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Tuesday Halolinks: Angels face long offseason

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An early exit means a longer offseason. How will the Angels regroup?

Ed Zurga

I'm still not recovered from the Angels loss.  Here are today's Halolinks:

  • I hate the fact the Angels have been eliminated from the postseason.  Not so much because they're gone, but with the way they went out.  The team who showed up in October, wasn't the team we watched all season long: Angels proud of banner year despite rocky finish - angels.com, "They did it with a fierce lineup. They did it with a bullpen that became dynamic around the middle of the season. They did it with a starting rotation that outperformed expectations. And they did it with several unlikely contributions throughout the roster. The first 162 games were a thrill. But the last three were a thud."  Why did Scioscia feel he needed to play the Royals brand of baseball when the team he had been charged with had one of the most dynamic rosters capable of putting up big numbers.  Kole Calhoun bunting?  Really?  The other reason I have a bad taste in my mouth...Josh Hamilton.  But more on that later.
  • I wonder what the players truly feel after their loss?  What do they think of the playoff roster?  Or the lineups?  Chris Iannetta isn't happy and I wonder if it has more to do with the outcome or the way the outcome developed: Angels reflect on playoff disappointment - The Orange County Register, "Chris Iannetta, the starting catcher, gave away everything in his locker. He said he didn’t want any of the jackets, shirts, shoes or memorabilia that might serve as reminders of this unfulfilled season. "What happened happened," Iannetta said. "We had a really good regular season – there’s no denying that. There’s no taking that away from us. But obviously the way the playoffs went, that’s not what we want to do. "It’s unfortunate, we’re disappointed, but at this point there’s nothing we can do."
  • All that's left to do is look towards the future...Dipoto believes Angels have built a foundation for success - MLB.com, "We'll continue to find more ways to create more depth on the pitching staff," Dipoto said. "The bench part of our team -- that ninth to 13th, even 15th player -- is going to be a focus of our offseason." Even if he wanted to add major pieces, Dipoto would have very little wiggle room to do so. The Angels will have less than $10 million left under the luxury-tax threshold of $189 million, which has basically been the team's spending limit."  And that seems like a barren ghost town of "same old, same old"  Financial restraints limit Angels' options - The Orange County Register, "Assuming they pick up Huston Street’s $7 million option and offer arbitration to all of their eligible players – picking either David Freese or Gordon Beckham, but not both – they are at about $180 million right now. That doesn’t leave much room for adding payroll unless they decide to pay the luxury tax, which is 17 percent of the amount of the overage the first year."
  • Or not: R.I.P.: 2014 Los Angeles Angels' season - CBSSports.com, "Ridiculously premature prediction for 2015 - The Angels had nine regulars with an OPS+ over 100 this year and all nine guys are either signed or under control for next year, so the best offense in baseball in terms of runs per game (4.77) will remain intact in 2015. Whether they perform like that again remains to be seen. Dipoto will make some smaller pitching additions, stock the cupboard, and the Angels will again be the best team in the AL West next season. They'll win the division and be in much better shape for the postseason with a more well-rounded roster."
  • This play had no bearing on the game's outcome, but was indicative of why the Angels were not a factor.  They weren't prepared for the Royals.  They probably thought the would beat them to death with their bats while the Royals ran around trying to manufacture runs.  When the Halo bats went MIA, they were unprepared to stop the Royals' running game: Billy Butler Stole Second Base: A Reflection - FanGraphs Baseball, "While Santiago could look right at him from the set position, Butler knew he wasn’t being held on by Albert Pujols, so he could take as aggressive a lead as he wanted. There was basically no risk of a pick-off attempt, and Butler waited a pitch to see if Santiago might have any tricks up his sleeve."
  • This is petty interesting: The Postseason Strike Zone, Thus Far, Vizualized - FanGraphs Baseball, "You can filter by umpire and pitch result using the buttons on the right. The strike zone used for the Gameday streams is included for reference. Hovering over a pitch will give you all the deets. I won’t comment too much on the overall performance — you can click around to get a general idea of what’s going on."  If you go to the site, you can hover over each one of those pitches to get more information. 
  • We've all heard the definition of "insanity", but what's the definition of "delusional"?  LA Angels face unclear future after playoff sweep - Yahoo Sports, "Josh Hamilton was booed repeatedly by Angels fans when he returned for the postseason after sitting out most of September with various upper-body injuries. The $125 million left fielder with three years left on his contract went a miserable 0 for 13 against the Royals. ''We won a lot of ballgames, but in the playoffs, the slate is wiped clean,'' Hamilton said. ''I don't think we played poorly.''  And what's this "we" shit, paleface?  Hamilton can't find it in time - angels.com, "Hamilton, who drove in his only run of the series in the eighth inning on Sunday, became just the seventh player in the Wild Card era to have at least 10 plate appearances in the Division Series and not reach base. His timing was off and some pain lingered, but Angels manager Mike Scioscia stuck with him in the No. 7 spot, holding out hope that some lightning remained in his bat."  Other than the idea Josh Hamilton just doesn't get it, you have to admire him for wanting to at least try to contribute.  Any professional athlete wants to be in the game, however it's the manager's responsibility as determine how to put his best team on the field.  This is entirely on Mike Scioscia's head.  You really can't fault Hamilton for being in the game, that's what he's paid for, that's where he or any other player would want to be.
  • How cool is this: Royals players celebrate sweep with fans at Power & Light District - KSHB.com, "Eric Hosmer announced the after-party on Twitter. He thanked fans for their love this season, and to return the favor he used his personal credit card to pay for an open bar for one hour for everyone at McFadden’s."
  • Remember Horseface?  I do, and I miss him: Cardinals Ride John Lackey and Two Home Runs to Win Over Dodgers - NYTimes.com, "Lackey is no stranger to the bright lights of October. He burst onto the scene in 2002, winning Game 7 of the World Series as a rookie for the Angels. The years have passed, but Lackey continues to be a postseason master. He popped low-90s fastballs and mixed an array of breaking balls to keep the Dodgers off balance. He allowed five hits, walked one and struck out seven."
  • Which came first; Red Sox nation or ESPN over-hype?  Sick of Red Sox-Yankees? Then watch Orioles-Royals ALCS - FOX Sports, "Don’t get me wrong -- I empathize with the complaints by fans about the matchups the networks select during the regular season. The networks do shove certain large-market teams down their throats. But here is the truth that many fans refuse to acknowledge: Those teams draw the highest audiences. That’s why the networks feature them most."
  • I had my first beer in over 20 years Friday night.  Still don't like it.  But I know some of you do, so here this: Miller Lite Just Won Gold At The Great American Beer Festival. How?, "There were 32 entrants in this category, and only two others have been revealed to the public: silver medalist Coors Light and bronze-winning Coors. This suggests that either a) MillerCoors is a much better brewing conglomerate than we give it credit for, b) the whole damn thing's crooked, or c) not many good breweries bothered to enter their wares in this particular field."