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Thursday Halolinks: Will Prince Fielder improve the Rangers, how will the Angels respond?

How will the Angels defend their winter championships now that the Rangers have made the first deal?

Al Bello

The first salvo of winter has been shot across the Angels bow.  How will the Halo front office respond?  Will they counter with a deal of their own?  Perhaps a big splash free agent signing?  Maybe they should read more of their Halolinks:

  • Okay, here's the Fielder/Kinsler stuff: Will Prince Fielder flop like Josh Hamilton? There are similarities, but scouts say no - Dallas Morning News.  "Hamilton went to the Los Angeles Angels as a free agent before this season and flopped. Three major league scouts who observed Fielder this season said it is unlikely that he will experience the same fate with the Rangers. They also cautioned that Fielder appears to be on the downside of his career at age 29 and will be hard-pressed to be productive for the remaining seven years of his contract."  The signing could lead to this: Fielder for Kinsler; Cano to Rangers now? - SweetSpot Blog - ESPN.  "Enter Cano. With Nolan Ryan ousted as CEO, Davis is eager to make a big splash. What bigger splash than trading for Fielder and signing the biggest free agent on the market? Meanwhile, that still leaves Daniels the option of trading Profar for a corner-outfield bat."  And Dave Cameron weighs in, twice: Rangers Move Pieces Around; Outcome To Be Determined - FanGraphs Baseball.  "Whereas Steamer saw Kinsler as a +3.3 WAR player, it only projects +1.6 WAR from Profar. If you take these projections at face value, a Kinsler/Moreland combo is expected to produce nearly the same value as Profar/Fielder. In just a straight two-for-two analysis, this doesn’t actually seem to be a huge upgrade for the Rangers, which is a bummer given that they’re taking on an additional $76 million in salary in the trade. And: Tigers Exchange Albatross For Good Player, Get Even Better. My take?  I doubt Fielder ages well and the Ranger fans will come to hate this deal, but for the next couple of seasons, he improves the Texas ballclub and their chances of making the post season again.
  • I've previously written about how much I appreciate Alden Gonzalez's content on the Angels' site, such as this: Angels add prospect Randal Grichuk to their 40-man roster -  "Grichuk, ranked by as the Angels' No. 4 prospect, had a breakout season for Class A Advanced Inland Empire in 2012, batting .298 with 18 homers and 16 steals. But he struggled a bit in his first stint of Double-A in 2013, posting a .256/.306/.474 slash line with 22 homers, 64 RBIs and nine steals."  But what I found interesting was, Turks Teeth's post on this same subject was more informative.  That's not a knock against Gonzalez, just saying sometimes sources outside of the mainstream can get it right.
  • This has already been front paged on Halos Heaven, but just in case you miss it: 2014 Minor League Keeper Thoughts: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim - Fake Teams.  "Befitting one of the worst systems in professional baseball, Lindsey might be the least exciting number one prospect in all of our rankings. Selected 37th overall by the Angels in the 2010 Amateur Draft, Lindsey was the result of the compensation pick Los Angeles received for losing Chone Figgins to Seattle. Drafted out of high school, Lindsey just completed his age-21 season in the Double-A Texas League and has his eyes set on a late 2014 debut. Lindsey has played 2B his entire professional career and figures to hold his own at the position in the long run."  Ouch, that first sentence really hurts.
  • I'll be the first to admit I don't keep up on prospects and minor leaguers as much as I should, but Cron's numbers in the AFL seem pretty good for a guy ranked 15th: Minnesota Twins' Byron Buxton, Chicago Cubs' Kris Bryant head Arizona Fall League Top 20 prospects -  "15. C.J. Cron, 1B, Angels (Mesa): Cron recovered from a down year in Double-A to lead the AFL in hitting (.413) and total bases (56) while finishing second in homers (five) and RBIs (20). Cron also made progress with his plate discipline, the key to him becoming a big league regular."
  • Here's a handy chart:Depth Charts " Free Agents - FanGraphs Baseball.  "Free Agents depth charts updated daily with projections"
  • Mr. 5th Starter may be returning to SoCal:
  • I'm sure I'm missing something with this, but when looking at this from our point of view ("our" meaning those of us without any insider information), this seems like a huge missed opportunity for the Angels.  Seriously, what's the downside for an organization desperately in need of pitching to pick up a pitcher like this?  Rangers claim Shawn Tolleson off waivers from Dodgers - HardballTalk.  "Tolleson was sidelined by back and hip injuries for most of this season, but he’s 25 years old with an incredible 1.34 ERA and 185 strikeouts in 128 innings as a minor leaguer and pitched reasonably well for the Dodgers as a rookie last season."
  • The Angels' front office will hand out contracts to the likes of Ryan Madson, Barry Enright, and Jason Isringhausen, yet let someone like this pass on by.  Crazy.
  • Sadly to say, I remember this guy.  These 30 for 30 videos are pretty cool: Our latest 30 for 30 documentary short tells the story of how a guy from Detroit ended up conning just about every sports league in the country - Grantland.  "Our latest film, from director Matt Dilmore, tells the story of how a guy from Detroit was able to con just about every sports league in the country."
  • I'm glad to see Barry Bonds enjoying himself.  I'm not a Bonds apologist, and I've read all of the stories about how much of an asshole he was, but the man was a great player.  He was a great player before PEDs, and his accomplishments should be appreciated...Barry Bonds still exiled from MLB more than six years after final game - Yahoo Sports.  "Despite being stuck in limbo, Bonds has managed to undergo a transformation. The first part has been physical. He's dramatically trim compared to his playing days, when he was bloated from from working out (along with whatever else he put into his body). Whenever Bonds is spotted these days, it's often on a racing bike. And he's often hard to recognize at first." 
  • It's still award season! Red Sox's Dustin Pedroia named 'Heart and Hustle' winner for 2013 -
    Here's how the Players' Association describes the honor: Created by the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association in 2005, the Heart & Hustle Award is voted on by Alumni and active Major League players and is presented annually to an active player who demonstrates a passion for the game of baseball and best embodies the values, spirit and traditions of the game."  I was going to write something like, "Really?  And who cares about this award?" until I saw the previous two winners were Angels Mike Trout - 2012, and Torii Hunter - 2011.
  • This is just a huge train wreck where no one is going to win: A-Rod blasts MLB on Mike Francesa show, denies PED use -  "Here's the major bombshell: A-Rod vehemently denies any wrongdoing in the case, including saying that he's not used PEDs at all since 2003. He also denies having leaked documents about Ryan Braun to Yahoo Sports, calling that accusation by MLB "laughable" and "disgusting." Finally, he denies any obstructing of justice during the course of this case, one of the several reasons given by Major League Baseball to give Rodriguez the biggest drug-related suspension of all-time."