Results tagged ‘ Erick Aybar ’

Moseley superb, deserved better

The line score today gives Dustin Moseley no justice. In New York, Chicago and his hometown of Texarkana, Ark., it will look as if the Angels’ right-hander had an average day: four innings, four hits, two earned runs, one walk, four strikeouts. But he was much, much better than that.

A windblown popup got up in the high sky and sun, and shortstop Erick Aybar couldn’t find it. By the time it had fallen to the turf, two runs had scored and Bobby Scales was standing at second base with a gift two-run double.

Moseley kept his composure and retired Mark Johnson to end the fourth inning — and his day. With any luck at all, he’d have departed with four scoreless innings.

Moseley had all his stuff working from the outset. He caught Milton Bradley looking to close the first inning after an infield hit, struck out two more in the second inning and Joey Gathright in the third.

Moseley now has yielded four earned runs in nine innings, but only two of the earned runs were truly earned. He has been terrific in his bid for a spot in the rotation. 

Daydream believer

On a gorgeous Sunday in Tempe, the mind wanders briefly, and here is what settles in: A massive deal involving the Angels and Padres.

Ten for two.

From Anaheim to San Diego go the following: Nick Adenhart, Dustin Moseley, Shane Loux, Kevin Jepsen, Erick Aybar, Freddy Sandoval, Matt Brown, Kendry Morales, Reggie Willits and Terry Evans.

From San Diego to Anaheim: Jake Peavy and Adrian Gonzalez.

The Padres get a new team, virtually, and the Angels have a powerhouse that causes tremors throughout the game.

Bud Black adds three starters (Moseley, Adenhart, Loux) while subtracing one. He gets a future closer in Jepsen. He gets a superlative shortstop in Aybar and a kid from Tijuana (Sandoval) who can play three infield positions and hit. He gets a quality corner infielder in Brown and a first baseman in Morales to replace Gonzalez. He gets an outfielder (Willits) who can play all three spots and will produce a 370-.380 on-base percentage  and 40-50 steals leading off as an everyday player. And he gets a power hitter in Evans who can leave any yard.

Mike Scioscia gets one of the best pitchers alive in Peavy and a first baseman in Gonzalez who is very close to the equal of Mark Teixeira. The Angels still have plenty of quality reserves left over, owing to an astonishing stockpile of talent. Yes, they add payroll with Peavy and Gonzalez, but the long-term benefits are immense.

The Padres get almost 60 years worth of contracts at an immediate cost of roughly $4 million for the 2008 season. The Angels have Peavy and Gonzalez locked up for at least three more years apiece. This would not be a half-season of Teixeira.  

Peavy gives the Angels the Majors’ dominant rotation; Gonzalez is a No. 4 hitter who, free of PETCO Parks dimensions, hits about 40 homers and drives in close to 140  runs behind Chone Figgins, Bobby Abreu and Vladimir Guerrero.

Win, win. Everybody wins, once Padres fans realize that even with fan favorites Peavy and Gonzalez, they are looking at potentially a long, long season. Guys like Aybar, Willits, Morales, Adenhart and Jepsen would form a solid foundation for years to come.

Granted, there’s not much likelihood something like this would come to pass. But hey, a guy can daydream, can’t he? Isn’t that what Spring Training is all about?

  

Izzy has a new number: 13

Few, if any, Angels players are as popular with teammates as Maicer Izturis, who might just be the nicest guy on our planet. He’s always in a good mood, always smiling, always optimistic. Even a few days after the surgery to repair a thumb fracture that ended his season prematurely last August, Izzy was upbeat, quietly talking about the possibility of returning for the postseason — and he almost made it.

Izzy was in the middle of an early-morning conversation on Saturday with Chone Figgins, Howie Kendrick and Erick Aybar. It was the familiar, good-natured kind of dialogue that passes the time before the players hit the field.

“Look,” Kendrick said, pointing to the nameplate above Izturis’ locker with the No. 13. “Maicer has a new number this year.”

Izturis, ever so softly, mentioned that it holds no superstition for him, that he’s worn No. 13 in the past. He was No. 6 last year. That number has gone to Hainley Statia, who is among a half-dozen quality shortstops in camp. Bobby Abreu will adorn No. 53, with Brian Fuentes taking No. 40, Troy Percival’s old number.

When a visitor mentioned to Izturis that No. 13 has worked out all right for Alex Rodriguez, Figgins shook his head. “No A-Rod talk here,” he said, grinning.

Kendrick mentioned that Izturis packs some wallop for a little guy standing 5-foot-8, recalling  how Izzy had homered in consecutive games as the club’s leadoff man last season.

“That won’t happen this year,” Figgins said, having established as his early goal a full 162-game season.

Izturis is sound physically and looking forward to competing with good buddy Aybar for the shortstop job again after they shared it in 2008, with Brandon Wood getting some time there  with both players out in September.

Garret Anderson remains a popular topic of clubhouse conversation, players speculating where their former teammate will land. The consensus is that he’ll be a steal for somebody, that he has a lot of life left in his bat.   

       

 

PECOTA trashes Angels

If manager Mike Scioscia needed any ammo to fire up his troops, it was grooved like a Doc Gooden fastball at the belt by stat maven Nate Silver in his PECOTA ratings for Baseball Prospectus.

Silver, it turns out, doesn’t think much of the Halos — specifically, what he sees as an aging offense creating more headaches for Angels pitchers than rival managers. PECOTA has the Angels finishing 16 games off their MLB-best 2008 pace with a mere 84 wins, barely managing to prevail in what it envisions as a weak AL West.

I can understand some anticipated slippage with Mark Teixeira and Garret Anderson departing; those are two high-quality offensive players. But Bobby Abreu has been a fairly consistent 100/100 man (runs. RBIs), and he should fit nicely between Chone Figgins and Vladimir Guerrero in Scioscia’s projected top third. Of course, a big spring by Howie Kendrick, Erick Aybar or Maicer Izturis could convince Scioscia to plant Abreu in the No. 3 hole, with Guerrero fourth and Torii Hunter fifth.

The rest of the lineup is deep and potentially much more explosive than PECOTA imagines. Mike Napoli has the tools to go 30/100 with enough at-bats, joining Guerrero on a surgically-repaired knee, and Hunter, Kendry Morales, Juan Rivera all are capable of exceeding 20 homers with 80 to 100 RBIs. If Hunter bats fourth, behind Vlad, he could surpass his career high of 107 RBIs from 2007.

Call me an incurable optimist, but this shapes up as a pretty fair attack — and it has a nice blend of youth and experience, top to bottom.

It was last year at this time that a lot of snipers were relegating the Angels to second place in the AL West behind Seattle, with its new ace,  Erik Bedard. Scioscia, I’m sure, got some clubhouse mileage out of that. I’m sure PECOTA and its views might surface in one of his pre-game chats with the players before too long.     

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