The January 31st, 2013 edition of daily news for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim including Angels sign Bill Hall, the benefits of Vernon Wells and much more…
The Monkey Says: Intriguing. Hall was a top prospect a lifetime ago and slightly less long ago hit 35 homers in a season once. Since then, he's mostly struck out a lot while making a metric ton of outs and slowly fading out of baseball. However, he can play a decent outfield and is capable of at least faking it at second and third still. He probably won't make the Opening Day roster, but out of all the non-roster invitees I think he has the best chance of stealing what should be Kole Calhoun's bench spot thank to his versatility.
The Story: The benefits of Vernon Wells.
The Monkey Says: I agree with all of those points… EXCEPT for one little thing. Mike Scioscia is involved. Wells is a veteran and Bourjos is not. My biggest fear is that Bourjos goes into a slump and Sosh turns to Wells because of his "veteran experience," benching Peter even though his defensive prowess makes him more valuable than Wells even if Petey isn't hitting a lick.
The Story: The Angels winter report card
The Monkey Says: I'm glad someone else is worried about the Angels bench and this is coming from someone who actually quite likes Kole Calhoun. The current projected bench should be perfectly fine if all they have to do is make spot starts and pinch-hit, but if one of the starters, especially in the infield, suffers a major injury, the Halos could be in trouble. I imagine this is one of the motivations for the Bill Hall signing but I'd still feel a lot better if Dipoto were to bring in a more reliable utilityman and I wonder if he might not do so late in spring training by swapping Jerome Williams to a team that gets desperate for rotation help.
The Monkey Says: Undoubtedly just some tire kicking going on. Mark Lowe is probably the most interesting of the three, simply because he throws gas but he's also coming off an injury-plagued season.
The Story: Will 2013 be Mike Scioscia's last stand?
The Monkey Says: Oh, right, I forgot that this is going to be a thing this year. One little factoid I'd like to point out that after May 1st last season, the Angels had the BEST record in baseball. So, basically Scioscia and the Angels had one bad month and thus his job is now on the line. And it isn't like Scioscia is new to managing a big payroll team, as the post suggests. The Halos have had a $100+ million payroll since 2004. Nor are the Angels a "small ball" team as some have come to believe. The famous 2002 World Series team that earned them that reputation was actually one of the highest scoring lineups in baseball that year and featured three players with 22 or more home runs. That rotation was low on star power too, so one could argue that this 2013 roster is the most like the 2002 roster that Scioscia has ever had.
The Monkey Says: I hope Figgy gets remembered for how sneaky great he was for the Angels and not how overtly awful he was after he left for Seattle. Figgins was not only a key component of the Angels' lineup for years, but his defensive versatility really allowed Scioscia to manage at his best. Figgins covered so many holes for so many seasons and for that he will always be fondly recalled by me… which I'm sure makes him feel better about being a colossal free agent bust.
The Monkey Says: Schugel confuses the hell out of me. His performance numbers are there, but his splits are all backwards and scare the hell out of me, frankly. He just doesn't really fit into a standard mold, so I really have no idea what to make of him. How's that for hard hitting analysis?