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  1. GIancarlo Stanton has taken the baseball world by storm the past few weeks by putting on one of the most impressive power displays in baseball history. Power has always been the 27 year old’s main calling card but even this recent stretch has been impressive for his standards. In a stretch of 35 games, Stanton pounded out 23 long balls, claiming the attention as the game’s premier slugger that Yankees rookie Aaron Judge tried to take away earlier this year. Stanton slugged a healthy .731 in the month of July and is slugging a ridiculous 1.018 in August. He’s been baseball’s best hitter and player in the 2nd half so far, leading baseball with 2.2 fWAR and a 215 wRC+(115% better than the league average hitter). As is custom with good Miami Marlins players, Stanton’s name is now floating around in trade talks around the league. With a mediocre MLB team, the league’s worst farm system and the team in the middle of changing ownership, it seems inevitable that Stanton will end up changing teams in the next calendar year. Add in the fact that Stanton is having a monstrous year and it makes too much sense that he will be shopped to contending teams in the next 6 months. What makes any Stanton trade tricky, however, is the huge amount of money he is owed for the next decade. In late 2014, the Marlins and Stanton surprised the baseball world by agreeing to a 13 year 325 million dollar contract extension. This deal is still the largest in baseball history and likely will be until Manny Machado, Bryce Harper and Mike Trout are slated to be free agents in the next 4 years. At the time of the deal, it looked like a fair contract, albeit one with a lot of risk, given Stanton just slashed .288/.395/.555 with 6.3 fWAR as a 24 year old. Given his generational like power and surprising speed and athleticism for a 6’4″ 245 pound man, it seemed like he was on the verge of becoming a consistent top 5 player. Stanton produced well in 2015 but missed 88 games due to injury, then produced just 1.7 fWAR and a 114 wRC+ in 2016, leaving his future value in doubt. It appears as if Stanton is now back to his elite self, thanks to a change in his stance and swing mechanics that have led to a decline in strikeouts(22.8% strikeout rate in the 2nd half) while keeping the prodigious power. Here’s a look at the changes he made to his stance, which have helped him cover more of the strike zone and not allow himself to open up his front side too quickly. Stanton April 2017Stanton August 2017What’s noteworthy about the Stanton trade rumors is one team that is listed as a possible suitor: the Angels. J.P. Morosi of Fox Sports came out with a piece on Wednesday that listed the Angels, Giants and Nationals as 3 serious suitors, citing that the Angels will likely be interested after being off the hook for Josh Hamilton’s contract this coming offseason. With 50+ million dollars to spend this offseason and a farm system that won’t supplement the major league club all that soon, the match with Stanton is pretty obvious. Angels owner Arte Moreno has never been shy about making big splashes(Vladimir Guerrero, Albert Pujols, Josh Hamilton) and while the club has been resistant to make big moves lately, Stanton represents a young, star level player who also has ties to Southern California(Los Angeles native). Let’s assume the Angels are serious bidders for Stanton. The first and obvious red flag here is the fact that he is under contract through 2027 and has a 25 million dollar club option in 2028 with a 10 million dollar buyout. Assuming that club option isn’t exercised, Stanton will be paid 295 million dollars from 2018-2027, nearly 30 million dollars a year. He does have an opt out after the 2020 season but it seems rather unlikely that he will opt out unless he ends up staying in Miami. In 2027, Stanton will be 37 years old. For a club that has been recently crippled by handing out big contracts to 30+ year olds, this doesn’t seem like a wise move on paper. Stanton is obviously a younger option than the previously mentioned Angels signings but he’ll be getting paid heavily in his later years much like those players. Another serious issue for most of Stanton’s career has been his injury proneness, as he missed pretty significant time in 2012-2013 and 2015-2016. Large human beings like Stanton tend to be a bit more injury prone so that’s another legitimate worry when you add the contract into the mix. Even with those 2 huge red flags, Stanton is one of the game’s elite talents and would pretty easily become the Angels 2nd best player, or 3rd best(hello Andrelton Simmons). Since reaching the big leagues in 2010, Stanton has been the 15th most valuable position player in baseball. His 144 wRC+ ranks 7th in baseball in that same time frame. His .553 slugging percentage ranks 4th. Stanton is a legitimate middle of the order bat who would instantly make the Angels lineup a formidable group just by grouping him with Mike Trout. Stanton consistently posts above average walk rates and with this recent cut back in strikeouts, there is legitimate talk of Stanton being a top 5 hitter once again, much like he was from 2011-2014. Stanton is also a legitimately good defender in right field, which surprises some people based on his size. He has accumulated a healthy 39 defensive runs saved(DRS) and a 24.2 Ultimate Zone Rating(UZR) in right field. Statcast backs this up as he generally makes all of the routine players and makes plenty of 4 star catches(45.5% in 2017). Add all of this up and you have a true talent 4+ win player and that’s including the time he misses with injuries most years. We’ve established that Stanton is a really good player. The tricky part is working out a deal. There is so much money tied up in Stanton that any team trading for him likely will either want to take on the whole deal but give up no meaningful talent or have some salary sent back while sending more talent in return. Many believe that the Stanton deal is a really bad deal but if you break it down, it’s not really a poor deal but rather one with a lot of risk due to the length of the deal. I did a very rough projection of Stanton’s value over the duration of the deal, projecting him for a few 5 win seasons coming up then docking a half a win off each following season until the deal is up. I included his annual salary and also calculated what his actual worth is based on his production and what the free agent market pays for 1 WAR. As of now, teams are paying roughly 9 million dollars for 1 WAR on the free agent market. Here’s what Stanton’s breakdown looks like, with his projected WAR listed first followed by his annual salary and what he would be paid in free agency. Inflation is a basic concept of economics and it applies to baseball as well. If we assume there’s roughly 5-10% of inflation over the next 10 years, Stanton will be worth 300-315 million dollars in this scenario. Again, this is a rough estimate and given Stanton’s injury history, it’s likely he’ll probably have a few injury riddled years. If you think this is too high of an estimate, that’s fair so maybe you dock him down to 250-275 million dollars of earned value. Even if that’s the case, Stanton is being paid pretty appropriately for what he’s providing on the baseball field. That means any team trading for Stanton and taking on the whole contract is probably paying him appropriately, which really means that team shouldn’t have to send anything meaningful back in return. But the Marlins are in the midst of changing ownership and it seems unlikely that Derek Jeter and his business partners will salary dump a franchise icon without getting some talent in return. This is where some potential issues may lie. If the Angels enter the bidding process, they’ll likely want to take on most of the Stanton deal and give up less talent in return. If the Angels were to take the Stanton deal off and assume he’s being close to what he’s worth, the Angels likely won’t have to send much back. The Marlins likely want prospects and not MLB talent in return since a Stanton trade likely signals a rebuild so this rules out players like Kole Calhoun, Andrelton Simmons, etc. Maybe a top 10 prospect and some filler fits the mold. Chris Rodriguez and some lower level prospects, for example, might be a fair return if the Angels take on all of the salary, or even most of it. The Marlins may ask for more but it’s unlikely they’ll get more value back unless they kick in cash, which is a possible scenario too. For the Angels, they soak up a lot of payroll but they also add a premier talent and will still have enough money to fill a few holes through free agency and trades. Let’s assume the Marlins eat 25% of the contract, knocking the deal down to 221 million dollars over 10 years. 10 years still looks like a lot but that 22.1 Annual Average Value(AAV) looks a lot more enticing and is probably paying Stanton under what he’s actually worth. In this scenario, the Marlins can ask for a better prospect package in return, with Stanton being a bit of a bargain. Miami can likely ask for a few blue chip prospects, such as Jahmai Jones and Jaime Barria, and another project such as Elvin Rodriguez or Jose Suarez. This hurts the Angels farm system but it also gives the Angels more payroll flexibility and creates less risk by taking on less money on a gigantic deal. If the Marlins really want to maximize their return value and aren’t too concerned about the money, they can split the cost of the contract, bringing it down to 147.5 million dollars over 10 years. Now, the Marlins have some serious leverage to ask for a monstrous return but are also on the hook for nearly 150 million dollars of dead money while also sending their franchise icon out of town. The Angels are probably sending Jahmai Jones, Jordon Adell, Jaime Barria, Chris Rodriguez and more in this hypothetical deal but are also getting a premier slugger for 14.75 million dollars a year over the duration of the deal. The Marlins likely don’t eat this much money and the Angels are probably hesitant to crush a farm system that is improving so much but it’s a possibility. This scenario means the Angels really undo the work of improving the farm system but they add a legit top 10 hitter and pay him well less than he deserves and allow themselves to spend more in free agency. What we have here is two sides who are a match for negotiating a Giancarlo Stanton trade. What we don’t have is clarity on what each team would prefer: exchanging money or prospects. In any scenario, there seems to be a fit here considering how much free payroll the Angels have coming up and the dire need for another big bat to pair with Mike Trout before he hits free agency after 2020. Bringing Stanton in could be that big move that signals to Mike Trout that the Angels are serious and could sway him into re-upping to stay in Anaheim for the rest of his career. It’s a risky move and we’ve seen the Angels get crippled with big deals but the Angels also have the chance to add a premier player and possibly create the best duo of hitters in all of baseball. There is no doubt that this is an incredibly risky move, regardless of which route the Angels took to acquire Stanton, but it’s also a move that would help put the Angels firmly into contender mode and would maximize this Trout window. The upside with acquiring Giancarlo Stanton is obvious. The risk of acquiring him may be just as big, if not bigger, than that reward. Deciding if that risk is more than the reward is the ultimate question to any Giancarlo Stanton trade discussion. View the full article
  2. By @Brent Maguire, AngelsWin.com Staff Writer GIancarlo Stanton has taken the baseball world by storm the past few weeks by putting on one of the most impressive power displays in baseball history. Power has always been the 27 year old’s main calling card but even this recent stretch has been impressive for his standards. In a stretch of 35 games, Stanton pounded out 23 long balls, claiming the attention as the game’s premier slugger that Yankees rookie Aaron Judge tried to take away earlier this year. Stanton slugged a healthy .731 in the month of July and is slugging a ridiculous 1.018 in August. He’s been baseball’s best hitter and player in the 2nd half so far, leading baseball with 2.2 fWAR and a 215 wRC+(115% better than the league average hitter). As is custom with good Miami Marlins players, Stanton’s name is now floating around in trade talks around the league. With a mediocre MLB team, the league’s worst farm system and the team in the middle of changing ownership, it seems inevitable that Stanton will end up changing teams in the next calendar year. Add in the fact that Stanton is having a monstrous year and it makes too much sense that he will be shopped to contending teams in the next 6 months. What makes any Stanton trade tricky, however, is the huge amount of money he is owed for the next decade. In late 2014, the Marlins and Stanton surprised the baseball world by agreeing to a 13 year 325 million dollar contract extension. This deal is still the largest in baseball history and likely will be until Manny Machado, Bryce Harper and Mike Trout are slated to be free agents in the next 4 years. At the time of the deal, it looked like a fair contract, albeit one with a lot of risk, given Stanton just slashed .288/.395/.555 with 6.3 fWAR as a 24 year old. Given his generational like power and surprising speed and athleticism for a 6’4″ 245 pound man, it seemed like he was on the verge of becoming a consistent top 5 player. Stanton produced well in 2015 but missed 88 games due to injury, then produced just 1.7 fWAR and a 114 wRC+ in 2016, leaving his future value in doubt. It appears as if Stanton is now back to his elite self, thanks to a change in his stance and swing mechanics that have led to a decline in strikeouts(22.8% strikeout rate in the 2nd half) while keeping the prodigious power. Here’s a look at the changes he made to his stance, which have helped him cover more of the strike zone and not allow himself to open up his front side too quickly. Stanton April 2017 Stanton August 2017 What’s noteworthy about the Stanton trade rumors is one team that is listed as a possible suitor: the Angels. J.P. Morosi of Fox Sports came out with a piece on Wednesday that listed the Angels, Giants and Nationals as 3 serious suitors, citing that the Angels will likely be interested after being off the hook for Josh Hamilton’s contract this coming offseason. With 50+ million dollars to spend this offseason and a farm system that won’t supplement the major league club all that soon, the match with Stanton is pretty obvious. Angels owner Arte Moreno has never been shy about making big splashes(Vladimir Guerrero, Albert Pujols, Josh Hamilton) and while the club has been resistant to make big moves lately, Stanton represents a young, star level player who also has ties to Southern California(Los Angeles native). Let’s assume the Angels are serious bidders for Stanton. The first and obvious red flag here is the fact that he is under contract through 2027 and has a 25 million dollar club option in 2028 with a 10 million dollar buyout. Assuming that club option isn’t exercised, Stanton will be paid 295 million dollars from 2018-2027, nearly 30 million dollars a year. He does have an opt out after the 2020 season but it seems rather unlikely that he will opt out unless he ends up staying in Miami. In 2027, Stanton will be 37 years old. For a club that has been recently crippled by handing out big contracts to 30+ year olds, this doesn’t seem like a wise move on paper. Stanton is obviously a younger option than the previously mentioned Angels signings but he’ll be getting paid heavily in his later years much like those players. Another serious issue for most of Stanton’s career has been his injury proneness, as he missed pretty significant time in 2012-2013 and 2015-2016. Large human beings like Stanton tend to be a bit more injury prone so that’s another legitimate worry when you add the contract into the mix. Even with those 2 huge red flags, Stanton is one of the game’s elite talents and would pretty easily become the Angels 2nd best player, or 3rd best(hello Andrelton Simmons). Since reaching the big leagues in 2010, Stanton has been the 15th most valuable position player in baseball. His 144 wRC+ ranks 7th in baseball in that same time frame. His .553 slugging percentage ranks 4th. Stanton is a legitimate middle of the order bat who would instantly make the Angels lineup a formidable group just by grouping him with Mike Trout. Stanton consistently posts above average walk rates and with this recent cut back in strikeouts, there is legitimate talk of Stanton being a top 5 hitter once again, much like he was from 2011-2014. Stanton is also a legitimately good defender in right field, which surprises some people based on his size. He has accumulated a healthy 39 defensive runs saved(DRS) and a 24.2 Ultimate Zone Rating(UZR) in right field. Statcast backs this up as he generally makes all of the routine players and makes plenty of 4 star catches(45.5% in 2017). Add all of this up and you have a true talent 4+ win player and that’s including the time he misses with injuries most years. We’ve established that Stanton is a really good player. The tricky part is working out a deal. There is so much money tied up in Stanton that any team trading for him likely will either want to take on the whole deal but give up no meaningful talent or have some salary sent back while sending more talent in return. Many believe that the Stanton deal is a really bad deal but if you break it down, it’s not really a poor deal but rather one with a lot of risk due to the length of the deal. I did a very rough projection of Stanton’s value over the duration of the deal, projecting him for a few 5 win seasons coming up then docking a half a win off each following season until the deal is up. I included his annual salary and also calculated what his actual worth is based on his production and what the free agent market pays for 1 WAR. As of now, teams are paying roughly 9 million dollars for 1 WAR on the free agent market. Here’s what Stanton’s breakdown looks like, with his projected WAR listed first followed by his annual salary and what he would be paid in free agency. Inflation is a basic concept of economics and it applies to baseball as well. If we assume there’s roughly 5-10% of inflation over the next 10 years, Stanton will be worth 300-315 million dollars in this scenario. Again, this is a rough estimate and given Stanton’s injury history, it’s likely he’ll probably have a few injury riddled years. If you think this is too high of an estimate, that’s fair so maybe you dock him down to 250-275 million dollars of earned value. Even if that’s the case, Stanton is being paid pretty appropriately for what he’s providing on the baseball field. That means any team trading for Stanton and taking on the whole contract is probably paying him appropriately, which really means that team shouldn’t have to send anything meaningful back in return. But the Marlins are in the midst of changing ownership and it seems unlikely that Derek Jeter and his business partners will salary dump a franchise icon without getting some talent in return. This is where some potential issues may lie. If the Angels enter the bidding process, they’ll likely want to take on most of the Stanton deal and give up less talent in return. If the Angels were to take the Stanton deal off and assume he’s being close to what he’s worth, the Angels likely won’t have to send much back. The Marlins likely want prospects and not MLB talent in return since a Stanton trade likely signals a rebuild so this rules out players like Kole Calhoun, Andrelton Simmons, etc. Maybe a top 10 prospect and some filler fits the mold. Chris Rodriguez and some lower level prospects, for example, might be a fair return if the Angels take on all of the salary, or even most of it. The Marlins may ask for more but it’s unlikely they’ll get more value back unless they kick in cash, which is a possible scenario too. For the Angels, they soak up a lot of payroll but they also add a premier talent and will still have enough money to fill a few holes through free agency and trades. Let’s assume the Marlins eat 25% of the contract, knocking the deal down to 221 million dollars over 10 years. 10 years still looks like a lot but that 22.1 Annual Average Value(AAV) looks a lot more enticing and is probably paying Stanton under what he’s actually worth. In this scenario, the Marlins can ask for a better prospect package in return, with Stanton being a bit of a bargain. Miami can likely ask for a few blue chip prospects, such as Jahmai Jones and Jaime Barria, and another project such as Elvin Rodriguez or Jose Suarez. This hurts the Angels farm system but it also gives the Angels more payroll flexibility and creates less risk by taking on less money on a gigantic deal. If the Marlins really want to maximize their return value and aren’t too concerned about the money, they can split the cost of the contract, bringing it down to 147.5 million dollars over 10 years. Now, the Marlins have some serious leverage to ask for a monstrous return but are also on the hook for nearly 150 million dollars of dead money while also sending their franchise icon out of town. The Angels are probably sending Jahmai Jones, Jordon Adell, Jaime Barria, Chris Rodriguez and more in this hypothetical deal but are also getting a premier slugger for 14.75 million dollars a year over the duration of the deal. The Marlins likely don’t eat this much money and the Angels are probably hesitant to crush a farm system that is improving so much but it’s a possibility. This scenario means the Angels really undo the work of improving the farm system but they add a legit top 10 hitter and pay him well less than he deserves and allow themselves to spend more in free agency. What we have here is two sides who are a match for negotiating a Giancarlo Stanton trade. What we don’t have is clarity on what each team would prefer: exchanging money or prospects. In any scenario, there seems to be a fit here considering how much free payroll the Angels have coming up and the dire need for another big bat to pair with Mike Trout before he hits free agency after 2020. Bringing Stanton in could be that big move that signals to Mike Trout that the Angels are serious and could sway him into re-upping to stay in Anaheim for the rest of his career. It’s a risky move and we’ve seen the Angels get crippled with big deals but the Angels also have the chance to add a premier player and possibly create the best duo of hitters in all of baseball. There is no doubt that this is an incredibly risky move, regardless of which route the Angels took to acquire Stanton, but it’s also a move that would help put the Angels firmly into contender mode and would maximize this Trout window. The upside with acquiring Giancarlo Stanton is obvious. The risk of acquiring him may be just as big, if not bigger, than that reward. Deciding if that risk is more than the reward is the ultimate question to any Giancarlo Stanton trade discussion. View the full article
  3. Angels starting pitcher Andrew Heaney, wake off the field with a bloody nose after a four-run third inning by the Chicago Cubs during their game at Angel Stadium Tuesday. ///ADDITIONAL INFO: angels.0406.kjs — Photo by KEVIN SULLIVAN / Orange County Register — 4/5/16 The Los Angeles Angels take on the Chicago Cubs Tuesday at Angel Stadium. 4/5/16 Angels starting pitcher Andrew Heaney pitches against the Chicago Cubs during their game at Angel Stadium Tuesday. ///ADDITIONAL INFO: angels.0406.kjs — Photo by KEVIN SULLIVAN / Orange County Register — 4/5/16 The Los Angeles Angels take on the Chicago Cubs Tuesday at Angel Stadium. 4/5/16 Angels pitcher Andrew Heaney sits in the dugout next to pitching coach Charles Nagy during a game in April of 2016 at Angel Stadium. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG) Angels’ Andrew Heaney delivers a pitch during a game against the Astros at Angel Stadium on Sunday. ///ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: angels.0914-9/13/15- KYUSUNG GONG, STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER – Angels vs. Astros Show Caption of Expand BALTIMORE — Even before Andrew Heaney underwent Tommy John surgery last year, he had an idea when he wanted to return to the majors. August 15, 2017. Mid-August would be 13½ months after his July 1, 2016, surgery, so that’s the date he kept circled in his head, and that he shared privately with Angels teammates and trainers. As Heaney prepares to return to a big league mound Friday against the Baltimore Orioles, just three days behind his goal, what is even more remarkable is that Heaney didn’t just rehab from one surgery. He actually had two. Around late September last year, Heaney was doing range-of-motion exercises, and they weren’t going well. “It just wasn’t coming back,” Heaney said. “It was painful. Uncomfortable.” Heaney also noticed a tingling in his fingers. He was unusually clumsy, dropping his keys all the time. So he went to see a neurologist. Heaney learned that, sometime during his rehab, a “nerve had slipped into the groove and was getting pinched,” he said. He had another surgery, in early October, to transposition his nerve, he said. It was a relatively quick and minor procedure but nonetheless upsetting to Heaney. He never spoke publicly about the second operation until this week, and the Angels never revealed it. “For me, that was the low point,” Heaney said, “because I felt like maybe that was going to take me off course.” It didn’t. Since then, Heaney’s rehab has been, by all accounts, flawless. He hit all of his markers, which is why he’s able to pitch in 2017, even though the team’s initial, conservative, plan was to have him come back in 2018. Heaney never wanted that. “Before I had surgery, that was part of it – I wanted to find a surgeon who was OK with that, who felt comfortable getting me back in 13½ or 14 months,” he said. “That’s something I really wanted to do. “I wanted to have that confidence in myself that I’m back. I wanted to have the ability to get stretched out and throw in games and have as close to a normal offseason as possible, not come into spring training saying ‘What the hell do I have?’ I know what I can do, because I did it for the last month and a half of the season.” What the Angels will see over the last six weeks, Heaney said, is a pitcher who has adjusted his delivery and is in better shape. “Right now, the way I feel, (the surgery) is going to be a really (lousy) thing that’s a positive thing for my career,” he said. “I learned how to train better. I learned how to eat better. I learned how to take care of my body better.” The pitching changes are minor, Heaney said. Just some tweaks to make his delivery more repeatable and consistent. The only evidence of whether it’s made a difference so far are his six minor league outings, in which he posted a 2.60 ERA with 29 strikeouts and five walks in 27-2/3 innings. In his last Triple-A game, he gave up one run in seven innings, on 94 pitches. When Heaney, 26, brings all that to the mound Friday night, many of his teammates will be seeing a healthy Heaney for the first time in a big league game. Heaney pitched one game in 2016, a six-inning outing in which he was already feeling the effects of something amiss in his elbow. He earned the nod to start the second game of 2016 with the way he pitched down the stretch in 2015, a 3.49 ERA in 18 starts. “It’s definitely going to be exciting for a lot of guys in this clubhouse to see him get back out there,” said Kole Calhoun, one of the Angels who was around in 2015. “Hopefully he can help this ballclub. We can definitely use him.” Heaney’s effectiveness down the stretch this year shouldn’t necessarily be judged by what he does on Friday, though. This game is going to be unlike any other that Heaney has pitched. “It feels like your debut again,” said Andrew Bailey, who had Tommy John surgery in college and missed 24 months of his major league career after shoulder surgery. “It’s nerve-wracking. It’s one of those things you’ve just got to get through. “He’s going to have a bunch of emotions going through his head. It’s going to be about his ability to control that and grind through it. He’s still got a couple hurdles to get through as far as getting comfortable back on the mound.” Tyler Skaggs went through it just about a year ago. Skaggs missed nearly two years after his Tommy John surgery, because he also had a shoulder issue crop up during his rehab. He returned last July and pitched seven scoreless innings in his first game. “There will be a lot of adrenaline the first game back,” Skaggs said. “Once it’s over, you can say ‘I’m back and it is what it is.’” Heaney was feeling it days before he pitched: “I haven’t been out there at this level in a while. I’ve got butterflies. I’m anxious. I’m ready to get out there and pitch.” Heaney’s wife, his mother and one of his sisters will be in Baltimore to share this moment with him. They, along with his teammates and certainly even many of the Orioles, will know they are watching something special. It will be the culmination of a roller coaster of emotions over 413 days. Just like he planned. “It feels really good to have put my mind and soul into something and have it come out that way,” Heaney said. “That was just Step 1. From here on out, it’s about competing and getting outs.” View the full article
  4. ANGELS at ORIOLES When: 4 p.m. Where: Camden Yards TV: Fox Sports West THE PITCHERS ANGELS LHP ANDREW HEANEY (1-2, 2.60 in minors) vs. Orioles: 0-0, 6.35 At Camden Yards: First game Hates to face: None Loves to face: Adam Lind, 2 for 13 (.154) ORIOLES RHP JEREMY HELLICKSON (7-7, 4.70) vs. Angels: 3-4, 3.02 At Camden Yards: 4-2, 4.36 Hates to face: Mike Trout, 3 for 8 (.375), 4 BBs Loves to face: Albert Pujols, 2 for 14 (.143) UPCOMING GAMES: Saturday: Angels (RHP JC Ramirez, 10-10, 4.26) vs. Orioles (RHP Kevin Gausman, 9-8, 5.08), 4 p.m., Fox Sports West Sunday: Angels (RHP Parker Bridwell, 7-1, 2.88) vs. Orioles (TBA), 10 a.m., Fox Sports West View the full article
  5. Leading up to yesterday’s day game, Parker Bridwell joined MLB Network via Ballpark Cam to discuss the following items with MLB Central’s Mark DeRosa, Matt Vasgersian and Hall of Famer John Smoltz: Here’s some highlights of the segment with Parker Didwell. On what works for him, Bridwell responded, “Primarily I’d say executing fastball command, being down in the zone early, and when guys are hacking it really works in your favor and helps you be more efficient. If I can get an out in two pitches instead of three then I’m gonna be in good shape and I’m gonna do that every time if I can. I just look to be efficient and get my team off the field and keep our bats hot.” On facing the Orioles this coming Sunday, Bridwell said, “I think the way I am wired, there is a little extra something something. I like competing and that’s just the way I am. Like I told some of the guys after the first appearance with them, ‘There [are] some good friends on that side and they treated me and my family very well in that organization.’ So, it’s just a game and at the end of the day I just want to go out there and put my team in the best position to win.” On befriending Hong Kong-based fan Fergus Chan, Bridwell said, “There was always this one kid that was always yelling positive things to me and Keynan Middleton. I got to talking to him one day and asked him about his story, or who he came with to the games, because he was always by himself. He said he bought a $10 ticket and sat way up in right field stands every game. So I told him to come to will call the next day and I’ll leave him a ticket by the dugout so he can kind of interact more with the players and stuff. From there it just took off, he’s an awesome kid and I’m very glad I got to meet somebody like that. He’s somebody that inspires a bunch of people and for me, I like doing stuff for people that are good to me.” You can watch the entire segment with Bridwell below. View the full article
  6. Leading up to yesterday’s day game, Parker Bridwell joined MLB Network via Ballpark Cam to discuss the following items with MLB Central’s Mark DeRosa, Matt Vasgersian and Hall of Famer John Smoltz: Here’s some highlights of the segment with Parker Didwell. On what works for him, Bridwell responded, “Primarily I’d say executing fastball command, being down in the zone early, and when guys are hacking it really works in your favor and helps you be more efficient. If I can get an out in two pitches instead of three then I’m gonna be in good shape and I’m gonna do that every time if I can. I just look to be efficient and get my team off the field and keep our bats hot.” On facing the Orioles this coming Sunday, Bridwell said, “I think the way I am wired, there is a little extra something something. I like competing and that’s just the way I am. Like I told some of the guys after the first appearance with them, ‘There [are] some good friends on that side and they treated me and my family very well in that organization.’ So, it’s just a game and at the end of the day I just want to go out there and put my team in the best position to win.” On befriending Hong Kong-based fan Fergus Chan, Bridwell said, “There was always this one kid that was always yelling positive things to me and Keynan Middleton. I got to talking to him one day and asked him about his story, or who he came with to the games, because he was always by himself. He said he bought a $10 ticket and sat way up in right field stands every game. So I told him to come to will call the next day and I’ll leave him a ticket by the dugout so he can kind of interact more with the players and stuff. From there it just took off, he’s an awesome kid and I’m very glad I got to meet somebody like that. He’s somebody that inspires a bunch of people and for me, I like doing stuff for people that are good to me.” You can watch the entire segment with Bridwell below. View the full article
  7. This post is brought to you in partnership with Frigo® Cheese. Friends, let us never underestimate the transformative power of cheese. Even just a sprinkle of Parmesan or a crumble of feta can transform an otherwise simple dinner into something truly special. Continue reading "12 Crowd-Pleasing Recipes with Cheese" » View the full article
  8. Angels starting pitcher Ricky Nolasco throws during the third inning of an interleague game against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park, Wednesday, Aug. 16, 2017. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) The Washington Nationals’ Wilmer Difo hits a single during the third inning of an interleague game against the Angels at Nationals Park, Wednesday, Aug. 16, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) Angels first baseman Luis Valbuena, left, listens as catcher Juan Graterol and starting pitcher Ricky Nolasco talk on the mound during the third inning of an interleague game against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park, Wednesday, Aug. 16, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) The Angels’ Luis Valbuena, center, is congratulated in the dugout by teammates after hitting home run in the fifth inning of an interleague game against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park, Wednesday, Aug. 16, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) Washington Nationals starting pitcher Tanner Roark throws during the fourth inning of an interleague game against the Angels at Nationals Park, Wednesday, Aug. 16, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) Washington Nationals center fielder Michael Taylor can’t catch a solo home run by the Angels’ Luis Valbuena during the fifth inning of an interleague game at Nationals Park, Wednesday, Aug. 16, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) Show Caption of Expand WASHINGTON — Ricky Nolasco, Kole Calhoun and Luis Valbuena have all had seasons that haven’t quite lived up to their expectations. But all three of them had performances that helped lift the Angels to a 3-2 victory over the Washington Nationals on Wednesday afternoon. Valbuena put the Angels on the board with a homer in the fifth and Calhoun’s two-run homer in the sixth gave the Angels a lead. Nolasco gave up no runs after a first-inning two-run homer by Ryan Zimmerman, coming up just one strike shy of six innings. After Nolasco’s 112th pitch, which brought the count to 2-and-2 on Jose Lobaton in the sixth, Nolasco left the game with some type of health issue. There was no immediate word on what was wrong. He had worked hard to get that far into the game on a steamy afternoon. He pitched around five baserunners in the third and fourth. He escaped the fourth with a strikeout of Wilmer Difo, leaving the bases loaded. That was the first of six straight hitters Nolasco retired before coming out of the game, having lowered his ERA to 5.16. He was in line for a victory, even though the Angels had once again given him only modest support. When Calhoun’s two-out homer against Tanner Roark reached the seats in the sixth, it marked just the sixth time in Nolasco’s 25 starts that the Angels had scored a third run for him. Calhoun’s rollercoaster season has been on an upswing in August, to the tune of a .319 average. Valbuena, who is still hitting .193 for the season, has at least shown a power surge lately, with seven homers since the All-Star break. The Angels held the lead with the help of a huge play by second baseman Kaleb Cowart. Zimmerman was at first with one out when Adam Lind hit a ground ball that first baseman C.J. Cron mishandled. The ball rolled into shallow right. Cowart raced back, picked it up and fired to third to nail Zimmerman. More to come on this story. View the full article
  9. Jered Weaver, who spent most of his 12 big league seasons as the Angels ace, announced his retirement on Wednesday after an unsuccessful attempt to return to form with the San Diego Padres. “While I’ve been working hard to get back on the mound, my body just will not allow me to compete like I want to,” Weaver said in a statement released by the Padres. Weaver, 34, posted a 7.44 ERA in nine starts with the Padres, who signed him to a one-year, $3-million deal just before spring training. He was placed on the disabled list in May, and finally abandoned hope that he could revive his career. His velocity had been declining for years, which resulted in his performance also dropping steadily from his All-Star peak. In 11 years with the Angels, Weaver went 150-93 with a 3.55 ERA. He was the opening day starter seven times. He made three consecutive All-Star teams, from 2010-2012, and he finished in the top five in the Cy Young voting each of those seasons. He pitched a no-hitter in 2012. In 2015-16, though, Weaver posted a 4.86 ERA. Amid growing concerns about his lack of velocity, he was placed on the disabled list with a hip issue in 2015. After the season, Weaver still hoped to return to the Angels as a free agent, but the club had no spot for him. He signed with the Padres just as spring training began. Related Articles Angels Notes: Andrew Heaney will return on Friday in Baltimore Angels’ winning streak snapped in 3-1 loss to Howie Kendrick, Nationals Whicker: Angels’ season was over, but they kept playing View the full article
  10. WASHINGTON — Andrew Heaney doesn’t look at his return in quite the same way as the rest of the Angels. Considered by some in the clubhouse to be an addition who could propel the recently surging Angels into the playoffs, Heaney has more modest goals. “The way they’ve been playing,” he said, “I just want to not mess it up.” Heaney will get his first chance to “not mess it up” on Friday, when he will start against the Baltimore Orioles. It will mark his return to a major league mound, just over 13 1/2 months removed from Tommy John surgery and 16 1/2 months after his only big league game in 2016. Heaney, 26, posted a 3.49 ERA in 18 starts in 2015, and earned the No. 2 spot in the rotation the following season. His elbow problems cropped up during that first start, eventually resulting in major surgery. Heaney will take the currently empty fifth spot in the rotation, pushing JC Ramirez and Parker Bridwell back to Saturday and Sunday in Baltimore. “We’re excited to have Andrew back,” Manager Mike Scioscia said. “It’s a remarkable process he went through in his rehab.” Related Articles Angels’ winning streak snapped in 3-1 loss to Howie Kendrick, Nationals Whicker: Angels’ season was over, but they kept playing NORRIS UPDATE Bud Norris gave up a run in his only inning of work since the Angels removed from the high-leverage role in which he’d spent much of the season. Scioscia said he still saw positive signs in Tuesday’s outing. “He made some adjustments that were important,” Scioscia said Wednesday morning, referring to Norris keeping his hands closer together during his delivery. Norris was the closer, even though Scioscia never officially named him as such, for most of the season. A bad stretch of games, including two grand slams, cost him that spot. He pitched with a 2-0 deficit in the sixth on Tuesday. “He’s going to be fine,” Scioscia said. “His stuff is good. He’s got a chance to get back to being an important part of our ‘pen.” ALSO Albert Pujols was not in the Angels’s DH-less lineup on Wednesday, a day after playing first base. The Angels then moved Mike Trout down to No. 3, and put Andrelton Simmons at No. 2… Ben Revere got the start in left, instead of Cameron Maybin. Maybin was the everyday left fielder before he went on the disabled list with a sprained knee. Since he’s come back, he’s split the job with Revere, which is an effort to let his knee get stronger and also recognition of how hot Revere got in Maybin’s absence… Yunel Escobar (strained oblique) has begun doing some rotational exercises and taking dry swings, Scioscia said… Huston Street (rotator cuff) is still not throwing, Scioscia said. View the full article
  11. This green curry chicken dish is one of my favorite things to cook on a weeknight. It comes together so fast and it is packed with vegetables! Continue reading "Quick Green Curry Chicken with Zucchini Noodles" » View the full article
  12. Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Tyler Skaggs (45) throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the Washington Nationals, Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster) Washington Nationals starting pitcher Gio Gonzalez (47) throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels, Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster) Washington Nationals starting pitcher Gio Gonzalez (47) throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels, Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster) Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Tyler Skaggs throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the Washington Nationals, Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster) Washington Nationals’ Howie Kendrick (4) hits a solo home run as Los Angeles Angels catcher Martin Maldonado (12) looks on during in the fifth inning of a baseball game, Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster) Los Angeles Angels center fielder Cameron Maybin (9) leaps for solo home run hit by Washington Nationals Howie Kendrick durning the third inning of a baseball game, Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster) Washington Nationals’ Howie Kendrick (4) heads to third after hitting a solo home run during the third inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels, Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster) Washington Nationals’ Howie Kendrick (4) scores on his solo home run as Los Angeles Angels catcher Martin Maldonado (12) looks on during in the fifth inning of a baseball game, Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster) Washington Nationals’ Howie Kendrick (4) celebrates with teammate Jose Lobaton (59) after hitting a solo home run during the third inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels, Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster) Show Caption of Expand WASHINGTON — The Angels’ six-game winning streak couldn’t withstand one of the National League’s most underrated pitchers and a former Angel enjoying a big week. The Angels lost, 3-1, to the Washington Nationals on Tuesday night, collecting just two hits against Gio Gonzalez and giving up two homers to Howie Kendrick. Gonzalez, who lowered his ERA to 2.49, did not allow a hit until the sixth, when the Angels had their only serious threat. Related Articles Angels Notes: Andrew Heaney almost ready to rejoin rotation Whicker: Angels’ season was over, but they kept playing Miller: Freeway Series? We can dream, right? Down 2-0, the Angels loaded the bases with two outs on Cameron Maybin’s infield hit, a Mike Trout single and an Albert Pujols intentional walk. Jefry Marte then hit a line drive that was snagged by leaping second baseman Daniel Murphy, ending the threat. By the time they came to bat again, the deficit had increased to three, thanks to freshly demoted former closer Bud Norris allowing a run. The Angels managed only a Cliff Pennington homer in the final three innings. It was only the fourth game since the All-Star break that the Angels weren’t able to take the lead or tie the score sometime in the seventh inning or later. The hole was too deep, most of it dug by Kendrick against Tyler Skaggs. Skaggs gave up a homer to Kendrick in the third, to left field, and one in the fifth, to right field. Kendrick, who hit a walk-off grand slam on Sunday, now has 101 homers in his career. Otherwise, Skaggs worked around jams, retiring the Nats in all seven of their at-bats with runners in scoring position against him. In his three outings since returning from more than three months out with a strained oblique, Skaggs has allowed five earned runs in 15-1/3 innings. More to come on this story. View the full article
  13. ANGELS at NATIONALS When: 10 a.m. Where: Nationals Park TV: Fox Sports West THE PITCHERS ANGELS RHP RICKY NOLASCO (5-12, 5.24) vs. Nationals: 11-7, 3.65 At Nationals Park: 4-2, 2.44 Hates to face: None Loves to face: Adam Lind, 2 for 13 (.154) NATIONALS RHP TANNER ROARK (9-7, 4.74) vs. Angels: 0-0, 0.00 At Nationals Park: 24-18, 3.29 Hates to face: None Loves to face: Andrelton Simmons, 2 for 17, (.118) View the full article
  14. WASHINGTON — Andrew Heaney is just one small step away from his long-anticipated return to the Angels’ rotation. Heaney, who hasn’t pitched in the majors since April 2016 and had Tommy John surgery last July, rejoined the club on Tuesday and threw a bullpen session. If he comes through that with no issues, the Angels will insert him back into the rotation, most likely starting on Friday or Saturday in Baltimore. “He’s had just a seamless recovery and rehabilitation from this surgery,” Manager Mike Scioscia said. “Everything to this point has gone as well as you could ever expect. I think where he is right now, we’re very excited about it. We want to finish this off and hopefully we’ll get him back out there and see how many pitches he has in him as he gets into a major league game, which is obviously a little different than a minor league rehab game.” Heaney threw 94 pitches in seven innings in his last outing at Triple-A, which was his sixth minor league start. He had a combined 2.60 ERA, including 3.12 in three Triple-A games. The Angels don’t need to create a rotation spot for Heaney. Ever since they sent Jesse Chavez to the bullpen and optioned Troy Scribner, they have had only four starters on the active roster. The Angels also don’t need to create a spot on the 40-man roster for him, because they opened one by outrighting minor league reliever Damien Magnifico. They will need to take one player off the 25-man roster, most likely a reliever, before he pitches. LIMITING BEDROSIAN Cam Bedrosian conceded that his groin still isn’t 100 percent, in terms of strength, since missing two months, which supports Scioscia’s preference to keep him from pitching in back-to-back games. “It’s tough in-season to get it back to 100 percent,” Bedrosian said. “It’s in a good spot right now. I’m just trying to maintain to the end of the season. Once that happens, I’ll be able get in a good regimen and make sure it’s healthy.” Bedrosian, who has pitched on back-to-back days just twice since coming off the disabled list two months ago, said he understands why he’s being used that way. “With some of the injuries we’ve had, I can understand being cautious,” he said. “He’s the manager. He’s going to make the call. Health-wise, it helps a little bit. I don’t mind going two days in a row. But he’s being cautious. I think it’s the right play.” ALSO Garrett Richards, who has missed most of the season because of a biceps nerve irritation, is expected to start facing hitters later this week, Scioscia said. Richards has thrown three bullpen sessions so far. “We’re pretty comfortable he will pitch for us at some point (this season),” Scioscia said. … Alex Meyer is still not throwing. He was shut down from throwing last week after having continued issues with his shoulder. … Scioscia put pitcher Tyler Skaggs in the lineup in the No. 8 spot on Tuesday night, followed by Cliff Pennington. He said the primary reason was to add an extra hitter leading into No. 2 hitter Mike Trout when the lineup turns over. … Albert Pujols got the start at first on Tuesday, but he is not expected to start on Wednesday. Kaleb Cowart is expected to start at second on Wednesday. Cowart and Pennington have split the last 12 games evenly. … Hitting coach Dave Hansen was not with the team. Hansen was not feeling well on Sunday in Seattle, so he was taken to a local hospital for testing. He has since returned home to Southern California. View the full article
  15. GLENDALE — So many baseball men in khakis and collared shirts strolled the grounds of Oakmont Country Club on Monday, you would be tempted to think this is what they do in retirement: golf. You would only be half right. There was Eddie Murray, the Hall of Fame first baseman. There was Charlie Hough and Orel Hershiser and Shawn Green. On this day, all of them were volunteers for City of Hope, a cancer treatment center in Duarte. Last year, City of Hope became a personal cause for former Dodgers general manager Fred Claire, who battled cancer that started on his lip and spread around his face. He’s doing better now thanks for City of Hope, the legendary pep in his step seemingly unaffected by months of treatment. To return the favor to City of Hope, Claire asked for a little help from his friends. He also lent his name to the newly christened Fred Claire Celebrity Golf Classic fundraiser. Turns out, Fred Claire has a lot of friends in baseball. “If you didn’t know Fred Claire,” Rod Carew said, “you didn’t know anyone.” Carew was the face of the Angels from 1979-85, the final seven seasons of his Hall of Fame career. Claire was the Dodgers’ general manager from 1987-98. They were so strongly associated with the separate franchises, it might be hard to imagine them playing for the same team. But only for a minute. At the conclusion of the golf tournament, Claire presented Carew with the inaugural Celebration of Life award Monday. At this stage in life – Claire is 81, Carew 71 – life is absolutely cause for celebration. “If you don’t know the story,” Claire said before presenting a trophy to Carew, “you need to look it up.” Carew was on a golf course, of all places, when his heart gave out in September 2015. If the heart attack had struck when Carew was even two holes into his round, he believes he might not have made it. But Carew was on the first hole, by himself, when another golfer found the Hall of Famer fighting for his life. The quick response saved him. So did Konrad Reuland. A football player at Stanford and the NFL, Reuland suffered a brain aneursym at age 29 that claimed his life. Reuland was a registered organ donor, and his heart went to Carew. The transplant took place in December. “The first thing I said to (my wife) Rhonda when I got out of intensive care was ‘honey, we’ve got a lot of work to do.’ And that work entails trying to go out, spread the word, talk to people, get your hearts checked, eat right, take care of your body,” Carew said. “That was the most important thing because I think my friend upstairs gave me another opportunity to continue his work.” Claire can relate. Since his brush with cancer, he has become a vocal advocate for protecting one’s skin from the sun. City of Hope offered another point of bonding for the two men. Carew lost his daughter Michelle to leukemia when she was just 18 years old. He’s made many trips to Duarte himself. He wanted to give back, too. “I still have some friends that go there from pediatric cancer group that they’re trying to stay alive,” he said. “That’s the best place to go.” The baseball connection to City of Hope runs even deeper. Dr. Stephen Forman, an immunotherapy specialist at the hospital, was Don Baylor’s personal physician for 14 years. The former Angels player and coach lost his own battle with multiple myeloma at age 68 last Monday. “I never had a tougher patient,” Forman said. Forman is a Dodger fan. He doesn’t merely treat his patients so they can go back to their normal lives. “What we like to say is, we like to get them well so they can go to a baseball game,” he said, “because that for us, is sort of a metaphor for regular life: a baseball game. It’s about family.” That sounds cliché, but Monday’s tournament lived it out: retired players from different teams, at different stages of life, doing a lot more than golfing. “We have to help others,” Carew said. “I hope that some of the young players today understand that. It’s not about them. The man upstairs gave them that ability to play, and play consistently, but he also wants them to open their hearts and understand that people need their help.” View the full article