Angels pitcher C.J. Wilson, the Angels’ player representative to the MLB Players’ Association and a former teammate of suspended Texas Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz, addressed a crowd of reporters in the Angels dugout today. Here’s a sampling of his responses:
The Angels announced their pitching rotation for this weekend’s series against the Oakland A’s at Angel Stadium:
Friday: RHP A.J. Griffin (8-6, 3.68) vs. RHP Jered Weaver (3-5, 3.63)
Saturday: RHP Dan Straily (6-2, 4.28) vs. LHP C.J. Wilson (9-6, 3.37)
Sunday: RHP Bartolo Colon (12-3, 2.70) vs. RHP Jerome Williams (5-5, 4.60)
Also, Tommy Hanson is starting tomorrow night for the Single-A Inland Empire 66ers on a rehabilitation assignment. The 66ers are hosting the Lancaster JetHawks at San Manuel Stadium.
Major League Baseball has decided against holding an international draft in 2014.
The league issued a statement earlier today:
“The Office of the Commissioner and the Players Association have discussed various issues regarding international amateur players, including the possibility of an international draft. While both parties discussed an international draft, an agreement was not reached on some of the mechanics and procedures related to such a draft. Thus, an international draft will not be implemented in 2014. The parties intend to continue to discuss international amateur talent issues, and the current system of international talent acquisition as described in the Collective Bargaining Agreement will remain in place at this time.”
MLBPA Executive Director Michael Weiner issued the following statement: “At this time, the players are not prepared to accept an international draft. The MLBPA will continue to discuss with players and the Commissioner’s Office the many issues facing its international members.”
The Sports Business Journal reported as recently as 12 days ago that a single draft for eligible baseball players at home and abroad, as well as separate drafts for domestic and international players, were being considered by the league and the Players’ Association.
It’s unclear how or if the lawsuit reportedly brought by Adrian Gonzalez’s father, David, against MLB complicated negotiations.
What does it all mean?
The amateur draft will proceed as planned June 6-8. Teams can sign international players freely but face penalties for exceeding annual spending limits, between $1.15 and $4.25 million, that are tied to their winning percentage last season. Baseball essentially chose to preserve the status quo, warts and all (among them, the “circus”-like tryouts across Central and Latin America come to mind.)
Some bullet points to tide you through the weekend:
Save the date: June 7.
That’s when the Angels will begin a six-game road trip through Boston and Baltimore. It’s also the next time the Angels will employ a five-man rotation.
Like you really needed WAR to tell you the Angels’ pitching is awful after Mike Scioscia did so Sunday?
Here it is anyway: FanGraphs recently calculated the WAR (wins above replacement) for every team by position. (For an explanation of the frequently misunderstood statistic, which is calculated differently by FanGraphs.com and Baseball-Reference.com and has gained popularity in recent years, click here.) According to FanGraphs’ WAR, the Angels have the 22nd-best pitching staff in the major leagues.
Broken down further, their starters rank 20th and the relievers 23rd.
The chart has its limits. Add up the Angels’ position-by-position WAR, and they should have the fourth-best team in baseball. In reality the Angels are 10 games under .500. The Baltimore Orioles are tied for first place in the American League East, yet their combined WAR ranks 21st in the majors.
This is why you play the games, why the experts say that you can’t win without pitching.
More bullet points for a Thursday morning:
There’s an episode of The Simpsons in which Krusty the Clown agreed to give away a free Krusty Burger if the United States won gold at certain events in the 1984 Olympics. When the Soviet Union boycotted the Games, Krusty stood to lose $44 million.
For some reason I was reminded of this episode when this came through my Twitter feed this morning:
How about this baseball note? This April featured the second highest average of strikeouts/game in the 138 year history of MLB
— Dave Flemming (@FlemmingDave) May 1, 2013
You see, Procter & Gamble is donating $1 to the Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) campaign every time a Major League Baseball player strikes out this season. To raise awareness of its Head & Shoulders shampoo brand, P&G is encouraging fans to tweet the hashtag #whiff along with the hashtag of your favorite team.
More shockingly – the top 8 months in the history of the sport for K’s/ game have been the most recent 8 months! Crazy high strikeouts
— Dave Flemming (@FlemmingDave) May 1, 2013
According to AdAge.com, Head & Shoulders spent $60 million in measured media last year, so MLB’s record strikeout rate probably won’t leave the company’s executives pulling their hair out like Krusty. Which is good, since bald shampoo executives can’t exactly offer a ringing endorsement of their product.
I’ll be here all week.
Sean Burnett was not dealing with a blister, in his mind or on the middle finger of his left hand.
Mike Scioscia seemed to disagree when he left right-hander Kevin Jepsen in to face A’s lefties John Jaso and Brandon Moss in the seventh inning with the southpaw Burnett available out of the bullpen. “Jeppy was the guy to get out of that inning,” Scioscia said, before mentioning Burnett’s blister.
Burnett said that there was no blister. Ever.
“It was more my nail came out of the bed” three days ago in Texas, he said. “It was a one-day thing. It happens all the time with my breaking ball … I was 100 percent.”
Burnett pitched Tuesday. He seemed healthy. He faced four batters in a scoreless eighth inning. Scioscia simply chose to save Burnett for the start of the eighth inning rather than the two-on, two-out situation in the seventh, citing the blister. It proved to be the wrong call.
Whether you attribute the Angels’ 9-5 loss to the Oakland A’s on Tuesday to Scioscia leaving in Jepsen too long, or to Jepsen for allowing two homers in the seventh inning, may be a matter of degrees. Six of one, half a dozen of another, there are still issues in the Angels bullpen. Right?
Forget about how many players would decline invitations. Forget about generational eligibility — if you were born in California, you’re eligible (which is fine, since I had a better chance of making Team Wisconsin anyways). What would that team look like? Could it contend?
The answer is yes.
C: John Jaso, Mariners/Rod Barajas, Diamondbacks
1B: Adrian Gonzalez, Dodgers
2B: Aaron Hill, Diamondbacks
SS: Jimmy Rollins, Phillies
3B: Ty Wigginton, Cardinals
LF: Ryan Braun, Brewers
CF: Coco Crisp, A’s
RF: Giancarlo Stanton, Marlins
DH: Prince Fielder, Tigers
UT: Skip Schumaker, Dodgers
SP: Jered Weaver, Angels
SP: CC Sabathia, Yankees
SP: James Shields, Royals
SP: Cole Hamels, Phillies
SP: Stephen Strasburg, Nationals
RP: Sergio Romo, Giants
RP: Brandon League, Dodgers
RP: Addison Reed, White Sox
RP: Dale Thayer, Padres
RP: J.P. Howell, Dodgers
RP: Bryan Shaw, Diamondbacks
RP: Kris Medlen, Braves
Apologies to C.J. Wilson, Mark Trumbo, Michael Young, Will Venable, Brandon McCarthy, Kyle Lohse, Mike Moustakas and Carlos Quentin. Perhaps you can dig into your family tree and find another state to play for.
On to some bullet points:
We’re driving to Arizona today in advance of spring training. Perhaps it’s the calm before the storm, but there wasn’t much Angels news over the weekend, though Bill Hall did make an Illuminati joke. In Phoenix, it’s 57 and cloudy. No haboobs lie on the horizon (yet).
If I could sum up the sentiment using emoticons, I’d quote C.J. Wilson. Now, some links to tide you over until Indio: