Results tagged ‘ Taylor Lindsey ’
The allure of free agency never really tugged at Huston Street, even though he was less than six months away from hitting the open market as one of the game’s steadiest, most successful closers over the last decade.
“The point of free agency,” Street said, “is to end up where you want to be.”
And Street never wanted to be anywhere else.
He proved it Wednesday afternoon, after finalizing a two-year, $18 million extension that will keep him pitching the ninth inning for the Angels at least through the 2017 season. The deal will pay Street $8 million in 2016 and $9 million in 2017, and it includes a $10 million club option for the 2018 season, with a $1 million buyout.
Street will still make the $7 million he’s owed this season – on the last of a three-year, $21 million extension he signed with the Padres in July 2012 – and will make a total of $34 million in his four full seasons with the Angels if his option is picked up.
It falls a little short of the extension Street eyed at the start of Spring Training, at four years and somewhere between $36 million and $46 million – but it was enough.
“You can’t let your ego get involved,” Street said from the podium at Angel Stadium. “You have to make decisions based on reality and what you really want. I put a lot of value on a lot of other things. First and foremost is happiness of family. Second, my loyalty to winning. I told my teammates in there, ‘If I didn’t think you guys were worth a hill of beans, I wouldn’t have signed this contract.’”
Talks between Street and Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto began in November and never really stopped.
“There was always steady progress, throughout the whole time,” Street said.
“We spent many, many days and hours talking about this,” Dipoto said, “dating back to being in the middle of my vacation walking around in the beaches of Hawaii talking to Huston on a cell phone.”
It all turned early in Spring Training, when Dipoto and Street finally met face-to-face.
Street suggested Sushi Roku, a swanky, high-priced Japanese restaurant in West Scottsdale, and Dipoto obliged. They shared a bottle of wine, ran through an inordinate amount of sushi and spent the better part of four hours talking – about the Angels, about a potential extension, about the game, about life.
The bill was $600, and Dipoto insisted on paying.
“I came back into the office the next day and threw the receipt on the table,” Dipoto said. “It was pure fascination.”
And it was ultimately worth it.
Street has been as steady as they come throughout his 11-year career, posting a 2.83 ERA and a 1.03 WHIP, saving 286 games – tied with Rod Beck for 29th on the all-time list – and cracking two All-Star teams. Over the last five years, his 91.9-percent conversion rate leads the Majors.
“The thing that appeals to me about Huston is you have a three-pitch closer who understands how to carve the strike zone and isn’t ultra-reliant on any one thing,” Dipoto said. “He isn’t ultra-reliant on velocity, he isn’t ultra-reliant on one pitch being any more dominant than the other, he isn’t ultra-reliant on facing righties or lefties. He’s been very consistent in what he does, and he really brings a sense of calm to you.”
The Angels acquired Street from the Padres in a six-player deal last July, parting with four intriguing prospects – Taylor Lindsey, Elliot Morris, Jose Rondon, R.J. Alvarez – because they felt Street could change the makeup of their entire roster.
Then they watched it happen.
Street’s presence moved the reliable Joe Smith to the eighth inning and Kevin Jepsen to the seventh, giving the Angels a lethal back end of the bullpen for the first time in a long time. Jepsen is gone, but Smith is signed through the 2016 season, locking down the final six outs of a game.
“As a manager, your IQ is tied to your bullpen,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “A guy like Huston has a history of making his manager look smart.”
Street began contract negotiations as a self-represented player, then rehired his former agent, Alan Hendricks, to tackle the bulk of the negotiations when the regular season began, so Street could focus on his job on the field.
About a week ago, Street and his wife – six months pregnant with the couple’s third boy – decided to accept the dollars and years the Angels had been offering. The couple has grown fond of the house they rent in Sunset Beach, and as a closer, Street believes it’s necessary to be on a team that is committed to winning long term.
Free agency can wait.
“You want to be where you want to be,” Street said. “In free agency, the only thing you’re really going for is money, and you have to follow where the money is. That’s just not a position I want to be in. Winning is the thing that drove my position, first and foremost, from a professional standpoint. From a personal standpoint, I’m staring at the ocean when I wake up in the morning, with my wife and my kids. I’m very, very lucky to be where I am.”
A strong belief in one’s roster is usually followed by a phrase like “as long as we stay healthy.”
Well, the American League West is anything but to start the season. The Rangers are littered with injuries, with starter Derek Holland (right knee), second baseman Jurickson Profar (right shoulder) and catcher Geovany Soto (knee) all out until midseason and Yu Darvish (neck) starting the year on the disabled list. A’s Opening Day starter Jarrod Parker will miss all of 2014 after undergoing his second Tommy John surgery and A.J. Griffin (right flexor muscle strain) is on the shelf. And the Mariners — in town the next three days — have two starters on the DL in Hisashi Iwakuma (right middle finger) and Taijuan Walker (right shoulder).
The door is wide open for the Angels.
They’ve had the fourth-worst April winning percentage the last two years, crippling any chances they had of reaching the playoffs. But of the Angels’ 27 games through the month of April this year, only nine will come against teams that made the playoffs in 2013. Four will come against an Astros team that has lost 100 games three straight years (though, granted, they won 10 of 19 games against the Angels last year), and three will come against the Mets, who haven’t been to the playoffs since 2006. But there’s one really tough swing — a three-city trip from April 18-27, which will see the Angels visit the Tigers, Nationals and Yankees.
The Angels will also be off in each of their first six Thursdays. Yes, you’d rather have the days off at the end of the year, but a fast start is crucial this year, and those off days certainly won’t hurt that cause.
In hopes of facilitating a better start, the Angels tweaked their Spring Training program. Position players took more swings and focused more on situational hitting. Starting pitchers were stretched out earlier. Relievers attacked their bullpens more aggressively. Live BP was re-introduced after a one-year hiatus. And more shifting is taking place defensively, after the Angels went from 2nd to 27th in Defensive Runs Saved over the course of one season.
One year after having by far the worst Spring Training record and ERA in the Majors, the Angels had a much better camp. Here’s a look at the numbers …
Record: 19-11-2, 2nd in the Cactus League
Runs: 190, 4th in MLB
OPS: .803, 3rd in MLB
SP ERA: 4.01, 11th in MLB
RP WHIP: 4.20, 4th in MLB
Positives from camp: Albert Pujols looked light on his feet around the bag and on the bases. … Josh Hamilton quickly got his timing back after missing time with a strained left hamstring. … Tyler Skaggs was mostly sitting at 95 mph, after having a hard time touching 90 mph last year. … Erick Aybar and Kole Calhoun — batting ninth and first, respectively, and ahead of Mike Trout — drew a combined 21 walks. … C.J. Wilson had a 1.88 ERA in 28 2/3 innings. … Ernesto Frieri didn’t allow a run in 10 outings. … Trout batted .414/.460/.828. … The Angels rid themselves of two potential distractions, releasing Joe Blanton and signing Trout to the much-talked-about extension. … Out-of-options infielder Andrew Romine was turned into much-needed starting-pitching depth in Jose Alvarez.
Negatives from camp: Sean Burnett is still working his way back from August surgery, but he’s expected to face hitters for the first time in a sim game on Tuesday or Wednesday. … Dane De La Rosa is starting the season on the DL with a right forearm strain, but he could be back as soon as the weekend series in Houston. … Brian Moran is working his way back from left elbow inflammation, leaving Nick Maronde (1.89 Cactus League WHIP) as the only lefty in the bullpen to start the year. … Skaggs and Hector Santiago had their occasional long innings, an indication that there will be some growing pains. … Newcomers David Freese (one extra-base hit) and Raul Ibanez (.218 batting average) didn’t have great results at the plate, but both were happy with the way they were driving the ball.
Now, what does all this mean for the regular season?
I have no idea.
The Angels’ depth chart can be found here.
Now, if you’ve followed baseball long enough you know that a team never goes an entire season with the same 25-man roster (or even the same five-man rotation). So, here’s a look at who’s next in line at every position …
Catcher: Luis Martinez
Third base: Luis Jimenez
Shortstop: Tommy Field
Second base: Grant Green
First base: C.J. Cron
Left field: J.B. Shuck
Center field: Matt Long
Right field: Brennan Boesch
Starter: Wade LeBlanc or Alvarez
Reliever: Brandon Lyon
On that Trout contract …
For months, many wondered how much Trout would be worth in the open market and speculated what it would cost to lock up the best all-around player in baseball. They put his three arbitration years at upwards of $60 million, had him pegged as a $35 million free agent and believed he could be baseball’s first $300-million player.
But three are three important things to keep in mind about Trout’s situation …
1. He isn’t in his free-agent years yet. He still needed to get through three arbitration years, which greatly limits how much a player can make.
2. Being a $300-million player would’ve probably required a 10-year, contract, and that wouldn’t have been ideal because Trout wants to cash in on another monster contract by hitting the open market before age 30.
3. There’s just as much incentive for Trout as there is for the Angels, no matter how great he is. Why? Because free agency is a whole four years away, a lot can happen in four years, and it’s hard to turn down that much financial security so early.
So, Trout’s contract is $144.5 million over the course of six seasons, from 2015-20 (with a full no-trade clause, basic incentives and no additional option years or opt-outs). And I think it gives both sides what they want. It gives the Angels three additional years of Trout and some cost-certainty. It gives Trout a chance to be a free agent again at age 29 and makes him the highest-paid player relative to service time at every juncture.
Here’s a look at the year-by-year breakdown, and who Trout surpasses …
2014: $1M (Pujols in 2003 and Ryan Howard in ’07 with $900K for a pre-arbitration player)*
2015: $10.25M (Howard, $10M in ’08 for first-year arbitration)**
2016: $15.25M (Howard, $15M in ’09 for second-year arbitration)
2017: $19.25M (Howard, $19M in ’10 for third-year arbitration)
2018-20: $33.25M (Miguel Cabrera, $31M AAV in ’14 for a free agent)
* the $1M compensation was done before the contract
** $5M of that will be paid to Trout in 2014, as part of a signing bonus
Can the Angels stay competitive for the next seven seasons to keep Trout’s interest in the team? (@ryanwjsmyth)
One of the reasons Trout felt comfortable staying with the Angels long term is because he knows the owner, Arte Moreno, isn’t afraid to put his money into making this team competitive. One thing is for sure: The Angels will not be in rebuild mode over the life of Trout’s contract, or even while Moreno is around. But it’ll be harder and harder to stay below the luxury tax and put a World Series-contending product on the field as Hamilton and Pujols naturally decline. Jerry Dipoto has a tough task at hand — continue to build a contending team while also developing young pitching. Getting Santiago and Skaggs is a good start, though. Also, keep in mind: Trout’s decision to stay will be based more on how good the Angels can be after 2020, not necessarily what they’ve done leading up to it.
Will Albert Pujols hit 30+ home runs this season? (@adreamersview)
If healthy, I think you can bank on that. He hit 30 in 2012 even though he went a month and a half without hitting his first (and I don’t expect that to happen again). Plantar fasciitis didn’t just limit his defense and baserunning. It made his right knee, surgically repaired the previous offseason, swell up. And it sapped his power because a hitter is nothing without a healthy base. I’m never going to doubt Pujols’ ability to hit. He’s proven it long enough.
If the Angels make a run for the postseason what do you see them doing at the trade deadline? (@gizmosol)
Trying to get their hands on more starting pitching. Justin Masterson and Max Scherzer are heading into their final seasons before free agency, Cliff Lee and David Price may get shopped, and all sorts of other starters could become available in July. The Angels still have roughly $15 million below the luxury-tax threshold that they’re willing to use. Yes, the farm system is still pretty barren. But the list of teams in the market for a starting-pitching rental in July is usually very short, and the Angels could dangle Cron or Taylor Lindsey or Kaleb Cowart or some of their (few) good pitching prospects if they feel they’re close (and hope for a better result than the 2012 trade for Zack Greinke).
Here are some links to our Opening Day coverage …
Some feature stories from earlier in the spring, in case you missed them …
Weaver leads rotation’s quest for redemption
Pujols, Hamilton facing more doubt than ever
Mike Scioscia eager to reclaim winning formula
John McDonald “a magician” with the glove
The odyssey of De La Rosa, and a lesson in never giving up
Trout can’t believe how fast this is all happening
The plantar fasciitis on his left foot, which has only grown worse as the season has progressed, has prompted Angels manager Mike Scioscia to start Pujols at DH in four straight games and six of the last seven. He’s tolerating the pain enough to not miss a single start and continue to produce at the plate, posting a .317/.436/.508 slash line in his first 17 games.
But it’s hard for Pujols’ foot to get any better when he’s having to leg out doubles.
It may be even harder to put him on the disabled list.
“You’re always picking at scabs a little bit when you’re out there and you’re trying to play and trying to run,” Scioscia said. “Hopefully, taking the load off of having to go out there and move around first base might be something that might get where it needs to be a little quicker than if he was grinding. Certainly we don’t want it to regress because he’s swinging the bat so well.”
Here’s a look at who’s shining, and who isn’t, in the Angels’ system so far …
C Chris Snyder (AAA): .358/.424/.698, 5 HR, 15 RBI, 15 G
OF Matt Long (AA): .390/.439/.576, 2 HR, 14 RBI, 16 G
SP Mark Sappington (A): 3-0, 1.59 ERA, 22 2/3 IP, 23 SO, 9 BB
3B Kaleb Cowart (AA): .179/.281/.232, 0 HR, 0 RBI, 16 G
SP Barry Enright (AAA): 1-2, 9.61 ERA, 19 2/3 IP, 20 SO, 8 BB
2B Taylor Lindsey (AA): .122/.214/.163, 15 G
The Angels announced 21 non-roster invitees who will be joining those on the 40-man roster in Spring Training. Here’s a look at who’s coming to camp …
Pitchers: Billy Buckner, Kevin Johnson, Tony Pena, Jo-Jo Reyes, A.J. Schugel, Mitch Stetter
Catchers: Jett Bandy, Luke Carlin, Carlos Ramirez, Zach Wright
Infielders: Kaleb Cowart, Brendan Harris, Taylor Lindsey, Efren Navarro, Luis Rodriguez, Eric Stamets, Alex Yarbrough
Outfielders: Randal Grichuk, Trent Oeltjen, J.B. Shuck, Matt Young
* Note that veteran reliever Fernando Cabrera will also be in big league camp when his contract his official.
Here’s the 40-man roster, in case you’re wondering who else is joining them.
Pitchers report Feb. 11, position players report Feb. 14.
Erick Aybar SS
Howie Kendrick 2B
Albert Pujols 1B
Torii Hunter RF
Vernon Wells LF
Bobby Abreu DH
Alberto Callaspo 3B
Chris Iannetta C
Peter Bourjos CF
SP: Ervin Santana (others: John Hellweg, Trevor Bell, Kevin Jepsen)
Some notes from this morning …
- Reliever Bobby Cassevah should be off a mound for the next couple of days. Angels manager Mike Scioscia said his arm is “a little behind,” but added: “It shouldn’t impact where he is at the end of spring.”
- Scioscia said Mark Trumbo (right foot) is “close.” He’ll run the bases today and do an aggressive fielding drill with some of the coaches. Trumbo targeted Saturday as the day he’d be in full game mode a couple days ago.
- Recovering slugger Kendrys Morales (left ankle) run the bases without bases earlier this morning and Scioscia said he got a “really good report.” The next step is for him to push off bases and make a turn.
- Mike Trout, who lost 10 pounds with his illness, is still a little ways away from getting in games but said he’s feeling good.
- Jerome Williams (left hamstring) needs to make at least four Spring Training starts in order to start the season in the rotation. The Angels don’t need a fifth starter until April 15, and Scoiscia is confident he’s got enough time if all goes according to plan, but the deadline is fast approaching. “There’s a definite line where he’s going to have to be out there pitching in a game,” Scioscia said, “but we’re not near it yet.”
- Maicer Izturis, Scioscia said, is nursing some tightness in his legs.
- The veteran guys who have not pitched yet — guys like Scott Downs, LaTroy Hawkins and Jason Isringhausen — should get in there by Monday.
- Jered Weaver, Dan Haren, C.J. Wilson, Santana, Albert Pujols and Torii Hunter are all on the cover of the Angels media guide.
Some Angels links from Thursday …
- Haren a model of consistency and health
- Haren, Hisanori Takahashi look sharp from the start
- Throwing motion critical for Hank Conger
- Near or far, Pujols wants to play
- Young Taylor Lindsey catches Scioscia’s eye
Some links from around the AL West …
- Transitioning closer Neftali Feliz made his first start, officially putting him in the rotation mix
- Top prospect Jarrod Parker also made his spring debut for the Athletics
- Second baseman Dustin Ackley homered for the Mariners
Udonis Haslem still confident in the clutch despite struggles. I know I trust him.
Neither No. 3 hitter was in the lineup for this one. Albert Pujols had the day off for the Angels, and new No. 3 hitter Ichiro Suzuki didn’t travel with the Mariners. And so, through six innings, no scoring took place at Tempe Diablo Stadium. Finally, in the seventh, the Mariners broke through against tall Angels reliever Loek Van Mil.
Jered Weaver hurled two scoreless innings, walking none, striking out two and giving up three hits. Weaver, who finished with 34 pitches (20 strikes), worked out of a bases-loaded, two-out situation in the top of the second.Only fastballs and changeups for him at this point.
Closer Jordan Walden made his spring debut, giving up one hit and striking out one in his lone inning of work. He mixed in some changeups — a pitch he’s focusing on this spring — and got a groundball out on one.
Second baseman Taylor Lindsey, the sixth-best Angels prospect, went 2-for-2 with a triple.
Speaking of triples, the speedy Peter Bourjos hit one, too.
Van Mil, who stands 7-foot-1, surrendered three runs (two earned) on three hits and a walk in 1 1/3 innings.
Chris Iannetta went 0-for-3 with a couple of strikeouts.
And Mark Trumbo started at third base today, but got absolutely nothing hit to him. Weaver doesn’t give up too many grounders, as you might have heard.
Weaver on seeing the 6-foot-4 Trumbo at third base: “I’ve been used to some smaller guys over there at third, so he was in my peripheral a little bit going into the windup. It was a little weird getting that ball from him when they throw it around. But I’ve been watching him taking ground balls and stuff, and he actually looks really comfortable over there.”
Best play (that I saw)
Kendrick hit a rocket to left field in the first inning, but it went right to Mike Carp, who then doubled up Erick Aybar at first base.