Angels Insiders: Calhoun’s Surgery, Recovery Time


Another Angel went under the knife this past week as Kole Calhoun had surgery to repair a core muscle injury that had bothered him for some time. This probably explains a slump Kole had in August and early September.

Overall, however, Calhoun bounced back in 2016 from what was considered a down season in 2015 despite a career high in dingers by hitting .271 / .348 / .438 with 18 HR and 75 RBI, and setting career highs in doubles with 35 and walks with 67.

The recovery time for this procedure is six to eight weeks. Kole has already begun the rehabilitation process, and will have a normal offseason. So he will be healthy and ready for 2017.

Garrett Richards To Be Ready For 2017

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Garrett Richards - wearing #42 in honor of Jackie Robinson Day - delivers a pitch during the first inning of a game against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field on April 15, 2016 (Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

Garrett Richards – wearing #42 in honor of Jackie Robinson Day – delivers a pitch during the first inning of a game against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field on April 15, 2016 (Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

As of now, Garrett Richards will anchor the Angels’ rotation next season. After another successful instructional league start, throwing 55 pitches in front of several Angels executives, Garrett is more than confident he will be fully recovered in time for Opening Day 2017.

Pitching in front of GM Billy Eppler, pitching coach Charles Nagy, and owner Arte Moreno, the young ace threw 55 pitches and said he felt as good as ever. His fastball was sinking, his breaking pitches were breaking, and he felt no discomfort at all as he walked off the mound.

There is still a possibility that Richards will receive another stem-cell injection to continue strengthening his UCL, just to be on the safe side.

And in the midst of this great news for the club and it’s fans, this treatment may also set a precedence for future cases of pitchers with torn UCL’s, and avoiding Tommy John Surgery. Another question raised is whether pitchers should be able to use this method when healthy. In any case, this is possibly the best news coming out of what has been a miserable year for the Angels.


Here’s More From The GM’s Office

Halo Transactions

  • Achter and Buss designated for assignment after claiming pitchers Blake Parker and Kirby Yates from the New York Yankees last week. After clearing waivers, both were then outrighted to Triple-A, but opted not to go to Salt Lake.
  • Achter, 28, was either optioned or DFA’d nine times this past season. In the midst of that, he posted a 3.11 ERA in 37 2/3 innings at the Major League level, but also had an alarming 14:12 K/BB rate.
  • The 29-year-old Buss put up a .290/.345/.462 slash in 372 plate appearances at AAA Salt Lake, but didn’t hit at all in his only stint with the big club.
  • As for the hurlers the Halos claimed to replace these two, Parker had a 4.67 ERA, with a 7.8 K/9 and a 4.7 BB/9 in 17 1/3 innings for the Yankees. Also in the Bronx Bombers’ bullpen, Yates put up a 5.23 ERA in 41 1/3 innings. However, his peripheral numbers made that ERA look inflated, as he logged a 10.9 K/9 with a 4.1 BB/9, and an average fastball that has risen to 93 MPH. Both pitchers will give the Angels more depth options for their bullpen in 2017.

Projected Arbitration Salaries for 2017

  • Garrett Richards (4.148) – $7.0MM
  • Shane Robinson (4.124) – $600K
  • Kole Calhoun (3.130) – $6.9MM
  • Matt Shoemaker (2.156) – $3.8MM
  • Cory Rasmus (2.155) – $700K
  • Brett Oberholtzer (2.127) – $1.0MM

Exactly $20 million in arbitration. That’s nothing.

Angels Insiders: Richards, Weaver, Scioscia

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Garrett Richards delivers a pitch during a game against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium on September 30, 2015 (Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

Garrett Richards delivers a pitch during a game against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium on September 30, 2015 (Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

With the 2016 season coming to an end, the Angels found themselves at 88 losses and a pitching staff left nearly in shambles due to catastrophic to their rotation and back end of their bullpen. Losing Garrett Richards, Andrew Heaney, and Nick Tropeano to torn UCL’s, and the latter two undergoing Tommy John Surgery, the season and the future looked grim real quick.

As if that wasn’t enough, setup man Joe Smith and closer Huston Street struggled with nagging injuries, and then Street was traded at the July 31 deadline just as he got healthy. Street had season ending knee surgery. The core of the Halos’ staff was blown apart, and so was the season. However, in the midst of all the chaos, the Angels actually were able to get some good news.

Enter Garrett Richards and his stem cell treatment. This method has worked before on Yankees ace Masahiro Tanaka, and so far it’s showing remarkable results in Richards’ elbow. Receiving injections, Richards nursed his arm and later underwent physical therapy to prepare his arm to be tested with throwing.

Beginning with some long toss and light bullpen sessions, the young ace stepped further than many had hoped. And he was facing live hitters in simulated games by September. Now he’s playing instructional league ball. With that, Richards is on track to be ready for Spring Training 2017.

And that will be a major boost for a team looking to bounce back.


More From Around The Big A…

Weaver May Pitch in 2017

  • Weaver may have likely pitched his last game with the Angels, but that doesn’t mean his career is completely over. He may receive interest in the offseason, or he may not. Perhaps a minor league contract?
  • Angels GM Billy Eppler sees Weaver as an aging pitcher who is losing it, which is understandable for a GM who is trying to build a contending ball club. Mike Scioscia on the other hand sees Weaver as a guy who always figures it out and is a very important piece to the Angels’ clubhouse, which is very true. So both are right. It will have to just come down to a front office decision.
  • Then again, Weaver may just retire any ways if he doen’t get any interest. We’ll be watching.


Scioscia Will Manage The Angels In 2017

  • Scioscia will manage the Angels in 2017. Despite the aforementioned 88 loss season, both GM Billy Eppler and owner Arte Moreno endorsed Mike and pointed out the fact that the Angels’ pitching staff was crippled by major injuries that left the team scratching and clawing all season long. Arte even said, “It’s tough to win when you don’t have pitching.” That’s a universal fact.
  • At the same time, however, several contenders even had their rotations dented by injuries and struggles, prompting questions by fans about the difference between the Angels and teams like the Rangers and Dodgers. Well, these aren’t very good questions because of the simple fact: the Rangers didn’t lose Hamels, Darvish, and their setup man and closer for the season. The Dodgers didn’t lose Kershaw, Maeda, and Jansen for the season either.
  • Another fact that remains regarding Scioscia, is that he is always instilling confidence in his players, and stresses doing things right on the field, which is what transformed the Angels franchise in the first place. The players love playing for him. That’s why he’s still there.
  • It’s also pretty clear that the armchair fan culture’s growing resentment of Mike Scioscia has partially stemmed from the fact that he won’t take anyone’s crap. He wouldn’t put up with Mike Napoli’s poor work ethic and partying habits, he wouldn’t give Jose Guillen an inch after openly disrespecting him on the field, and Mike wouldn’t let Jerry Dipoto force his one dimensional approach down his throat. Armchair Halos fans can’t seem to handle that for some weird reason.
  • Then there’s the inconsistent logic in fans claiming it is somehow all Mike Scioscia’s fault, and that the front office conveniently has no responsibility in building a team that can make it to the postseason.
  • But there are also those who just think a change may be needed just to have a new voice. That’s probably the most reasonable argument. But again, we go back to the positive and disciplined clubhouse Mike runs.
  • Any moron can drink a beer, yell at their TV, or type their hate on social media. It takes a real cognitive effort, and experience being within the baseball world, to understand what is really going on in the game. There are many in the industry who praise Mike Scioscia’s methods in the clubhouse. And again, that’s why he’s still there. Whether it translates into a postseason appearance has been up to the front office the whole time. And that’s a whole other discussion.

What The Angels Can Do With The Free Agent Market

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The Angels announced that their new General Manager Billy Eppler. The announcement was made at a news conference at Angel Stadium. ///ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: angels.newgm.1006 Ð 10/5/15 Ð LEONARD ORTIZ, ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER - _LOR3836.NEF - New Angels GM Billy Eppler, the 12th GM in team history, will take part in a press conference from Angel Stadium at 1 p.m. PT on Monday, alongside Moreno, Scioscia and president John Carpino.

1006 Ð 10/5/15 Ð LEONARD ORTIZ, ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER – _LOR3836.NEF – New Angels GM Billy Eppler, the 12th GM in team history.

The big question is whether or not the Angels will contend in 2017. Some say no. Some say they can if the club regroups. The argument usually arrives at the weak free agent market this offseason. Both sides have a legitimate case. On one hand, with a thin farm system, the Halos should rebuild and punt 2017 down the field. On the other hand, money is falling off the books and that gives GM Billy Eppler a chance to stock up on affordable options to fill holes while continuing to develop the team’s young players. Eppler already announced that focusing on a full rebuild was ‘out of the cards’. But what is really out there this winter?

How about we start with the actual free agent list as seen at MLB Trade Rumors?

Players in bold are Angels players (current or traded) that will be free agents.


Alex Avila (30)
Drew Butera (34)
Jason Castro (30)
A.J. Ellis (36)
Ryan Hanigan (36) — $3.75MM club option; $800K buyout
Nick Hundley (33)
Chris Iannetta (34) — $4.25MM club option
Jonathan Lucroy (31) — $5.25MM club option; $25K buyout
Jeff Mathis (34)
Dioner Navarro (33)
A.J. Pierzynski (40)
Wilson Ramos (29)
Carlos Ruiz (38) — $4.5MM club option; $500K buyout
Jarrod Saltalamacchia (32)
Geovany Soto (34)
Kurt Suzuki (33)
Matt Wieters (31)

First Base

Edwin Encarnacion (34)
Ryan Howard (37) — $23MM club option; $10MM buyout
Chris Johnson (32)
Adam Lind (33)
James Loney (33)
Mitch Moreland (31)
Logan Morrison (29)
Brandon Moss (33)
Mike Napoli (35)
Steve Pearce (34)
Sean Rodriguez (32)
Carlos Santana (31) — $12MM club option; $1.2MM buyout
Eric Thames (30)

Second Base

Gordon Beckham (30)
Chris Coghlan (32)
Daniel Descalso (30)
Stephen Drew (34)
Kelly Johnson (35)
Steve Pearce (34)
Chase Utley (38)
Neil Walker (31)

Third Base

Yunel Escobar (34) — $7MM club option; $1MM buyout
Aaron Hill (35)
Martin Prado (33)
Ruben Tejada (27)
Justin Turner (32)
Luis Valbuena (31)


Erick Aybar (33)
Alcides Escobar (30)  – $6.5MM club option; $500K buyout
Alexei Ramirez (35) — $4MM mutual option; $1MM buyout

Left Field

Gregor Blanco (33)
Yoenis Cespedes (31) — opt out of current contract pending
Chris Coghlan (32)
Coco Crisp (37) — $13MM vesting/club option; $750K buyout
Rajai Davis (35)
Alejandro De Aza (33)
Ian Desmond (31)
Matt Holliday (37) — $17MM club option; $1MM buyout
Craig Gentry (33)
Brandon Moss (33)
Daniel Nava (34)
Angel Pagan (35)
Ryan Raburn (36)
Colby Rasmus (30)
Michael Saunders (30)
Eric Thames (30)

Center Field

Michael Bourn (34)
Yoenis Cespedes (31) — opt out of current contract pending
Coco Crisp (37) — $13MM club option; $750K buyout
Rajai Davis (35)
Ian Desmond (31)
Dexter Fowler (31) — $9MM mutual option; $5MM buyout
Carlos Gomez (31)
Austin Jackson (30)
Jon Jay (32)
Cameron Maybin (30) — $9MM club option; $1MM buyout
Drew Stubbs (32)

Right Field

Gregor Blanco (33)
Peter Bourjos (30)
Jose Bautista (36)
Carlos Beltran (39)
Jay Bruce (30) — $13MM club option; $1MM buyout
Franklin Gutierrez (34)
Matt Joyce (32)
Daniel Nava (34)
Josh Reddick (30)
Seth Smith (34) — $7MM club option; $250K buyout
Ichiro Suzuki (43) – $2MM club option
Mark Trumbo (31)

Designated Hitter

Pedro Alvarez (30)
Carlos Beltran (39)
Edwin Encarnacion (34)
Ryan Howard (37) — $23MM club option; $10MM buyout
Adam Lind (33)
Kendrys Morales (34) — $11MM mutual option; $1.5MM buyout
Brandon Moss (33)
Carlos Santana (31) — $12MM club option; $1.2MM buyout
Mark Trumbo (31)

Starting Pitcher

Brett Anderson (29)
Clay Buchholz (32) — $13.5MM club option; $500K buyout
Andrew Cashner (30)
Jhoulys Chacin (29)
Bartolo Colon (43)
Jorge De La Rosa (36)
R.A. Dickey (42)
Doug Fister (33)
Jaime Garcia (30) — $12MM club option; $500K buyout
Gio Gonzalez (31) — $12MM club option; $500K buyout
Jason Hammel (34) — $10MM club option; $2MM buyout
Jeremy Hellickson (30)
Rich Hill (37)
Derek Holland (30) — $11MM club option; $1MM buyout
Scott Kazmir (33) — opt out of current contract pending
Mat Latos (29)
Colby Lewis (37)
Kris Medlen (31) — $10MM mutual option; $1MM buyout
Charlie Morton (33) — $9.5MM mutual option; $1MM buyout
Jon Niese (30) — $10MM club option; $500K buyout
Ivan Nova (30)
Jake Peavy (36)
CC Sabathia (36) — $25MM vesting option; $5MM buyout
James Shields (35) — opt out of current contract pending
Alfredo Simon (36)
Edinson Volquez (33) — $10MM mutual option; $3MM buyout
Jered Weaver (34)
C.J. Wilson (36)

Right-Handed Reliever (Italics denote active closers)

Matt Albers (34) — $3MM club option; $250K buyout
Matt Belisle (37)
Joaquin Benoit (39)
Joe Blanton (36)
Blaine Boyer (35)
Santiago Casilla (36)
Joba Chamberlain (31)
Jesse Chavez (33)
Josh Collmenter (31) — $2.25MM mutual option; $150K buyout
Wade Davis (31) — $10MM club option; $2.5MM buyout
Scott Feldman (34)
Neftali Feliz (29)
Jason Grilli (40) — $3MM club option; $250K buyout
David Hernandez (32)
Luke Hochevar (33) — $7MM mutual option; $500K buyout
Greg Holland (31)
Daniel Hudson (30)
Tommy Hunter (30)
Edwin Jackson (33)
Kenley Jansen (29)
Kevin Jepsen (32)
Mark Melancon (32)
Pat Neshek (36) — $6.5MM club option; $500K buyout
Ross Ohlendorf (34)
Jonathan Papelbon (36)
Yusmeiro Petit (32) — $3MM club option; $500K buyout
Fernando Rodney (40) — floating $2MM+ club option; $400K buyout
Sergio Romo (34)
Fernando Salas (32)
Joe Smith (33)
Drew Storen (29)
Junichi Tazawa (31)
Carlos Torres (34)
Koji Uehara (42)
Ryan Vogelsong (39)
Jordan Walden (29) — $5.25MM club option; $250K buyout
Ryan Webb (31)
Brad Ziegler (37)

Left-Handed Reliever (Italics denote active closers)

Brett Cecil (30)
Aroldis Chapman (29)
Mike Dunn (32)
Boone Logan (32)
Javier Lopez (39)
Eric O’Flaherty (32)
Marc Rzepczynski (31)
Matt Thornton (40)
Travis Wood (30)

What Can The Angels Do With This Market?

It’s not a great market by any stretch, but it is a market that can afford any club a great deal of depth. Especially those with money to spend but are not in the running for a star with a huge contract. That’s pretty much where the Angels will be, and for the fourth straight offseason. Arte Moreno has taken a step back and has allowed his GM’s to make depth moves after striking big in the 2012 and 2013 offseasons by signing Albert Pujols, CJ Wilson, and Josh Hamilton. Since then, the Halos have basically been plugging holes to deepen their roster. So what can Billy Eppler do with this market?

Let’s go by each position and see what might fit.


This is an interesting one because of the fact that the Angels already have a formidable young duo in the making between Jett Bandy and Carlos Perez. Bandy is the better hitter, with power. And with Geovany Soto dealing with knee issues, Jett has come out of nowhere to give the club something to look forward to behind the dish.

Bandy and Perez are also very good defenders. Having a catching tandem where both catchers are good defensively has not happened since the Molina Brothers graced Angels fans with their presence.

So, for now, this one will have to be an up-in-the-air scenario. But just to throw it out there: Donnier Navarro. And if you don’t mind a little less defense but with a power bat: Matt Wieters.

Other than that, the club will probably stick with Bandy/Perez.

Second Base

Long term solutions here are scarce. But the Angels don’t really need that as much as they just need depth and a variety of options. Most middle infields end up as a committee any ways. Andrelton Simmons has shortstop locked down for a while, so the focus up the middle will be on second base.

As far as the long run, I say Neil Walker. He may be a bit expensive. But he’s a left-handed bat that can hit for pretty good percentages with pop that pushes his homerun totals into the mid teens. I love players like that. They balance out your offense, and Walker can certainly do that. Asdrubal Cabrera was a guy I really wanted the Angels to get last offseason. Walker is a comparable commodity.

For the short-term, I’d go with Steve Pearce or Kelly Johnson. These are also multi-position players that can build the club’s diversity. However, the Halos could also go in-house with Gregorio Petit. Although that would still require Cliff Pennington to round out the playing time, as Petit is probably not going to give the Angels 150 games of decent production at second base.

So I’d definitely look for the Walkers, the Pearce’s, and perhaps the Johnsons to plug this area. But there is still one other interesting option that’s been talked about for almost a year now…

Third Base

Yunel Escobar is giving the Angels ample production for the type of player he is, and for only $7 million. He has a similar club option that will likely be picked up. Then the question returns: Do the Angels get a new second baseman, or do they get another third baseman and move Escobar to second base?

This is not a bad idea. Even though Escobar has never played second base in the Big Leagues, he’s a good enough athlete to make the transition, and it would definitely shorten the range and throwing distance required of him that he’s botched at times during the season. There was a time when Escobar was actually a very valuable defender. But that has regressed, especially with him moving to third base.

So what options are there on the market? Well, a few, quite surprisingly. David Freese was there but he got extended by the Pirates. But then there’s under-the-radar options in the form of Aaron Hill and Martin Prado. Both players are having fine seasons for their respective ball clubs in 2016, especially Prado. Better yet, both these guys are listed as multi-position players at second base, third base, and outfield. They’re in the third base column because that’s where they’ve spent the majority of their playing time.

I say sign one, or both! Heck, you could even get one of them to play third base, and get Neil Walker to play second base, and then use Escobar in a trade for an affordable starting pitcher. That’s an idea.

Either way, Hill and Prado are guys that would provide the Angels with much diversity, and even a backup emergency option at our next position…

Left Field

Michael Saunders. That’s the way to go. The Angels could close the door on what would’ve been one of the better trades in recent club history, but fell through because of a health issue with a Red Sox prospect in that three team deal with the Blue Jays. This is the guy. He’ll be affordable, and he’s a lefty. Enough said. Moving on to…

Starting Pitcher

This is where it really gets dicey. Taking care of our ‘Around the Big A’ section of the article right here, Garrett Richards has been throwing off a mound and is progressing better than anyone would’ve thought. The likelihood of Tommy John Surgery is still floating in the air. But as of right now, Richards is on track to be ready for the 2017 season.

That being said, the rotation looks like Richards, Matt Shoemaker, Tyler Skaggs, Ricky Nolasco. The fifth spot has internal options, such as newcomer Alex Meyer, long reliever Jhoulys Chacin, and prospect Nate Smith. So there is still some depth there.

But is it enough to make make one feel secure?

Well it probably never will be in this game. But for good measure, I say go out and get Doug Fister. Get those innings. The four the Halos have slated for next season can give a lot of innings. And that’s all they need in a culture where bullpen is king. Eppler could even go out and get Jeremy Hellickson. Heck, if Richards doesn’t come back, those are probably your two guys. Gio Gonzalez is another. Go after them all. Who knows if Shoe will ever be the same after his scary incident?

Just get as many innings as possible, because Eppler will probably have to put the majority of his focus on the next area…


This is actually the strongest area of the free agent list, and just happens to be the most important area of need regardless of what comes out of (or doesn’t come out of) the Angels’ starting rotation. Even if Richards doesn’t return, and the Angels are still stuck with three pitchers with Tommy John Surgery, Eppler could still conduct a massive invasion of what is actually a rich reliever market.

Huston Street will return as the closer, and if healthy he will be just fine there. But what if he isn’t? I think the Halos should at least make an offer to Wade Davis if the Royals don’t exercise his option. They should definitely take a flyer on Mark Melancon as well. Then, there’s Kenley Jansen.

And the elephant in the room is the 100 MPH lefty that some are very hesitant to even consider as an option for the Angels. I’ll leave this one alone.

Any ways, Eppler could easily swoop in and make himself a scary bullpen. But will any of these guys be willing to be in a set-up role? Or a closer by committee? Or will the Angels trade Street? Interesting scenario.

The team could also use another lefty like Brett Cecil. It’s hard to expect guys like Cory Rasmus and Mike Morin to just be handed their jobs back after dealing with so many injuries and control problems on the mound. You also have an up-and-coming Cam Bedrosian who will be in the middle of all of this. In any case, this is a situation that should be handled with the most care this offseason.

Even if the Angels don’t get all they need to fill holes offensively, or even in their rotation, the bullpen will make or break the Angels’ 2017 season. Because even with all of the injuries to their rotation this season, the losses of Smith and Street are probably the biggest blow. Because there are a lot of contenders and would-be contenders out there with all kinds of starting pitching problems, more than I’ve ever seen actually. And most of the teams holding playoff spots, or close to that, are surviving on their bullpens.

The Angels are in last place mainly because their bullpen fell apart in addition to their starting rotation.

So Will It Be Enough?

If the Angels can get the pieces they need to fill holes on their roster, and add depth, then yes. Up to $50 million dollars in average annual value will be falling off the books this offseason. Arbitration will eat into that, so let’s say $35 to $40 million. That’s still a lot. And the club can easily plug holes. I think they should do it regardless of whether or not the team bounces back and contends next season. Because the Angels have one thing that about 20 to 25 other MLB teams don’t have: the ability to just go into the market and try to build a contender while rebuilding and developing their farm system at the same time. That’s the key. The Angels are a high market franchise. So they can do whatever they want. And they likely will this winter. Will they contend in 2017? We won’t know until it happens. Teams rise and fall every year in this game. Ball clubs contend sooner and even later than expected all the time. With the kinds of resources the Angels have, it’s objectively and truly a big “I don’t know”.


Angels Insiders: Skaggs, Rasmus, Shoe, Pitching Staff

Tyler Skaggs delivers a pitch during a game against the Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards on July 31, 2014 (Greg Fiume/Getty Images)

Tyler Skaggs delivers a pitch during a game against the Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards on July 31, 2014 (Greg Fiume/Getty Images)

The Angels actually caught a break this time. After being scratched from his next start with a forearm strain — the ailment that led to his original torn UCL diagnoses — Tyler Skaggs had an MRI that revealed no damage to the ligament this time. Just over two years removed from Tommy John Surgery, the young lefty has come far in his recovery, and has had a few setbacks. While battling back in the minors early this season, Tyler was shut down because of soreness in his shoulder, which was due to lack of consistent pitching for a year and a half. This bump in the road turned out to be merely another minor one. Skaggs is hoping to make his next start.


More From Around the Big A:

  • Rasmus is finally back but Shoe finally got the move that we all expected. After spending two months on the DL because of the same core injury he has suffered from for over a year, and requiring surgery, the former first round pick of the Atlanta Braves is back with the Halos.
  • Shoe was hospitalized because of swelling in his brain, which was a side effect from the surgery he had to stop bleeding from his skull after being hit by a line drive off the bat of Kyle Seager two weeks ago. The Bearded One is fine, but one has to wonder what his future will be. Some people are never the same after an injury like that. All we can do is hope that Shoe has a full recovery so he can be with his family and live a long happy life.

  • Ironic isn’t it? The one guy many fans thought was done is the last man standing on the Halos’ staff. And it’s also a big reason the Angels are in last place. Not because of Jered’s performance, which has been all right considering his decline. But the amount of pitchers they have either had on the DL this season, or have picked up from other clubs via the waiver wire or by trade, is why they’re in the cellar. Eight pitchers on their staff have been designated for assignment by the Angels or another club. A full rotation, plus their set-up man and closer have missed significant time, and their setup man was eventually traded at the deadline. The result: mathematically eliminated from playoff contention as of Thursday, September 15. Better luck next year.

Eppler’s Domain: Lincecum, Johnny G, Meyer, Smith, Rasmus


Tim Lincecum‘s comeback season has come to an end, as he leaves with a 9.16 ERA and closed things out at AAA Salt Lake. Signed in June, The Freak was looking to revitalize his career after undergoing surgery for a degenerative hip. The results were obviously not as hoped. It is not clear what the future holds for Timmy. The former Cy Young Award winner will definitely have to go for a minor league contract this offseason, if he is able to find a job.

Perhaps even the Independent Leagues might be a good route. Jose Canseco went that direction in 2001 after the Angels released him despite having a good spring for them that same year. All Canseco did was mash in Independent ball, and then joined the Chicago White Sox and put up good numbers before retiring.

If Lincecum has any hope of pitching in the Big Leagues beyond 2016, he’s really going to have be patient and go step-by-step. Or, he’ll just have to retire.

So long, Tim. Good luck.

As for Johnny G, he did what he could and made the most of his abilities as the Angels’ everyday second baseman for close to two full seasons. His .267 / .305 / .375 slash line over that time was okay for the position, but his glove was the prime suspect.

When looking across the infield at his counterpart Andrelton Simmons, there is a similarity at the plate, meaning above average-to-good hitting ability, but with little patience. However, Simba never strikes out, and has the deciding factor as to why Simmons is by far the more valuable player: spectacular defense. Andrelton is about to post a 3 WAR despite missing significant time on the disabled list, and much of that comes from his magical glove and a cannon at shortstop.

Johnny’s WAR in 2016: 0.5.

What the Angels need from that position, of course, is better defense. And the club could use some more pop. They had that in Howie Kendrick before trading him for Andrew Heaney. That was the right thing to do at the time, as the Halos were in need of additional starting pitching depth.

Replacing Howie is another story.

There are options at second base on the free agents market. Neil Walker is one that would bring good value to second base. The team could also make Kaleb Cowart their everyday second baseman, with Cliff Pennington and Gregorio Petit as insurance. That’s the route they should probably go considering the need to focus on pitching.

Aside from all of this, however, my hope this past offseason was that they would sign Asdrubal Cabrera to play second base. And he’s having a really good season with the Mets. That’s neither here nor there. As of right now, second base in Anaheim is still up for grabs.

Good luck Johnny!


More From Around The Big A!

  • Alex Meyer made his Angels debut and showed off his wicked curveball. Acquired with Ricky Nolasco for Hector Santiago at the trade deadline, the young righty threw four innings of shutout baseball as he continued working his way to building back his pitch count. One thing that was noticeable was his arm slot. It might be obvious to the trained eye that his delivery causes his arm to swing in an what appears to be an awkward manner as he releases the ball. Perhaps more work on his mechanics will help that. Other than that, his stuff looked good, and it was a great step for a new young controllable starting pitcher the Halos are in dire need of now that the club has lost three of them to torn UCL‘s and Tommy John Surgery. Let’s pray that Alex Meyer can go through his tenure with the club unscathed and will help solidify the rotation for the future.

  • Another starting pitcher down. But luckily this was one that escaped ligament damage. Smith left his last outing with soreness in his elbow, and it turned out to be a more typical ailment for young pitchers. The lefty was about to be called to the Majors to make his debut, but that will have to wait. The Angels still intend to groom Smith to win a spot in the rotation in 2017.

  • Cory is closer to returning, and things looked really good right for the reliever in his first rehab assignment outing. Rasmus is on the disabled list after undergoing surgery on July 7 to repair a core injury centering around his groin. He had a similar issue last season, and it was never fully healed. The righty has dealt with numbers injuries that has hindered his development as a nasty reliever that could’ve really helped to lock down the Angels’ bullpen. He should be back by season’s end, but it is not clear what his role will be in 2017.

  • The time has come for a Star Wars night at the Big A! The long-awaited event is finally here and for those of you are able to attend, have lots of fun and get your Stormtrooper Monkey!

  • Despite having to end his 2016 season rather quickly because of Tommy John Surgery, Heaney has been able to do his off-the-field work quite admirably. It would be nice to see him get this award to have something to show for the season. Cast your vote!

Angels Week In Review: August 29 – September 4, 2016

Matt Shoemaker is helped off the field by Angels training staff after being struck in the head by a batted ball off the bat of Kyle Seager during the second inning of a game against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field on September 4, 2016 (Otto Greule, Jr./Getty Images)

Matt Shoemaker #52 is helped off the field by the Angels training staff after being struck in the head by a batted ball off the bat of Kyle Seager during the second inning of a game against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field on September 4, 2016 (Otto Greule, Jr./Getty Images)

Angels Week In Review: August 29 – September 4, 2016

Week Start: 56-74, 5th AL West (Div E#12, WC E#18)

Week End: 61-75, 4th AL West (Div E#6, WC E#14)

Week W-L: 5-1

The Angels came off an impressive road trip last week where they took 4 out of their 6 games in Toronto & Detroit and came home for a quick 3-game homestand before heading right back out on the road. The Angels continued playing good ball this week as they swept the quick the 3-game interleague series against the Cincinnati Reds, then went up to Seattle and took 2 of 3 there. The news wasn’t all good for the Angels this week however as during Sunday’s game Matt Shoemaker was struck in the head by a line drive off the bat of Kyle Seager that was travelling an estimated 105 MPH according to StatCast.

Shoemaker was helped off the field holding a towel against his head and was taken to a local hospital in Seattle. He was diagnosed with a skull fracture and a hematoma, or bleeding of the brain tissue around the fracture. After 3 CT scans that were being performed every 2 hours showed increasing blood buildup around the wound, doctors opted to perform surgery to correct the hematoma Sunday evening. Angels General Manager Billy Eppler reported Monday that the surgery was successful and that Shoemaker is expected to make a full recovery, although his 2016 season is obviously over. Our thoughts & prayers here at #LAAngelsInsider are with Matt and his family at this time, and we look forward to seeing him back out on the mound down in Tempe next spring!

Monday August 29, 2016: Angels rout Reds, Make it 3 straight


(Angels official Twitter feed @angels)

Off the Field: The Angels optioned RP A.J. Achter to AAA Salt Lake and recalled OF Rafael Ortega from AAA Salt Lake.

On the Field – Angels rout Reds 9-2: Monday night’s series opener featured a pitching matchup between the Angels’ Matt Shoemaker against the Reds’ Dan StrailyWhile the Reds opened up the scoring in the very 1st inning with a 2-run Joey Votto homer to take a 2-0 lead, the Angels would bounce right back with 3 in the bottom of the inning off Straily, including back-to-back homers by Mike Trout (25) and Albert Pujols (26). For Pujols, it was the 586th homer of his career, tying him for 9th all-time with Hall of Famer Frank Robinson. The Angel scoring didn’t stop there, as they would go on to drop a 4-spot on Straily, including home runs by C.J. Cron (12) and Jefry Marte (11), in the bottom of the 3rd to open their lead to 7-2 and knock Straily out of the game after just 2 2/3 innings.

The Angels would tack on a couple more as Kole Calhoun added a home run (13) of his own in the 4th and Marte added a RBI double in the 7th. Meanwhile Shoemaker settled down after Votto’s 1st inning homer and provided 7 innings of 2-run ball with 7 hits and 7 strikeouts to take the victory as the Angels cruised to a 9-2 final.

WP: Shoemaker (9-13), LP: Straily (10-7)

Tuesday August 30, 2016 – Angels beat Reds again, make it 4 straight


(Angels official Twitter feed @angels)

Off the Field: The Angels traded OF Daniel Nava to the Kansas City Royals for a player to be named later or cash.

On the Field – Angels beat Reds 4-2: Tuesday night’s game featured the Angels’ Jered Weaver going up against the Reds’ 28 year-old rookie right-hander Tim Adelman. This game turned out to be the C.J. Cron show, as Cron belted a pair of homers (13, 14) – a 2-run shot in the 1st and a solo shot in the 3rd to give the Angels a 3-0 lead after 3 innings. Meanwhile Weaver was solid all night, as he tossed 6 1/3 scoreless innings until Eugenio Suarez got him for a 2-run homer in the 7th, knocking him from the game and cutting the Angel lead to 3-2. The Angels would pick up an insurance run on an Andrelton Simmons RBI single in the 8th however, and Fernando Salas came in to close the door in the 9th, securing the Angels’ 4-2 victory.

WP: Weaver (10-11), LP: Adleman (2-2), SV: Salas (6)

Wednesday August 31, 2016 – Angels sweep Reds


(Angels official Twitter feed @angels)

Off the Field: The Angels traded RP Fernando Salas to the New York Mets for SP Erik Manoah.

On the Field – Angels sweep Reds 3-0: Wednesday’s series finale was a rare 4:05pm late afternoon game at Angel Stadium and featured a pitching matchup between the Angels’ Ricky Nolasco and the Reds’ young lefty Brandon Finnegan. The late afternoon shadows at the Big-A certainly played a factor in this one making the ball hard to see for batters, as hits & runs were certainly at a premium. The game remained scoreless all the way until the bottom of the 6th inning when the Angels finally broke through on Finnegan with a RBI single from C.J. Cron giving the Angels a 1-0 lead. Jefry Marte then followed that with a RBI double of his own, giving the Angels a 2-0 lead. The Angels would tack on a 3rd run in the bottom of the 8th on another RBI single by Cron, but the real story of this game was Ricky Nolasco. Maybe it was Nolasco’s nasty slider, maybe it was the afternoon shadows, or maybe it was the combination of the two, but Nolasco was unhittable all day, picking up his first win as an Angel in fine style with a complete-game 4-hit shutout.

WP: Nolasco (5-12), LP: Finnegan (8-10)

Thursday September 1, 2016 – Travel Day

A United Airlines Boeing 737-900 aircraft, similar to the type of aircraft the Angels typically charter (United Airlines)

A United Airlines Boeing 737-900 aircraft, similar to the type of aircraft the Angels typically charter (United Airlines)

Off the Field: The Angels made no roster moves during their off-day Thursday.

On the Field: The Angels had no game Thursday as they headed back on the road following the quick 3-game homestand, flying from Anaheim to Seattle.

Friday September 2, 2016 – Angels fall to Seattle

(Angels official Twitter feed @angels)

(Angels official Twitter feed @angels)

Off the Field: The Angels activated IF Yunel Escobar from the 7-day concussion DL, and in the first wave of September call-ups, the Angels recalled relievers Andrew Bailey and Cody Ege and C Juan Graterol from AAA Salt Lake.

On the Field – Angels fall to Mariners 11-8: Friday night’s series opener featured another game where the Angels started off with Brett Oberholtzer on the hill while the Mariners handed the ball to their young lefty Ariel Miranda. Things started off well for the Angels as they scored 4 first inning runs off of Miranda, including home runs by Mike Trout (26) and Jefry Marte (12). Oberholtzer got through the bottom of the 1st relatively unscathed giving up just 1 run to send the Angels to the 2nd inning with a 4-1 lead, but things completely fell apart for him in the bottom of the 2nd. After the first 4 Seattle batters reached base in the inning on 2 walks and 2 singles and cut the Angel lead to 4-2, Angels manager Mike Scioscia had seen enough and made the call to the bullpen, bringing in Jhoulys Chacin. Well, Chacin didn’t fare much better, and after 3 more walks and 4 more hits, the Mariners had put together a 9-run inning and a 10-4 lead. Nelson Cruz tacked on a solo shot (33) in the bottom of the 8th to expand the Seattle lead to 11-4 in what appeared to be a complete rout.

The Angels would manage to make things interesting in the top of the 9th however, as they would put together 4 runs to cut the Mariners lead to 11-8 including the first Major League hit for Juan Graterol, a RBI double. The Angels managed to get Mike Trout to the plate with Albert Pujols waiting on deck as the tying run, but Trout would fly out to end the comeback attempt and the game.

WP: Miranda (2-1), LP: Oberholtzer (3-3), SV: Diaz (12)

Saturday September 3, 2016 – Angels take middle game

(Angels official Twitter feed @angels)

(Angels official Twitter feed @angels)

Off the Field: The Angels sent OF Shane Robinson on a rehab assignment to AAA Salt Lake. The Angels also claimed RP Ashur Tolliver off waivers from the Baltimore Orioles and optioned him to AA Arkansas. In another wave of September call-ups the Angels recalled IF Ji-Man Choi and SP Alex Meyer.

On the Field – Angels rout Mariners 10-3: Saturday night’s matchup in Seattle featured the Angels’ lefty Tyler Skaggs going up against the Seattle righty Taijuan Walker. The Angel offense got off to a quick start against Walker, scoring 6 first inning runs including back-to-back-to-back home runs from Kole Calhoun (14), Mike Trout (27), and Albert Pujols (27). For Pujols it was the 587th of his career, putting him alone in 9th place all-time. Up next on that list is Sammy Sosa at 609. Skaggs ran into a bit of a rough patch in the 1st inning himself, giving up a 2-run home run to Franklin Gutierrez (13), but settled down after that and would go on to give the Angels 6 innings of 3-run ball. The Angels would go on to score 4 more runs over the next 3 innings, including the 2nd home run of the game for both Kole Calhoun (15) and Albert Pujols (28/588). In the end the Angels would cruise to a 10-3 victory.

WP: Skaggs (3-3), LP: Walker (4-10)

Sunday September 4, 2016 – Angels take series, lose Shoemaker

(Angels official Twitter feed @angels)

(Angels official Twitter feed @angels)

Off the Field: The Angels transferred RP Huston Street from the 15-day DL to the 60-day DL. The Angels also claimed SP/RP Daniel Wright off waivers from the Cincinnati Reds.

On the Field – Angels beat Mariners 4-2: Sunday’s series finale featured the Angels’ righty Matt Shoemaker going up against the Seattle veteran righty Hisashi Iwakuma. The Angel offense once again got off to a quick start with 2 first inning runs thanks to back-to-back home runs from Albert Pujols (29/589) and C.J. Cron (15) to take a 2-0 lead.

That’s where the game stood in the bottom of the 2nd inning when a scary moment happened with Angel starter Matt Shoemaker. Shoemaker took a line drive right off of his head off the bat of Kyle Seager. After a delay of several minutes, Shoemaker was eventually helped to his feet and made it off the field mostly under his own power, holding a towel on his head due to the bleeding. Shoemaker was taken to a nearby hospital and ended up having surgery for a skull fracture and a hematoma. Angels GM Billy Eppler reported on Monday that Shoemaker’s surgery was successful and that he’s expected to make a full recovery, but his 2016 season is obviously over.

After that, the remainder of the game seemed considerably less important, but the Angel bullpen stepped up in fine style, keeping Seattle off the board for the next several innings, and after a RBI single by Pujols in the top of the 6th, the Angels took a 3-0 lead to the bottom of the 6th. In the bottom of the 6th, Robinson Cano put the Mariners on the board with a solo shot, his 31st of the season, to cut the lead to 3-1. The Angels & Mariners then traded runs in the 8th inning, but the game would end with the Angels taking a 4-2 victory after reliever Andrew Bailey picked up his first save as an Angel.

WP: Guerra (3-0), LP: Iwakuma (14-11), SV: Bailey (1)

Up Next for the Angels

The Angels left Seattle Sunday afternoon to head for Oakland, where they’ll continue their 6-game road trip against the A’s this Monday-Wednesday. They’ll then have an off-day Thursday to fly home where they’ll begin a long 10-game homestand, starting with a 3-game series against Texas next weekend.

  • Mon 9/5: Angels @ A’s
  • Tue 9/6: Angels @ A’s
  • Wed 9/7: Angels @ A’s
  • Thu 9/8: No Game
  • Fri 9/9: Rangers @ Angels – Tickets
  • Sat 9/10: Rangers @ Angels – Tickets
  • Sun 9/11: Rangers @ Angels – Tickets

Updated 2017 First-Year Player Draft Order

  1. Minnesota: 51-86 (.372)
  2. Atlanta: 54-83 (.394)
  3. San Diego: 56-80 (.412)
  4. Cincinnati: 57-78 (.422)
  5. Arizona: 58-78 (.426)
  6. Oakland: 58-78 (.426)
  7. Tampa Bay: 58-77 (.430)
  8. Milwaukee: 60-76 (.441)
  9. Philadelphia: 60-76 (.441)
  10. Angels: 61-75 (.449)

Angels Insiders: Shoe, Pujols, Meyer, Additions


The Bearded One got quite a scare on Sunday as a line drive from Kyle Seager came right back and knocked Matt Shoemaker in the right side of his head. Shoe never lost consciousness as he stumbled off the mound and then fell to his knees. But a laceration at the point of impact was a quick cause for concern, as if the comeback itself wasn’t enough. Shoe was taken to the hospital and received emergency surgery to stop bleeding from a small fracture in his skull. The Angels announced on Monday that Matt resting comfortably as of right now. Our thoughts and prayers go out to him and his family.

Around the Big A:

  • Albert Pujols hit another homerun in the first inning of Sunday’s contest in Seattle. The dinger was The Machine’s 133rd first inning blast of his career, passing Barry Bonds for the most in baseball since 1974. Albert is also 9th on the all-time homerun list, passing Frank Robinson, with 589 total. There’s a slim chance we’ll see him reach 600 by the end of this season. But mark your calendars. He’ll be passing that milestone next April. Exactly three years since becoming a member of the 500 club.

  • The bullpen has been getting a new look of late, and rightly so. With the recent acquisitions of hurlers like Andrew Bailey, the Fernando Salas trade, and Cam Bedrosian‘s season-ending surgery, the long-needed overhaul has already begun. Wright has never been a highly touted prospect, but scouts have raved about him and he was expected to be apart of the Reds’ future. But he looked like a Jekyll and Hyde coming up to the Majors. And he has struggled to regain that form even back in AAA ever since. Perhaps the change of scenery will help.
  • Wright was added to the active roster on Monday, along with Ji-Man Choi and A.J. Achter.
  • Also, Bedrosian’s surgery involved releasing a blood clot that was discovered while running routine tests on his finger for tendinitis. Cam will definitely be ready Spring Training next year. However, the question is what role he will serve since the Angels are already beginning a quick rebuild that seems to be focused on resetting the bullpen.

  • So now it’s time to see that young arm the Angels got for Hector Santiago at the trade deadline. After recovering from the shoulder injury that limited his opportunities this season, Meyer plowed his way through the Halos’ minor league system, just getting his feet wet and slowly increasing his pitch count. During all of this, the former #14 prospect in 2015 by Baseball Prospectus posted a 3.09 ERA. Hoping to jump into the future rotation, amidst major injuries to current young arms, the Halos are excited to have Meyer in the rotation, and has an opportunity to audition for 2017.

Garret Anderson’s Angels Hall of Fame Induction

Los Angeles Angels' Garret Anderson watches the ball after hitting a two run homer against the Toronto Blue Jays in the seventh inning of a baseball game in Anaheim, Calif., Friday, July 4, 2008. (AP Photo/Mark Avery)

Los Angeles Angels’ Garret Anderson watches the ball after hitting a two run homer against the Toronto Blue Jays in the seventh inning of a baseball game in Anaheim, Calif., Friday, July 4, 2008. (AP Photo/Mark Avery)

Congratulations to Angels great Garret Anderson on his induction into the team’s Hall of Fame! Here’s the ceremony from FOX Sports West.


2016 Game 162: Astros at Angels

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Some notes for the final game of the season:

With Friday night’s victory, the Angels avoided their first 90 loss season in 17 years.

The club also set an MLB record with 24 different pitchers with at least a win. And

Mike Trout now has the franchise record in walks.

Trout is also sitting on 29 HR, 99 RBI, and 29 SB. With one HR and one SB today, he’ll be the first 30-30 man since 2012. Guess who that was?



2016 Game 160: Astros at Angels

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2016 Game 157: A’s at Angels

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2016 Game 156: Angels at Astros

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2016 Game 154: Angels at Astros

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2016 Game 151: Angels at Rangers

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