I woke up this morning to the first snowfall of the 2015 winter season. Although it's just a couple of inches, it's a huge reminder of what's to come:
Kinda like this year's offseason so far...there's just been a couple inches going on around the league and with the Angels, but it's just a reminder that there are bigger things just around the corner.
Here is today's Halolink Vortex:
- Rev pointed out an Angels/Max Scherzer interest had been rumored, but Jerry Dipoto hadn't heard of it: Angels' ho-hum Pestano signing may be typical of their offseason moves - The Orange County Register, "We are not really looking to surf in the free agent market, at least at the top end of it," Dipoto said. That not only means the Angels won’t be involved with pitchers like Jon Lester or Max Scherzer, but also not with high-profile international free agents like Cubans Yoan Moncada and Yasmani Tomas. The Angels already agreed to an $8 million deal with Cuban infielder Roberto Baldoquin, and they are simply waiting for him to get a visa to come to the United States to complete the deal. Without much interest in the free-agent market, Dipoto said he plans to spend his time at this week’s meetings laying the groundwork for possible trades."
- One of those players possibly involved in trade talks? Kevin Jepsen. Angels, Pestano avoid arbitration with one-year pact - angels.com, "Jepsen, who previously attained Super Two status, is in his third of four arbitration years, and he is due to make close to $3 million. The 30-year-old right-hander handles the seventh inning for the Angels, with Joe Smith serving as the setup man and Huston Street solidified as the closer. But other teams -- especially those without the financial means to sign the likes of Rafael Soriano, Sergio Romo or David Robertson in free agency -- may see Jepsen as a potential closer, and they may be willing to part ways with some cost-controlled pitching in a deal that includes him."
- OC Register's Jeff Fletcher also noted the Angels are not going to be in on any "big name" free agents:
@halosheaven I like Jeff but if he's right on this one i would be stunned.— Jeff Fletcher (@JeffFletcherOCR) November 11, 2014
- I hadn't heard anything about this previously, but the Halo GM was a top 3 finisher in the executive voting: Sporting News names Orioles' Dan Duquette MLB Executive of Year - Sporting News, "VOTING RESULTS (Voting by AL and NL GMs and assistant GMs) Dan Duquette, Orioles-9, Dayton Moore, Royals-8, Jerry Dipoto, Angels-5, Billy Beane, A's-4, Mike Rizzo, Nationals-3, Brian Cashman, Yankees-1, Jack Zduriencik, Mariners-1, Doug Melvin, Brewers-1, Ned Colletti, Dodgers-1"
- And then there's the Manager portion of the award season and Mike Scioscia's place in it: Sizing up the 2014 Manager of the Year finalists - Yahoo Sports, "Case for: The pressure was on after a poor showing in 2013, and Scioscia's squad delivered. They didn't have the best pitching staff to begin with, and lost Garrett Richards and Tyler Skaggs for the season. Richards' injury, especially, could have derailed things, but Scioscia kept the Angels chugging along. Case against: The Angels skipper didn't exactly turn lemons into lemonade. His team was supposed to be good. " Just like Billy Beane's thoughts on his own "moneyball" tactics, Scioscia's shit doesn't work in the playoffs. He's not a bad manager mst of the time, I just think he's gotten stale.
- Here's something to be optimistic about, a healthier, better Albert Pujols in 2015: Chance to strengthen leg has Pujols excited - angels.com, "Before scoffing, take account of the history here. In the offseason leading up to 2013, Pujols underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right knee. In the offseason leading up to 2014, he was coming off a year that ended two months prematurely due to a partial tear of his left plantar fascia. And though Pujols said his right knee and left foot didn't necessarily bother him this past season, his right side hasn't been at full strength since the stretch run of the 2012 season."
- Throughout the mid-80's to mid 90's, I always thought the Angels had a hole at shortstop. Dick Schofield and Gary Disarcina were good fielding shortstops, but I was always jealous of other team's ability to have a decent hitter at short instead of the rally-killing guys the Angels put out there. Recently, I've had the same feeling about third base. Prior to, and since the end of the Troy Glaus era, the Angels' third sacker situation has been weak. It hasn't been a huge hole, but one that makes a fan think things could be different if there were a quality bat at that position: Identifying Baseball’s Biggest Positional Holes - FanGraphs Baseball, "Here’s a fact: The Angels have a huge advantage over every other team with Mike Trout. Like, crazy huge. Using our team depth charts and a little math, we can determine that the Angels center field group, because of Trout, have a projected WAR that is 3.6 standard deviations above the mean. Statistically, anything above three is considered to be an "outlier." Mike Trout is an outlier, but you don’t really need math to know that." The club doesn't need another Mike Trout-type outlier player, just someone who can put up one or two WAR above replacement player numbers. Maybe someone like this guy: Agent Nero on SS Kang: 'If he was Cuban, he'd get $100 million' - CBSSports.com, "Kang, 27, hit 39 regular-season home runs for Nexen of the KBO this season, with 115 RBI, a .354 batting average and .733 slugging percentage. Nero said Kang can play second base, third base and center field in addition to shortstop."
- Or this big ol' 3B: Why Six Years for Pablo Sandoval Isn’t Crazy - FanGraphs Baseball, "So giving Sandoval six years can make sense as long as the return on investment in the first few years of the deal are slanted enough in the team’s favor. In fact, a contract of any length is reasonable as long as the salaries are modified to make that length work for the team. Even a ten year deal for Sandoval could work out for a team so long as he was only asking for $10-$12 million per year in salary."
- Heck, if Arte wants to make this year's big splash, this guy wouldn't be too bad: Free Agent Profile: Hanley Ramirez – MLB Trade Rumors, "Offensively, Ramirez rates as one of the highest-impact free agents available. Last season, Ramirez slashed .283/.369/.448 with 13 homers in 128 games for the Dodgers. His career track record is even stronger with a batting line of .300/.373/.500. There aren’t many shortstops who offer the kind of pop that Ramirez can, either. He has yet to hit less than ten homers in a campaign and that low point comes from a partial season of play (2011). Over the last nine years, Ramirez has averaged 21 homers per season."
- Just not this one: Torii Hunter drawing strong interest, not close to signing - MLB Daily Dish, "Though the Tigers, Royals and Twins have been known to be going after Hunter since the start of free agency, the Cubs, Rangers, Giants and Mariners are new entries into the sweepstakes. The 39-year old Hunter is expected to sign a one- or possibly two-year deal on the open market, and has also floated retirement as a possibility."