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Angels mailbag: What comes next after a bad week?

Angels mailbag: What comes next after a bad week?
Angels pitcher David Huff (32) takes his hat off Sunday after being pulled in the second inning of his team's game against the Cleveland Indians. (Victor Decolongon / Getty Images)

What is up, Angels fans? Your team was not so hot last week: Seven games, six losses. It's not what you want.

Let us recap the week and preview the upcoming one here with questions and answers. As always, this is the place to ask anything you want about the Angels, with questions submitted through my email (pedro.moura@latimes.com) and Twitter account (@pedromoura). It all starts now.

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Now that the annual Freeway Series has come to its annual conclusion, I thought I would ask your opinion of one of Arte Moreno's original goals of growing the Angels  brand in Los Angeles. My very unscientific poll of simply driving around L.A., where I live, is that there is really no support of my Halos unless it's at Dodger Stadium during the Freeway Series where you will see a few hundred red hats sprinkled throughout the stadium. Is there data or anything else you can share that assesses Arte's marketing efforts? 

Kirk Dingley, Hollywood

I too live in Los Angeles and, anecdotally, I'd say I see about three to four times as much Dodgers-themed clothing. The New York Times studied this sort of thing a couple of years ago, using the most applicable data they could find. There's a line starting just south of Seal Beach that goes up as it heads east, through La Mirada, above Brea, up to maybe Hacienda Heights and then back down some. Above it, there are more Dodgers fans. Below it, there are more Angels fans. How many exactly in each place is quite difficult to say. The New York Times was just using Facebook data on which teams fans "liked."

What is the timetable for Nava, Gentry and Soto to return?Thanks!

Chris H., Westminster

Daniel Nava is out with a strained groin. He could be back this week, as he is on rehab assignment now. Geovany Soto is out with a torn meniscus. He could be back sometime soon, perhaps around the end of the month. Craig Gentry is out with something that remains entirely unclear. I have no idea what the timetable might be, but he is soon eligible to return from the 60-day disabled list.

David Alpern, via email: Angel Stadium feels a bit neglected. The right field scoreboard appears washed out from sunlight, the left field scoreboard appears to have a section of defective lights, local media reviews of its food options have been underwhelming, etc. When is big investment going to be made in our team's home to improve the fan experience? I've noticed the lovely, amazingly large scoreboard at Petco Park in left field. We need something cutting-edge like that in our ballpark. On the bright side, cellphone data service at the stadium has improved dramatically in recent years.

It does seem that just about every stadium has a nice, big scoreboard, except for Angel Stadium. Petco Park's is huge. I don't know when an investment is going to be made at Angel Stadium. The owner of the team, Arte Moreno, has thus far declined to speak to The Times. I'm sure the size and timing of any investment is tied to the future of the stadium, and the Angels have made clear their interest in moving elsewhere in Orange County if the city of Anaheim does not agree to a more favorable deal to renovate the ballpark. The last figure mentioned publicly was $130 millon to $150 million in renovation money.

@Squidwai: I struggle to find anyone remotely interesting in Angels upper minor leagues.  Any sleepers?  Any prospects catching your eye?

That depends how you define interesting. Personally, I find some names wonderfully interesting. The Angels have a double-A outfielder named Forrestt Allday, and a triple-A catcher named Anthony Bemboom. Those are both great names. They are not great players.

The Angels are without prospects who are close to the majors. Double-A right-hander Victor Alcantara is at least mildly interesting, but he's 23 now and not dominating the competition. Triple-A right-hander Kyle McGowin and left-hander Nate Smith could both be back-end starters if things break right. Smith's strikeout-walk numbers are encouraging.

Angels left-handed pitcher Nate Smith at spring training at Tempe Diablo Stadiumin February.
Angels left-handed pitcher Nate Smith at spring training at Tempe Diablo Stadiumin February. (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

@kevin3841: when might we see Nate Smith? Were you surprised that Huff was called up prior to Smith?

You will probably see Smith before the season ends. I was not surprised that David Huff was called up before Smith, because Smith had thrown too recently to be able to start when the Angels needed a starter, Tuesday in New York.

@RobertArutunia1: Why trot out Huff against a quality starter instead of a better AAA arm? Another loss.

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This question was sent before Sunday's game, I'll note, but let me again point out that the Angels do not have any noteworthy starting-pitching talent in their upper minors. It was Huff or Kyle Kendrick. Neither is what you want. Well, Tim Lincecum was there, and he could have been better than Huff, but he wanted to pitch again in the minors before debuting as an Angel, probably Saturday in Oakland.

@jzanier468: Discuss your view of giving players "a day off." Not just veterans like Pujols but young guys in their playing prime.

I believe humans function better when they are adequately rested, particularly as they age. But I also know that ballplayers don't actually get the day off even when they are out of their team's lineup — they still have to stay mentally alert and ready to pinch-hit — so I generally think that days off are more trouble than they're worth.

@Chip_GI11: When is Scioscia getting fired and what prospects do we have to give up for Bryce Harper?

Whoa. This is a lot. I am pretty sure the Angels couldn't acquire Bryce Harper if they traded every prospect from all their minor league affiliates.

Mike Scioscia is under contract for two more seasons beyond this one at $5 million apiece. That is a lot of money to swallow if he is fired. Beyond that, this season is not his fault. The Angels do not have enough healthy, good players on their team to win.

@OnBaseUnit: What do you think of the Angels draft?

I don't know much about any of the players they drafted, aside from Torii Hunter Jr. and Anthony Molina, who was spotlighted in Jeff Passan's splendid book, "The Arm." Their first-round pick can hit, I've heard. Their second-round pick seems to be well-regarded around the industry.

Ask me again in four or five years, and we should know better.

@JohnHollands65: How much longer until C.J. Wilson is traded???

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In order to trade for him, other teams would of course want to see that he is healthy and effective. He's neither right now, of course, so a trade is not likely. Forty-six weeks have passed since he last pitched in a major league game.

@Crudemeisters: Any chance Marte gets some play in left?

That could be an option at some point, but don't lose sight of the fact that two weeks' worth of power at the major league level does not a good hitter make. Yes, Marte has four homers in and four doubles in 14 games, and that's difficult to do, but he also has 11 strikeouts against one walk.

For weeks, fans clamored for Rafael Ortega to retain the left-field starting position when Nava returned from injury. Ortega was hitting well and playing good defense, but small-sample offensive numbers do not generate reasonable conclusions. Ortega has no sock. Both of those guys are valuable depth options to have within an organization in case of injury, but everyday major leaguers are so rarely found on the minor league free agent or minor league trade market.

@socalsports1984: Do you see Weaver hanging it up after this year?

I think about this a lot. I have not decided upon an answer. He has said a few times that he does not have fun pitching poorly, and if he is topping out at 85 mph throughout the year, it's hard to see how he could expect that to change in 2017. Also, he will not make nearly as much money to pitch in 2017 as he has in 2016.

But Jered Weaver became the pitcher he was because he did not believe the limitations others placed on him. How to combine those two?

@MattMattwiles26: Would it seem to you that the best trade chip the Angels have is in fact Shoemaker? What team wouldn't want a hot hand?

How sure are you that his hot hand will continue? Matt Shoemaker has definitely impressed in his five most recent starts, but there is also the matter of the seven starts that preceded them. He still has a 4.76 earned-run average on the year.

If he can do this for another month, sure, he'll be quite valuable. But if he does this for another month, don't you want to keep him on the Angels? He's still under team control for four more seasons after this one, through 2020, at which point he'll be 34. The Angels can retain his effective years for a below-market rate.

@OnBaseUnit: Do you prefer brisket or pulled pork?

I think the floor for pulled pork is higher but the ceiling for brisket is higher. A bad pulled pork is never nearly as bad as a bad lean brisket, you know? I can't find any analogies to relate this back to baseball.

@gingerkid1616: If Lincecum does well do you think he's getting traded ?

That would be a, uh, surprising outcome.

That's it for this week's Angels mailbag. Send in your questions to the below addresses at any time, and check back each Monday for answers.

Twitter: @pedromoura

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