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Wednesday Halolinks: Angels take small steps during Winter Meetings

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Jerry Dipoto and the Angels are making moves during the Winter Meetings, they're just not big moves.

Josh Rutledge is on the Angels' radar
Josh Rutledge is on the Angels' radar
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

You've probably heard Jon Lester signed...but not with the Angels.  Of course, no one really expected him to land in the Halo rotation, right?  Now that Lester is off the market, the rest of the free agent pitchers should start moving too.  One of these guys could, maybe, might ended up with the Angels...we'll just have to wait a little longer to see if the club has any interest in a high-dollar starter.

In the meantime, follow along with us and our Halolinks:

  • Baby steps.  That's what the team is currently doing as far as adding talent.  Building from the bottom up, rather than from the top down.  We've talked about this before, and it seems to make the most sense going forward: On Day 2, Angels set sights on adding infield depth - angels.com, "To use a football field as a metaphor, I feel like we're in the opponent's territory and now we just have to figure out a way to get in the red zone and put it away," Dipoto said. "There are a number of players that fit our needs that are young, controllable, optionable guys who have Major League experience and can play in the middle of the field, particularly shortstop."

    Dipoto has a lot of interesting things to say in this video, and I was surprised by how much he actually said.  Typically, when a GM or other front office guy does one of these interviews, they spout a lot of words, but don't say anything.  Most of the time in this video, Dipoto answers the questions directly and offers plenty of insight into what direction the Halos are headed.  For example, when asked about Garret Richards, Dipoto says the recovering pitcher has been released to throw, has started a running program, and should be ready by spring training or early April.
  • In another MLB interview (but same video), Dipoto drops this tidbit: Dipoto welcomes change of pace this winter - MLB.com, "Hamilton appeared in only 89 regular-season games last season, and just five in September, with only one of those after Sept. 4. He was in the lineup for the three-game sweep by the Royals in the Division Series, but hadn't seen live pitching in nearly four weeks and was 0-for-13. "Some of it is our fault," said Dipoto. "He tried to jump into the lineup [in the postseason] and help us out. He didn't really have a chance to prepare."
  • Here's the latest in the Angels with the Halos and their international signing: Angels are close to finalizing deal with Cuban infielder Roberto Baldoquin - LA Times, "Barring any snags, the Angels will finalize the deal with Baldoquin, 20, before Christmas, securing a highly regarded 5-foot-11, 195-pound player who could eventually replace Erick Aybar at shortstop or Howie Kendrick at second base. "He looks like a cross between Yuniel Escobar and Adrian Beltre," Angels General Manager Jerry Dipoto said. "He has a live body, he's strong, he understands the strike zone, he has good power and he knows how to put together an at-bat."
  • Also, the club is interested in the Rockies infielder:
    As verified by the Colorado reporter: Not sure what the Angels have as far as pitching prospects to offer, but the deal sounds intriguing.  Here's Rutledge's B-Ref page.
  • A noted, Jon Lester signed with the Cubs for more reasons than just money: Sources: Cubs land Jon Lester with $155 million deal - Yahoo Sports, "The thing I liked about ’em is it wasn’t forced and wasn’t a sales pitch," Lester said after his meeting with the Cubs. "It was like, ‘This is what we can do.’ I don’t want BS. I don’t want show. I don’t want glitz and glamour. I don’t want to walk out to the field with your name and number on the JumboTron. I’m not 18 anymore. I want you to tell me what you can do for me and my family."  Which makes it more of a bummer he didn't sign to play in Anaheim.  It also seems the Red Sox had a chance and blew it: Lowballing Jon Lester haunts Sox - Boston Herald, "When the Sox lowballed Lester with a four-year, $70 million offer in spring training, they ruined what turned out to be their best chance at signing the lefthander when they still had a chance."
  • Nightengale: Maddon says Cubs 'won the baseball lottery' with Lester, "It's not often you get to win the lottery,'' Maddon said. "We won the baseball lottery so far this year." Correct that. Maddon just won the lottery. This is a guy who was making $2 million a year working for the cheap Tampa Bay Rays just two months ago. Now, he's earning $25 million with his new five-year contract, and his team just spent more money on one player than twice the entire payroll of the Rays last season."
  • All in all, the Cubs are serious about contenting in 2015:Analysis: Cubs acquire leadership with Miguel Montero - USAToday, "The left-handed-hitting Montero is a two-time All-Star with some thump in his bat, although his production has fallen markedly in the last two years. Montero is an adept pitch framer and handler of pitchers, welcome skills for a club that ranked 13th in the league in ERA last season."
  • As I wrote, now that Lester is off the board, the other free agent starters are primed to sign: Max Scherzer Looking For $200MM+ Contract – MLB Trade Rumors, "Max Scherzer is looking to break the $200MM threshold in his next contract, according to FOX Sports’ Jon Paul Morosi.  If Scherzer and agent Scott Boras have their way, the right-hander will join Clayton Kershaw (who signed a seven-year, $215MM extension with the Dodgers last winter) as the only pitchers to receive a deal worth more than $200MM in guaranteed money."  And: Edinson Volquez Looking For $20MM Deal – MLB Trade Rumors, "Free agent starter Edinson Volquez is looking for a two-year, $20MM contract this offseason, Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press tweets. Volquez, 31, is coming off a strong season with the Pirates in which he pitched 192 2/3 innings with a 3.04 ERA, 6.5 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9 while also posting an excellent 50.1% ground ball rate."  At first glance, $10M for Volquez sounds like a much better deal than $20M+ for Scherzer.  And at second glance, it seems like a much better deal...especially at only 2 years.
  • I like that some teams are willing to clear the rumor air with facts: LA not dangling Gordon; Kemp deal not close - MLB.com, "That's how I would characterize it," he said. "The most I will say is we're getting multiple hits on our outfielders. I think the information that's coming out there may be driven more by what people are hearing in snippets or what people want to believe we're willing to do than what we're actually willing to do." Zaidi also made clear that Gordon is not on the market, despite a published report that he was. "He's a cost-controlled, All-Star second baseman that teams would have four more years of control, a tremendous player, and anybody like that, teams ask for," he said. "We're not dangling him. Like I said, he is our second baseman."
  • Erick Aybar's hot dog buddy is on the move again: Atlanta Braves agree with infielder Alberto Callaspo on 1-year deal - ESPN, "Callaspo's contract, subject to a physical exam, would pay him $3 million next season with an additional $1 million in performance incentives, according to multiple media reports. "This is not [a deal] that everyone is going to get excited about," Braves president of baseball operations John Hart told MLB.com on Tuesday night. "But these are the kinds of players that help you win. They do little things for you."
  • Here's a recap of yesterday's moves: 2014 Winter Meetings Day 2 Recap: News, rumors and moves - CBSSports.com, "A handful of transactions and a plethora of hot stove rumors headline Tuesday's recap of the second day of the 2014 Winter Meetings."
  • Today in baseball history: December 10 - BR Bullpen
    2013: Things heat up on the second day of the Winter Meetings at Lake Buena Vista, FL. In a three-team deal, the Angels send slugger Mark Trumbo to the Diamondbacks and receive Ps Tyler Skaggs and Hector Santiago, who comes over from the White Sox; in turn, the Pale Hose receive young OF Adam Eaton from the D-Backs.