujols should be hitting clean-up): Optimizing Your Lineup By The Book - Beyond the Box Score. "So, you want your best three hitters to hit in the #1, #4, and #2 spots. Distribute them so OBP is higher in the order and SLG is lower. Then place your fourth and fifth best hitters, with the #5 spot usually seeing the better hitter, unless he's a high-homerun guy. Then place your four remaining hitters in decreasing order of overall hitting ability, with basestealers ahead of singles hitters. Finally, stop talking like the lineup is a make-or-break decision." So last season's batting order should have gone something like: Trout, Hunter, Morales, Pujols, Trumbo, Kendrick, Callaspo, Aybar, Iannetta?
  • See, no one else likes the Rangers either! BOB: Phils, Yanks lead in attendance again - The Hardball Times. "The Kansas City Royals were the worst draw on the road with 27,447 tickets sold per game and the Texas Rangers—of all teams!—finished second to last on the road (most likely because of the Mariners and the Athletics' poor attendance) with 28,209 per game." Don't blame it on the Mariners and A's. The Angels also played in that division and their road numbers aren't that bad.
  • In case you were wondering where all that cash went: Who Gets What From Postseason Ticket Revenue - FanGraphs. "The Players Pool money is divided among players on the postseason teams. The more successful the team, the more money to that team’s players. Here’s how the funds are distributed, per the CBA: World Series Winner: 36%, World Series Loser: 24%, Two Championship Series Losers: 24%, Four Division Series Losers: 13%, Wild Card Losers: 3%". So many losers getting so much money.
  • Okay Halolink readers, here's a contest. The prize? An all expense paid trip to nowhere! Yay! Anyway, here's a shirt that you can actually buy featuring one of the most pretentious slogans ever:
    The challenge: What does the back say or have on it? (Thanks to Hardball Talk)
  • Jeff Sullivan has an interesting post about missed calls behind the plate: Getting and Not Getting the Calls: Final 2012 Results - FanGraphs. "Per 1000 pitches this season, Brewers pitchers got 11 more strikes than expected, and Pirates pitchers got 19 fewer strikes than expected." The Angels ranked right in the middle at 15th with 4 fewer strikes than expected. One of the lists tallies the pitchers with the most missed calls, and on that list is Justin Masterson from the Indians with -34. If you're a savvy fantasy GM (or actual real-life MLB GM), wouldn't you expect a potential breakout season from a pitcher, such as Masterson, if he were to start getting those missed strikes?
  • Please stay out of Anaheim. PLEASE: Texas Rangers will let Josh Hamilton test open market before making contract offer - ESPN Dallas. "Clubs have a chance to negotiate with their own prospective free agents, but Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said the team agreed with Hamilton's representatives that the slugger would test the market, so they'll wait to see how it shakes out."
  • A couple of days ago, ihearhowie2.0 made a fanpost about unpredictable move the Angels could make this off-season. Here's my move, but first this link: A Friendly Reminder About A-Rod and October - FanGraphs. "The data is pretty clear on this point – there’s no real evidence that Rodriguez continually comes up short in critical situations in the playoffs. In the regular season, that has been true – he’s got a -8.22 clutch score for his career during the regular season, so you could make a pretty decent case that he earned the reputation with his own struggles in big moments." How about a deal sending Vernon Wells and a minor league pitcher to the Yankees for A-Rod.
  • Here's an amusing time-waster: Flip Flop Fly Ball - From A.J. Burnett to Z.H. Taylor