Results tagged ‘ Phillies ’

Division-by-division: NL East …

Bryce Harper

Leading up to Spring Training, I’ll take a look at each of the six divisions in hopes of providing an overview for what to expect this coming season. First up, the NL East.

Braves
Last year’s record: 96-66, 1st place (lost to Dodgers in NLDS)
Key additions: UT Ryan Doumit, RP Luis Vasquez, SP Gavin Floyd, 1B Mat Gamel
Key subtractions: C Brian McCann, SP Tim Hudson, SP Paul Maholm, RP Scott Downs
Biggest strength: The ninth inning, where Craig Kimbrel has cemented himself as the best closer in baseball by posting a 1.48 ERA and converting 138 of 153 save chances the last three years.
Biggest question: Filling the gaps. The Braves overcame a lot in 2013 (struggles by B.J. Upton and Dan Uggla, injuries to Tim Hudson and Jason Heyward), but lost a few important pieces over the offseason and will need a lot more to go right.
Most important player: B.J. Upton. He batted a ghastly .184/.268/.289 in the first of a five-year, $75.25 million contract and needs to step up for an offense that is now without McCann (and still with Uggla).
In 25 words or less: The Braves handily won the division despite dealing with a lot of adversity last year, but the Nats are better and their holes are bigger.

Marlins
Last year’s record: 62-100, 5th place
Key additions: 1B Garrett Jones, 2B Rafael Furcal, C Jarrod Saltalamacchia, 3B Casey McGehee, RP Carter Capps
Key subtractions: 1B Logan Morrison, 3B Placido Polanco, OF Justin Ruggiano, OF Chris Coghlan, RP Chad Qualls
Biggest strength: Pitching, particularly young pitching. Despite losing triple-digit games, the Marlins had the best ERA in franchise history (3.71) and did it with an assortment of pre-arbitration pitchers with upside — Jacob Turner, Nathan Eovaldi, Henderson Alvarez, Steve Cishek and, of course, NL Rookie of the Year Jose Fernandez.
Biggest question: Offense. The Marlins ranked last in the Majors in runs scored last year. They’ve since added several new bats, but Furcal (coming off Tommy John surgery), McGehee (spent 2013 in Japan), Saltalamacchia (back issues) and Jones (.578 career OPS against lefties) all have questions.
Most important player: Giancarlo Stanton. He was limited to 116 games and an .845 OPS because of a strained right hamstring in 2013 and needs to produce in 2014 — either to help the Marlins’ needy offense, or to maximize a trade.
In 25 words or less: They’re an ownership and financial mess, but somehow the Marlins have done what they’ve always done — accrue young, talented pitching.

Mets
Last year’s record: 74-88, 3rd place
Key additions: OF Chris Young, OF Curtis Granderson, SP Bartolo Colon, SP John Lannan
Key subtractions: SP Johan Santana, SP Shaun Marcum, RP LaTroy Hawkins
Biggest strength: Starting pitching, even without Matt Harvey and in the post-Santana era. With Colon, Zack Wheeler, Dillon Gee and Jon Niese, and top prospect Noah Syndergaard likely joining them midseason, it’s their best chance to compete, now and in the future.
Biggest question: Relief pitching. They ranked 22nd in bullpen ERA last year, and they don’t know what they’ll get out of closer Bobby Parnell (2.16 ERA and 22 saves) coming off neck surgery.
Most important player: Harvey, even though he won’t even pitch this year. The 24-year-old right-hander underwent Tommy John surgery 26 starts into a brilliant sophomore season that saw him finish fourth in Cy Young voting and will spend the entire year rehabbing. If he returns to form in 2015, he’ll join a young and dynamic rotation, and then the Mets can really get going.
In 25 words or less: It’s nice to see the Mets finally spend on free agents, but there are still too many holes to compete in a tough division.

Nationals
Last year’s record: 86-76, 2nd place
Key additions: MGR Matt Williams, SP Doug Fister, RP Jerry Blevins, OF Nate McLouth, INF Jamey Carroll
Key subtractions: MGR Davey Johnson, SP Dan Haren, INF Steve Lombardozzi, RP Ian Krol, 1B/3B Chad Tracy
Biggest strength: Talent across the board. With Fister joining Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez and Jordan Zimmermann, their rotation is spectacular. With Bryce Harper, Jayson Werth, Ian Desmond, Ryan Zimmerman, etc., their offense is dangerous from top to bottom. With Rafael Soriano, Craig Stammen, Drew Storen and Tyler Clippard, their bullpen is solid in the back end.
Biggest question: A rookie manager, and whether or not he can put it together for a veteran team that has World Series aspirations and underachieved last season.
Most important player: Blevins, or Xavier Cedeno, or any other lefty reliever who can consistently get lefty hitters out in a division loaded with dangerous lefty bats. It’s the Nats’ biggest (and, perhaps, only) weakness.
In 25 words or less: Barring injury, there’s no reason why this shouldn’t be a playoff team. Plain and simple.

Phillies
Last year’s record: 73-89, 4th place
Key additions: OF Marlon Byrd, C Wil Nieves, SP/RP Roberto Hernandez, RP Brad Lincoln, RP Chad Gaudin
Key subtractions: SP Roy Halladay, SP John Lannan
Biggest strength: The top of the rotation. Not many teams can boast a 1-2 punch as lethal as Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels.
Biggest question: The health and production of the assortment of high-priced, aging superstars — namely, Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins and Jonathan Papelbon.
Most important player: Howard. He’s owed a guaranteed $75 million over the next three years and needs to revert back to the MVP form he’s now three years removed from.
In 25 words or less: Ruben Amaro Jr. is trying to squeeze out all that’s left from this championship fruit, but it may have already dried up.

Predicted order of finish …

  • Nationals
  • Braves
  • Marlins
  • Phillies
  • Mets

Alden

Some names to consider …

Jerry Dipoto and Mike Scioscia are both coming back, and now they have a coaching staff to round out. Bench coach Rob Picciolo and hitting coach Jim Eppard were let go, Dino Ebel was promoted to bench coach and three spots are now open: third-base coach, hitting coach and a third, unidentified spot (perhaps an assistant hitting coach).

With that in mind, below is a list of potential candidates. Keep in mind that this is not an exhaustive list; there are several others who will be interviewed for the open spots. Some is based on indications I’ve received, some are just my own speculation. Here goes …

Wally Joyner: He’ll definitely draw some strong interest as hitting coach. He just declined to return as the Phillies’ assistant hitting coach and was well-regarded in that clubhouse. And, you know, there’s that whole “Wally World” thing. Scioscia had him on his team in 2001.

Tim Bogar: He was the Red Sox’s third-base coach from 2010 to 2012, before taking a job as manager of the Angels’ Double-A affiliate in Arkansas, and is considered a future managerial candidate throughout the industry.

Troy Percival: Scioscia is a big fan of the former Angels closer. The Angels hired him in 2007 to be a special assignment pitching instructor, but he walked away soon after to make a comeback in the Majors. He’s currently the baseball coach at his alma mater, Moreno Valley High School.

Brett Butler: The former Dodgers center fielder has been managing the D-backs’ Triple-A affiliate since 2008 and had a good relationship with Dipoto dating back to the GM’s time in Arizona.

Leon Durham: He’s spent the last 12 years as hitting coach for Triple-A Toledo, in the Tigers’ organization, and has been drawing interest for the same role in the Majors over the last couple of years.

Eddie Rodriguez: He was just dismissed by the Royals, who brought ex-Cubs skipper Dale Sveum to Ned Yost‘s coaching staff, and was considered a good third-base coach in Kansas City.

Daren Brown: The Mariners will presumably be cleaning house with their coaching staff after manager Eric Wedge left. Brown finished the year as the third-base coach — promoted from Triple-A, where he was manager, after Jeff Datz was diagnosed with cancer midseason — and is considered a good baseball man. Brown was interim manager in Seattle for 50 games towards the end of 2010.

Dave Anderson: He was just dismissed as the Rangers’ first-base coach, and he has a history with assistant GM Scott Servais (from their time together in Texas) and Scioscia (they were teammates on the Dodgers).

Omar Vizquel: The current Angels roving infield instructor figures to be a hot managerial candidate very soon and is very well thought of throughout the organization. He’s never had experience as a third-base coach, he likely won’t fit as a hitting coach, and Alfredo Griffin already handles the infielder. But perhaps he can be looked at for the final coaching spot. He’d definitely bring a lot of energy.

Alden

The Angels got someone for free on Sunday …

CISCOAnd guess what — he’s actually pretty good.

Right-handed reliever Mike Cisco (pictured left) was acquired from the Phillies for “no compensation” on Sunday, even though he posted a 1.80 ERA in 40 appearances in Double-A and Triple-A last year and is said to be healthy.

Why, exactly?

Well, the Phillies had an excess of pitching in Double-A and Triple-A (talk about a problem). The Angels like him, have a spot for him — in the Double-A ‘pen, most likely — and the Phils wanted to make sure he’d go somewhere he’d have an opportunity to pitch. So he was gift-wrapped to the Angels.

Cisco, who will work out of Minor League camp the rest of spring, “should help upgrade our inventory,” Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto said.

“He’s versatile, can start or relieve and throws strikes with three pitches,” Dipoto added via text message. Cisco doesn’t have big stuff and is only listed at 5-foot-11 — meaning he’s probably about 5-8 or 5-9 — but he has solid deception, has performed at basically every level and, according to Dipoto, has good makeup.

And, hey, he’s basically free!

Alden

Angels in search of a backup catcher …

The Angels, feeling a little uneasy about Hank Conger‘s throwing woes, are in search of a veteran backup catcher as Spring Training winds down, an industry source confirmed to MLB.com on Saturday. Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com first reported the Angels’ interest.

Conger, 25, came into camp as the clear-cut favorite to back up catcher Chris Iannetta and has hit well, batting .381 with two homers and 11 RBIs. The Angels like the switch-hitting Conger — who has always hit and has come a long way with his footwork and receiving skills behind the plate — but they need him to correct his throwing issues, which led to three errant throws on Sunday to up his spring total to at least five.

With rosters being pared down this time of year, the Angels will look to the waiver wire to add a steady, inexpensive, veteran presence behind the plate. They have an open spot on the 40-man roster after slipping Bobby Cassevah, now with the Rockies, through waivers. They’ll have some competition, though, with the Phillies, Pirates and Rays also looking for catching help, according to MLB.com’s Peter Gammons.

The Angels still believe in Conger. So in the event of an acquisition, they’re likely to option him to Triple-A to start the season so he can find the consistent release point that has eluded him. Conger has one option year left. John Hester (on the 40-man) and Luke Carlin (a non-roster invitee) are the other two catchers technically vying for the backup job, but both have had very inconsistent time in the Majors throughout their careers.

Alden

Vernon: ‘I want to play for the Angels’

Vernon WellsIf it wasn’t already obvious (it should’ve been), then the Phillies’ recent signing of Delmon Young seemingly sealed it: Vernon Wells and his bloated contract will be with the Angels in 2013. At least the early part of it.

The Phillies were one of few teams linked to Wells this offseason, and the fact they were only willing to guarantee Young $750,000 (with bonuses that can ramp it up to $3.5 million) is perhaps an indication of how dry the market for Wells is at this point.

The Angels expect to absorb a vast majority of the $42 million owed to Wells over the next two years in any trade, but they won’t give him away. They still feel he can contribute — as a right-handed power hitter and the first outfielder off the bench; perhaps even as insurance if Peter Bourjos gets off to a rough start — and they’d want to replace him via free agency if he departed anyway.

So, for the first time in his career, Wells will show up to Spring Training as a clear reserve, behind Bourjos, Mike TroutJosh Hamilton and DH Mark Trumbo in the outfield pecking order.

On Monday, 17 days before position players take their physicals in Tempe, Ariz., Wells joined “Angels Talk” hosts Victor Rojas and Terry Smith AM 830 KLAA. Asked about his diminished role, he took the high road — he always does — and didn’t really seem too bothered by it.

Here’s a partial transcript:

On being hurt the last couple years …

“I think that’s just part of the process. I don’t think it matters where you are in your career. You’re going to have some frustrating times, and unfortunately the last couple years have been frustrating, not only for myself, but for a lot of outsiders also. I think that’s what the offseasons are for, to kind of get a chance to regroup and refocus, and I think the thing for me moving forward is I have to be comfortable. I have to just relax and go play the game like I did when I was a kid. I don’t think I’ve done that as much as I’ve needed to.”

On the preparation going into a season when he’ll probably come off the bench …

“I think every athlete prefers just to be in the best shape they can and for whatever’s thrown at him in Spring Training. I don’t know exactly what the role is going to be. I think it’s been documented what it could be. But for me, as a competitor, you have to go in and be ready to fight. I think that’s what everyone wants to do and everybody’s going to do, because in order for this team to achieve what it needs to, everyone has to be thinking that way.”

On whether the trade rumors have bothered him …

“No, not at all. I put myself in that position, so I can’t get mad about it. I think that’s pretty obvious. You live and you learn. I’ve enjoyed my last two years, even though it’s been frustrating at times, but everything you go through you learn from it, and sometimes it takes a month, sometimes it takes a year, and sometimes it takes two years to kind of get everything straightened out. But I like the opportunity I’m going to get, and I’m going to run with whatever they tell me to do.”

On whether he’d prefer to go to a team with a more prominent role …

“I want to play, and I want to play for the Angels. But I have to earn that. That’s an easy question to answer. I want to be an Angel and I want to play. If I don’t get the opportunity to play, then obviously I need to continue to work harder because I still want to wear the uniform. I want to be able to really show what I can do, and I haven’t been able to do that the last couple of years. There’s still a lot to show some Angel fans. I’m looking forward to the opportunity to do that, and if I don’t get it, then so be it.”

Alden 

Is this the end of Frieri’s closing days? …

The Angels are closing in on a one-year agreement with Ryan Madson.

And if the deal does indeed get finalized (it can happen as early as Tuesday), you have to figure it’s so that Madson eventually becomes the closer. Recovery from Tommy John surgery may not have him ready by Opening Day, and he’ll probably need a tune-up before resuming the ninth inning (see: Nathan, Joe in 2011). But part of the appeal for Madson to sign this early, and take a low-base, high-incentive salary, is to close on a contending team. And surely the Angels sold him on that.

That would move Ernesto Frieri to the eighth inning, one year after being one of baseball’s biggest surprises.

Frieri was basically unhittable shortly after coming over from the Padres in early May, finishing the year with a 2.32 ERA, a .96 WHIP, 13.3 strikeouts per nine innings and 23 saves in 26 chances. But Madson was one of the game’s best late-inning relievers from 2008-11, posting a 2.86 ERA and a 1.18 WHIP while averaging 68 innings, 68 strikeouts and 18 walks per season. He has the better track record, is less prone to walks and went 32-for-34 in saves with the Phillies in 2011 (giving up only two homers despite pitching out of Citizens Bank Park).

So, that probably means Frieri is the setup man, with Kevin Jepsen in the seventh, Scott Downs as a floater and the likes of Nick Maronde, Jordan Walden, etc. filling out the ‘pen (though the offseason is still very young). Here’s what Jerry Dipoto told me early in the offseason about Frieri and his plans for the ninth. Appropriate on a day like today, methinks …

“We didn’t acquire Ernie with the idea that he was going to step in as our closer. We acquired him with the idea that he was going to help us get the last nine outs and he earned being the closer. That wasn’t the design. Obviously, if our staff remained unchanged, then he has a very good chance to be that guy again. But we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it. Ernie had a fabulous year. It’s very easy to lose track with the two emotional losses versus Texas and Kansas City down towards the end how good this guy was all year. It was phenomenal how big an impact he made on our season and on our team. One thing I’m certain of is that Ernesto in 2012 was a huge advantage to us and we have every expectation that he’s going to be just as high an impact in 2013. But like the question I answered a year ago, we’ll go into the offseason with the idea that Ernie is our ninth-inning guy, and we’re going to try to craft a group in that bullpen that works, and however most effectively we can get those last nine outs, we’ll get them.” 

Alden

Angels in the Arizona Fall League …

The 20th Arizona Fall League season starts Tuesday, with the Angels — along with the Giants, Nationals, Phillies and Red Sox — sending prospects to make up the Scottsdale Scorpions. The Rising Stars Game is Nov. 3 (Salt River Fields at Talking Stick) and the championship game for the six-team league will be Nov. 17 (Scottsdale Stadium).

Last year, Mike Trout played in this event. This year, Randal Grichuk — who’s known mostly for being drafted a spot before Trout but has quietly put together a nice season — is going. Nick Maronde was going to go, but since he missed the early part of the year with a strained lat muscle and he pitched through September, the Angels decided that he hold off. Veteran-ish reliever Bobby Cassevah is taking his place.

The one to watch here, though, will be 20-year-old third baseman Kaleb Cowart, who became the Angels’ top-ranked prospect after a solid A ball season. Below is the full slate of Angels representatives. Carlos Ramirez is on the taxi squad, which means he’ll only be activated Wednesdays and Saturdays. Brandon Emanuel, pitching coach for Class A Inland Empire, is part of the Scorpions’ coaching staff.

LHRP Buddy Boshers

Draft: 4th round, 2008
Age: 24
2012 (A+,AA): 2.98 ERA, 45 G (11 GF), 63 1/3 IP, 10.7 K/9, 3.0 BB/9, 1.25 WHIP
Career (5 seasons): 3.81 ERA, 150 G (34 GS, 26 GF), 324 IP, 8.5 K/9, 3.3 BB/9, 2.56 WHIP
MLB.com prospect rank: Unranked

RHRP Bobby Cassevah

Draft: 34th round, 2004
Age: 27
2012 (A+, AAA): 5.79 ERA, 49 G (18 GF), 51 1/3 IP, 5.6 SO/9, 3.7 BB/9, 1.66 WHIP
Career (8 seasons): 4.53 ERA, 268 G (14 GS, 96 GF), 401 2/3 IP, 6.1 SO/9, 4.5 BB/9, 1.59 WHIP
MLB.com prospect rank: Unranked
Cassevah isn’t what you would call a prospect, by any stretch, combining to make 46 appearances in the Majors from 2010-11 (posting a 2.87 ERA and a 1.30 WHIP). But he began the season on the disabled list with shoulder inflammation and never quite got right throughout the year — making four appearances in the Majors and struggling mightily in the PCL — which is probably why he wants to get more work in this fall.

RHRP Ryan Chaffee

Drafted: 3rd round, 2008
Age: 24
2012 (A+, AA): 2.60 ERA, 55 G (21 GF), 65 2/3 IP, 11.5 SO/9, 4.9 BB/9, 1.17 WHIP
Career (4 seasons): 5.36 ERA, 132 G (58 GS, 27 GF), 393 IP, 8.8 SO/9, 4.6 BB/9, 1.47 WHIP
MLB.com prospect rank: Unranked

RHRP Kevin Johnson

Drafted: 20th round, 2010
Age: 24
2012 (AA, AAA): 3.69 ERA, 56 G (41 GF), 18 SV, 63 1/3 IP, 4.4 SO/9, 2.3 BB/9, 1.39 WHIP
Career (3 seasons): 4.34 ERA, 121 IP (10 GS, 72 GF), 193 IP, 6 SO/9, 3.2 BB/9, 1.48 WHIP
MLB.com prospect rank: Unranked

C Carlos Ramirez

Drafted: 8th round, 2009
Age: 24
Bats: Right
2012 (AA): .204/.312/.276, 2 HR, 23 RBI, 85 G
Career (4 seasons): .269/.371/.416, 25 HR, 134 RBI, 291 G
MLB.com prospect rank: 19th on Angels
Prospect reportRamirez still has some things to work out offensively, as his numbers haven’t shown much consistency from league to league. Though he’s notched a very respectable average across four levels, the disparity between his performance in the hitter-friendly California League and each of his other stops leaves some room for concern. Ramirez is a strong defensive backstop, knows how to handle a pitching staff and has the makeup that should allow him to be an everyday catcher. If the bat doesn’t come around, his glove could land him a job as a backup at the highest level.

3B Kaleb Cowart

Drafted: 1st round (18th overall), 2010
Age: 20
Bats: Switch
2012 (A, A+): .276/.358/.452, 16 HR, 103 RBI, 14 SB, 135 G
Career (3 seasons): .275/.349/.437, 24 HR, 150 RBI, 25 SB, 214 G
MLB.com prospect rank: 1st on the Angels, 46th overall
Prospect reportCowart is a switch-hitter with a lot of bat speed that generates plus raw power from both sides of the plate. He started tapping into that power more consistently as he’s started to mature and learn the strike zone better. He’s athletic and has decent speed, which should help him stay at third long term. So will the plus arm that made him a legitimate pitching prospect in high school. He handled full-season ball well, earning a promotion from Class A to the Class A Advanced California League in June.

OF Randal Grichuk

Drafted: 1st round (24th overall), 2009
Age: 21
Bats: Right
2012 (A+): .298/.335/.488, 18 HR, 71 RBI, 16 SB, 135 G
Career (4 seasons): .296/.331/.507, 39 HR, 195 RBI, 26 SB, 305 G
MLB.com prospect rank: 12th on the Angels
Prospect reportGrichuk may forever be paired witih the other high school outfielder taken by the Angels in the first round of the 2009 Draft. What that outfielder, Mike Trout, has done, speaks for itself, but Grichuk has had a harder time moving up the ladder, largely because of injury issues. Grichuk was actually taken one slot above Trout, but 2012 was his first season with more than 300 at-bats. When he’s healthy, he’s shown glimpses of the pop that made him a first rounder along with some base-stealing acumen. He needs more time to work on the holes in his swing, but he’s still young enough to tap into that raw power and be a run-producing corner outfielder, taking a positive step forward in 2012.

CF Travis Witherspoon

Drafted: 12th round, 2009
Age: 23
Bats: Right
2012 (A+,AA): .268/.350/.418, 13 HR, 48 RBI, 34 SB (11 CS), 121 G
Career (4 seasons): .264/.332/.417, 42 HR, 171 RBI, 110 SB, 373 G
MLB.com prospect rank: 7th on the Angels
Prospect reportWitherspoon has lots of tools and the potential to be an above-average everyday player when everything comes together. He has a solid arm and plus speed, and he knows how to run a route, making him an excellent defender in the outfield. On the other side of the ball, he has the strength and bat speed to hit for power but still has work left to do in taming his aggressive approach. He’s also a plus runner with good instincts and can do some damage on the basepaths, especially if he continues to develop patience and makes more contact at the plate. Witherspoon was promoted to Double-A Arkansas on June 20. He was placed on the disabled list on July 3, with a left quad strain.

Alden

Question of the Day, 7/19 …

Is there any hope for the Angels to improve offensively at 3B, either by the Trade Deadline or after this season? They have way too many similar-style hitters (Erick Aybar, Alberto Callaspo and Howie Kendrick) and could use another power threat in the lineup. — Jim B.; Belleville, Ill.

I don’t disagree with you, Jim. I just don’t see many major upgrades becoming available, especially not before the non-waiver Trade Deadline. One name that continues to be floated around is Chase Headley, the Padres’ switch-hitting third baseman who isn’t eligible for free agency until after the 2014 season and is reportedly being shopped. Headley isn’t a sexy name, but he’s a good ballplayer (solid defensively and has compiled a .269/.348/.393 slash line since 2009). An upgrade over Callaspo? Sure. A big upgrade? Not really, and definitely not the traditional power-hitting third baseman you mentioned. Since he’s under club control for 2 1/2 more seasons, the Padres reportedly want a lot for him. And with the Angels focusing on pitching, they’re not likely to even get in the early stages in talks for Headley. Not much else seems to be available in the trade market (unless names like Placido Polanco and — gulp!Chone Figgins sound good). As for this coming free-agent period? The big name (perhaps the only one) could be David Wright. But the Mets will do everything in their power to resign him.

Alden

Big week for Angels, SP pursuit …

The Angels want to add a starter. It’s more likely that they don’t have the chips to acquire a premium one, but they’re doing their due diligence anyway.

This week could be a big one with regards to that pursuit.

This is the week when the erratic Ervin Santana will make two tough starts (against the Tigers on Monday and against the Rangers on Saturday), this is the week more will be known about the health of Dan Haren (he’ll make a rehab outing today, and if all goes well, he could start against Texas on Sunday), and this may be the week that dictates how aggressive Jerry Dipoto is in his pursuit of another rotation arm.

We’re now 15 days away from the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline. And the more time passes, the less likely it seems that the Angels can acquire a guy like Zack Greinke or Cole Hamels.

First, there’s the fact each of their teams would like to resign them. The Phillies, Paul Hagen writes, are entering a critical stage with Hamels. The Brewers, according to Adam McCalvy, pushed back the struggling Greinke to give him a blow (making him less appealing on the trade market and more likely to be retained, perhaps?).

Second, there’s the whole “assets” thing. The Angels don’t have a lot of that to give up. As one executive said, if they’re going up against the Rangers for a starter (T.R. Sullivan says Roy Oswalt’s effectiveness could determine how aggressive they get) it would be “like taking a butter knife to a gunfight.” The only heavy artillery the Angels carry is Peter Bourjos, the high-upside center fielder who’s without an everyday role but is a big part of their long-term plans. Dipoto has continued to stress that the Angels will not trade Bourjos, but things can certainly change. The only way I see them giving him up is if it’s for a starting pitcher they can resign — not one who’s going to walk away in two months and leave them with nothing.

And that brings me to the third reason — the new CBA. The extra Wild Card has put more teams in the race for the playoffs, making less of them sellers in July. But a bigger reason for a possibly slow market could be that the only players who bring back Draft pick compensation upon signing with another club are those who spent the previous full season with the same team. For example, if a team trades for Hamels and he signs elsewhere, that team gets no additional Draft picks in 2013. If he stays with the Phillies and he signs elsewhere, the Phils do get the compensation. One scout said the trade market so far is “extra quiet” and “not much is happening” yet. No surprise there.

Of course, there are other, more-attainable starters out there (Wandy Rodriguez and Ryan Dempster come to mind). Will the Angels go outside of themselves to add another front-line guy?

It may depend on how this week goes.

Alden

The ASG rosters that should’ve been …

American League

Mike Trout, CF (.343 BA, .399 OBP, 23 SB)
Rookie of the Year? How about MVP? Trout has elevated himself to that level already.
Robinson Cano, 2B (.316 BA, 20 HR, 50 RBI)
Best second baseman in baseball. And it isn’t even close.
Miguel Cabrera, 3B (.323, 18 HR, 68 RBI)
Best hitter in the AL, in my mind, and better at third base than I thought he’d be.
Josh Hamilton, LF (.318 BA, 26 HR, 74 RBI)
Somebody’s going to give this guy an absurd amount of money this offseason.
Jose Bautista, RF (.911 OPS, 27 HR, 64 RBI)
As Mike Scioscia said in Toronto, “How is this guy only batting .240?” He’s as fun to watch hit as anyone.
David Ortiz, DH (.302 BA, 22 HR, 55 RBI)
Remember when we all thought he was finished?
Paul Konerko, 1B (.333 BA, 14 HR, 42 RBI)
Like fine wine, Konerko seems to get better with age.
Joe Mauer, C (.327 BA, .415 OBP, 38 RBI)
He’s only catching about half the time, but he’s healthy and back to being himself offensively. Huge sigh of relief for Twins.
Asdrubal Cabrera, SS (.370 OBP, 11 HR, 42 RBI)
As slick as there is with the glove and a great hitter.

SP: Justin Verlander (9 W, 2.58 ERA, 128 SO)
Weaver’s numbers are better, but the reigning MVP deserves to start one of these.

National League

Andrew McCutchen, CF (.360 BA, 16 HR, 54 RBI)
Oh, and 14 steals. The guy does it all. An absolute freak.
Ryan Braun, LF (.309 BA, 23 HR, 59 RBI)
It was a rough offseason. Good to see him pick up right where he left off from his MVP year.
Joey Votto, 1B (.350 BA, 14 HR, 47 RBI)
Here’s all you need to know about how good a hitter Votto is: He’s hit ONE infield pop-up since ’09.
Giancarlo Stanton, DH (.364 OBP, 19 HR, 50 RBI)
Man, I sure hope he can compete in the Home Run Derby.
Carlos Gonzalez, RF (.340 BA, 17 HR, 58 RBI)
Like McCutchen, this guy does it all on the field.
David Wright, 3B (.350 BA, 10 HR, 55 RBI)
What a travesty that Pablo Sandoval is starting at third base over him.
Aaron Hill, 2B (.300 BA, 11 HR, 39 RBI)
Two cycles in one half? Yeah, he gets the nod.
Carlos Ruiz, C (.357 BA, 13 HR, 46 RBI)
Ruiz was always lost in those deep Phillies lineups. Not anymore. Without him, they have nothing this year.
Starlin Castro, SS (.291 BA, 40 RBI, 16 SB)
Tough year for NL shortstops. I’ll take the one with the most upside.

SP: R.A. Dickey (2.15 ERA, 0.88 WHIP, 12 W)
Great story, great person, great season. I don’t care if he’s a knuckleballer. He deserves it.

*** I’ll be taking the Baltimore series off. Follow Joe McIntyre for Angels updates, and look for stuff on the Angels’ first half and the upcoming Trade Deadline very soon. I’ll catch up with y’all from KC.

Alden

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