Hello, Angels fans. That was an interesting week, huh? Your team played pretty well against the Dodgers, then suffered a demoralizing loss to Baltimore before rebounding with a fun win on Sunday. Let’s recap it all with some questions and answers.
Here’s the place to ask anything you want about the franchise. This weekly feature is the forum to get responses to any queries regarding the Angels or, really, any topic at all, submitted through my email (email@example.com) and Twitter accounts (@pedromoura). Here we go.
@gopherit007: What’s your opinion on the Tim Lincecum signing?
My opinion is that it is not a particularly bad risk to take in isolation. It sounds like it’ll end up costing the Angels about $3.5 million, which is just not a lot of money for even a serviceable starting pitcher. That is about what Mat Latos got in the off-season, and he was released in September.
In tandem with how the Angels approached the rest of their off-season, however, it seems a bit weird to me. Dexter Fowler signed for $8 million this season with a $9-million mutual option for next season. He would be a massive improvement on the Angels’ current left-field situation.
But, I don’t know. I didn’t watch Lincecum’s showcase earlier this month. I didn’t see his bullpen session on Sunday. Maybe he looked pretty great. If he can be anywhere close to the pitcher he once was, this signing is a steal. Of course, if any other major league team thought he would be, he probably would have signed with them.
I asked Billy Eppler, the Angels’ general manager, if he thought there was any chance at all that Lincecum could again approach greatness.
“Time will tell,” he said. “In a lot of situations, you’re looking to reclaim something. When we talk about doing that, we talk about that with star level players. Whether it’s a pitcher or position player, guys that have had that level of impact, you’re trying to reclaim some of that. Are you gonna capture 100%? Most likely not. Are you gonna capture 70-80%? 90%? Time will tell, ultimately, what you’re able to reclaim.”
Obviously, it is extremely unlikely he’ll recapture 100% of what he used to be. He used to be amazing. What exactly 70% is, I don’t know, but it sounds plausible. And, hey, what’s the worst thing that could happen? Lincecum will sell some tickets. He will probably make some folks happy. There was a time not that long ago where he had an argument as the most entertaining man in this sport. In his prime, wow, was he fun to watch.
@hangingsliders: What’s the timetable for Lincecum to majors? Where does he slot in in rotation?
Right around June 15, his 32nd birthday. As for where he slots in, read farther down in this mailbag!
@LindseyThiry: Do you think Tim Lincecum will return to his Cy Young ways?
No, Lindsey, I don’t.
@extrabaggs: Will 55 be available for Tim Lincecum, or will the team take it out of circulation for awhile out of respect to the Latos era?
This is a great question. According to Eric Kay, the Angels’ director communications, Lincecum’s number with the Angels has not yet been determined.
Paul Sorrento, the Angels’ assistant hitting coach, is currently sporting No. 55, the same number he had when he broke into the big leagues in 1989. Latos did wear it during his five-day Angel career last year.
Ah, Mat Latos.
@DongBobdong: How many dongs do you think Mike Trout has in him this season?
We began with the Lincecum section of the mailbag. Now we enter the Trout section.
I am not much for predictions, so, for Trout home runs, I’ll take the average he has put up the last four seasons: 34. Maybe a couple more. I’ll say 37. That is the pace he is on now.
@DanielBrim: Is Mike Trout good at baseball?
In fact he is. Speaking of pace, Trout is on pace to put up 11 WAR, which would be, oh, you know, the best season of his career. All of his offensive numbers are basically right on par with his career or a bit better. He is doing incredibly, as he always does. His defense is also being looked upon favorably by the advanced metrics, which you may or may not find interesting.
@kevinlappin: Is Trout pulling more pitches as a result of a conscious decision?
Trout is hardly pulling more pitches. I can say that with certainty because of Bill Petit’s wonderful interactive spray-chart tool, linked here. Play with the left timeline bar to cover last season or Trout’s career, leave the right bar to cover this season, and you will see too.
With negative angles assigned to pulled balls and positive angles on pushed balls, Trout hit an average angle of -2 from his debut until the end of last season. Through Friday this season, he has hit at an average of -2.9. He has hit almost precisely the same.
@JohnHollands65: Is the rally monkey in serious jeopardy of getting sent down to AAA since the emergence of the #rallycat if so; what’s his fate?
Now we have entered the offbeat section of the mailbag. Fun! The rally cat was taken to a private shelter. Cam Bedrosian did not adopt it.
@OCArtGuy: What’s the latest on a possible move from Anaheim? Or stadium renovations? It’s been forever since anyone talked about it.
I receive a variation of this question every week, it seems. Here is the best answer I can provide: Absolutely nothing new, according to the team’s vice president of communications, Tim Mead.
@DanGreenspan: Which ballpark has the best music during batting practice? The worst?
This is a strong question. My instinct is to say Hohokam Stadium in Mesa, Ariz., but I fear that may be based on a small sample. The one game I covered there this spring, they basically played nonstop songs off my Spotify starred playlist: The 1975 to St. Lucia to Future Islands. It was dope.
I don’t yet feel capable of answering the questions across baseball, but I can speak to what I know: At Dodger Stadium, the music is generally mediocre and is always too loud. At Angel Stadium, the music is alternately great and terrible and is always too low. They seem to have cycles. For example, they used to play a couple Classixx songs last season, and then they vanished.
The worst is Texas, definitely Texas. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a song I liked at Globe Life Park. The good thing is the press box is enclosed, so you never hear it too much.
I will revisit this come season’s end.
@OsirisTorres: Prediction: What will be the rotation by the end of the regular season?
OK, so, like I said I’m not much for predictions. But I shall give this a try.
Hector Santiago, ace. C.J. Wilson, No. 2 starter. Jered Weaver and Tim Lincecum, Nos. 3 and 4. No. 5: either Andrew Heaney, Garrett Richards or Tyler Skaggs.
You have to figure one of them will be able to pitch this season. If two of them make it back, who knows what happens? There’s also Jhoulys Chacin and Matt Shoemaker, two men who are probably comparable to most teams’ fifth starters.
@michael_jenkin: With so many injuries, are there any potential trades that make sense for them to make?
I don’t know, Michael. I was thinking over the weekend about the prospect of trading Yunel Escobar. He has hit quite well this season, and he has a team-friendly $7-million team option for next season. Ordinarily, that would be a valuable commodity. But there does not seem to be a single team lacking a third baseman that will contend this season.
Of course, that can change due to injury, and it very well may. But there is not going to be a robust market for Escobar’s services at the deadline, if he continues to perform wonderfully. Remember also that most teams will not consider him an option at second base, because he could not handle it with Washington during 2015 spring training. It is third base or bust with him.
Beyond Escobar, Joe Smith seems like the most likely man to be traded. But he is a set-up man, albeit a consistent one. What he can fetch is limited by reality. What Huston Street could return, if the Angels decided to trade him, might be more interesting.
@AnthonyDiComo: Who is more likely to return to his prime production levels, Albert Pujols or Andy McCullough?
The likelihood of José Alberto Pujols Alcántara returning to his prime production levels is as close to absolute-zero as exists. It’s just inconceivable. He was so good at his peak, and he has been so average of late. There’s no shot. He is 36.
So, the answer is Andy McCullough.
@OnBaseUnit: I’m sorry Pedro, but this leads to a good mailbag question: What’s the oddest thing to happen to you at a game?
A bird pooped on me last week at Angel Stadium. Or bird poop fell on me from somewhere else. I don’t know. It was weird. I was standing on the field a few hours before the game talking to my esteemed colleague Dylan Hernandez, looking away for a second, when, all of the sudden, I felt something wet. First, I thought Dylan spit at me in a fit of rage. Then I realized the source had to have been above me, and Dylan began badgering me for a photo while I tried to avoid him and find something with which to wipe the poop off. Thanks to the ever-friendly Jeff Miller for finding me a towel.
That has to be the oddest thing that has happened to me while at work. I cannot think of any close contenders.
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.