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Tuesday Halolinks: Baseball is back, but are the Angels?

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Spring Training is quickly getting into full swing, but will the Angels be swinging a full speed?

He came from the mountain-top with great wisdom.
He came from the mountain-top with great wisdom.
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Last night ESPN was on the television in my work's lunch room when I went on a break.  As I sat there eating my sandwich, Dustin Pedroia's face showed up on the screen and I thought to myself, "Why are they showing that Rat-faced bastard?"  However, that the thought was quickly replaced with another, "Hey, wait a minute...they're talking about baseball on ESPN.  And they're showing real players, in real uniforms, doing real baseball stuff!  Cool!"  Yep, it must be spring if I'm excited about seeing a Red Sox player on ESPN.

  • This is old news, but it broke my heart as I was counting on Mulder becoming a big story this season, not only because of his comeback, but by helping the Halos to return to the post season: Angels hurler Mark Mulder: 'To have it taken away that quick is hard' -  "I can’t describe to you guys how excited I was because I knew how good it was, I knew how I was doing and how I could help this team," said Mulder, who had shoulder surgery in 2006 and 2007 and retired after 2008. "To have it taken away that quick, it’s hard."
  • With the loss of Mulder, the Angels are sure to be looking to add depth to their pitching staff, and this guy might not be a bad option: Brett Tomko looking to land minor league deal - MLB Daily Dish.  "Tomko is looking for a minor league deal with a big league invite, and is willing to go to Triple-A and pitch as either a starter or reliever. He is looking to serve as a mentor to young pitchers in Triple-A. ... He was consistently throwing in the 91-93 mph in range in the Dominican Republic earlier this offseason, and touched 94 mph on the radar gun."
  • Here's another old news tidbit, but still something that makes you shake your head.  Regardless if you're happy Garza wasn't available to negotiate, or pissed the Angels missed the opportunity to sign him, you gotta be wondering if the take-now-or-leave-it hardball tactics are really the way to go.  Especially when your staff is already so thin: Matt Garza missed out on Angels' offer because he was on vacation -  "They offered, but it was more of a weird situation," said Garza, who wound up getting $50 million in guaranteed money from Milwaukee. "I was on vacation with my wife and I didn't want to be disturbed, and it was like, ‘Here it is, we'll pull it in a certain amount of hours.' I didn't have a chance to respond, so I just said, ‘Whatever. It is what it is.'"
  • Jimenez received roughly the same amount of money as Garza, but he had the misfortune of having a draft forfeiture associated with his signing.  Yet, I still think this is a decent deal:  Orioles agree to sign Ubaldo Jimenez to four-year, $50M deal -  "Free agent starting pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez appears to finally have a team. He has agreed to sign with the Orioles, Jon Heyman confirms. Heyman reports that the deal is for four years and $50 million."
  • Angels president John Carpino has high expectations for 2014 Angels - What do you hope the reshaped coaching staff will bring to the team, and how important was it to the organization to get new faces under manager Mike Scioscia?
    Carpino: We all sat down following the 2013 season and agreed that we needed to bring some different dynamics to our clubhouse and coaching staff. It is important for us as an organization to give our players the best resources in every area, and we feel very good about adding [hitting coach] Don [Baylor], [third-base coach] Gary [DiSarcina], [assistant hitting coach] Dave [Hansen] and [player information coach] Rick [Eckstein] to the staff this year. They are all great teachers and communicators with their own style, and are all committed to helping our players get the most out of their abilities.
  • Wouldn't it be cool if Joe Blanton were to have a good season?  With the Angels.  Phil Rogers: Los Angeles Angels need young lefties to fill big hole in rotation -  "While veteran Joe Blanton is here, he's as much of a candidate to be released as a viable alternative after hanging up a 6.04 ERA last season. The choices beyond Wilson, Weaver, Garrett Richards, Santiago and Skaggs are so limited that it was a real blow to the Angels when the Mark Mulder comeback ended with a torn Achilles tendon."
  • Angels' Josh Hamilton aims to be a heavy hitter again -  "In an effort to regain the mechanics of the swing that made him one of baseball's most feared sluggers, Hamilton worked this winter with a "functional movement coach." Comparing video from 2013 to 2010, Hamilton noticed his hips weren't "exploding" and driving through the ball."  At my age, exploding hips doesn't sound fun.
  • Required reading: Roger Angell: Life in the Nineties - The New Yorker.  "A man and his wife tried and tried to have a baby, but without success. Years went by and they went on trying, but no luck. They liked each other, so the work was always a pleasure, but they grew a bit sad along the way. Finally, she got pregnant, was very careful, and gave birth to a beautiful eight-pound-two-ounce baby boy. The couple were beside themselves with happiness. At the hospital that night, she told her husband to stop by the local newspaper and arrange for a birth announcement, to tell all their friends the good news. First thing next morning, she asked if he’d done the errand. "Yes, I did," he said, "but I had no idea those little notices in the paper were so expensive." "Expensive?" she said. "How much was it?" "It was eight hundred and thirty-seven dollars. I have the receipt." "Eight hundred and thirty-seven dollars!" she cried. "But that’s impossible. You must have made some mistake. Tell me exactly what happened." "There was a young lady behind a counter at the paper, who gave me the form to fill out," he said. "I put in your name and my name and little Teddy’s name and weight, and when we’d be home again and, you know, ready to see friends. I handed it back to her and she counted up the words and said, ‘How many insertions?’ I said twice a week for fourteen years, and she gave me the bill. O.K.?"