Results tagged ‘ R.A. Dickey ’

Bourjos trade suddenly seems likely …

The Angels’ stunning agreement with free-agent outfielder Josh Hamilton probably means that Peter Bourjos is once again on the trading block. Bourjos hardly played last season, after putting up solid numbers in 2011, but seemed primed to be the starting center fielder in 2013 now that Torii Hunter is gone.

That changed quickly on Thursday. A lot of options are still on the table, but the latest move may mean Hamilton plays left field, Mike Trout is in center, Mark Trumbo is in right and Bourjos, once again, is on the block for a starting pitcher (R.A. Dickey?).

Reached by phone, here’s what Bourjos said (he has not been informed of any trade just yet, by the way) …

On being on the trading block again … 

“Obviously this game’s a business, and you know that going into it that you can eventually be traded. If you have an opportunity, from a management standpoint, to sign Josh Hamilton, I think you do it. And then, wherever the pieces fall with me or whatever they do, you handle that aspect.”

On planning to be the everyday center fielder again … 

“You know, I really don’t plan on anything after what happened last year. Not that I didn’t believe what was said in the paper, I just know how quickly this game can change and how opportunities arise. I never really got my hopes up. Obviously I want to stay in Anaheim and play there. I’m not sure what’s going to happen now. But at the end of the day, from my perspective, I just want to play. I really don’t want to go through what I went through last year where I wasn’t playing. The last two months, I got like three at-bats. So hopefully, if I’m the odd man out, hopefully they’re willing to trade me and I’m able to go somewhere and play every day.” 

If Hamilton signs, is your preference to be traded … 

“If that’s the case. I don’t know what their plans are; obviously I want to stay in Anaheim. If it’s a situation where I can play every day, then I absolutely would love to stay there. I love everybody from Arte Moreno on down — John Carpino, Jerry Dipoto, all the guys in the team. That’s where I’d like to be. But if I’m going to be in the position where I was last year, then obviously I’d want to play every day.”

Alden 

Greinke’s final month in an Angels uniform? …

This is the Zack Greinke the Angels expected.

Is it the Greinke they’ll keep?

That’s the question nobody can answer and nobody seems to want to talk about. General manager Jerry Dipoto refuses to comment on anything regarding a potential contract extension with Greinke, the free-agent-to-be who was acquired from the Brewers before the non-waiver Trade Deadline with the hope he’d stay in Anaheim longer than two-plus months. After pitching seven innings of one-run ball in a win over the A’s on Tuesday night, Greinke was asked for his thoughts on this organization thus far, and where he was with regards to a potential long-term stay.

Yep, he doesn’t want to talk about it, either.

“I don’t know anything about that,” Greinke said. “I’ll talk about that maybe when the season’s over — not even definitely, but maybe. … I just don’t think there’s a winning situation with talking about it.”

Then, just before everyone left, he added: “But I like it, obviously. Great city, great team.”

So there you go.

Unless something changes in the next few weeks — and there’s no reason to believe that it would — Greinke will headline a free-agent crop of starters that also includes Joe Blanton, Kevin Correia, Ryan Dempster, Edwin Jackson, Francisco Liriano, Colby Lewis and Anibal Sanchez. R.A. Dickey, Dan Haren, Tim Hudson, Jake Peavy and Ervin Santana have options for next season and could join him, but Greinke is clearly the head of the class.

With a 1.66 ERA over his last three starts, Greinke has turned around his rough start to his Angels tenure and put himself at 12-5 with a 3.82 ERA in 2012, which is essentially on track with his career norms.

If he commands something to the tune of what Matt Cain got before his walk year — six years, $127.5 million — can the Angels swing it? And would they be willing to pay someone else more than Jered Weaver, who signed a bargain-rate five-year, $85 million deal last August?

Nobody knows — or, at least, nobody’s saying.

Alden

Mike Trout is finally 21 years old …

Mike Trout is still a kid in some ways. He’s still among the youngest in baseball, is still a rookie and still spends his offseasons living out of his parents’ house in Millville, N.J., where he’s turned the basement into what he calls his “own little Man Cave.” “It’s awesome,” he said. “I’ve got a ping-pong table, dart board, huge flat screen. My friends love it.”

But on Tuesday, Aug. 7, Trout finally turned 21. He can now legally drink, which in this country is basically the final stage before full-on adulthood, even if only in a logistical sense.

They grow up so fast, don’t they?

Well, Trout grew up faster than most. Because before turning 21, he already looked like the best player in the Majors, was a favorite to be the youngest Most Valuable Player ever (you can already give him the Rookie of the Year Award) and was mentioned among the likes of Rickey Henderson, Ken Griffey Jr., Eric Davis, Bo Jackson and Mickey Mantle. Not fair, of course. He’s still so young, so early in his baseball career, with so much left to accomplish.

But it’s hard not to make comparisons like that when you consider …

  • Since his April 28 callup, Trout is batting .348 (1st in the AL) with 19 homers (1st among Major League rookies), 59 RBIs (ditto), 36 stolen bases (1st in the Majors), 86 runs (1st in the Majors), a .411 on-base percentage (3rd in the AL) and a .598 slugging percentage (2nd in the AL).
  • No player has ever hit .340 with 40 stolen bases in one season — and all of that is easily within reach for Trout.
  • His 6.9 WAR leads the Majors, according to FanGraphs.com, with Andrew McCutchen ranking second at 6.0. Among outfielders, he’s ninth in UZR, at 7.8.
  • He robbed J.J. Hardy of a home run with a ridiculous catch in Camden Yards on June 27. It’s been the reigning Web Gem for over a month.
  • He then did it again, this time to Gordon Beckham, on Saturday. According to ESPN, he’s the only player in the Majors to rob two homers this year.
  • Trout went into August with a .353 batting average, 18 homers and 31 steals. The only other player in Major League history to hit at least .350 with 15 homers and 30 steals before Aug. 1 was Henderson, who batted .352 with 16 homers and 47 steals during the first four months of his 1985 season with the Yankees.
  • He’s the first AL player ever to win Player of the Month and Rookie of the Month in the same month.
  • He also won Rookie of the Month honors three times in a row (May, June and July). The only other player to do that was Ichiro Suzuki in April, May and June in 2001.
  • With 32 runs in July, Trout tied Hal Trosky (Indians, 1934) for the all-time MLB rookie runs record for July.
  • Trout set the AL record for July home runs by a rookie, with 10. It also tied the Angels’ club record for rookie homers in any month (Wally Joyner, May 1986).
  • In his first 81 games, Trout scored 80 runs and drove in 55, combining for 135 runs plated. The last rookie to have that many through his first 81 games was Joe DiMaggio in 1936 (87 runs, 83 RBIs).
  • The only other player since 1920 to have as many hits (116), RBIs (55) and stolen bases (31) in his first 81 games of a season as Trout was George Sisler in 1922.
  • He’s swiped 27 consecutive bases and counting, building on a club record that was previously held by Gary Pettis in 1985 (22 straight). The last time Trout was caught stealing was June 4.
  • On May 1, Trout got a bunt single and ran a 3.53 from home to first — and he started from the right side of the batter’s box. That’s scary fast. Watch it here.
  • On May 18, Trout hit a triple on a ball down the left-field line.
  • Since May 1, Trout leads the Majors in runs (86) and times on base (163), and second in hits (122).
  • From July 5-23, Trout scored a run in 15 consecutive games. That streak tied the modern Major League rookie record, set a new AL rookie mark and established an Angels franchise record.
  • The only two players in the last 63 years who have led a league in batting average and stolen bases are Ichiro (2001) and Jackie Robinson (1949).
  • As part of a 4-for-6 game against the Tigers on July 17, Trout hit this long homer to the right-center-field portion of the massive Comerica Park. That homer traveled 442 feet, making it the second-longest opposite-field homer this year, according to ESPN.
  • He also hit one into downtown Cleveland on July 3.
  • In July, he became the 20th player in Major League history to be selected to the All-Star Game before his 21st birthday.
  • Then, with a clean single up the middle off the Mets’ R.A. Dickey, Trout – at 20 years, 338 days old — became the youngest player to record a hit in the All-Star Game since Detroit Hall of Famer Al Kaline in 1955, and third-youngest overall.
  • He has a 1.027 OPS against righties and a .964 OPS against lefties. His batting average is .293 when behind in the count, .377 with runners in scoring position and .392 versus Texas.
  • The Angels went 6-14 before Trout joined them on April 28. Since then, they’re 52-37, which is second-best in the AL.

Cheers, to 21 years.

 – Alden 

Trumbo’s favorite Derby homer? It’s a tie for first …

KANSAS CITY — Mark Trumbo impressed a lot of people with his Home Run Derby showing on Monday night, even though he was eliminated in a tiebreaker swing-off by Jose Bautista. Asked for his favorite of the 13 through the first two rounds, Trumbo narrowed it down to two — the one that landed on the roof of the Hall of Fame building beyond the left-field bleachers (measured at a conservative 428 feet); and the smoking line drive out to straightaway center (420).

“I’d say the one on top of the roof,” Trumbo said, before backtracking — “but the one to center was impressive. I think a lot of the guys really liked the line drive.”

Trumbo’s average distance per home run — 434 feet — was the longest among the competitors, including champion Prince Fielder. He started off slow each round, then got into a little bit of a rhythm towards the middle, but felt he could’ve done better.

“I felt like I never really got into a great rhythm,” Trumbo said. “It seemed like I’d hit one, make an out, and then have to take a few pitches. Ideally, the goal is to get into an extended rhythm, kind of like Prince did, and then rattle off a better total. My biggest thing was just to have fun with it. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. I wanted to get one. That was the advice — don’t get a goose egg.”

Trumbo’s favorite moment?

“[David Ortiz] pulled me aside before I left yesterday and that was really cool,” he said. “He was telling me it took him three or four times of doing it to really feel like he — not had it down, but had a chance. Things move very, very quickly when you’re out there. You can’t really simulate that.”

But C.J. Wilson, at least, can capture it.

As usual, Wilson was out there with his camera and estimated taking roughly 800 photos of the Derby participants. He’ll look over them when he has time in the next few days and print them out for Trumbo to keep.

“I had my brand-new camera out there, taking some cool images that I’ll process while we’re on the road in the next couple days and see if I can come up with some winners,” Wilson said. “It’s just fun. Jered [Weaver] and Mike [Trout] and I were out there just trying to hype him up and keep him motivated and have a good time. It’s a lot of pressure out there, when you’re the only guy batting for a couple minutes at a time in front of the fans.”

Trumbo’s roommate also TiVo’d it. But many of those in attendance won’t need reminders of the show Trumbo put on. Many were impressed.

“I know my Twitter following went way up,” Trumbo said with a smile.

“Any time I’m in something, I want to win. But I’m going to take away some really cool memories from it.”

Some other pre-All Star Game notes

  • Asked about their friendship in a pregame presser, Trout joked of Bryce Harper: “We don’t like each other.” Bryce: “It’s like Bird and Magic. He’s Magic, I’m Bird.”
  • Maybe more LeBron and Wade? “I hope I play with [Trout] one day,” Harper said. “I think him playing center field, me playing right field, as a one-two punch, I think that’d be fun.”
  • Trout was asked who wins in a footrace between him and Peter Bourjos. His response: “I think Peter’s got me around the bases in an inside-the-parker, but home to first, we were talking about it the other day, I think I have him by a couple of steps.”
  • Weaver was told he’ll pitch the fifth inning tonight. As for how it affects him for the second half? It’s just like a normal bullpen session.
  • Trout and Trumbo are not really sure when they’ll get in. “I have all my gloves, as usual,” Trumbo said. C.J., of course, is sitting out due to a blister he doesn’t expect to impact his second half.
  • Weaver on not being named the starter for the All-Star Game a second straight year, despite leading the Majors with a 1.96 ERA: “I told you guys, whatever happens, I’m just excited to be here, be a part of it. Obviously it would’ve been cool to start back-to-back years, but I’m just excited to be able to get out there and throw an inning and just be part of this whole experience. It’s fun. It’s great to hang out with all these guys and just see who they are as a person instead of just battling against him.”
  • One guy Weaver was really excited to get to know a little better here: Adam Dunn. “He’s a funny character, man.”

Some Angels All-Star Game links …

Some intriguing All-Star Game stories …

The lineups …

NL

Carlos Gonzalez, DH (COL)
Melky Cabrera, CF (SFG)
Ryan Braun, LF (MIL)
Joey Votto, 1B (CIN)
Carlos Beltran, RF (StL)
Buster Posey, C (SFG)
Pablo Sandoval, 3B (SFG)
Dan Uggla, 2B (ATL)
Rafael Furcal, SS (StL)

SP: RH Matt Cain (SFG)

AL

Derek Jeter, SS (NYY)
Cano, 2B (NYY)
Josh Hamilton, LF (TEX)
Bautista, RF (TOR)
Fielder, 1B (DET)
Adrian Beltre, 3B (TEX)
MikOrtiz, DH (BOS)
Mike Napoli, C (TEX)
Curtis Granderson, CF (NYY)

SP: RH Justin Verlander (DET)

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

32 homers in ’08, no guaranteed job in ’10

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — I caught up with Mike Jacobs on Saturday, and it still boggles me that even he couldn’t land a Major League contract for the 2010 season.

I understand this isn’t Willie McCovey we’re talking about here. Jacobs obviously has his flaws. He’s weak with the glove and can play just one position (many will say that’s designated hitter, not first base), strikes out a whole bunch, and he needs to play every day to be effective (pretty much eliminating the chance he can be an effective late-game pinch-hitter).
But Jacobs still brings value because he can put up power numbers by swinging a big bat from the left side of the plate. After hitting .310 with 11 homers in 30 games in his first year with the Mets, the guy averaged 23 homers and 75 RBIs per season with the Marlins for three years. Sure, that came with a .258 batting average, .314 slugging percentage and .483 on-base percentage. And, sure, he struggled mightily in his first year in the American League with the Royals last season, batting just .228 with 19 homers in 128 games while serving mainly as a DH. 
But, really, he can’t get a guaranteed contract — anywhere?
“I think it’s a little surprising,” Jacobs told me before his Saturday workout at Tradition Field. “I think if you look at my career numbers, they’re pretty solid for four years in the big leagues. I think it’s just kind of the way it is now. Teams are kind of waiting people out a little bit.”
Yeah, no kidding.
Take Russell Branyan, for example. Branyan is also a lefty-hitting first baseman — though he can play third base and the outfield, too — and he broke out last year by hitting a career-high 31 homers and 76 RBIs. But he didn’t find a suitor until Feb. 19, and when he did, it was a one-year, $2 million deal with the lowly Indians. 
His .251 batting average probably had something to do with that, but I think this is more of the sign of the times — a sign of the economic state, in specific. You don’t need to look any further than Jacobs’ own clubhouse, as the Mets have made a bevy of Minor League signings this offseason.
For what it’s worth, Jacobs called his recent contract “a technicality” and seems to be staying positive. 
“I think it is what it is,” he said. “You can’t really put too much emphasis on it, about it being a Minor League deal or a Major League deal or whatever. The bottom line is you have a uniform on your back, and you have a chance to open peoples’ eyes again.”
It seems like Major League clubs are making more and more veterans have to do that before they make big league money. Is this indeed a sign of the times, or a long-term step in a different direction?
——-
DSC01470.jpg
Mets infielders and starting pitchers meet before bunt-situation and first-and-third drills.

Ready for some games?
The Mets apparently are. They issued their pitching probables for the first four exhibition games. So, if you’re in their area, maybe you’re interested …
* March 1 (Intrasquad): Jack Egbert, Clint Everts, Travis Blackley, Jonathon Niese, Tobi Stoner, R.A. Dickey, Jenry Mejia
* March 2 (vs. Braves): Nelson Figueroa, Hisanori Takahashi, Bobby Parnell, Elmer Dessens
* March 3 (at Braves): Pat Misch, Pedro Feliciano
* March 4 (vs. Cardinals): R.A. Dickey, Tobi Stoner
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