Results tagged ‘ Bobby Abreu ’

Spring Training roster breakdown …

Cubs Brewers Spring Baseball

Spring Training will be a little different for the Angels this year, in a good way.

Remember last year, when there was no way to nail down exactly what the Angels’ Opening Day roster would look like? Kendrys Morales was still recovering; Mark Trumbo was learning third base; Vernon Wells, Bobby Abreu and Peter Bourjos were fighting for playing time in the outfield; Mike Trout was hoping to find some way to stick; Alberto Callaspo and Maicer Izturis were wondering how much they’d play.

This year, I can pretty much give you 23 of the 25 players who will crack the active roster (if healthy, of course).

But there are 64 players (so far) who will be in Tempe Diablo Stadium by the end of this week. And on the eve before pitchers and catchers report, I thought I’d break down the roster for you.

A few quick notes: Some of those I have “competing,” particularly for the final bullpen spot, can easily be placed in the “Minor League depth” section. … I’d bet on Hank Conger locking down the back-up catcher spot and Garrett Richards winning the final bullpen spot. … Back-up infielder and back-up outfielder are wide open, in my mind. And all the candidates for each are very similar. Yes, I think the last bench spot will be a left-handed-hitting outfielder-type.

LOCKS

Rotation

Jered Weaver
C.J. Wilson
Tommy Hanson
Jason Vargas
Joe Blanton

Bullpen

CL: Ryan Madson
SU: Ernesto Frieri
SU: Sean Burnett
MR: Kevin Jepsen
MR: Scott Downs
MR: ???
LR: Jerome Williams

Starters

C: Chris Iannetta
1B: Albert Pujols
2B: Howie Kendrick
3B: Alberto Callaspo
SS: Erick Aybar
LF: Mike Trout
CF: Peter Bourjos
RF: Josh Hamilton
DH: Mark Trumbo

Bench

C: ???
INF: ???
OF: Vernon Wells
RES: ???

COMPETING

Final bullpen spot

RH Fernando Cabrera
RH David Carpenter
RH Bobby Cassevah
RH Robert Coello
RH Steve Geltz
RH Kevin Johnson
RH Hiroyuki Kobayashi
RH Michael Kohn
LH Nick Maronde
RH Tony Pena
RH Garrett Richards
LH Brandon Sisk
LH Mitch Stetter

Back-up catcher

Hank Conger
Luke Carlin
John Hester

Back-up infielder

Tommy Field
Bill Hall
Brendan Harris
Luis Rodriguez
Andrew Romine

Last bench spot (OF)

Kole Calhoun
Scott Cousins
Trent Oeltjen
J.B. Shuck
Matt Young

PROSPECTS

C Jett Bandy
RH Ryan Brasier
3B Kaleb Cowart
OF Randal Grichuk
3B Luis Jimenez
2B Taylor Lindsey
C Carlos Ramirez
RH A.J. Schugel
SS Eric Stamets
LH Andrew Taylor
CF Travis Witherspoon
C Zach Wright
2B Alex Yarbrough

MINOR LEAGUE DEPTH

RH Billy Buckner
RH Barry Enright
LH Brad Mills
1B Efren Navarro

Alden 

Parting ways with Vernon Wells …

In honor of Paul Simon, who told you about the 50 Ways To Leave Your Lover, below are Five Ways To Leave Vernon Wells. Not as catchy, I know. And it’s not as easy as slipping out the back (Jack), or making a new plan (Stan), or hopping off the bus (Gus) — OK, I’ll stop.

The best way to get it done may be a little bad-contract swapping.

Look, it’s no secret the Angels would prefer to part ways with Wells, who’s owed $42 million through the 2014 season. At this point, they can’t expect much salary relief (if any) in the process, but what they can do is create some breathing room in a clogged-up outfield and perhaps get a player back who can help them in an area of need. At the same time, they’d probably be helping Wells, sending him to a place where he can play more regularly. The best way to do it, perhaps, is to try and find a match with a team that has a similarly unfriendly contract. The Cubs did it in 2009, sending the volatile Milton Bradley to the Mariners in exchange for Carlos Silva. The Angels themselves tried to do it last offseason, with Bobby Abreu slated to return to the Yankees before A.J. Burnett evoked his limited no-trade clause.

Is there a similar partner for Wells this offseason? Below are some possibilities. Two things to keep in mind: 1. This is merely speculative — nothing more than my own opinion; 2. The Angels may consider the next two years of Wells’ contract a wash, so perhaps they’ll have little issue with paying the difference in a trade. The benefit for them is creating flexibility in the outfield — perhaps easing a return for Torii Hunter — while getting a player who may help them. If they can save a couple million dollars, too, even better.

BOS SP John Lackey ($30.5M thru ’14)

After winning 102 games, posting a 3.81 ERA and having a few memorable postseason moments in eight seasons with the Angels, Lackey put up a 4.40 ERA in his first year with the Red Sox, followed by a 6.41 ERA in 2011, followed by Tommy John surgery in October that knocked him out for all of this past season. But the soon-to-be 34-year-old progressed towards the end of the year, should have a normal offseason and is expected to be ready to go by the start of Spring Training. Would Boston go for it? They have Jacoby Ellsbury in center and there appears to be strong mutual interest in Cody Ross returning. Other than that, though, they have several uncertainties in Daniel Nava, Ryan Sweeney and Ryan Kalish. Wells, meanwhile, may be a nice fit for the Green Monster, and to them, Lackey may represent part of that toxic clubhouse they’re still trying to fumigate.

NYY 3B Alex Rodriguez ($114M thru ’17)

It’s an easy place to go these days, since A-Rod is getting benched in the playoffs while being booed mercifully by the home crowd and the Angels could use an upgrade at third base. But A-Rod’s deal extends three years longer than Wells’, at $61 million. I’m thinking one $200 million deal (Albert Pujols) is enough in Anaheim.

CWS DH Adam Dunn ($30M thru ’14)

Bringing him on board as a lefty middle-of-the-order hitter could free up a trade for Kendrys Morales, who’s heading into his final year before free agency. But Dunn turned it around in 2012, raising his OPS from .569 to .800, and may claim AL Comeback Player of the Year honors for it (Morales is also in the running). This no longer looks like a salary dump for the White Sox.

SEA UT Chone Figgins ($8M in ’13, $9M vesting option in ’14)

This is one that seems to make sense for both sides. Figgins has said he wants out of Seattle, and he’d probably embrace a return to the place he thrived from 2002-09. The Angels could use a utility man with Maicer Izturis expected to depart via free agency (though Figgins doesn’t help them at shortstop). The Mariners, meanwhile, are in desperate need of power and Wells may be a nice fit now that they’re moving the  fences in at Safeco Field. One problem: The money. In case you hadn’t noticed, Figgins’ deal is a lot friendlier than Wells’. But, hey, if the Angels see Wells’ contract as a wash, that may not be an issue. By the way, Figgins’ 2014 option automatically vests with 600 plate appearances in 2013 — meaning it probably won’t automatically vest.

SFG SP Barry Zito ($20M in ’13, $18M club option — and $7M buyout — in ’14)

Another one that may fill needs on both sides. Zito would move into the Angels’ rotation — a rotation that could lose up to three-fifths of the 2012 makeup — and Wells would go to a team that, like the Mariners, is perpetually looking for offense. Plus, Melky Cabrera and Angel Pagan will hit free agency this offseason. But do the Giants really benefit from this? Though obviously no longer the same pitcher, Zito had a descent year with a 4.15 ERA in 184 1/3 innings. And in their desire to upgrade the offense, the Giants, three wins away from the World Series, may have higher aspirations than Wells. Zito, by the way, has a full no-trade clause — but he is a SoCal product.

Not mentioned: CHC LF Alfonso Soriano ($36M thru ’14); NYM LF Jason Bay ($16M in ’13, $17M club option in ’14); NYM SP Johan Santana ($25.5M in ’13, $25M club option in ’14); LAD SP Josh Beckett and 3B Hanley Ramirez ($31.5M thru ’14 each); LAD LF Carl Crawford ($102.5M thru ’17); MIA RP Heath Bell ($18M thru ’14).

Alden 

Game 92: Angels-Tigers …

Angels (50-41)

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

Pitching: LH C.J. Wilson (9-5, 2.43 ERA)

Tigers (47-44)

Austin Jackson, CF
Ryan Raburn, LF
Miguel Cabrera, 3B
Prince Fielder, 1B
Delmon Young, DH
Jhonny Peralta, SS
Brennan Boesch, RF
Gerald Laird, C
Danny Worth, 2B

Pitching: RH Doug Fister (3-6, 4.39 ERA)

Some pregame notes …

  • Dan Haren (stiff lower back) threw a 40-pitch bullpen session, is feeling good and is eyeing a weekend start against the Rangers. Asked about the pressure to pitch well, given how his return to form can impact how active the Angels are in the trade market? “No added pressure. I mean, the Trade Deadline is such a weird thing. I’ve gone through it personally. There’s only so much I can control. I want to come back and help this team. I’ve been a really good pitcher for eight or nine years. I’ve had a couple bad months, pitched through some stuff. I think people kind of forget how good I can be. It’s been kind of frustrating hearing all that stuff. I went on the DL to try and help this team, to get better for the last 12 starts I’ll make because I know those are going to be very important. I kinda had to swallow my pride and just get better.”
  • Mike Scioscia, when asked about Vernon Wells’ role on the team when he gets back in late July (he’ll start a rehab assignment with Triple-A Salt Lake on Friday): “We’re going to look at the situation presented when Vernon’s healthy and back and ready to go, but I think Vernon understands the situation. With the way Mike and Mark are playing, they’re going to be out there every day, and we’ll see how everything else folds in.”
  • The Angels signed outfielder Trevor Crowe to a Minor League deal recently, shortly after he was released by the Indians. Crowe could’ve come over in the nixed Bobby Abreu deal of late March.
  • Jerry Dipoto, on his ostracized center fielder: “At no point have we offered Peter Bourjos for anyone, starter or reliever.”
  • Dipoto, on trades: “We have nothing significant or imminent at this time. We’re just doing our due diligence.”
  • Jordan Walden (right biceps strain) is expected to throw again in a couple weeks. He’s waiting for some anti-inflammatories to set in.
  • Chris Iannetta (right forearm strain) threw to second base again today and felt good.

Alden

Haren’s uncharacteristic struggles continue …

The Angels came back in emphatic fashion on Friday night, turning a 5-0 deficit into an 8-5 victory to move to a season-best seven games over .500.

That’s the good part.

The bad part is Dan Haren got them into that early hole by giving up five runs on six hits and three walks in the first two innings, throwing 46 pitches and surrendering a first-inning three-run homer to former Angels outfielder Bobby Abreu, only his second in 49 games this year. He settled down after that, hurling three scoreless frames despite having a runner on each time to somehow get the win, but Haren has hardly looked like his masterful self this year.

From 2005-11, he ranked second in the Majors in innings and still managed to post a 3.49 ERA, a 1.15 WHIP and a 4.3 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

Through 15 starts this year (seven of them “quality”), his ERA is 4.24, his WHIP is 1.37 and his K/BB rate is 3.7.

Solid? Perhaps. Haren-like? Hardly.

“I have to get better,” Haren said. “I don’t want to bring the team down.”

Haren was pitching on six days’ rest tonight, a scenario that had yielded a 5.03 ERA in his career. Asked if that was a factor in his early struggles, Haren said: “It might’ve a little bit, but I’m not going to make any excuses.”

Asked if he’s still feeling pain in his lower back, which he experienced during a rough May 8 start in Minnesota and could explain why his cutter and splitter looked so flat on Friday, Haren said: “It’s not an issue. It was earlier in the year, but that’s the least amount of problems out there.”

Haren just felt his command was simply too erratic, he got behind in counts too often and he made too many mistakes up in the strike zone.

“It just looked like everything was up, was flat, it didn’t look like he was attacking the zone, nibbling,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia. “It’s very uncharacteristic for Dan to walk anybody. … But I think the last couple innings, he really got after it and turned the ball loose and pitched like he can.”

The Angels will hope he can carry that into his next start.

Alden

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 Angels.com links from Thursday …

Some AL West links …

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

Alden

Game 64: Dodgers-Angels …

Angels are going for their 11th straight road win tonight, which would tie a franchise record set in 1988. A win would also give a series win in 12 of their last 13 Interleague Series and would move them to 47-27 against the Dodgers since Mike Scioscia (who will be ironically honored with his own bobblehead on Tuesday) took over as their manager.

Angels (33-29)

Mike Trout, CF
Torii Hunter, RF
Albert Pujols, 3B
Kendrys Morales, 1B
Mark Trumbo, LF
Maicer Izturis, 2B
Erick Aybar, SS
Hank Conger, C
Jerome Williams, SP (RH, 6-6, 4.02 ERA)

Dodgers (39-23)

Dee Gordon, SS
A.J. Ellis, C
Andre Ethier, RF
Juan Rivera, 1B
Bobby Abreu, LF
Adam Kennedy, 2B
Juan Uribe, 3B
Tony Gwynn Jr., CF
Aaron Harang, SP (RH, 5-3, 3.95 ERA)

Some pregame notes …

  • In need of length after their bullpen accounted for 11 innings in their previous three games, the Angels selected the contract of RHP David Pauley. Kole Calhoun was optioned to open a spot on the active roster and Vernon Wells (thumb surgery) was transferred to the 60-day DL to create room on the 40-man.
  • Jered Weaver threw an aggressive, 55-pitch bullpen on Tuesday and felt good. Next up is likely a sim game on Friday, setting him up for a return at some point next week.
  • Bobby Wilson (concussion) will play in a rehab game for Class A Inland Empire on Wednesday and expects to be activated Friday.
  • Ryan Langerhans (separated right shoulder) has been throwing and hitting in the cage. He’ll hit on the field Friday and Saturday and should return (to the Minors) shortly after that.
  • Tuesday marks the second time Morales plays 1B and Pujols is at 3B this season.

Some Angels.com links …

Some AL West links …

And LeBron James gets his chance for redemption tonight.

Alden

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)

Alden

Trumbo “wouldn’t be opposed” to HR Derby …

If you’ve ever seen Mark Trumbo hit in batting practice, or witnessed the 400-foot moonshots he’s already hit this season, then you know how fun it could be to watch him hit in the Home Run Derby in Kansas City next month.

En route to finishing second in AL Rookie of the Year voting last year, Trumbo led the Angels in homers (29). This year, after a monster May, the imposing slugger paces the club once again in that category (with 10), but also in OPS (1.029) and batting average (.348). In short, he’s a prime All-Star candidate if he can continue that production in June — he probably won’t start at third base, where he’s listed on the ballot, but a spot can be made for him — and he says he’d be open to taking part in the festivities the day before.

But as of Wednesday, he hadn’t been asked to by Major League Baseball yet.

“I wouldn’t be opposed to it, probably,” Trumbo said. “I’ve done some in the past and had a good time with it. But it’s something I haven’t given any thought to because it hasn’t come up.”

Trumbo won the Texas League Home Run Derby while in Double-A in 2009 and took part in a couple as a teenager. Some players refuse to hit in it because they claim it messes with their swing. Bobby Abreu in particular raised an issue about that in 2005, when he won the Derby but then saw his OPS plummet from .955 to .787 in the second half.

But Trumbo has a swing that’s tailored for that.

“It’s part of my game anyway,” he said.

“It depends on how you’re trying to hit ‘em,” Trumbo added. “If you’re completely changing your mechanics, then sure, I think it can [mess with your swing]. But I think if you can keep the same swing and just get a good pitch to hit, which is pretty easy in that situation.”

Home Run Derby participants are chosen by MLB. Of late, a player hasn’t had to be on the All-Star team to take part.

Alden

Question of the Day, 5/4 …

How bad does it have to get before we fix the problems? You wouldn’t drive your car with a broken steering wheel. — @alexk19

Well, the thing is, what do you really do? The Angels already took the drastic, clamored-for step by releasing Bobby Abreu and bringing up Mike Trout, and Mike Scioscia has trotted out lineups galore in hopes of finding personnel grouping that works. Play Mark Trumbo more? He has been. Go with the hot hand? That’s why Maicer Izturis has been in the lineup and Torii Hunter really hasn’t had days off. It’s hard to find a combination that works when almost nobody is hitting. At some point, guys simply have to do what they’re capable of — do what they’ve done throughout their careers — and step up. To reference a famous baseball line, “You can’t trade 25 guys.”

Alden

Game 27: Blue Jays-Angels …

Blue Jays (15-11)

Kelly Johnson, 2B
Yunel Escobar, SS
Jose Bautista, RF
Adam Lind, 1B
Edwin Encarnacion, DH
Eric Thames, LF
Brett Lawrie, 3B
Colby Rasmus, CF
Jeff Mathis, C

Pitching: RH Henderson Alvarez (1-2, 3.62 ERA)

Angels (10-16)

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

Pitching: RH Ervin Santana (0-5, 6.16 ERA)

Some pregame notes …

  • The Dodgers finalized their deal with former Angels outfielder Bobby Abreu, who was released last week. “It was a tough decision, and there was no doubt that he was going to settle into a place to play,” manager Mike Scioscia said. “He can still do a lot of things on the baseball field.”
  • Braves third baseman Chipper Jones weighed in on Pujols’ slump (as passed along by colleague Mark Bowman). Here’s what he said: “It happens to everybody.  At some point in everybody’s career, they’re going to struggle. Albert made this game look easy for an awful long time. But no matter how good you are, at some point you’re going to go through one of these stretches. While I don’t share everybody’s concern with Albert’s slump, I know Albert is going to bounce back just fine. When he does get out of it, I’m glad we don’t play him. He’s experiencing what us mere mortals have experienced for years.”
  • Kevin Jepsen was optioned to Triple-A in order to make room for new reliever Ernesto Frieri.
  • Scioscia said he expects Frieri to pitch “later in the game as opposed to the middle,” saying: “All reports point to a guy who really will fit into our bullpen and be able to be a part of the component that’s going to hold leads for us.”
  • Chris Iannetta is not in the lineup for a second straight game due to some swelling he’s nursing in his right hand/wrist, suffered on a hit by pitch on Wednesday. He’s expected to be back out there Saturday and Scioscia said he’d be available to pinch-hit tonight.
  • The Angels have been involved in a shutout each of the last three games (2 wins, 1 loss) for the first time since 1989. They’ve never been involved in four in a row.

Angels links from Thursday …

Some AL West links …

And the Miami Heat took a commanding 3-0 series lead on the Knicks last night.

Alden

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