Posted on: December 6, 2011 1:27 pm
By Matt Snyder
What if players were only permitted to stay with the team that originally made them a professional? No trades, no Rule-5 Draft, no minor or major league free agency ... once you are a professional baseball player, you stay in that organization. This series shows how all 30 teams would look. We give you: Homegrown teams. To view the entire schedule and past posts, click here.
While we slog through all the rumors and real-life moves provided by the Winter Meetings, we're here with your daily break from reality. This time around, it's the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
1. Erick Aybar, SS
2. Casey Kotchman, 1B
3. Howie Kendrick, LF
4. Mike Napoli, C
5. Mark Trumbo, DH
6. Mike Trout, RF
7. Sean Rodriguez, 2B
8. Alberto Callaspo, 3B
9. Peter Bourjos, CF
Note: Kendrys Morales is here, too, though he's been down with a broken leg for almost two seasons. If healthy, he figures in the DH/1B mix prominently, likely pushing Trumbo to the bench -- but I'd hear arguments for Kotchman to sit instead.
1. Jered Weaver
2. Ervin Santana
3. John Lackey
4. Tyler Chatwood
5. Joe Saunders
Closer - Francisco Rodriguez
Set up - Jordan Walden, Bobby Jenks, Darren O'Day, Sean O'Sullivan, Trevor Bell, Kevin Jepsen, Jose Arredondo
Long - Ramon Ortiz
Notable Bench Players
Hank Conger, Jeff Mathis, Alexi Casilla and that's about it.
The front of the starting rotation with Weaver and Santana is very good. The bottom of the lineup is pretty strong, relatively speaking, as those guys could be two-hole hitters on many teams.
There just isn't much exciting about this group. The middle of the lineup is thin, until Trout becomes a star. There is no depth and the rotation is a bit lackluster with Lackey and Saunders, at this point.
Comparison to real 2011
The real-life Angels finished 86-76 and 10 games behind the Rangers in the AL West. They hung around in the wild-card race until the last week of the season, too. While this team certainly isn't terrible, I feel like it's worse than 86 wins. Maybe they could approach .500, but there's just not enough here to be a playoff contender in this fictitious exercise.
For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Tags: AL West, Alberto Callaspo, Alexi Casilla, Angels, Bobby Jenks, Casey Kotchman, Darren O'Day, Erick Aybar, Ervin Santana, Francisco Rodriguez, Hank Conger, Homegrown, Howie Kendrick, Jeff Mathis, Jered Weaver, Joe Saunders, John Lackey, Jordan Walden, Kendrys Morales, Mark Trumbo, Matt Snyder, Mike Napoli, Mike Trout, Peter Bourjos, Sean O'Sullivan, Sean Rodriguez, Tyler Chatwood
Posted on: October 9, 2011 4:47 pm
Edited on: October 10, 2011 3:52 pm
By Matt Snyder
Another season gone, another disappointment for 29 teams as one is immortalized forever. Let’s take a look back at 2011 and forward in Eye on Baseball’s R.I.P. series...
Team name: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Record: 86-76, second place in AL West, 10 games back.
Manager: Mike Scioscia
Best hitter: Howard Kendrick -- .285/.338/.464, 18 HR, 63 RBI, 86 R, 14 SB, 30 2B
Best pitcher: Jered Weaver -- 18-8, 2.41 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, 198 K, 235.2 IP
2011 SEASON RECAP
The Angels hung in the race all season, eventually missing out on the AL wild card by five games. They were in first place as late as July 5, and didn't really fall out of the AL West race until the middle of September. They exceeded the expectations, according to many preseason predictions, but the failure to make the postseason for the second year in a row was evidently not acceptable for owner Arte Moreno. He absolutely cleaned house in the front office. The Angels did win the AL West five out of six seasons before 2010, so the bar has been set. Moreno seemingly wants division titles or else.
The Angles already have over $102 million committed to next season in player contracts, and that's without including the salaries of arbitration players like Howie Kendrick, Erick Aybar and Alberto Callaspo, who are certainly going to have raises. Basically, the Angles are going to have somewhere around $125 million in payroll before even looking at possible free agents. Thus, if they want to make a big splash, the new general manager, whoever it is, will probably have to back-load contracts. The more likely path is to look for internal improvement from the young players like Tyler Chatwood, Jordan Walden, Mark Trumbo and uber-prospect Mike Trout. Getting Kendrys Morales back healthy would be a huge boost as well. The Angels do have a strong minor-league system, but most of the help is a few years away.
Russell Branyan, 1B
Joel Pineiro, SP
Fernando Rodney, RP
If any big contracts are handed out, it needs to be a younger free agent that has proven durable and consistent. Huge contracts to veterans past their prime are stifling the organization right now.
Tags: AL West, Alberto Callaspo, Angels, Arte Moreno, Bobby Abreau, Erick Aybar, Garrett Richards, Hank Conger, Howie Kendrick, Jeff Mathis, Jered Weaver, Jordan Walden, Kendrys Morales, Mark Trumbo, Matt Snyder, Mike Scioscia, Mike Trout, Peter Bourjos, R.I.P., Torii Hunter, Tyler Chatwood, Vernon Wells
Posted on: August 18, 2011 10:31 pm
Edited on: August 18, 2011 10:32 pm
By Evan Brunell
The Angels have optioned struggling starter Tyler Chatwood to the minor leagues and recalled catcher Hank Conger.
Chatwood's (pictured) demotion isn't surprising thanks to his atrocious 68/63 K/BB ratio, but he skated through his first 19 starts before entering a rough stretch over his last four starts, losing them all while giving up 18 earned runs in 19 innings, allowing four homers while punching out 10 and walking seven.
Prior to the move, skipper Mike Scioscia told the Los Angeles Times that "Tyler is having some issues with fastball command. He was in pitcher's counts for only a couple hitters" against the Rangers on Tuesday, when he gave up five runs in two-plus innings. Chatwood figures to be back in September, but for now will head to Triple-A to try to get his season back on track as the flagging Angels, losers of five straight entering play Thursday, look to get back on track.
Recalling Conger was one step forward, although it gives the team three catchers. The rookie backstop hit .214/.297/.357 in intermittent playing time for Los Angeles this season across 173 plate appearances before being demoted to Triple-A. There, he hit .300/.375/.490 with five home runs in 27 games, proving that he does have something to offer the Los Angeles offense. While Conger's defense isn't up to Scioscia's lofty standards, the Angels need his bat.
Replacing Chatwood in he rotation, meanwhile, is Jerome Williams who will be making his first start since 2007 when his turn comes up Sunday. Williams, who pitched on Wednesday in relief for the first time since 2007, was a former top prospect with the Giants before flaming out of baseball and touring through the minors, independent leagues and overseas.
Dropping weight and rededicating himself, Williams had a 3.91 ERA over 73 2/3 innings for Triple-A, striking out 60 and walking 15, while throwing the hardest he has in four years. Williams didn't shy away from the perception that he was lazy earlier, which affected both his production and his job prospects.
"I was young. I felt invincible. Obviously, I wasn't," Williams said. "I relied on talent then. I have to show people I've changed. I'm older. I know more about baseball and life."
For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeonBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: April 16, 2011 10:59 pm
By C. Trent Rosecrans
Angels rookie catcher Hank Conger wasn't the only person surprised on Saturday when he walked into U.S. Cellular Field and saw his name in the lineup for the third day in a row and sixth time in 14 games. Veteran Jeff Mathis noticed as well, and he reportedly had a closed-door meeting with manager Mike Scioscia before the Angels' 7-2 victory over the White Sox.
Mathis then refused to talk to reporters after the meeting.
Conger, though, continued to show why he's in the lineup, going 2 for 4 with a three-run homer and a double in the win. So far this season, he's hitting .286/.375/.619 with two homers in 21 at-bats.
"[Playing time] has been a little bit of a surprise," Conger told the Orange County Register's Bill Plunkett. "As long as I'm here, I just want to make the most out of my opportunities and make sure I'm prepared to play every day."
Out of spring training, Conger was one of three catchers the team kept along with Mathis and Bobby Wilson. Conger, 23, said he expected to be sent back to Triple-A Salt Lake after right-hander Joel Pineiro was eligible to come off the disabled list. Instead, the team kept the switch-hitting Conger.
Scioscia said Conger hasn't won the No. 1 catching spot yet.
"No. Getting a look," Scioscia said. "We're looking for solutions to what was really a rough offensive year for us last year."
The team did trade away a good-hitting catcher in Mike Napoli (26 home runs last season) during the offseason, but Scioscia was not a fan of Napoli behind the plate. So far, he's been impressed with Conger's catching. Conger hit .300/.385/.463 at Triple-A Salt Lake last season. Mathis, 28, is hitting .192/.185/.423 with a home run in 27 at-bats. Wilson, 28, has a single in seven at-bats in his two starts.
Scioscia said the team may keep three catchers for a while, even with shortstop Erick Aybar eligible to come off the disabled list on Monday.
"Right now, it still feels like nothing's really established," Conger said. "You have to perform whenever you get an opportunity. I'm definitely thinking that way, especially after [relievers Kevin Jepsen and Micahel Kohn] going down [to Triple-A].
"Nothing is set in stone. Ever."
Mathis is figuring that out himself.For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: April 6, 2011 10:24 am
Edited on: April 6, 2011 5:10 pm
By C. Trent Rosecrans
Are the Royals baseball's most exciting team?
Well, through five games they are, that's for sure. All four of the Royals' victories this season have come in their final at-bat. Tuesday's walk-off winner was Melky Cabrera's 12th-inning RBI single for a 7-6 victory over the White Sox.
"All of a sudden, you just expect us to win and that's it," Royals infielder Chris Getz told MLB.com . "There are plenty of doubters out there, no one's giving us much of a chance, but what do we have to lose? We've got that good feeling and we'll just ride it out."
The Royals have had a different hero each night. In their first win, Kila Ka'aihue led off the ninth inning with a homer to break a tie, the next day the Royals scored two in the eighth inning, capped by Getz's RBI single. The Royals then used a three-run walk-off homer by Matt Treanor (above) in the 13th to beat the Angels in the series finale.
With four victories in their final at-bat, the Royals may not be the best team in 2011, but they're worth sticking around to watch.
Last season the Braves lead the big leagues with 25 victories in their final at-bat.
SEARCHING FOR A WIN -- Another day, another Red Sox loss. Will the Red Sox go winless this season and will the Reds go undefeated? Eye on Baseball's Matt Snyder joins blog favorite Lauren Shehadi with the answers (which, well, are both 'no.')
GOOD NEWS, BAD NEWS -- Ubaldo Jimenez's thumb is better -- but may not be good enough to allow him to make his start Friday in Pittsburgh. The Rockies' right-hander is expected to throw a bullpen today to test the cuticle injury on his right thumb. If Jimenez can't start, Jorge De La Rosa would start in his spot. De La Rosa will be on regular rest following Sunday's snow-out. [MLB.com ]
SHIFT BE A-GONE -- Red Sox first baseman Adrian Gonzalez said putting three men on the right side of the infield has never been an effective strategy against him. Last season he had more singles to left field than right. The Indians, though, had good luck with the shift on Tuesday. The Indians used the shift and Gonzalez was 0 for 4 with two groundouts to the right side. [WEEI.com ]
A TRADITION LIKE NO OTHER -- I absolutely love the baseball tradition of giving a guy the silent treatment after his first homer in the big leagues. Tuesday's victim was the Angels' Hank Conger. [Press-Enterprise ]
WELCOME HOME -- Padres starter Aaron Harang looked like his old self in a victory over the Giants on Tuesday. In his first season with his hometown Padres, Harang certainly looked comfortable at Petco Park. [San Diego Union-Tribune ]
CALLED SHOT -- Toronto's Yunel Escobar told teammates Carlos Villanueva and Edwin Encarnacion the team would come back to win, even though they were down 5-0 in the middle of Tuesday's game against the A's. After a four-run sixth inning to tie the game, Escobar delivered on his promise with a two-run homer in the 10th to give Toronto the win. [MLB.com ]
NO MINORS FOR LEAKE -- Reds manager Dusty Baker said sending starter Mike Leake was never an option, even though it appeared that Leake made the team out of spring only because of the injuries to Johnny Cueto and Homer Bailey. Baker said Leake was overthrowing in the spring and looked like the guy who started the season 6-1 with a 3.53 ERA in Tuesday's win over the Astros. Leake, the Reds' first-round pick in 2009 made the big league rotation out of spring training last season, bypassing the minors altogether. [Cincinnati Enquirer ]
BELT MAY BE DEMOTED -- When Cody Ross returns to the Giants' lineup, rookie first baseman Brandon Belt could be the odd man out in San Francisco. The Giants say they will base their decision on Belt's play, but sending Belt down would keep the status quo. With Ross back in right field, Aubrey Huff could move back to first. Or if the team decides to keep Belt, Huff would move to left and would make Pat Burrell a bench player. Also, putting Belt in the minors for more than 20 days would keep him from accruing a full year of service time and delay his free agency a year. [FOXSports.com ]
Davis said it was Feliciano's job to strike him out, and well, last season he struck out 138 times, so "it's not that tough of a feat." [New York Post ]
BANDWAGON ROOM -- Attendance at Yankee Stadium through the first four games of the season is down about 8,000 fans per game. [ESPNNewYork.com ]
YANKS AREN'T ALONE -- As we mentioned the other day, it's not just Yankee Stadium that has its share of empty seats -- Wrigley Field has plenty of seats available, even for the seagulls. [Chicago Sun-Times ]
SUNSHINE BALL -- Is there any hope for baseball in Florida past March? [MASNSports.com ]
ROLAIDS ALERT -- The folks over at Big League Stew take a look at the top 10 new concessions at MLB parks this season.
Tags: Aaron Harang, Adrian Gonzalez, AL Central, AL East, AL West, Alex Gordon, Angels, Aubrey Huff, Blue Jays, Brandon Belt, Braves, Chris Getz, Cody Ross, Cubs, Dusty Baker, Giants, Hank Conger, Ike Davis, Indians, Jayson Werth, Jorge De La Rosa, Kila Ka'aihue, Marlins, Marlins, Matt Treanor, Melky Cabrera, Mets, Mike Leake, Nationals, NL Central, NL East, NL West, Pat Burrell, Pedro Feliciano, Rays, Red Sox, Reds, Rockies, Royals, Ubaldo Jimenez, Yunel Escobar
Posted on: January 27, 2011 6:34 pm
Angels GM Tony Reagins showed up on MLB Network Radio Thursday, telling ex-GM Jim Bowden that Hank Conger (pictured) will be competing for the starting catcher's job along with Jeff Mathis and Bobby Wilson.
Conger, 23 on Saturday, is one of the game's best prospects and is capable defensively of sticking behind the plate. That's important, as his bat can't be ignored. For Triple-A in 2010, Conger hit .300/.385/.463 with 11 home runs in 452 plate appearances.
And he's already the best catcher on the team, so if he doesn't win the starting job, something very wrong is going on with the Angels. Then again, after a series of bizarre decisions in the offseason, something very wrong is already going on, so you can't put it past the California Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim to make the right call.
Manager Mike Scioscia loves Jeff Mathis, and played him repeatedly over Mike Napoli the last few years. It might be no different with Conger, but unlike the heralded prospect, Mathis cannot hit. Period.
For all of the platitudes about his defense coming out of Angels camp, the fact remains: Mathis hit .195/.219/.278 in 218 plate appearances. And the year prior, he had a .211/.288/.308 line in 272 PA. His career OPS across 1,079 PA is .576. He cannot hit, nor will he ever be able to hit.
Meanwhile, Bobby Wilson -- nine days Mathis' junior -- more than 10 plate appearances with the Angels for the first time. He made 109 trips to the plate and hit .229/.288/.417. A darn sight better than Mathis, but Wilson can't exactly rake it, either. The year before Conger handled Triple-A, Wilson had 381 PA at the level and hit .271/.316/.398.
The ideal situation here -- unless the Angels don't care about winning, and whatever you say about their decisions, you can't say they aren't committed to winning -- is to have Conger start, with Mathis backing up. While Mathis might steal the odd game or two from Conger, it will keep the rookie healthy and the Angels can benefit from Mathis' strong defense behind the plate. Wilson might have a nice career as a backup catcher, but for now all he should serve as is insurance.
Now, watch Conger get optioned to the minors, with Mathis starting and Wilson backing up. It's par for the course these days at Angel Stadium.
-- Evan Brunell
Posted on: October 4, 2010 8:04 pm
Top prospect Hank Conger impressed Angels brass in his September callup, but it may not be enough to give him a roster spot next season.
Conger has long been known for his power potential, but his defense behind the plate was always in question. Well, so far so good as Conger's catcher's ERA is 1.91 in 80 innings, with two shutouts among the nine starts.
"He has plenty of arm strength to contain most major league running games, and on the offensive side he's ready for the challenge of the major leagues," manager Mike Scioscia told the Los Angeles Times .
The Angels, who were stagnant on offense this season, could really use the 22-year-old's bat. In 34 major-league plate appearances, he hit .172/.294/.276, but impressed down in Triple-A. The switch-hitter cranked 11 home runs while batting .300/.385/.463 in 452 PA.
There's only one problem -- Scioscia isn't quite prepared to unleash Conger as a full-time catcher.
"The fly in the ointment is he's only caught about 200 [professional] games. He hasn't had enough experience to let experience be the great teacher it is," Scioscia said.
As a result, the Angels are likely to go with one more season of no-hit Jeff Mathis behind the plate. The team will likely have to bring in a backup catcher, as Mike Napoli's ever-rising salary plus 25-home run power dictates he shouldn't return to being Mathis' backup.
Although it's extremely unlikely for Conger to make the squad next season, Scioscia wouldn't rule out that happening.
"But if he's going to play 40 games in the big leagues compared to 120 in the minor leagues, he's better off in the minor leagues," Scioscia added. "If he can help us reach our goal, there will be a spot he can carve out on our roster."
-- Evan BrunellFor more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed .
Posted on: July 26, 2010 7:06 pm
Edited on: October 19, 2010 11:57 am
A look at this week in promotional giveaways from around baseball:
Tonight, July 26
Lehigh Valley IronPigs (International League) -- Andy Tracy bobblehead
Binghamton Mets (Eastern League) -- mustache giveaway. Who doesn't love mustaches?
New Hampshire Fisher Cats (Eastern League) --kids batting glove giveaway. I love that they're going old school and just one. Ask your parents, kids.
Bristol White Sox (Appalachian League) -- kids batting helmet. Another old-school favorite.
Tuesday, July 27
Washington Nationals -- t-shirt. A classic, grey shirt. I hate when teams try to go too fancy and do some lame busy design, the simpler, the better.
Lehigh Valley IronPigs (International League) --Magic 8 Baseball. This is just awesome. It'd be great if they made the manager use this for all their decisions on the night. Bill Veeck woulda done it. This would have been my favorite of the day…
Toledo Mud Hens (International League)-- mustache giveaway. It must be a trend.
Arkansas Travelers (Texas League) -- Jared Weaver kids t-shirt jersey
Fredrick Keys (Carolina League) Bryan Voltaggio bobblehead. Who is Bryan Voltaggio you ask? Only the runner-up from Top Chef Season 6. If it were a Kevin Gillespie bobblehead, I'd drive there for it.
Princeton Rays (Rookie Appalachian League) --super mug. Apparently, it's a mug and it's super.
Wednesday, July 28
Houston Astros -- orange retro cap. The team wore those glorious 80s uniforms on Saturday, and now it's the orange hats. If only the Astros could skip the 90s and 2000s uniforms and pick one of the great old ones.
State College Spikes (New York-Penn League) --golf umbrella
Tri-City ValleyCats (New York-Penn League) --reusable grocery bag
Thursday, July 29
New York Mets -- umbrella
Wilmington Blue Rocks (Carolina League) -- Joe Biden bobblehead. It'd be really cool if it was a one of those that talked and it cussed at you.
Lakewood BlueClaws (South Atlantic League) -- Goonies night. While not technically a giveaway, and I usually do just giveaways, but this one is too cool not to share. The BlueClaws are celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Goonies, with Jeff Cohen (Chunk) at the game, signing autographs and judging a Truffle Shuffle contest.
Tri-City ValleyCats (New York-Penn League) County Executive Kathy Jimino bobblehead. Good for you, Kathy.
Friday, July 30
St. Louis Cardinals -- Vince Coleman bobblehead. No fireworks, though.
San Francisco Giants --Beat LA beach towel
Richmond Flying Squirrels (Eastern League) nutcracker -- I'm not normally a fan of Christmas in July promotions, but the Flying Squirrels giving out nutcrackers is awesome.
Arkansas Travelers (Texas League) -- camouflage hat
Myrtle Beach Pelicans (Carolina League) -- christmas ornament
Potomac Nationals (Carolina League) -- mini bat
Lexington Legends (South Atlantic League) Big L soap dispenser. I'm seriously considering going to this. I love giveaways of practical items, and this is a good one.
Clinton LumberKings (Midwest League) -- John Danks bobblehead
Boise Hawks (Northwest League) -- Boise Whistle Pigs T-shirt. Part of Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda Night, honoring one of the other finalists for nickname of the team.
Saturday, July 31
Cincinnati Reds -- Homer Bailey bobblehead
Kansas City Royals -- Kansas City Monarchs cap. I love Negro League tributes, and Kansas City, home to the Negro Leagues Hall of Fame, always does a good job.
Los Angeles Angels -- Rally Monkey soap dispenser. OK, forget the Lexington Legends… I'll be hitting eBay for this batboy.
Washington Nationals -- Nyjer Morgan bobblehead. Really, it's great for the stirrups if nothing else.
Houston Astros -- Jeff Bagwell bobblehead
St. Louis Cardinals -- Whitey Herzog bobblehead
Colorado Rockies -- Jason Giambi t-shirt. With sleeves, oddly enough.
San Diego Padres -- Clayton Richard bobblehead
Fresno Grizzlies (Pacific Coast League) -- Buster Posey bobblehead
Carolina Mudcats (Southern League) -- pint glass
Arkansas Travelers (Texas Leage) -- Hank Conger bobbleheads
Corpus Christi Hooks (Texas Leage) -- Hooks retro jersey. Which is odd, since the franchise has only been around since 2005. It's more old-school Astros style, which I'm always in favor of.
Springfield Cardinals (Texas League) -- Cardinals/Royals I-70 Series throwback shirts. The Cardinals are playing the Northwest Arkansas Naturals, the Royals' AA affiliate.
Bowling Green Hot Rods (South Atlantic League) -- Farmer Axle Bobblehead
Auburn Doubledays (New York-Penn league) -- William Seward bobblehead. The team is honoring the former governor of New York and Secretary of State under Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson. Seward also helped procure Alaska and was blasted for it at the time.
Brooklyn Cyclones (New York-Penn League) -- sleeved blanket. Yeah, not a Snuggie.
Greenville Astros (Appalachian League) -- aluminum bottle
Sunday, Aug. 1
Minnesota Twins -- Target Field bat
St. Louis Cardinals -- Ozzie Smith bear. This is in honor of the 1985 NL championship, but I'm disappointed there's no Willie McGee bobblehead. Really, if anyone is screaming for a bobblehead, it's McGee.
Harrisburg Seantors (Eastern League) -- autographed baseball grab bag
Richmond Flying Squirrels (Eastern League) -- wooden bat
Trenton Thunder (Eastern League) kids fielding gloves
Inland Empire 66ers (California League) -- skate deck
Beloit Snappers (Midwest League) -- Kevin Slowey bobblehead
West Michigan Whitecaps (Midwest League) -- dog bowl
Lowell Spinners (New York-Penn League) -- Heidi Watney bobblehead. A bobblehead for the NESN Red Sox reporter.
-- C. Trent RosecransFor more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.