Results tagged ‘ Terry Smith ’
If 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 Trout, Josh 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.”
That’s the phrase we sportswriters hear over and over again from players this time of year, many of whom come into camp bragging about their offseason workouts and all claim: “I’m in the best shape of my life.”
Two non-players on the Angels can really make that claim, though.
Angels manager Mike Scioscia has committed himself to losing weight, as outlined in this LA Times story, drastically changing his eating habits and shedding nearly 40 pounds. And he says he wants to lose another 20. Meanwhile, if you haven’t recently seen Terry Smith, the radio play-by-play man for AM 830, you probably wouldn’t recognize him. Smith has shed nearly 60 pounds since then.
The two reunited Thursday, glowing about each other’s progress, but Scioscia cautioned Smith not to lose anymore weight. He’s skinny enough already.
Here are some notes from Day 4 of full workouts …
- In case you missed it, here’s a transcript of my chat.
- The Angels didn’t add any premier arms to the bullpen, so they’ll be heavily relying on the young Jordan Walden to take the next step. In hopes of him doing that, they’ve surrounded him in a cocoon of experience and moxie.
- Scioscia prefers to bat Albert Pujols third, but there could be a scenario where he’s the cleanup hitter.
- As for who will hit in front of Pujols, that’s still up in the air. Scioscia is seeking the best combo for the Nos. 1 and 2 spots, and it seems everyone is a possibility — Howie Kendrick, Bobby Abreu, Erick Aybar, Peter Bourjos, Alberto Callaspo and Vernon Wells. Yes, Vernon Wells.
- David Eckstein had a bunch of Major League offers for 2011, but he chose to walk away. Here’s why.
- The playoffs could be expanded to two Wild Card teams soon. And that could only mean one thing.
- Saturday’s scrimmage is tentatively scheduled for 12:30 p.m. MT at Tempe Diablo Stadium. No, it will not be televised.
- Don’t look for veterans like LaTroy Hawkins, Jason Isringhausen or Scott Downs to throw in that game. They’re taking it extra slow with their throwing programs and may not pitch in the Cactus League schedule’s first week.
- Mark Trumbo isn’t getting reps in the outfield yet, but could soon once his running progresses far enough.
- Catcher Robinzon Diaz, a non-roster invitee, finally got his visa issues cleared and has arrived at Angels camp.
- No Chris Bosh, no problem. Heat keep rolling with a 107-93 win over the Blazers on Thursday night. That’s nine in a row, all by double-figures. Sheer dominance.
The Blue Jays’ signing of Francisco Cordero on Tuesday pretty much made it official. Barring an unforeseen trade, you can be almost sure that Jordan Walden will go into the season as the Angels’ closer, a sentiment general manager Jerry Dipoto continually sounded in favor of throughout the offseason. Dipoto would still like to upgrade the bullpen, and a source said he has at least tendered a formal offer to Luis Ayala, but there aren’t really any closers left in the free-agent market (unless you consider Brad Lidge one at this point, which you probably shouldn’t).
The Angels, for good reason, see a lot of promise in the 24-year-old, hard-throwing right-hander, who showed flashes of dominance but also experienced his share of ups and downs as a rookie in 2011.
Walden joined Angels Talk on AM 830 KLAA on Wednesday and said he has already begun throwing almost on an everyday basis in his native Texas. Here are the highlights of his conversation with host Terry Smith …
On his rookie season …
“It was just a great experience, and I learned a lot from last year. Early on in my career in that role as a closer, I was a rookie, I hadn’t been on the road trips, I was new to all the stadiums, it was all of those things. So now I’m going into a new year, knowing what it takes to be at that level.”
On being more prepared for the role this year …
“Being more comfortable, you know? Being there, saying, ‘I’ve already pitched here.’ I’m going to be a lot more relaxed, and just knowing mentally what I have to do and physically knowing what I have to do to withstand a long season.”
On pitches he’s integrating to his fastball-slider mix …
“Last year I showed bits and pieces of my changeup, but I think going into spring, getting into the games in spring, I’m really going to try to focus on trying to throw my changeup in games and getting a feel for it in game situations, because you can sit in the bullpen and throw a changeup all day, but once you get in a game and have a hitter up there, it’s a lot different.”
On the Angels having confidence in him as their closer …
“Oh it’s huge. [Manager Mike] Scioscia having that confidence in me and everybody, especially with the great team that we’re going to have this year. It’s a big role, and I’m just looking forward to it. I’m excited.”
On the toughest part of being a big league closer …
“Just being able to pitch three days, making sure you have your good stuff every night. If not, you know, sometimes you’re going to be off, but when you’re off, you have to make sure you get people out. You have to find ways. I’ve still got learning to do, but I think I have a way better understanding of what it takes.”
On the Angels bringing in Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson …
“Oh man, I was blown away. I never thought that would happen this season. I’m just excited for Spring Training, to meet some new people and have a new little team.”
On how he found out about the moves …
“I woke up and my phone had like 15 missed calls, 15 text messages, and I was just like, ‘Why is everybody calling me?’ And everybody was texting me and I was just like, ‘No way.’ Then when I turned the TV on and they signed CJ Wilson, so it was just like, ‘Wow.’”
Other stuff …
* MLB.com will unveil their Top 100 Prospects on MLB Network at 7 p.m. PT Hint: Mike Trout made the list.
* MLB Network will feature an interview with Mike Scioscia, Joe Maddon, Ron Roenicke and Bud Black on Friday at 6 p.m.
* And here’s a blog post with an update on the Luis Ayala situation.