Garland proves to be a class act

Just this week, Angels manager Mike Scioscia said that newly-acquired right-hander Jon Garland has the stuff to win 20 games. But sure a player’s new manager wants to think the best. He wants to believe that his new player is still improving and is capable of performing even better or else why go after him in a trade? Well, perhaps a better way of looking at things is from the side that just traded the player. What do the White Sox think about a player they just shipped off to a team they might end up meeting in the playoffs? This came recently from White Sox general manager Ken Williams:

“(Garland) has really grown into a quality, classy person,” Williams said from White Sox camp. “He was as classy even when I told him when he was being traded, classier than anybody has been. … On the field he will give the Angels exactly what they are looking for.”

So why trade Garland is he is such a good person and can give a team everything they would ask from a player? Well, the White Sox invested heavily in Mark Buehrle with a contract extension last season and since they keep the books as tight as possible on the South Side of Chicago, the knew knew it was not going to re-sign Garland after this season. Garland will be a free agent when this year ends.

In Orlando Cabrera, whom they recieved from the Angels for Garland, the White Sox got a quality defensive shortstop and a prototypical No. 2 hitter. The last time the White Sox had a No. 2 who knew how to move over runners and do the little things was in 2005. That was Tadahito Iguchi’s first season in Major League Baseball. The White Sox went on to win the World Series.

Of course, it takes more than a No. 2 hitter to win a title, but just how valuable can a quality No. 2 hitter be? Valuable enough to trade away a pitcher who can win 20 games and has the kind of character that management respects.

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Aybar has Cabrera's support at short

Orlando Cabrera already has said he has no issue with the Angels’ decision to trade him. He also is saying that the Angels are going to be just fine at shortstop and had praise for Erick Aybar, one of the candidates to take over at short.

“I think he can be a good player,” Cabrera said from White Sox camp. “He just needs the opportunity. He did pretty good when they put him at second until he got hurt. He can do some special stuff. He can steal a lot of bases. They have to let him play.”

Cabrera already has made an impression with his new team. In the first inning of the White Sox’s first intrasquad game of the spring, Valencia resident Jerry Owens laid down a perfect bunt single. Cabrera followed with an RBI double to the gap.

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The kings of spring

If only the spring training records could be carried into the regular season. The Angels sent out an e-mail today to boast about their success during Cactus League play. Over the last four seasons, they have the best spring record in all of baseball, Arizona and Florida included. What does it all mean? Nothing. But that didn’t stop me from mentioning it here.

Spring Success
Best spring training records
last four years (2004-07)
Angels 78 49 .614
Reds 75 54 .581
Cardinals 63 47 .573
Indians 70 53 .569
Twins 68 55 .553

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Slides and slide rules

The Angels are going back to school. It seems that a failing grade John Lackey received in his last semester of junior college has mushroomed into an all-out math war in the Angels clubhouse. The story goes like this:

Lackey had to take a college algebra final exam about five days after he was drafted as the first player selected in the second round by the Angels in 1999. Lackey was a no-show for the exam and recieved an “F” from his teacher at Grayson County College in Texas. By the way, Lackey’s report card, which has been posted on the wall in the clubhouse this spring, shows that he did earn an “A” grade in Baseball, Coaching Athletics and some subject called Country, Pop and Rock.

Fast forward to the present day. In Monday’s pre-workout meeting (the meeting often is used to get the day off to a lighthearted start), two members of the Arizona State academic staff brought their school’s sophomore algebra exam to the Angels clubhouse. But instead of only putting Lackey on the spot, a challenge ensued. It seems that an algebra challenge will take place pitting the University of Minnesota (represented by Robb Quinlan), the University of Oaklahoma (Reggie Willits), a group of Florida players (that include Jeff Mathis and Mike Napoli), and Lackey. Their grades on the test will be compared to each other.

ASU students are supposed to take the test in 30 minutes, but manager Mike Scioscia is going to allow his players to take the test in an hour. The tests are to be turned in tomorrow with the grades to come.

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