Results tagged ‘ Dexter Fowler ’

Angels’ competition getting tougher …

Robinson CanoThe American League West didn’t necessarily, well, impress last year.

Here’s how it stacked up in combined wins …

AL East: 433
NL Central: 421
AL Central: 400
NL West: 399
NL East: 391
AL West: 387

And here’s where it ranked in run-differential …

AL East: 235
NL Central: 219
AL Central: 0
NL West: -137
AL West: -138
NL East: -179

But AL West teams have been particularly aggressive in the early portion of this offseason — and yes, it’s worth reminding all of you that it is, indeed, still early — which could make for an interesting dynamic in 2014, and should make the Angels’ return to the postseason that much tougher.

The Mariners just reeled in the biggest free agent of the offseason, snatching Robinson Cano from the Yankees via a reported 10-year, $240-million, Albert Pujols-like contract. No, they aren’t an instant contender. And as the Angels themselves have shown, throwing the most dollars at the best free agent in no way guarantees success. But this is an important building block for a Mariners team that has always struggled to land the big names (see: Josh Hamilton and Prince Fielder). At some point, you have to overpay to lay a foundation (the Mets thought the same thing with Curtis Granderson). This reminds me of the Jayson Werth deal the Nationals made three offseasons ago. It was a vast overpay at seven years and $126 million. But at that time, it was the only way the Nats were going to land a premier free agent. Adding Werth — even if he isn’t a star to the magnitude of Cano —  changed the expectations in Washington and ultimately helped make it a place where free agents wanted to play. Same can happen in Seattle, where the Mariners are showing a willingness to spend. And if they trade for David Price — they have the prospects to do it — watch out.

In the words of one executive, “The A’s may have one of the best bullpens in history.” It’s not much of an exaggeration when you consider that they added Luke Gregerson to a group that includes Jim Johnson, Ryan Cook, Jerry Blevins, Sean Doolittle, etc. Their rotation — Jarrod Parker, A.J. Griffin, Scott Kazmir, Dan Straily, Sonny Gray, in whatever order — is darn good, as well. But here’s the most important part about the current A’s: After back-to-back exits in the Division Series, they’re going for it. You don’t trade for one season of Johnson, flip a talented prospect (Michael Choice) for Craig Gentry or give  Kazmir a two-year, $22 million contract if you aren’t.

Then there are the Rangers, who you just know have another big more or two in them. I actually liked the Fielder-for-Ian Kinsler deal for them (and loved it for the Tigers). They’re  paying Fielder $138 million over the next seven years, which is very reasonable for a guy whose home-run rate will inflate in Texas and who gives them the middle-of-the-order bat they’ve been missing since Hamilton left. Over the last four years, the Rangers have the third-best regular-season winning percentage in the Majors (.570, trailing only the Yankees and Braves) and have been to the World Series twice. They had the 10th-best staff ERA in baseball last year, and they surely aren’t done.

Even the Astros have made some moves. They reached agreement on a three-year, $30 million deal with starter Scott Feldman — a guy the Angels would’ve liked, but not for three years — and previously traded for former Rockies center fielder Dexter Fowler. They were easily dead last in 2013 in winning percentage (.315) and run-differential (minus-238), so they’re a ways away. But they have the second-best farm system in the Majors, per Baseball America, and they’re on their way.

What does all this mean for the Angels?

Well, nothing. At least not now.

They have about $15 million and some trade chips — Howie Kendrick still chief among them — to fill two spots in their starting rotation. They still have baseball’s best player in Mike Trout, two premier superstars in Pujols and Hamilton, two legit starters at the top of their rotation in Jered Weaver and C.J. Wilson, and a bullpen that can be among the deepest in baseball if Sean Burnett returns to full health. If they can sign someone like Matt Garza, they’re no doubt a legit playoff contender, regardless of how bad this past season turned out for them.

But their competition just keeps getting better.

Alden

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 MLB.com beat writers in 2012. You’re the whipped cream on my sundae. 

Alden 

Game 24: Rockies-Angels …

Rockies (12-10-1)

Marco Scutaro, SS
Dexter Fowler, CF
Carlos Gonzalez, LF
Jason Giambi, DH
Michael Cuddyer, 1B
Jordan Pacheco, 3B
Wilin Rosario, C
Tyler Colvin, RF
Brandon Wood, 2B
SP: LH Drew Pomeranz

Angels (14-8-1)

Erick Aybar, SS
Howie Kendrick, 2B
Albert Pujols, 1B
Torii Hunter, RF
Vernon Wells, CF
Kendrys Morales, DH
Bobby Abreu, LF
Alberto Callaspo, 3B
Chris Iannetta, C
SP: RH Garrett Richards

Others pitching: Hisanori Takahashi, Jordan Walden. … Jerome Williams will make spring debut in AAA game at the Athletics’ facility in Phoenix. … There will also be a Minor League intrasquad game later tonight at Tempe Diablo.

Some notes from this morning …

  • Mike Trout (shoulder tendinitis) was cleared by doctors to start throwing again. He lightly tossed this morning and will DH in a Minor League game, but is 10 days to two weeks away from playing the outfield.
  • Bobby Cassevah (slight labrum tear) will throw a 30-minute bullpen session today and hopes to get in a sim game later in the week. He’s still hoping to avoid a DL stint to start the year.
  • Michael Kohn, who had thrown five scoreless innings so far this spring, has some tenderness in his forearm and will be shut down for a couple of days.
  • Monday was Brad Mills‘ day to throw, but he was pushed back a day, just for scheduling purposes. He’ll start against the Giants in Scottsdale, with Jered Weaver pitching in a Minor League game.

Some links from Sunday …

Some AL West links …

And the Heat lost a tough one to the Thunder on Sunday, in what can very well be an NBA Finals matchup — 103-87.

Alden

Game 17: Angels-Rockies …

Angels (9-6-1)

Erick Aybar, SS
Howie Kendrick, 2B
Albert Pujols, 1B
Torii Hunter, RF
Vernon Wells, LF
Alberto Callaspo, 3B
Peter Bourjos, CF
Bobby Wilson, C
Ervin Santana, SP

Also pitching: LaTroy Hawkins, Jason Isringhausen, Kevin Jepsen, Francisco Rodriguez

Rockies (8-7)

Dexter Fowler, CF
Marco Scutaro, 2B
Carlos Gonzalez, LF
Troy Tulowitzki, SS
Todd Helton, 1B
Michael Cuddyer, RF
Ramon Hernandez, C
Casey Blake, 3B
Juan Nicasio, SP

Also pitching: Esmil Rogers, Josh Roenicke, Carlos Torres, Zach Putnam

Some notes from Mike Scioscia‘s morning meeting with reporters …

  • Jeremy Moore‘s hip hasn’t recovered to the level he expected, and now the likely scenario is surgery that should put him out 3-5 months — Scioscia said nothing has been decided yet. I’ll have more on that soon.
  • Mike Trout (virus/shoulder tendinitis), Kendrys Morales (left ankle) and Maicer Izturis (right leg) will play in a Minor League game while the team is in Salt River Fields today. Mark Trumbo will do defense only at the Angels’ facility.
  • Here’s what Scioscia said about how Morales looked facing velocity for the first time a few days ago: “He had no problem with velocity. I mean, he laid off some pitches that were close. I think there were some sliders under his swing that he laid off of. Right now, with pitchers trying to get their command fine-tuned, as far as the Major League pitchers, guys are going to be hitting their spots more, and I think that’s what Kendrys needs. He’s going to have probably 13, 14 at-bats under his belt from camp games and he’ll play with us tomorrow. There’s only so much you’re going to get from facing Minor League pitching. You have to face Major League pitching, and even in Spring Training, these guys in the back end of spring are really starting to fine tune some stuff. Just like a player who’s on rehab — rehab serves a purpose, but the only way to get acclimated to Major League pitching is to hit Major League pitching. So you can take 50 rehab at-bats, and there’s still things you’re going to have to work through at the Major League level. With Kendrys, right now, he’s swung the bat, has had no problem hitting from either side, seeing velocity. The next step is going to be getting into a Major League environment in a Spring Training game and going from there.”
  • Jerome Williams (left hamstring) is expected to get off the mound mid-week, as he indicated Sunday.
  • Bobby Cassevah (right shoulder) is expected to get into Cactus League games for the first time in the next couple days.
  • The Angels have their scheduled off day on Wednesday, so some guys will be playing in a Minor League game at the Tempe Diablo Stadium complex. Garrett Richards will start, Brad Mills will probably pitch and some position players will see action.

Some Angels links from Sunday …

Some AL West links …

  • It’s a new beginning for Neftali Feliz
  • Heard of Tom Wilhemsen? He’ll probably be the Mariners’ setup man. And they like him.
  • A’s reliever Joey Devine will start the season on the DL

And the Heat pulled away from the Magic late on Sunday to win their 13th straight at home. This time, Dwyane Wade was the closer.

Alden

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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