It's that time of the year again, when every baseball writer is trying to fit the tired and over-used phrase "Hope springs eternal" into their headline or lead. Well, my eternal hope springs for today's Halolinks:
- With all of the news about those two guys who signed with the Halos back in December, some have forgotten about the first deal Jerry Dipoto made as Angels' GM. The deal that started the most awesomest off-season. Ever!: Angels' Iannetta looking forward to fresh start - Yahoo! Sports. "Iannetta is a .235 career hitter but he produced a .370 on-base percentage in 2011. The Angels ranked 21st in the majors last season with a team OBP of .313. Iannetta promises discipline at the plate. "I don’t look to walk at all, but I just don’t like getting myself out," he said. "I’m not against swinging at the first pitch if it’s there. If it’s a pitch that I can do something with early in the count or if it’s the 12th pitch. I’m not going to chase." That .235 batting average might look pretty weak, but it's almost 50 points higher than the average put up by Jeff Mathis. The OBP is 145 points higher! Kinda like going from Alberto Callaspo to Adrian Beltre.
- Mathis' shortcomings in the batter's box wasn't noticed just by fans: For many fans, Chris Iannetta is a great catch for Angels - latimes.com. "The leadership qualities Jeff had, the job he did behind the plate, that's the kind of stuff fans don't really see," Haren said. "They see what's flashed on the scoreboard and, unfortunately, he was hitting .200 with a couple of homers. I can sympathize with the fans too. They get fed up at some point."
- Very good article by Morosi on the Angels' owner: Albert Pujols in spring training just one reason for optimism for Los Angeles Angels - FOX Sports. The clouds parted, the sun spread beams of light from heaven, and then, "Moreno didn’t arrive on a golf cart, nor was he flanked by an entourage, because he’s more than capable of supervising the grounds on his own. He wore black boots, black jeans and dark sunglasses, along with a red Angels shirt. He looked regal and fit. He walked with purpose. He was possibly the youngest 65-year-old I have ever seen." Sorry, got carried away. We fans are very fortunate to have an owner such as Moreno guiding our favorite team. He gets it. From off field stadium stuff, to on field needs, "Look at Morales. Did you see him hit?" Moreno said, thinking back to batting practice. "That was a missing piece — a big missing piece. It’s like if you don’t have Weaver." That's a great way of looking at Morales' contribution to the batting order by comparing losing Weaver in the rotation.
- The 10 best things about being an Angels fan - Yahoo! Sports. "Heck, during slower games you can even go seat hopping! I'm sure that's frowned upon but doesn't hurt to try." Really? It's been a few years since I seat-hopped, but I remember getting booted right away. That is, if I even got to within 25 feet of front row seats. Anyway, this post uses part of HH poster MH252525's front row seat video of Game 7 of the 2002 World Series. Pretty neat.
- The season can start...we've got Lyle on-board with the Pujols-Morales tag team smackdown: Lyle Spencer: Albert Pujols is looking to join forces with Kendrys Morales - angels.com. Sure glad we've got Lyle running around the clughouse checking out the hot bods or else we'd miss this tid-bit, "On the subject of food, always one of his favorites, Scioscia shed 37 pounds over the winter, and it shows. He hasn't looked this good in several years."
- Vernon Wells joined SportsCenter a couple of days ago: Vernon Wells On Angels' Offseason Moves - ESPN Los Angeles. When asked about improving his batting average, Wells said, "Yeah, try to get some more hits...that'd be good." That'd be good indeed, Vern. Good indeed.
- Hey Jordan, how do you grip your doubles?: Walden adding third pitch to repertoire - angels.com. "For 2012, a season in which the Angels are counting on him to take the next big step in order for their bullpen to improve, Walden is planning on throwing more changeups to offset his slider and play up his fastball. "It'll be something I really throw this year," said Walden, who used the changeup sparingly, and mostly early in counts, in his first full season last year."
- This isn't one of those inspiring, making good on a dream type stories. It's full of interesting, behind the scenes stuff related to rehabbing injuries, The 39-year-old who won’t give up on his dream - The Hardball Times. "Andrew McNally is a 39-year-old father of three living in suburban Puyallup, Wash. Like most people, he has a day job—real estate appraisal—and spends a lot of time taking care of his family. And yet: Last May 20, I received an email from him. He told me a little about his background and his injuries—and his desire to play professional baseball again." Of course it'd be cool to see McNally make the majors, to see his hard work pay off, but the story is still an interesting one regardless.
- Crowdsourcing MLB Broadcasters: Cast Your Ballots - FanGraphs Baseball. "Since late November, FanGraphs has been asking readers to rate the television broadcast teams for all 30 major-league clubs — with the intention, ultimately, of determining which broadcasts might best reflect the sorts of inquiry and analysis performed here at the site." Here's your chance to vote for Victor Rojas and that other guy.
- We've been told we have to cut back on our bromance of Mike Napoli, but what about Joe Saunders? Joe Saunders is in The Best — and the sexiest — Shape of His Life - HardballTalk. "The experience of being temporarily on the job market made him stronger and wiser — and maybe even a little bit sexier. "My wife said my butt has gotten a little bit smaller," Saunders said with a smile." I like big butts, I can not lie...
- I like linking to articles that back up my point of view. This one points out how well the Brewers did by trading prospects for proven talent: Trade Retrospective: Sabathia to Brewers - FanGraphs Baseball. "...the Brewers sent first baseman Matt LaPorta, center fielder Michael Brantley, left-hander Zach Jackson, and right-handed reliever Rob Bryson to Cleveland in order to acquire their ace, CC Sabathia."
- Here's some links about the Angels' division rivals:
Texas Rangers Top 12 Prospect Rankings - Beyond the Box Score. "Tier 1 - Yu Darvish: RHP, Jurickson Profar: SS, Martin Perez: LHP"
Manny Ramirez Officially Signs with Oakland A's - Athletics Nation. "To me this move makes sense in quite a few ways. First and foremost, it costs the A's nothing really other than $500 K which I think Lew Wolff burped up after his breakfast burrito this morning." Can someone explain to me how Ramirez' 100-day suspension got reduced to 50 days?
Mariners Demote Ichiro, Find Surprise Leadoff Man In Figgins - Baseball Nation. "On the plus side, keeping Figgins means the Mariners might actually get something out of him, to the point where they might actually be able to trade him for, at the very least, a bit of payroll relief. On the minus side, keeping Figgins means the Mariners might get nothing out of him -- as they did last season -- in which case the front office will look even dumber, and the fans will become even more disgusted. And Alex Liddi will be stuck in Tacoma for no particularly good reason." The Mariners have their own Wells conundrum.
- K-Rod contemplates lawsuit against former agents - CBSSports.com. "K-Rod and his attorneys allege that he was led to believe he had a no-trade clause that included 10 teams -- the Brewers being one of them -- by his agents when he initially signed a three-year contract with the Mets before the 2009 season." Oops.
- Another interesting FanGraphs post: Collin Cowgill, Brett Lawrie and Age vs. Level - FanGraphs Baseball. "For me, projecting based on a basic 22-24-26 rule helps keep it simple when at the ballpark scouting. If I can project a player to establish himself for good at 22, then the potential is there for him to be a star. At 24, a player is likely to be a solid regular, but will fall short of star-level status. At 26, a bench role is the most likely outcome."
- And finally, this totally cracked me up: Lakers Radio Guy Vigorously Applies Makeup Without Knowing He's On Camera, Realizes It Soon Enough. "Wait. We've been on camera the whole time? Shit. Really? How long has that thing been rolling? Did anybody see that? Nobody saw that, nobody saw that, nobody saw that. PLEASE fucking tell me nobody saw that..." On a serious note, I rarely watch basketball on TV, but someone commented a few days ago about how well Bill MacDonald does on the Lakers' broadcasts. I re-watched this clip and although it's just a few seconds, Billy Mac does sound good.