As Stirrups as done in each of his recent (and excellent) link posts, I'll add a countdown to Spring Training just so you know how long it'll be until we can work ourselves into a frenzy. And thanks to Rev who found this handy chart of dates, we'll also know when those other teams will start showing up to the sunshine of Arizona and Florida.
Life begins in: 17 days.
- With the season approaching, it becoming time for those "what each team needs to do to contend" type posts. There will probably be one or two in each of the Tuesday-Thursday posts. Here's today's: Keys to success? Unlocking each team's integral component - MLB.com, "Angels: C.J. Wilson The veteran left-hander is so smart and so competitive that it would be a huge mistake to discount him. If there's gap between the Mariners and Halos, Wilson surely could close it." I agree Wilson having a good season will ease the burden on the other Halo starters, but it just seems so unlikely. Don't get me wrong, I really like C.J. Wilson, and I hope nothing but the best for him, his family, and his auto dealerships, but there seems to be some sort of disconnect between his talent and the results we see on the field. I wish I could talk to him. I wish I could find out how he thinks, because I'm sure that would be one of the most interesting conversations I'd have this year. At least then I'd know what was going on when he throws 76 pitches in three innings.
- How far does the price for James Shields have to drop before the Angels should be interested in signing him? Or, how much does his price have to drop before losing a draft pick becomes tolerable? If Shields' price has dropped, Yankees should open wallet - MLB.com, "In fact, with so many teams locked into their current budget parameters, it's not inconceivable that Shields might be dropping into Ubaldo Jimenez (four years, $50 million) and Ervin Santana (four years, $55 million) territory. And if that's the case, the Yankees have the need and resources to pounce." Screw the Yankees. If the price drops to somewhere in the 4-year, 50-something million dollar range, the Angels should at least make the phone call.
- This is an "Insider" piece. The reasons for hope for all 30 MLB teams - ESPN, "Los Angeles Angels: How about this: Mike Trout's 2014 season might have been the worst of his three years in the big leagues, and he still won the MVP. And he's just 23 years old. Before Garrett Richards' knee injury, he was a Cy Young candidate, and he appears to be on schedule to return in 2015. The Angels wound up winning the AL West last season despite having all kinds of bullpen issues early in the year, and now that situation is settled, with Huston Street entrenched as the closer." They make a good point with the early season bullpen bit. Remember pulling your hair out last spring when the bullpen seemed to be blowing every game? I mean like EVERY frickin' game! Just think, if the club had the same bullpen in April and May as they did at the end of the season, the Angels would have won at least 120 games! Okay, my memory might be a little, shall we say, "skewed", but seriously, just image it.
- This is basically an advertisement for the programs and Apps MLB provides, but most of them are pretty cool: 10 ways to spring into action with MLB.com - MLB.com, "So, who's ready for some Major League Baseball? Equipment trucks are rolling, pitchers and catchers are just days away from reporting to Spring Training, and the national pastime returns to join ongoing pro and college sports."
- Batting practice?
Barry Zito is throwing for a select group of teams Tuesday, says Scott Boras. He still wants to pitch after sitting out 2014.— Jerry Crasnick (@jcrasnick) February 2, 2015
- I thought this was interesting: Madden 15 Predicted The Exact Score Of The Super Bowl, "Every year, the folks at EA Sports rig a game of Madden to predict the Super Bowl. They're usually right—they've nailed something like eight of the last 11 winners. This time, it's safe to say that EA just rigged the actual Super Bowl."
- Time for the privileged to head back to their gold and diamond encrusted super-mansions: A massive fleet of private jets is currently leaving the Super Bowl - The Verge, "It's a few hours after the Super Bowl finished and, for the neutrals at least, heartbeats should have mostly returned to their usual resting pace."
- Why? WHY?? Seriously...WHY??? Meh, whatever: Real Housewives of Orange County Season 10 Cast: All Back, Plus More - Us Weekly, "The new women, Meghan King Edmonds and Katie Chadwick Hamilton, are not only residents of the plush West Coast community, but they also happen to be married to pro athletes. Edmonds is the wife of former MLB player and current Fox Sports announcer Jim Edmonds. Other newcomer Hamilton, meanwhile, is the wife of MLB player Josh Hamilton. (H/T to Bill Baer at Hardball Talk)