Okay, I was wrong. Apparently the Angels haven't taken the holiday season off and are open for business, still making moves to improve the club.
The finally deep Angels Halolinks:
- The Angels made a trade yesterday. It wasn't a huge deal, but it also wasn't just some minor trade to add depth or free up a roster spot. This is one of those mid-level deals that probably have a greater impact than most of us realize. Dealing away Jepsen creates opportunity within the Halos' bullpen and moving everyone "up a spot" in the role dominated Scoiscia usage scale, while the addition of Joyce moves C.J. Cron and his benchmates down a notch. New Angel in the outfield: Joyce aboard, Jepsen to Rays - angels.com, "Dipoto mentioned 23-year-old Mike Morin as someone who can step up in the now-vacant seventh-inning role, but also mentioned the likes of Fernando Salas, Vinnie Pestano and Cory Rasmus. The Angels have a plethora of solid right-handed relief options. "We feel like the bullpen was a strength going in and we had created some depth," Dipoto said, "and right now we're dealing from an area of depth to create some depth in different areas." Isn't kinda weird hearing the Angels are dealing from a position of strength regarding their bullpen? How long has it been since the Halo pen was this deep? Angels Post-Jepsen Bullpen Still a Strength - Halos Heaven, "While Jepsen had the seventh inning "role" in 2014, the team has already stated their confidence in Mike Morin. While his splits are not fantastic against lefties, understand that the Angels picked up lefty reliever Cesar Ramos earlier this offseason and, if Scioscia can master the use of a "Lefty One Out Guy" at all, the seventh inning could be Morin/Ramos and may perform about as well as Jepsen has."
- Uh-oh (if you believe in this sort of stuff): Rays trade Matt Joyce to Angels in exchange for Kevin Jepsen - Fantasy News, "Joyce, who was an All-Star in 2011, spent six of his seven seasons in the majors with Tampa Bay. He heads to Los Angeles with a .250/.342/.441/.783 slash line in 725 career games. Joyce has a .104 average, one home run and seven RBI in 19 games at Angel Stadium." That woeful stat line could change if Joyce doesn't alter his approach:Angels trade Kevin Jepsen to Tampa Bay Rays for Matt Joyce - LA Times, "My dad always told me that good hitters have to hit good pitches; it's hard to hit bad pitches good," Joyce said. "I do my homework, I prepare to the best of my abilities, I have a plan, and when I get into the box I try to execute that plan as best I can." That kind of approach might fit nicely in the second spot behind Calhoun and allow Manager Mike Scioscia to move Mike Trout and Albert Pujols from the second and third spots to the third and fourth spots in the order." Whoa, hold on there, cowboy. Move Trout even further down in the order?
- The Dodgers understand the concept of "sunk cost" Dodgers designate Brian Wilson for assignment - LA Times, "The right-hander came with a unique personality, and Zaidi hesitated and laughed when asked if clubhouse chemistry played a part in the decision to DFA Wilson before saying: "Every move we make is about putting the best team we can on the field for 2015. And at this point we just didn’t feel like he was one of the best seven reliever options we had. That was the first and foremost consideration." Here's an interesting tidbit from this article: "That would be the right-handed reliever who is owed $10 million next season. This after the Dodgers sent $10 million to the Marlins to cover Dan Haren’s salary, $32 million to the Padres for a portion of Matt Kemp’s obligation and $2.5 million in the deal for Dee Gordon. That’s $54.5 million now being paid to opposing players." I always think of this clip from 'Moneyball', "I'm not paying you $7M. The Yankees are paying you $3.5M to play against them".
- Speaking of sunk cost: To trade Josh Hamilton or not to trade Josh Hamilton? That is the question for the Angels - FOX Sports, "Of course the Angels would move Hamilton, if such a deal could make them younger, cheaper and more athletic. The problem is that Hamilton’s value is down, and a trade only might be possible if the Angels assume nearly all of his remaining obligation — something they are not presently willing to do, sources said." And..."He returned for the postseason, but went 0 for 13 with no walks as the Angels were swept by the Royals in the Division Series. "Unfortunately, that left a bad taste in people’s mouths," Dipoto said. "But Josh is a good guy. He has a very good way about him. He’s easy to like. There is no dysfunction between him and his teammates, him and the coaching staff, him and the manager." Who mentioned anything about dysfunction? Was that even a thing? Who puts more "fun" in dysfunction than Josh Hamilton??
- Here are a couple minor, but interesting moves:
- Indians Designate Nick Maronde For Assignment – MLB Trade Rumors, "The 25-year-old Maronde was acquired from the Angels in July for cash considerations after suddenly and surprisingly losing his control and walking more than a batter per inning across four levels. Cleveland bought low on the former third rounder with the hopes of helping him to rediscover his control, and they did just that in a small sample. Across three minor league levels with Cleveland, Maronde walked just four batters in 23 frames." Now that the Indians have fixed Maronde, maybe the Angels should add him to the bullpen mix. (And also take a look at the Indians pitching coach who did what Mike Butcher couldn't).
- I used to really like Morales, but dude, what happened? Kendrys Morales finalizes deal with Kansas City Royals - ESPN, "Morales gives the Royals a new designated hitter after Billy Butler agreed to a free-agent deal with Oakland. Kansas City will hope last season was an aberration for Morales, who hit .218 with eight homers and 42 RBIs in 98 games with the Minnesota Twins and Seattle. He didn't play last season until June after waiting for the right offer. Two years ago, Morales hit .277 with 23 homers for Seattle."
- After taking just a quick glance, this guy might be a better option than some of the other ideas floating around: Astros Designate Gregorio Petit – MLB Trade Rumors, "Petit, 30, is a utility infielder who is capable of playing short. He has actually hit quite well in the upper minors in recent years, and last year slashed .278/.300/.423 over 100 plate appearances with the big club. Combined with solid defensive ratings, that made him worth .4 fWAR/.8 rWAR in about one-sixth of a full season."
- I thought this interesting. There are two (or possible 7) types of fans. But I think we change over the course of the year. Right now, I'm in the "architect" phase of fandom, but once the season starts, I just want to see the players perform well regardless of their salary. What Can You Find on the Free Agent Market? – The Hardball Times, "Every individual baseball fan is different, but I generally like to divide the population into two broad categories. There are people who are most fascinated by the physical acts required to snap off a nasty breaking ball or square up a pitch traveling at 95 miles per hour. They want to watch the best athletes in the world put their talent on display and don’t really care that Josh Donaldson makes $5 million and Miguel Cabrera makes $30 million per season. Cabrera’s the better hitter and they care about who’s better. On the other side, there are fans who are most interested in the assembly of the team. Call them the "architects." They’re plenty interested in the action that occurs on the field but they’re the people who are constantly taking about how their team might acquire an even better player or find a similar player who might be cheaper."
- This is kinda of scuzzy, but I'm not really surprised considering it involves Jeffrey Loria: Pirates notebook: New catcher Cervelli eager to bond with staff - TribLIVE, "Coonelly then got off his stool on the stage and stepped toward the crowd. He talked about an exchange he had with Miami Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria and president David Samson during the recent owner's meetings. "They thought it was a great deal," Coonelly said. "I just couldn't get my head around the $325 million. They said to me, ‘You don't understand. (Stanton) has an out clause after six years. Those first six years are only going to cost $107 million. After that, he'll leave and play for somebody else. So, it's not really $325 million.' " The implication from Coonelly is that the Marlins signed Stanton to a record-setting deal with the expectation that he will bolt when it's only halfway complete." And, I don't really understand why this guy takes issue with the Pirates' president. Was this information confidential? Pirates drive the bus over the Marlins - FOX Sports, "Baseball executives, coaches, players, etc., are always talking. They share ideas, thoughts and opinions and discuss the state of the game in every facet. There is an assumption of trust made among those in the inner circle in these conversations, a trust that is expected to never be betrayed publicly. Somebody apparently forgot to tell Coonelly."