His number 11 stands proud in the upper level of the right-field pavilion at Angel Stadium, retired to honor a man who gave his soul both as a player and a manager to the Angels; Jim Fregosi died yesterday as a result of multiple strokes, he was 71 years old.
Although I am too young to have seen him play in person, I was lucky enough to see him play on tape. To say that he was an extraordinary shortstop would be an understatement. He played with passion and dedication, Jim Fregosi loved the Angels, so much so, that when he was traded in the transaction that brought Nolan Ryan to Anaheim Fregosi was sad to leave the Angels.
It would be easy for me to talk about his accomplishments, for example he was the first Angel in history to hit for the cycle. However, I rather talk about the man that I got to meet in 2010 during All-Star fan Fest, as I remember there were very strict rules they asked the players not to leave the table for any circumstance. Mr. Fregosi made an exception to the rule for me and he spent a good amount of time talking baseball to my friends and I, no matter who was waiting for him.
Mr. Fregosi was a class act, I am blessed to have met him. Perhaps it was fitting that he passed away on Valentine’s Day; no matter who he impacted he is remembered with nothing but love and respect. Rest in peace Jim Fregosi.
“Hindsight is 20/20.” “You can’t cry over spilled milk.” “Monday morning quarterback.” These are all terms people use to express the feeling of what’s done is done; although these terms are very true, they can not be applied in my opinion to the Josh Hamilton contract.
Don’t get me wrong, I am ecstatic that the Angels did not sign Masahiro Tanaka. What’s really bothering me is the report that the Angels didn’t even extend an offer because they did not want to go over the luxury tax. It was indeed bad money management that put the Halos in the position they are today. A position they wouldn’t be in had they passed on Hamilton.
It appears this team is suffering from selective amnesia, the money that was used in the Hamilton contract was earmarked for pitching. They chose instead to ignore that, and sign Hamilton to a contract which ultimately led to patchwork repairs of the pitching staff. The cost? They lost a homegrown player with a huge upside in Mark Trumbo. They essentially let go of a young player for someone with inflated numbers who hit in a hitters park in Arlington.
The Angels had a backup plan, Matt Garza if and when the negotiations with Masahiro Tanaka fell through. Well, they did, and Garza signed a four-year contract with the Milwaukee Brewers. Now what? According to the Angels general manager they are “prepared to move forward with their current roster.” What does that mean? A fifth consecutive year without a playoff appearance? If that’s the case, how did the Josh Hamilton contract change anything? Did Hamilton make the Angels more competitive this past year? Of course not, so what’s going to be different this year? If the Angels would have been more careful with their money, The Halos would have money in the budget to sign a high quality pitcher without relying on a backup plan.
How will that translate when it comes time to re-sign Mike Trout? If the Angels weren’t competitive with Tanaka, how do they expect to be competitive with Trout? Will the Angels be willing to go over the luxury tax with a Trout contract? I sincerely hope so, I would be willing to go one more year without a playoff appearance if that meant the Halos would sign Trout to a long-term contract. On the other hand, how is this team going to remain attractive and a viable option for Trout if the Angels do not make the playoffs this year? It has yet to be seen if the current roster will make an impact this year, as a fan, I sincerely hope so. However, I highly doubt it.
To my family, friends, readers, and supporters:
Due to your consistent and unwavering loyalty I once again made MLB.com’s top 100 blogs for 2013. These words cannot convey the degree of honor and gratitude that I have toward all of you. I am humbled to realize how much people enjoy my writing and my rants. I am thankful to God that he gave me the gift to express my love for the Angels through my writing. I am truly thankful to all of you. I’m curious to see how high I can make this website climb, thanks to your support I jumped 41 spots this year. My goal is to crack the top 25 next year, but I can’t do it without your support, again thank you. Go Angels!
Originally posted on MLB.com Blogs Central:
It’s hard to believe we are entering the 10th season of blogging at MLB.com! Now comes the annual tip of the hat to all of the best blogs in our community, or at least the ones who had what it took to draw the largest followings. Congratulations to everyone who made the Top 100 MLB.com Blogs list, based on page views from Jan. 1-Dec. 31, 2013. If you’re on the list, make sure you add your Top 100 MLB.com Blogs badge to your sidebar, with the link to this post. That goes for you active players, front-office crews, player wives, groundskeepers, fans, photogs, broadcasters and Idols like Scotty McCreery. The coming year promises to be even better, so a big Thank You to everyone in our community — whether you’re a veteran or a rookie.
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 6,300 times in 2013. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 5 trips to carry that many people.
Okay, I’ve had time to digest this whole fiasco of a Mark Trumbo trade and I can’t say I’m any happier. 35 Home Runs and 100 RBIs those were roughly his numbers last year, granted his OPS wasn’t that great, but in my opinion it is easier to find a player with a better OPS via free agency than it is to find right-handed power.
Mark Trumbo is a homegrown kid he graduated from Villa Park high school, he grew up an Angels’ fan and was a great presence in the clubhouse. What more does this team want? Inflated egos that have an overpaid contract to go with it? Superstars that don’t know how to play a team game? While I agree that the Angels need pitching, they needed a very specific type of pitching; that can step in and help the rotation right away. Tyler Skaggs and Hector Santiago don’t fill that hole, they need more development, if that’s the case, why not develop Trumbo? Now we will never know what Don Baylor could have done for him, perhaps he could have improved Mark Trumbo’s OPS.
While I agree that trade made the Angels’ payroll a bit more flexible, I’m afraid that if the Angels go after another free agent it will be more of the same. The proof? Vernon Wells, Scott Kazmir, Josh Hamilton, Joe Blanton, Ryan Madson, among many others, I am not a season-ticket holder myself, but I can tell you that I have considered it before, what stops me? I go to the ballpark and see the pain on the faces of the season-ticket holders.
This wouldn’t be a big deal if the franchise actually balanced the short-term and long-term success with sustainability, it seems that it is now it is one or the other all three elements don’t seem to coexist. I’m not a fair weather fan, I’ve been a fan of this team for over 30 years. I was exposed to the Angels before the Lakers before the 49ers and way before the Anaheim Ducks, this team holds a special place in my heart because it was this team that exposed me to the beauty of sports, as a young kid and gave me the appetite to explore other teams in other sports. Now with the detonation of TNT, (Trumbo and Trout) and TNT not being a part of the Angels arsenal it will be interesting to see where they Angels get their explosiveness from.
Update: Mark Trumbo is a class act!
Wow! What a whirlwind off-season it’s been in Major League Baseball. Prince Fielder is now a part of the Texas Rangers, and the Angels acquired David Freese this entry was originally intended to concentrate on that transaction more specifically on the effects of this acquisition on the Angels specifically how Fielder has resurrected his career in my opinion by joining a team that calls a hitters park home.
That has changed however, the details are still sketchy but Mark Trumbo is now a diamondback. The trade involved the Angels, the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Chicago White Sox. What is our general manager doing? Yes, it’s clear the Angels need pitching but he is the one that messed up the Angels’ pitching staff to begin with, he counted on the ability of our offense to negate any deficiencies there were on the Angels pitching staff by s giving superstar players to long-term contracts. He decimated our farm system in the process, and now the Angels have unproductive superstars while practically giving away young talent. Mark Trumbo was a key piece to the Angels success, with Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton not producing Trumbo was the player along with Mike Trout that kept the Angels afloat. This is my raw immediate reaction. I did promise my readers that I would throw a few curveballs, this is indeed one of them. Frankly, I am speechless I don’t know where the team goes from here without decimating the few positives that are left about this team. I promise I will deliver a more analytical entry once I’ve had time to process. Unbelievable!
postscript: I would love to hear what other Angels’ fans have to say about the team’s current situation.
What is the test of a true Angels’ fan? Well, it begins by waiting and making sure all the bandwagon fans have jumped ship, the second step is to figure out ways to cope with the drought of four years of not making a playoff appearance. Today is my birthday, and as a birthday present to myself I’m not going to concentrate this entry on analytics; rather, I’m going to focus on something that deserves all the credit in the world, yet rarely gets any recognition at all, the Angels’ fan base.
For the past 10 years from 2003 to this past season in 2013 Angels’ fans have flocked to Angel Stadium, in this time span more than 3,000,000 fans per season have shown up in the ballpark. That is simply astonishing, some Dodgers’ fans stated on social networks that the Angels in their opinion do not have as strong of a fan base as the Dodgers, to them, I say, the statistics say otherwise; have the Dodgers drawn over 3,000,000 fans a season over the last 10 years? I highly doubt it. The sustained loyalty of our fan base cannot be easily matched. With such loyal and dedicated fans how could one even think about leaving Anaheim?
The Angels signed a lease with the city of Anaheim through the 2029 season however, the Angels can option out after the 2016 season; leaving more questions than answers.
Rumors over the last couple of years have hinted at just that, the Angels leaving Anaheim for greener pastors in the City Of Industry, where the Angels would get a new stadium on the same plot of land that was one of the proposed sites for a new NFL stadium designed to bring football back to the Los Angeles area, this bid was the eventual loser to the winning bid submitted by AEG to construct Farmers Field.
Luckily for Angels’ fans this doesn’t seem to be the case anymore. The Angels organization is currently in negotiations with the city of Anaheim to keep the team at Angel Stadium, one of the major points of negotiation is dropping the “of Anaheim” from the team name. This is something that the city of Anaheim seems to be amenable to; a complete about-face from just a few years ago.
The mind boggling question is why would the Angels owner consider moving the team? He has a very strong foundation in Orange County, 3,000,000 fans a season over the last 10 years is no small feat. If indeed he were to move the team, he would be risking a severe attendance drop by directly competing with the Dodgers. In my opinion, a lot of Angels’ fans would be left with a bad impression of the team, an impression of abandonment that frankly wouldn’t sit well with the majority of the fans in Orange County.
Still, we flock to the ballpark like a swarm of kids flocking to an ice cream truck on a sweltering hot day. Why would Arturo Moreno take the risk of moving the team to a city where frankly they’re not wanted? Gene Autry knew this, that’s why he moved the team from Los Angeles to Anaheim in the mid-1960s. In Orange County, this team is unequivocally loved. That is indeed why I will always have respect for a strong, unshakable, diehard fan base that I’m proud to say I’m a part of, so yes, four years have gone by without a playoff appearance and although that hurts it doesn’t hurt as much as the possibility of this team leaving Anaheim. This is why Angels’ fans are in the middle of an exam testing their strength, perseverance, and loyalty, a test that I know we will pass with flying colors. This is why I decided to write this tribute because although this team did not make a playoff appearance, we remain strong, now, and forever.
18.5 games back in the division and 16 games back out of the wild-card race. Barring some sort of miracle it safe to say that the Angels season is over. Yes they may be still mathematically able to make the playoffs, but to expect three teams to falter in the division and a plethora of teams to falter in the wild-card race is unrealistic. It is improbable, but not impossible.
I could feasibly sit here and write a novel sized entry describing in detail what went wrong this year, but I don’t think my readers would have time for that, nor do I have the energy to speak into the microphone for that long. I took some time to concisely think about the factors that led up to such a disastrous season and it came down to two things, bad personnel decisions and bad contracts. My loyal readers already know that given the choice, I much rather see the Angels be eliminated from contention in early September rather than mid to late July. That is unfortunately what happened this year.
Bad Personnel Decisions
The Angels’ General Manager did a horrendous job in putting this team together this year. Our pitching staff as a whole is in shambles; with the exception of Weaver, Wilson, and Vargas no one else on the pitching staff has preformed consistently. Signing Joe Blanton to a contract magnified the Angels’ General Manager’s poor decision-making. In my opinion, Joe Blanton didn’t add much intimidation factor to this pitching staff. That was my feeling when the Angels gave Blanton a contract, and his performance this season simply proved my point.
The Albert Pujols injury situation was handled very poorly by the Angels organization. I realize that Albert is a competitor; however it’s the Angels’ responsibility to step in and do what was in the best interest of the organization if they had put Albert Pujols on the Disabled List in the beginning of the season. Perhaps we would now have him available for a late postseason run, but as the old saying goes, hindsight is 20/20; however it would be impossible to argue that the Angels could not foresee the situation as a possible scenario. They should have done what they could to avoid this scenario from developing.
Ryan Madson, the Angels gave him $3 million for him to sit and do nothing. I questioned his contract from the very beginning. I personally would be very hesitant to sign a player coming off Tommy John surgery. He ended up not playing one inning for the Angels this season which ultimately led to his unconditional release. In other words, the organization paid a player $3 million to be a spectator. I wonder if the Angels’ organization would be willing to give me a 3 million dollar contract for just one season, I wouldn’t be able to play a single inning either, but at least the team can rest assured that my love for them is unconditional.
Josh Hamilton, for those of you that read my earlier entries, you know that I’m not a big fan of the Hamilton contract, $120 million over five years is a lot of money I had several concerns, my chief concern was his inability to handle a big market pressure situation, he is nowhere near the player the Angels expected to get, but the organization cannot say that they didn’t see this possibility developing. I publicly stated that this exact situation was a possibility, and I’m not a General Manager or a professional baseball scout.
A better business decision in both cases would have been to offer an incentive based contract given each player’s respective history. This type of contract would have protected the Angels’ long-term interest; unfortunately this wasn’t done in either case.
To exacerbate this matter even further, it has yet to be seen how these bad contract decisions affect the Angels ability to re-sign Mike Trout and lock him up to a long-term contract. If anybody deserves this type of money it is Trout, who in my humble opinion is the current and future face of the franchise much like Tim Salmon was in the 1990s and the early 2000s.
What is Mr. Moreno going to do? Obviously things cannot remain status quo; he has invested a lot of money in the long-term success of this team. I am sure he is very frustrated, I’m sure he knows that the Angels’ fan base is also very frustrated.
With a little under one hour before the 2013 MLB non-waiver trade deadline, at 1 PM Pacific time, I’m curious to see what the Angels are going to do with his underachieving team. Last night they traded Alberto Callaspo to the A’s for Minor League infielder Grant Green during the game. The Halos also traded relief pitcher Scott Downs. In a different transaction. It is apparent that the Angels have become strategic Sellers. They don’t want to move any major pieces because they still want to remain competitive for the 2014 season. Essentially they are retooling to the extent that they can. Howie Kendrick and Erick Aybar as of now, are still on the trading block
The Angels lost the first two games against the Texas Rangers in the most painful way possible back-to-back walk-off home runs. The most painful loss to me was the first game, the Angels blew a 3-0 lead and ultimately lost 4-3 in the bottom of the ninth inning.
I cannot underscore how important these series against the Athletics and the Rangers were. This proves yet again that pitching is the key to a successful season. Ryan Madson has yet to play an inning, Joe Blanton has not been a good fit and has been utterly useless, Jason Vargas and Weaver have had stints on the disabled list during crucial parts of the season. I’m not going to rehash the bad personnel moves that the Angels have made recently, the disparity between this team’s talent and their on-field results has frankly left me speechless.
Baseball is a lot like boxing, the longer a fight goes, the later rounds become exponentially important. The American League West division race is much like a boxing match, especially the second half of the season where less than half the games are left. I mentioned in a previous entry a strong start coming out of the All-Star break would be especially important for the Angels. I said that numbers now matter.
The Angels started off strong by taking two of three from the Oakland A’s, the Halos needed to sweep the A’s in Anaheim and in Oakland in my opinion, in order to make any sort of meaningful progress in the division race. After losing ground by dropping the last game of the series against the A’s at Angel Stadium, then the Angels dropped two out of three against the Minnesota Twins. To add to the problem, the Angels have lost two out of four in the current series against Oakland at the Oakland Coliseum. The best they can hope for is a series split by winning tomorrow’s game.
Yes, baseball can be like a boxing match at times, it is quite possible that the Angels will receive a knockout blow by possibly losing Albert Pujols for the rest of the season due to his ongoing condition of plantar fasciitis. He left Oakland and returned to Southern California in order for doctors to run more tests, dare I say it doesn’t look good. He may have to go on the Disabled List for the rest of the season.
I can’t help but question the thought process that led to the poor handling of the situation. The team knew that this injury would be an ongoing problem; they should have rested number five, early during the start of the season. I realize he is a competitor, but I also realize that the Angels have invested a lot of money into his contract for him only to be able to play at half strength. The Angels knew that they would meet him late in the stretch run, and I question why they didn’t act accordingly. Now because of what I consider to be a poor decision, the team and their fan base are suffering the consequences.
I do realize that the Angels have their share of injuries, mainly Jason Vargas, however Albert is a big part of the Angels’ future plans and the team is not acting like it. I take solace in that history can repeat itself. The Halos must ironically take a page out of last year’s Oakland A’s playbook. If I recall, the Oakland A’s were in a similar position this time last year and won the division championship. At the very least the Angels must concentrate on winning one of the two wild-card spots and make a playoff push that way. They did that in 2002, and we all know what resulted. The Angels have the championship pedigree, but like any true champion they must come back in the later rounds and when the fight.
Related Articles: http://angels.mlblogs.com/2013/07/13/the-symphony-of-the-numbers-game
Update: Albert Pujols will likely miss the rest of the 2013 season