Tag:Angels
Posted on: December 8, 2011 2:59 pm
 

Angels swoop in, steal Marlins thunder -- for now



By Matt Snyder


DALLAS -- In one fell swoop, the Miami Marlins had their thunder stolen.

First, let's set the scene.

The annual Major League Baseball Winter Meetings always come to a close on a Thursday. In most years, the hotel lobby is hopping like mad for Monday through Wednesday but is a veritable ghost town come post-lunch time Thursday. There's the Rule 5 Draft Thursday morning, and by late afternoon most writers are either already home or preparing to fly out.

At about 7 a.m. Thursday morning, the Marlins were the huge story of the Winter Meetings. Not only had they landed a trio of All-Stars in Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle and Heath Bell -- committing $191 million in future payroll to the three -- but they were also attached to rumors on Albert Pujols, C.J. Wilson and sometimes even Prince Fielder throughout the week. When Marlins' brass Jeffrey Loria, Larry Beinfest and David Samson walked through the lobby earlier in the week, a flock of reporters and cameramen were following them like paparazzi clings to Kim Kardashian or Brad Pitt. New manager Ozzie Guillen had a Joker-like permanent smile on his face. The Marlins were, as one writer remarked on Twitter, the "belles of the ball."

MLB Winter Meetings
Thursday morning, however, the Angels went out and signed the biggest name in baseball: Albert Pujols. Then, within minutes, they added All-Star starting pitcher C.J. Wilson. New Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto held a press conference to announce both signings and field questions.

And when everyone leaves the meetings for good, the top team that will stick out in everyone's mind is the Los Angeles Angels, not the Miami Marlins.

This was not what owner Jeffrey Loria wanted. This was supposed to be the Marlins' time. They are moving into a new stadium that they'd waited on for years. They have a new name and new uniforms. They want people to buy them as legitimate contenders and take them seriously. They very well could be contenders and might be transforming into a legitimate large-market team, but the thunder of the three signings has been completely stolen by the already-large-market Angels swooping in and getting a bigger star position player and a better starting pitcher than the Marlins landed.

Will this anger the Marlins, causing them to go hard after Prince Fielder -- a player most reported was not on their radar at this time Wednesday? It's hard to tell.

But for now, the Marlins get second billing at these Winter Meetings. The Angels were the top dog.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: December 8, 2011 1:46 pm
Edited on: December 8, 2011 4:55 pm
 

Angels now boast stellar starting rotation



By Matt Snyder


DALLAS -- While the big news of the Winter Meetings was the Angels adding superstar Albert Pujols via free agency, they also made a big splash on the pitching front, adding C.J. Wilson with a five-year contract. Now, the Angels boast a top four in the rotation that is likely the envy of the entire American League. Just look at the AL Cy Young balloting for last season. Jered Weaver finished second to the Tigers' Justin Verlander -- who had a historic season -- while Wilson came in sixth and Dan Haren was seventh. Ervin Santana's no slouch, either. The Angels now have to be mentioned in the same breath as the Giants and Phillies when it comes to lock-down, top-to-bottom rotations.

The Angels ranked fifth in starting pitching ERA in 2011 for the entire MLB. And they're now replacing Joel Pineiro (5.13 ERA) with Wilson (2.94 ERA).

"I know Jered and Dan, and those are good dudes," Wilson said Thursday. "I haven't talked to Santana yet, but I will. We're gonna push each other to make each other better."

"I know back in Texas, pitching with so many other good pitchers, it was incentive to compete and get better," he continued. "It makes you want to work harder and do your part."

Wilson certainly did his part during the 2011 season, going 16-7 with a 2.94 ERA, 1.19 WHIP and 206 strikeouts in 223 1/3 innings, qualifying for his first All-Star Game. Also keep in mind the Rangers played in the most hitter-friendly park in the majors in 2011, and Wilson's road ERA was 2.31. His career numbers in Angel Stadium of Anaheim -- a big-time pitcher's park the past two seasons -- are good, too. Wilson has thrown 38 1/3 innings there, putting together a 2.79 ERA and 1.16 WHIP with 32 strikeouts. One of his five starts there was a complete-game effort, too.

MLB Winter Meetings
As for his new teammates? Not too shabby ...

Weaver, 29, was the All-Star Game starter for the AL in 2011. He went 18-8 with a 2.41 ERA, 1.01 WHIP and 198 strikeouts in 235 2/3 innings. Haren, 31, was 16-10 with a 3.17 ERA, 1.02 WHIP and 192 strikeouts in 238 1/3 innings. Santana, 28, was 11-12 with a 3.38 ERA, 1.22 WHIP and 178 strikeouts in 228 2/3 innings.

Add it up, and you have a rotation that can work deep into the game and give you a great chance to win four out of every five games. The four combined for 15 complete games, seven shutouts and over 900 innings last year alone. As for the fifth starter, it's likely Jerome Williams, but does that even matter? The bullpen will be so well-rested 80 percent of the games that they'll be able to bail out Williams any time he needs it. Mike Scioscia may even grow bored in the dugout as he sits back and watches his big four eat innings night-in, night-out.

And it's not just the innings. It's the overall value to the ballclub.

According to Baseball-Reference.com's wins above replacement stat, the front four starters of the new Angels' rotation were worth 18.7 wins more than a replacement-level player last season. By comparison, the Phillies vaunted "four aces" had a combined WAR of 21.4. The Giants' top four? Just 14.8.

So while the Angels may not have the top three the Phillies do, they certainly have every bit of an elite starting rotation. Considering Pujols just got added to the offense, the rest of the American League has plenty to fear.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: December 8, 2011 11:10 am
Edited on: December 8, 2011 2:07 pm
 

C.J. Wilson headed to Angels, too



By Matt Snyder


DALLAS -- Remember back in October when Angels' owner Arte Moreno said the team had no money to spend in free agency? He was evidently playing an incredible ruse on the rest of us. Not only did the Angels land the biggest fish of all Thursday morning -- signing Albert Pujols -- but they have also nabbed free agent starting pitcher C.J. Wilson, the club announced Thursday. Wilson has been signed to a five-year, $77.5 million contract, reports Jon Heyman. CBSSports.com's Danny Knobler has confirmed the news and the dollar figure.

Wilson, 31, is a born-and-raised Californian. He was born in Newport Beach and attended high school at Fountain Valley. He then played college ball at Loyola Marymount -- in Los Angeles. In fact, the Marlins offered Wilson a six-year deal worth a good amount more money. Scott Miller of CBSSports.com reports the Miami offer was up to $99 million -- and Wilson's representatives believe the Marlins would have gone over $100 million. Plus, there is no income tax in Florida. So, as opposed to the what appears to have happened in the Pujols situation, Wilson wasn't chasing the money. Sure, he's not anywhere close to being poor, but it appears he left lots of money on the table to go back home.

"The Marlins definitely were the frontrunner for a while -- they offered the most lucrative deal and the most freedom, too," Wilson said in the Hilton Anatole lobby Thursday. "But by no means was I trying to break the bank here. If it was about the money, I'd be a Marlin."

"You could say it's a hometown discount," he said, noting he's been getting tons of calls and text messages from excited family and friends back in California.

MLB Winter Meetings
Wilson went 16-7 with a 2.94 ERA, 1.19 WHIP and 206 strikeouts in 223 1/3 innings during the 2011 regular season, qualifying for his first All-Star Game. Also keep in mind the Rangers played in the most hitter-friendly park in the majors in 2011, and Wilson's road ERA was a sparkling 2.31.

On the flip-side, Wilson had a bad showing in the postseason, specifically with control -- this coming from a guy who constantly throws up the hash-tag #throwstrikes on Twitter before his starts. In 23 innings during the ALCS and World Series, Wilson surrendered 20 walks. He entered Game 7 as a reliever in a pivotal moment and forced home an inherited runner with a hit-by-pitch. In his career, Wilson is 1-5 with a 4.82 ERA and 1.43 WHIP in 52 1/3 postseason innings.

Also, Wilson has only been a starting pitcher for two years. From 2005-09, he worked exclusively out of the Rangers' bullpen, even serving as closer for a bit. He was pretty good in 2007 and 2009, but had an awful 6.02 ERA and 1.64 WHIP in 2008 -- the season in which he accrued a career-high 24 saves. Prior to 2010, however, Wilson made the switch to being a starter at the big-league level. It stuck. He went 15-8 with a 3.35 ERA and 1.25 WHIP in 204 innings. His walk rate was bad, as he coughed up an AL-high 93 walks, but he still was a quality starter by nearly every measure. He got even better in 2011, serving as the Rangers' ace en route to their second consecutive World Series appearance.

Wilson did note he was disappointed that the Rangers didn't push for him very strongly.

"I would have shot myself in the foot to stay in Texas," he said.

He just didn't have the chance. In fact, Rangers general manager Jon Daniels jokingly said to Wilson, "any chance I can get you to sign with the Marlins," instead of going to an AL West rival (per Scott Miller).

Instead, Wilson has gotten his big payday and returned back home -- still in the AL West.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: December 8, 2011 10:52 am
Edited on: December 8, 2011 11:06 am
 

What's next for the Cardinals?



By Matt Snyder


DALLAS -- A Cardinals legend is leaving St. Louis and headed to Los Angeles, as Albert Pujols has signed with the Angels. For many, the main question here is, where do the Cardinals go from here?

There are several moving parts. Let's sort through them.

• As far as first base, the Cardinals already had a backup plan. Lance Berkman can shift right back to first, where he's best suited defensively anyway. This eliminates an awful defensive hole in the outfield, though it is obviously a defensive downgrade at first base, as Pujols is one of the best in the game. It was very unlikely the Cardinals would pursue Prince Fielder or even a lesser free agent first baseman like Carlos Pena before we knew about the Allen Craig injury. With the injury, do the Cardinals get hasty and go large after Fielder? It doesn't seem like a good bet, but we do know the Cardinals had a truckload of money they were about to spend and now haven't been able to do so. So feel free to speculate away.

MLB Winter Meetings
• It's entirely possible this changes the landscape for free agent shortstop Jimmy Rollins. Multiple reports had Rollins close to signing with the Phillies, but instead his agent didn't meet with them Wednesday night. Interestingly enough, Rollins' agent is Dan Lozano. Yes, the same Dan Lozano who represents Pujols. And the Cardinals have a need at shortstop ... and for a leadoff hitter. They were said to be interested in Rollins a bit ago, but obviously all efforts were focused on Pujols until Thursday morning. He's gone now, though, so we may very well see Rollins get a nice offer from the Cardinals. Maybe even a panic-type deal. There is still a feeling Rollins is headed back to Philly, but the Pujols signing very much affects the market for the All-Star shortstop.

• In the outfield, the Cardinals now have a predicament. They were set to go with Berkman, Jon Jay and Matt Holliday. If Pujols left, Berkman would slide to first base and Craig would become the everyday right fielder. The problem is, Craig is likely out until May. And you never know how players will bounce back from knee surgeries. What if there are setbacks? So this poses a big problem. It looks like it's Skip Schumaker in right, for now, and there isn't really much better the Cardinals can do -- assuming their free agent focus turns to Rollins, which I fully expect.

• One last thing, we have to remember the Cardinals are getting back a healthy Adam Wainwright. They won the World Series last season without their ace. And now he's back. So the starting pitching will be improved.

And it better be, because the Cardinals just lost the best player of the last decade.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: December 8, 2011 1:30 am
Edited on: December 8, 2011 2:18 am
 

Yu Darvish to be posted Thursday

Yu Darvish

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Japanese right-hander Yu Darvish will be posted by the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighter on Thursday, his agent, Don Nomura, tweeted in the early hours of Thursday morning.

Darvish also posted the news on his blog (in Japanese). 

If C.J. Wilson signs quickly, as expected, Darvish, 25, will be the top starter left on the market.

Last season for the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters, Darvish went 18-6 with a 1.44 ERA, striking out 276 batters in 232 innings. In his seven-year career, he's 93-38 with a 1.99 ERA, striking out at least 200 batters in the shorter Japanese season four times and walking more than 50 just once. He hasn't posted an ERA more than 2.00 since his second year in the top level of Japanese baseball -- and he was 19 for most of that season.

Many teams will be interested in the right-hander, including the Yankees, Blue Jays, Nationals, Angels and Rangers -- the five expected to be the front-runners. The Red Sox could also be interested, especially with new manager Bobby Valentine's experience in Japan where he managed against Darvish. Rosenthal tweets that Valentine "loves" Darvish. Rangers general manager Jon Daniels and Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos traveled to Japan this season to scout Darvish in person.

The posting is just the first part of a possible move stateside. After Darvish is posted, teams will have a period to submit blind bids for the opportunity to sign him. The team with the highest bid will win the right to negotiate with Darvish and after signing him will not only have to pay Darvish, but also the posting fee, which goes only to the Fighters.

Full Winter Meetings Coverage | Free Agent Tracker

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: December 8, 2011 1:11 am
Edited on: December 8, 2011 8:41 am
 

Hunter, Morrison fight for Wilson on Twitter

CJ Wilson

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Flight tracking is so last year -- this year's free agent trend is Twitter recruiting.

With rumors that left-hander C.J. Wilson may be down to the Marlins and Angels, a member of each team is making his case on Twitter to Wilson, who is also active on Twitter. So, we have the Marlins and Logan Morrison vs. the Angels and Torii Hunter.

Shortly before midnight Eastern on Wednesday, Hunter (@toriihunter48) tweeted Wilson (@str8edgeracer):

Morrison (@LoMoMarlins) jumped into the fray to help his team:

When the Nationals' Collin Balestar (@ballystar40) piped up about the "perfect weather" in SoCal, Morrison then responded again:

That got Hunter and Wilson to respond:

But Morrison wasn't finished with his pitch:

And, showing himself to be an amateur copy editor, Morrison also had a nice dig at a fan who tried to take a shot at him:

In the end, the Twitter recruiting isn't going to decide where Wilson ends up, dollars will. But in the meantime, it's fun to watch from the sidelines -- what else are you going to do, watch basketball?

Full Winter Meetings Coverage | Free Agent Tracker

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Posted on: December 7, 2011 11:43 pm
 

Angels agree to sign LaTroy Hawkins

By Matt Snyder

DALLAS -- The Angels have signed themselves a free agent pitcher. Nope, not C.J. Wilson (yet?). Relief pitcher LaTroy Hawkins has signed with the Angels for one year and $3 million, reports Scott Miller of CBSSports.com.

Hawkins, 38, will join his ninth team, which is quite remarkable since he'd only played with one (the Twins) through age 30. He was terrible for the Brewers in 2010 before putting together a great bounce-back season in 2011. He had a 2.42 ERA and 1.24 WHIP in 48 1/3 innings.

Unless the Angels swing a deal for a closer -- which feels unlikely -- Hawkins will serve as the setup man for young Jordan Walden.

Full Winter Meetings Coverage | Free Agent Tracker

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: December 7, 2011 12:44 pm
Edited on: December 7, 2011 5:21 pm
 

Angels 'pushing hard' for Wilson, Marlins in, too



By Matt Snyder


DALLAS -- The Angels are pushing hard to try to sign free agent pitcher C.J. Wilson, with the goal of getting something done before the Winter Meetings end Thursday, sources told CBSSports.com's Danny Knobler. Knobler has also learned the Marlins have offered Wilson a six-year contract. [UPDATE: The Marlins have signed Mark Buehrle. Unbelievably, sources have told Knobler that they are still in on the bidding for Wilson.]

Wilson has long been a favorite of new Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto, and the team has been pursuing him since last month's general managers meetings. The Marlins have also pursued Wilson, and some believed that he would be their first backup choice if Albert Pujols decides to stay in St. Louis, which seems entirely possible.

MLB Winter Meetings
The Rangers talked regularly to Wilson's agent, but it was always believed that they would be willing to see him sign elsewhere.

Wilson, 31, is a California native. He went 16-7 with a 2.94 ERA, 1.19 WHIP and 206 strikeouts in 233 1/3 innings during the 2011 regular season, qualifying for his first All-Star Game. Also keep in mind the Rangers played in the most hitter-friendly park in the majors in 2011, and Wilson's road ERA was a sparkling 2.31. On the flip-side, Wilson had a bad showing in the postseason and has only been a starting pitcher for two years.

As for the Marlins, we know they're serious about throwing money around, so it's not surprising they've gone with a big offer.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com