Results tagged ‘ Andre Ethier ’

Decisions, decisions …

la-sp-billy-eppler-angels-la0031516476-20151005I wrote earlier today about first-year GM Billy Eppler keeping his options open and why he’ll probably rely heavily on a loaded free-agent class.

The Angels enter the offseason with up to six needs for their Major League club: catcher, second base, third base, utility infield, left field and a back-end reliever, ideally a lefty. They could also opt to sign a front-line starter, but that’s more of a luxury than an actual need. They have starting pitching depth. But signing an attractive free-agent starter (David Price, Zack Greinke, Jordan Zimmermann, Johnny Cueto, Mike Leake, etc.) could free Eppler up to trade from that starting-pitching depth and fill other needs.

Below is a look at some of the more attractive free-agent and (potential) trade options at each of the Angels’ positions of need. You’ll probably notice right away that I didn’t include Matt Wieters among catchers. I just don’t expect them to bid so high for him. 

(* indicates they were given a qualifying offer)


Free agents: Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Brayan Pena, Dioner Navarro, Alex Avila, Geovany Soto
Trades: Stephen Vogt (OAK), Jonathan Lucroy (MIL), Wilson Ramos (WAS), Gary Sanchez (NYY)


Free agents: Howie Kendrick*, Daniel Murphy*, Ben Zobrist, Chase Utley
Trades: Neil Walker (PIT), Brandon Phillips (CIN), Aaron Hill (ARI), Hanser Alberto (TEX)


Free agents: David Freese, Juan Uribe, Mark Reynolds,Casey McGehee
Trades: Trevor Plouffe (MIN), Yunel Escobar (WAS), Todd Frazier (CIN), Martin Prado (MIA)


Free agents: Sean Rodriguez, Mike Aviles, Asdrubal Cabrera, Cliff Pennington, Kelly Johnson, Stephen Drew
Trades: Jed Lowrie (HOU)


Free agents: Yoenis Cespedes, Justin Upton*, Jason Heyward*, Alex Gordon*, Gerardo Parra, Colby Rasmus*, Nori Aoki
Trades: Preston Tucker (HOU), Brett Gardner (NYY), Josh Reddick (OAK), Jay Bruce (CIN), Yasiel Puig (LAD), Carl Crawford (LAD), Andre Ethier (LAD), David Peralta (ARI)


Free agents: Tony Sipp, Antonio Bastardo, Matt Thornton, Oliver Perez, Neal Cotts, Rich Hill
Trades: Mike Dunn (MIA)


How Angels’ ‘Big 3’ stacks up in 2013 …

Josh Hamilton

I wrote recently about the Angels’ own prestigious “Big Three” of Mike Trout, Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton — how they could potentially hold up historically and in this era.

But how do they hold up in 2013? There’s little debate that the Angels now have the most talented and celebrated lineup trio in baseball, giving them arguably the game’s most potent offense. But I was a little stunned that their 2012 stats didn’t show it.

In fact, when combining each of their OPS from 2012, the Angels’ trio ranked third, behind those of the Tigers and Reds. Below is the top 15, based on combined OPS of the top three current players in each lineup (minimum is 400 plate appearances) …

  • Tigers (Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder, Austin Jackson): 2.795
  • Reds (Joey Votto, Ryan Ludwick, Jay Bruce): 2.759
  • Angels (Trout, Pujols, Hamilton): 2.752
  • Brewers (Ryan Braun, Aramis Ramirez, Corey Hart): 2.729
  • Red Sox (David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia, Mike Napoli*): 2.635
  • Blue Jays (Edwin Encarnacion, Jose Reyes, Melky Cabrera): 2.627
  • Cardinals (Matt Holliday, Allen Craig, Yadier Molina): 2.627
  • Rangers (Adrian Beltre, David Murphy, A.J. Pierzynski): 2.607
  • Rockies (Carlos Gonzalez, Dexter Fowler, Tyler Colvin): 2.602
  • Pirates (Andrew McCutchen, Garrett Jones, Pedro Alvarez): 2.569
  • D-backs (Aaron Hill, Paul Goldschmidt, Jason Kubel): 2.565
  • Yankees (Robinson Cano, Curtis Granderson, Mark Teixeira): 2.547
  • Twins (Josh Willingham, Joe Mauer, Ryan Doumit): 2.532
  • Giants (Buster Posey, Pablo Sandoval, Brandon Belt): 2.527
  • Dodgers (Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier, Adrian Gonzalez): 2.524

* Napoli’s deal still hasn’t been finalized. 

** A special thanks to all of you for making this blog the 10th-most popular among beat writers in 2012. You’re the whipped cream on my sundae. 


Game 71: Dodgers-Angels …

The scene shifts for the Freeway Series tonight, with the Angels hosting the second leg and looking to build on an 11-4 mark against the crosstown-rival Dodgers over their last 15 games. Mike Scioscia, on the significance of it all: “I don’t think there really is as far as our clubhouse or anybody in their clubhouse, but I do know the media and the fans obviously have more interest in a game because of the geographical rivalry that’s here, with the two teams being so close. But for us, it’s another game. They’re a good team, we have to do things well if we’re going to beat them, and that’s what we’re going to focus on.”

Dodgers (42-28)

Dee Gordon, SS
Jerry Hairston, 2B
Andre Ethier, RF
Bobby Abreu, DH
Juan Rivera, LF
James Loney, 1B
Adam Kennedy, 3B
A.J. Ellis, C
Tony Gwynn Jr., CF

Pitching: RH Chad Billingsley (4-5, 3.75 ERA)

Angels (38-32)

Mike Trout, CF
Torii Hunter, RF
Albert Pujols, 1B
Kendrys Morales, DH
Mark Trumbo, LF
Alberto Callaspo, 3B
Howie Kendrick, 2B
Erick Aybar, SS
Bobby Wilson, C

Pitching: RH Dan Haren (4-7, 3.96 ERA)

Some pregame notes …

  • Jerome Williams (breathing problems) has been medically cleared to do everything, meaning he can begin the process of long-tossing, then getting in bullpen sessions, being stretched out and ultimately returning to the Angels’ pitching staff. Will that be as a starter or a reliever? That remains to be seen. But Scioscia said he’s received no indication from the medical staff that Williams would not be allowed to start.
  • Chris Iannetta (wrist surgery and forearm strain) will restart his throwing program Saturday, but is still a ways away from getting in a rehab assignment.
  • Scioscia, on how Weaver’s feeling after his Wednesday start: “He feels really good. I think he feels just some normal stiffness you would get from going out there and pitching, nothing connected at all with what put him on the disabled list, so that’s encouraging.”
  • Every Angels starter will be on at least six days’ rest coming up, which can be good (it’s a long season) and bad (starters for the most part hate breaking routing). “I think long term it’s a good thing, for guys to maybe catch their breath,” Scioscia said. “Some guys aren’t sharp historically on six days, and some guys are very good on six days. There’s no rhyme or reason or one thing you can point to that’s going to make your staff better, but especially this time of year, these guys have been grinding a lot.”
  • Scott Downs and Ernesto Frieri have the best combined ERA of any Major League relief tandem, at 0.66 (or four runs in 54 2/3 innings). Minimum for this was 20 innings per player.
  • Erick Aybar is on a seven-game hitting streak and is batting .417 over his last 10 games.

Some links from Thursday …

Some AL West links …

And in case you missed it, MY HEAT WON THE ‘SHIP!


Game 62: Angels-Dodgers …

OK, at the start of the year, how many of you had the Dodgers sporting the better record by the time these two kicked off their annual Freeway Series? Come on, be honest. The Angels, at least, have been looking a lot more like the team many expected them to be, coming off a three-game sweep of the Rockies, winning nine straight road games and sporting a Major League-best 14-4 record since May 22. The Dodgers just completed a 7-3 road trip — though they got no-hit by the Mariners in one of those games — and own baseball’s best record despite the absence of superstar Matt Kemp.

Here are the lineups for their first meeting at Dodger Stadium …

Angels (32-29)

Mike Trout, CF
Torii Hunter, RF
Albert Pujols, 1B
Mark Trumbo, LF
Howie Kendrick, 2B
Alberto Callaspo, 3B
Erick Aybar, SS
John Hester, C
Garrett Richards, SP (RH, 1-0, 1.13 ERA)

Dodgers (39-22)

Dee Gordon, SS
Elian Herrera, 3B
Andre Ethier, RF
Bobby Abreu, LF
Jerry Hairston Jr., 2B
James Loney, 1B
A.J. Ellis, C
Tony Gwynn Jr., CF
Chris Capuano, SP (LH, 8-2, 2.82 ERA)

Some pregame notes …

  • The Angels signed 11 of their Draft picks, including third-round right-handed reliever R.J. Alvarez.
  • Trout, Torii were named AL Co-Players of the Week.
  • Pujols is fifth in All-Star Game voting at first base, with no other Angels really in the running to start.
  • Kendrys Morales is expected to start at first base tomorrow.
  • Jered Weaver threw off the front part of the mound today. If he feels fine tomorrow, he’ll have a full bullpen. After that, he could be one bullpen and one sim game away from returning.
  • Chris Iannetta, who had a setback a couple days ago with his forearm, is back doing baseball activities now. He’s expected to get back into games in the middle of the week, with manager Mike Scioscia thinking he’ll need four or five rehab games behind the plate before being activated.
  • Bobby Wilson (concussion) has been cleared for baseball activities and hopes to be back over the weekend.

Some Angels links from Sunday …

Some AL West links …

And in case you hadn’t heard … The Heat are in the NBA Finals!!! (sorry)


Will CJ pitch in first series vs. Texas? …

OK, so Mike Scioscia made it official today with his rotation — Jered Weaver first, Dan Haren second, Ervin Santana third and C.J. Wilson fourth. No surprises there considering how they’ve lined up all spring, though the decision to put Santana in front of Wilson is interesting considering CJ’s track record and the money he’s making (more on that later).

But looking ahead just a little here, the order does bring up an interesting question: Will Wilson take the mound in Arlington from May 11-13, in the first series between the two division rivals?

That depends on what Scioscia does with his off days. We already know he’ll use the April 10 off day to skip the fifth starter, which would mean Jerome Williams or Garrett Richards won’t be needed until April 15 at Yankee Stadium. Scioscia will have two other off days before the Rangers series: April 23 and May 10.

If he keeps the fifth starter through both of those off days, Wilson would line up to take the mound at his old stomping grounds in the series opener on Friday, May 11.

But, if he uses the April 23 off day to skip the fourth starter, then CJ wouldn’t take the mound in that series at all. The key date to watch will be April 26. If the rotation comes back to the top and Weaver starts that game, C.J. won’t line up against Texas. If the 5th starter takes the ball that day, then he pitches on May 11.

Let’s see what happens.

Now, on to today’s lineups …

Angels (18-12-2)

Erick Aybar, SS
Howie Kendrick, 2B
Albert Pujols, 1B
Torii Hunter, RF
Vernon Wells, LF
Mark Trumbo, 3B
Chris Iannetta, C
Peter Bourjos, CF
C.J. Wilson, SP

Dodgers (15-14-4)

Tony Gwynn, LF
Justin Sellers, SS
Andre Ethier, RF
Juan Rivera, 1B
Adam Kennedy, 3B
Tim Federowicz, C
Luis Cruz, 2B
Matt Angle, CF
Nathan Eovaldi, SP

Some links from Wednesday …

Some AL West links …

  • Nelson Cruz and Mike Adams got dinged up in Mexico City
  • Mariners option Charlie Furbush and Carlos Peguero to set roster
  • Dallas Braden has injection, recovery pushed back

And the Heat came through against the 76ers last night, even without Dwyane Wade. Now if they could only do that on the road.


6 Divisions in 6 Days, Day 5 …

Leading up to Opening Day, I’ll roll out an All-Star team for each of the six divisions in baseball — that includes a manager, a starting nine (with a DH also for the National League), three starters and two relievers. One catch: Each team must have at least one representative, and the skipper doesn’t count. Feel free to submit your own lineups below. I’d love to see how yours differ.

Day 5: NL West
Either of the five teams in this division could win it, and I would not be surprised.
Manager: Bruce Bochy, SFG
Dee Gordon, 2B (LAD)
Carlos Gonzalez, LF (COL)
Matt Kemp, CF (LAD)
Troy Tulowitzki, SS (COL)
Justin Upton, RF (ARI)
Andre Ethier, DH (LAD)
Pablo Sandoval, 3B (SFG)
Yonder Alonso, 1B (SDP)
Buster Posey, C (SFG)
Clayton Kershaw, LAD
Tim Lincecum, SFG
Matt Cain, SFG
Brian Wilson, SFG
J.J. Putz, ARI

Game 31: Dodgers-Angels …

Dodgers (14-13)

Dee Gordon, SS
Mark Ellis, 2B
Matt Kemp, CF
Andre Ethier, RF
Juan Rivera, LF
James Loney, 1B
Juan Uribe, 3B
A.J. Ellis, C
Adam Kennedy, DH

SP: RH Jamey Wright

Angels (17-11-2)

Erick Aybar, SS
Howie Kendrick, 2B
Albert Pujols, 1B
Kendrys Morales, DH
Torii Hunter, RF
Vernon Wells, LF
Mark Trumbo, 3B
Chris Iannetta, C
Peter Bourjos, CF

SP: RH Dan Haren

Some notes from this morning …

  • Big day for the Angels fans who decide to make it out to The Big A tonight. It’ll be their first time seeing Morales since that fateful May 29, 2010, game that saw him suffer a broken left ankle on a walk-off grand slam. And, of course, it’ll be their first time ever watching Pujols in an Angels uniform. Pujols, on the pressure of living up to his new contract: “I’ve been feeling pressure for 12 1/2 years, 13 years since being a professional. To tell you the truth, there’s [three] times that I feel pressure — my first at-bat in Spring Training, my first at-bat Opening Day and first at-bat in the playoffs. The rest is just baseball.”
  • No more Gatorade at the Angel Stadium clubhouses and dugouts. It’s all — from the coolers to the cups to the towels — “Oh Yeah!”, a nutritional company Pujols is a major spokesman for.
  • Big night for bullpen sages LaTroy Hawkins (Kansas State fan because his godson, Elijah Johnson, plays for the team) and Scott Downs (who played at the University of Kentucky). Both are rocking their gear, neither is scheduled to pitch today and both are hoping they can watch a little bit of the action from the clubhouse TVs.
  • Mike Scioscia, on the decision to slot C.J. Wilson as the No. 4 starter (though that hasn’t been officially declared yet): “If you have an abundance of lefties, you might want to break it up. You’re certainly breaking up length with a guy who’s not going to get deep enough, but that’s definitely not the issue we’re dealing with here. Maybe the No. 5 guy, if we have a guy who doesn’t have a lot of length we would have length surrounding him. The way this was set up is really the versatility to move who ever’s in the fourth spot forward if we had to, and it gave us a way to get a good look at the start of the season. Once the season starts, there’s no 1, 2, 3 and 4. We have four guys who are front-end-of-the-rotation guys, so that’s the way we’re going to look at it.”

Some links from Sunday …

Some AL West links …

And the Miami Heat’s road struggles continue. On Sunday, they got torched by the Celtics at The Garden.


6 Divisions in 6 Days: NL West

With this being the final week of Spring Training (crazy, right?), I figured it’d be justified to take a look at all 30 clubs and examine where they stand, what they need and where it looks like they’ll finish heading into the 2010 season. So, leading up to Opening Night between the Red Sox and Yankees, I’ll touch on one of the six divisions each day Monday-Saturday. Today, Day 5, we look at the National League West …

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Dodgers: They’ve gone backwards a bit, which is what makes this one of the most evenly matched divisions in baseball. But the Dodgers are still a big threat. Yeah, Manny Rarmirez‘s best days are behind him. And, sure, having Vicente Padilla start on Opening Day doesn’t say much about your rotation. But the Dodgers’ lineup is solid, with a still-very-productive Ramirez and up-and-coming studs in Matt Kemp, James Loney, Russell Martin and Andre Ethier. The rotation has some nice young arms in Clayton Kershaw and Chad Billingsley. And the back end of that bullpen is very good with George Sherrill and Jonathan Broxton. Other clubs in this division are starting to catch up, but you still have to look out for the Dodgers. 

Rockies: Last year, Jim Tracy was a miracle worker with the way he turned them into a playoff team after taking over for Clint Hurdle. In his first full season as manager in Colorado, he’ll direct a very formidable bunch once again. First off, that bench is the best in baseball — and it’s not even close. As reserves, the Rockies have established everyday players like Miguel Olivo, Melvin Mora and Jason Giambi, and other solid pieces in Ryan Spilborghs and Seth Smith. Think benches don’t matter much in baseball? They’re crucial throughout the aches and pains of a 162-game season, and this one will be huge in boosting the Rockies. As for the starting lineup, there’s nice pieces in Dexter Fowler, Todd Helton and Troy Tulowitzki, but they won’t hit much for power. The rotation is good, but not great. And I still have doubts about whether Huston Street (who will start the season on the disabled list) can be relied upon as closer for a full season. Still, the Rockies will be in the hunt all year. 

Giants: The Giants step into the 2010 season with the same problem — offense. Let’s get the obvious positives out of the way first. With Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain and Barry Zito, their rotation is one of the best in baseball. And Brian Wilson is a solid closer. (The rest of the bullpen doesn’t really matter, since starters will be going seven or eight innings for most of the season, anyway.) But will they hit? I don’t think so. They went into the offseason knowing they needed more punch in the lineup, but all the Giants ended up with was Aubrey Huff and Mark DeRosa. That’s not enough. They’ll need Aaron Rowand, Pablo Sandoval and Freddy Sanchez to do a lot of the heavy lifting, and that’s never a good sign. As was the case last year, pitching will keep them in it. But they’ll need a Trade Deadline move for a big bat if they want to get over the hump. 

Padres: They’ll finish last in the division, but the Padres, I believe, are on the upswing. I don’t foresee Adrian Gonzalez — very affordable this season, and with a very affordable club option for 2011 — being traded during the regular season, and Kyle Blanks is a nice counterpart in the middle of the lineup. They also have some nice, young position players in Tony Gwynn Jr. and Everth Cabrera. Heath Bell is a top-tier closer. And the rotation isn’t too bad, with Jon Garland, Chris Young, Matt Latos, Kevin Correia and Clayton Richard. They’re a rebuilding team, and they don’t have nearly enough to compete this year — or even next year. But I think they’re on their way up (with or without A-Gonz). 

Diamondbacks: If Brandon Webb is healthy and right, the D-backs — losers of 92 games last season — could end up being the most-improved team in baseball. With Dan Haren and new acquisition Edwin Jackson, they can have a very nice top three in that rotation. But how and when Webb returns from shoulder surgery will be critical, of course. The bullpen isn’t great, but I like their offense. I love Justin Upton. Combine him with Mark Reynolds, newcomer Adam LaRoche, a healthy Conor Jackson and a Stephen Drew who should be better, they’ll be much more improved scoring runs. But even with the Webb of 2008, I felt this team would fall just shy of the postseason. Without him in top form, they’ll struggle to finish at .500.
NL West champion: Dodgers

— Alden Gonzalez
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