Spring Training games have begun, and we're finally getting to see baseballs being tossed around and/or hit with bats by professional baseball players. This is a good thing. We are emerging from hibernation, and a seemingly-endless off-season of malaise, thanks to no LF. That was actually a decent development, though, for a mailbag column, as Arte Moreno's inactivity on the free agent front was enough to launch a thousand and one questions that all had the same end game: Are the Angels going to do X or pickup player Y or sign free agent Z to play in left field in 2016.
It became rote and tiresome right around the time the Angels got to Tempe for camp, and now it's pretty much a distant memory, as most fans are settling on the current iteration of the team and it's Spring Training invitees. The downside to this development? Left fielder questions accounted for about 80% of all my mailbag questions, so this week were seeing only a few questions from our faithful readers, as a result. But the more clarity we begin to see on the field from these real life Cactus League games, we should see those questions begin to flow like wine again. Until then, let's see what we can wrangle up this week.
Ryan Poff asks: With the Dodgers news about Anderson, do you see a trade happening between us and them. And if so, would it be for a left fielder like Andre, or a prospect?
The Dodgers are pretty deep, and that's good, because now it will come in handy. That said, teams like have options and if they can work something out with another club to try and replace a roster spot filled by Anderson, then they'll probably go for it. I'm sure they've already called multiple teams today, just to make general inquiries, nothing immediate. As for the Angels, the almost-trade for Michael Saunders showed that if the right player is involved(at least in Billy Eppler's eyes), then they'll still try to move some pieces. I can't see them wanting anything other than someone who will be on the 25 man roster and helping out the regular season team immediately. That's IF they were to get on the phone and try to work something up. I've been on the "Angels aren't making any more moves" train for a couple months now, but again, the Saunders thing flew in the face of my line of thinking, so while I personally don't see them making a good trade partner for the Dodgers, anything can happen.
But it probably wont(as the saying goes).
Steven Garrison asks: How do you see the angels rotation for 2016? Here is how I have it: Will Mike Scioscia give richards the ball on opening night vs Arrieta or will he give it to the veteran Weaver? my brain says richards but my gut says weaver.
I feel you. Garrett Richards seems like the obvious choice, but it's Mike Scioscia we're talking about here, and it's in regards to a veteran Scioscia guy, Jered Weaver. I can see why your gut is telling you Weaver. Let's hope Mike Scioscia's gut isn't quite as influential on his brain as some of our readers may suspect. I'll say G-Rich gets the start Opening Day, barring a horrible Spring.
Rotation for 2016, or at least my best dart throw of a guess:
Mat Gleason asks: What will happen first - the Angels will make the playoffs or Disneyland will open its StarWars-land?
First, we'll have to make a guesstimate as to when the new theme park addition will be open. It's apparently set to break ground on construction next month, although no exact date has been given. So even that's tentative. Disney wont say or give a date, either, as to when they think the park will be completed. So again, total guesses at this point. But let's say they are on time with the ground breaking next month and it doesn't get moved back...well, the similarly sized Carsland too a little over five years from ground breaking to completion. If we go by that comparison, then we're looking at 2021 for the Star Wars section to be fully done.
2021? Angels can do this, no problem...right? RIGHT?!?!
I am still in my lotus-eating, Spring Training optimism mode, so I'll pick the Angels getting to the playoffs before the opening of Star Wars-land(or whatever Disney ends up calling it). Unless the Angels slip out of the overarching success of the oughts they've found themselves in, and dip their toes back into the mediocrity of years gone by, then it's not that far fetched to think they can muster up one lousy playoff appearance in a five year span.
Tom Platten asks: will Pujols start on opening day or what?
Last week I totally guessed April 11th as the day we'd see Pujols penciled into a lineup for the Halos. Well, looks like he's unrestricted in workouts and drills already, and we're probably going to see him plenty this Spring. Albert Pujols will be playing Opening Day. (prolly)
Dave Weiss asks: What angel coach or player will have a freak accident occur on opening day?
Oh man. Poor Don Baylor...never saw that Vlad "breaking" ball coming. As long as Vladimir Guerrero stays off the mound on Opening Day, I think they're all safe. If anything, Dave Hansen MAY get a bad cut on his finger while re-stringing his guitar earlier that day, or Scott Radinsky moshes way too hard with Greg Mahle in the bullpen warmups, breaking his collarbone in the process. If they can steer clear of those two mishaps, we're all good. I will say this, though: the Angels won a TON of games in 2014. Did Don Baylor's leg break appease the Baseball Gods that season in some way, thus anointing the Angels with some magic for the season? Maybe they were supposed to also break his other leg before the playoffs started, hence the poor showing against KC?
Hmmmmm...I'm just sayin', guys. JUST SAYIN'.
That wraps up this week's mailbag. Quick, painless, easy. I'm excited about baseball right now, and life is good. We're having some fun this Spring. Let's keep it going, keep it rocking and rolling. Ya dig?