With pitchers and catchers scheduled to report to Tempe, Ariz., by Feb. 19, it's time to dissect the Angels' 2015 roster. This is the second of a seven-part Around the Horn series taking a position-by-position look at projected starters and backup options heading into the season. Next up: Middle infield.
With pitchers and catchers scheduled to report to Tempe, Ariz., by Feb. 19, it's time to dissect the Angels' 2015 roster. This is the first of a seven-part Around the Horn series taking a position-by-position look at projected starters and backup options heading into the season. First up: Catchers.
ANAHEIM -- Chris Iannetta's career high in starts behind the plate is 105, done for the 2011 Rockies team that dealt Miguel Olivo to basically hand Iannetta the everyday job.
MLBPipeline.com's 2015 Top 100 Prospects list will be unveiled on Friday, Jan. 30, on MLB.com, with the Top 50 revealed during a one-hour show on MLB Network at 9 p.m. ET. Leading up to that, MLBPipeline.com takes a look at baseball's Top 10 prospects at each position.
Though all of the left-handers who ranked on last year's preseason Top 10 are still eligible to be considered for inclusion this year, there are still several new faces on this list. Julio Urias, Henry Owens and Andrew Heaney are the holdovers, albeit with their order reversed from last year.
With the offseason winding down, players across Major League Baseball are milking every last second out of their free time before heading back into the cages to tattoo baseballs and such. With that in mind, Mike Trout was up and at 'em early on Tuesday with his dad and brother playing a warped version of "The Most Dangerous Game."
Signs an MLB player is doing pretty well:
1. He's an All-Star in three of his first four seasons.
The Angels have released Yoslan Herrera in order for the right-hander to play for Yokohama in the Nippon Professional Baseball League in Japan, the team announced Monday.
Herrera, whom the Angels had signed to a Minor League deal in early December, spent the bulk of the 2014 season with Triple-A Salt Lake where he went 4-4 with a 2.52 ERA across 41 appearances.
ANAHEIM -- The Angels avoided arbitration with right-hander Fernando Salas and outfielder Collin Cowgill on Friday. Salas received $1.37 million in his second of three arbitration-eligible years and Cowgill, a Super Two, got $995,000.
The club has not announced the agreements.
ANAHEIM -- It was the middle of October in Boca Chica, a popular beachside city along the Dominican Republic's southern coast, and it was time for the Angels to see what this Roberto Baldoquin kid was really made of.
The 20-year-old middle infielder had spent most of the summer and ensuing fall showcasing at other teams' facilities on the baseball-crazed island. Now he was back with the Angels, who had three front-office members, an entire Dominican scouting department and their Major League first-base coach on hand for back-to-back days of exclusive, excruciating workouts.
Santiago will receive $2.29 million in 2015, while Ramos will get $1,312,500 and Butera nets $987,500.
A star with the first crack of the bat, Ken Griffey Jr. -- one of Mike Trout's early heroes -- is in the ballpark with the Angels' center fielder as you evaluate the first three seasons of their careers. Barry Bonds is not in the conversation. Trout dwarfs the home-run king.
To identify an outfielder as great as Trout through three Major League seasons, you have to dig into the past. Not since the Golden Era -- from the late 1940s into the early 1970s, when giants roamed the landscape -- have we seen a player rivaling Trout's total impact.
Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
ANAHEIM -- The Angels signed former Nationals reliever Ryan Mattheus to a Minor League contract with a Spring Training invitation on Wednesday.
Mattheus posted a 2.85 ERA in 66 appearances for the Nats as recently as 2012, but has fallen off the past two seasons. The 31-year-old right-hander struggled through a 6.37 ERA and a 1.90 WHIP in 37 appearances in 2013, a season that saw him spend time on the disabled list for punching a locker, then compiled only 8 2/3 innings in the big leagues last season.
ANAHEIM -- Within the laptop of every Angels front-office executive is an Excel spreadsheet with projected depth charts for each of the next six seasons. At each position is a prioritized list of all the players in the organization who can conceivably play in the Major Leagues for each given year.
Every Monday, Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto will update the file and send it around to his executives so everyone has a sense of where they stand.
ANAHEIM -- The Angels opened last season with a franchise-record $154.5 million payroll. If they don't make another change to their Major League roster this offseason -- a likely scenario at this point -- they project to open 2015 with a payroll of roughly $145 million, down from last year but still the third largest in club history.
This month will have a major say in that exact total, as the Angels aim to come to terms with eight arbitration-eligible players.
ANAHEIM -- The Angels acquired what they hope is their third baseman of the future on Thursday, getting Kyle Kubitza from the Braves in a prospect swap that sent 17-year-old starter Ricardo Sanchez to Atlanta.
The Angels also picked up pitching prospect Nate Hyatt in the deal, and designated first baseman/outfielder Marc Krauss for assignment in order to make room for Kubitza on their 40-man roster.
Trout and Kershaw, who won their respective league's Most Valuable Player Award, will be honored during the 10th Annual L.A. Sports Awards on March 15 at The Beverly Hilton Hotel.
Taylor Negron passed away on Jan. 10, 2015 after a long battle with cancer. Negron -- a writer, performer, comedian and actor -- is perhaps best known for his roles in "The Last Boy Scout" with Bruce Willis, "Young Doctors in Love" and a brief appearance in the 1999 adaptation of "Stuart Little."
Spring is officially on the horizon.
Major League Baseball announced the first Spring Training workout dates for all 30 of its clubs on Thursday. Pitchers and catchers for the reigning World Series champion Giants -- along with the Phillies, Pirates and Reds -- will be the first to work out, with a Feb. 19 start date. Thirteen other clubs will work out pitchers and catchers for the first time the following day.
ANAHEIM -- John McDonald, who willed his way through a 16-year career with eight different teams as a backup infielder, has decided to retire from the game at age 40. News of his decision spread Wednesday, when four teams -- the Indians, Blue Jays, D-backs and Angels -- offered up congratulations through their individual Twitter accounts.
McDonald was that popular.
The inside joke was that John McDonald didn't want to upstage Tuesday's Hall of Fame announcement. And so it was Wednesday afternoon that four Major League clubs simultaneously used their official Twitter accounts to spread the news of McDonald's official retirement from the big leagues.
Think about that. Four clubs -- the Indians, D-backs, Angels and Blue Jays -- felt fond enough about this scrappy little journeyman utility guy that they all wanted some part of his goodbye.
ANAHEIM -- The Angels announced the signing of 20-year-old Cuban infielder Roberto Baldoquin on Tuesday, shortly after receiving final approval from the Commissioner's Office.
Baldoquin, who turns 21 in May, received an $8 million signing bonus, will likely be invited to Spring Training and is expected to spend the 2015 season mostly with Double-A Arkansas, exclusively playing shortstop.
ANAHEIM -- The Hall of Fame passed Bobby Grich by years ago. The standout second baseman for the Orioles and Angels became eligible in 1992, received votes from only 2.6 percent of the Baseball Writers' Association of America and was never considered again, tossed aside like all the others who fell below that five-percent threshold to remain on the ballot.
"I'm not bitter, I'm not complaining," Grich said of the nominal support from Hall of Fame voters, though he did admit one thing.
Since Jerry Dipoto was named general manager in October 2011, the Angels haven't made a single change to their 40-man roster in January or February. The Angels' GM typically gets all of his heavy lifting done before Christmas, and this offseason has been no different. Dipoto would still like to bring back infielder Gordon Beckham, but may not go after much else in the days leading up to Spring Training. So, this seems like a good time to tackle some of your questions ...
Do you think the Angels will trade Josh Hamilton?
-- Pat S., Tustin, Calif.
ANAHEIM -- It's fair to say Jerry Dipoto isn't a firm believer in the status quo.
Moments after a 98-win season ended with an American League Division Series sweep at the hands of the Royals, the Angels' general manager talked about how his club is merely "tweaks and turns from being a very good team again."
The regular season in the Dominican Republic concluded a week ago, but the rest of the major Latin American winter leagues continued play last week with playoff spots on the line. Teams in Mexico, Puerto Rico and Venezuela are down to their final few games and many prospects continue to play key roles for them.
Below is a look at how some of the top prospects playing in winter leagues are fared.
ANAHEIM -- From extending a 22-year-old Mike Trout to striking a deal with a 20-year-old Roberto Baldoquin. From a no-doubt-about-it Most Valuable Player Award to a surprising Rookie of the Year contender. From a resurgent Albert Pujols to a reeling Josh Hamilton. From acquiring Huston Street to trading Howie Kendrick. From an exhilarating six months to a disappointing October.
The 2014 calendar year was an eventful one for the Angels.