Tag Archives: Los Angeles Angels

Former Twins closer Blake Parker added to Phillies bullpen mix

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Blake Parker adds closing experience to Phillies bullpen mix

In their continuing search for upgrades to help their inconsistent bullpen, the Philadelphia Phillies signed former Minnesota Twins closer Blake Parker on Tuesday. He is expected to be in uniform for the series opener with the San Francisco Giants at Citizens Bank Park.

Parker is a 34-year-old native of Arkansas. The right-hander was selected by the Chicago Cubs with their 16th round pick in the 2006 MLB Draft out of the University of Arkansas and reached the big-leagues with the Cubs in 2012.
In 2015, after pitching with the Cubs over parts of the previous three seasons, Parker missed most of the year after undergoing elbow surgery due to ‘loose bodies’ in his right pitching elbow. He then signed with the Seattle Mariners, who used him for just one game before releasing him in August 2016.
Parker was quickly signed by the New York Yankees, appearing in 16 games over the last two months of that 2016 campaign. He would finally get a full, healthy shot at a bullpen role with the Los Angeles Angels in 2017 and excelled.
Over two seasons with the Angels in 2016-17, Parker registered 22 saves with a 2.90 ERA over 138 games. He allowed 103 hits over 133.2 innings with a 156/35 K:BB.
The Twins signed him to a one-year, $1.8 million free agent contract back in January. With Minnesota, Parker pitched in 37 games this year. He saved 10 games, allowing 34 hits over 36.1 innings with a 34/16 K:BB.
Parker had a rough patch from late-May through early-June. However, over a dozen games between June 15 and July 20, Parker allowed 13 hits over 13.1 innings with a 15/5 K:BB. During that stretch he posted a 1.35 ERA, allowing just one home run.
That led up to what would be his final outing in a Twins uniform, and it was a bad one. Against the New York Yankees at Target Field exactly one week ago tonight (Tuesday), Parker was beaten up, allowing four earned runs on three hits and a walk in just 1/3 of an inning.
Parker was designated for assignment by the Twins, who hoped to send him to the minor leagues. However, he opted to become a free agent instead. The Phillies jumped on him, hoping that he can bring a more consistent, veteran presence to their bullpen as the club makes a run at a postseason berth over the final two months.

Phillies get reliever Mike Morin from Twins for cash considerations

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Phillies swapped cash to Twins for reliever Mike Morin

The Philadelphia Phillies announced a trade this morning in which the club acquired right-handed relief pitcher Mike Morin from the Minnesota Twins in exchange for cash considerations. Morin had been DFA’d by Minnesota three days ago.

Morin is a 28-year-old Minnesota native who was the Los Angeles Angels 13th round selection in the 2012 MLB Amateur Draft out of the University of North Carolina.
He broke into the big-leagues just two years later with a strong 2014 rookie performance for the Halos in which he went 4-4 with a 2.90 ERA and 1.186 WHIP. Morin pitched in 60 games that year, allowing 51 hits over 59 innings with a 54/19 K:BB.
While he wasn’t awful over the next few years, Morin was never able to repeat that same level of performance, and he was released in the summer of 2017. The Kansas City Royals picked him up, but Morin was ineffective over a half-dozen September appearances with the Royals.
Waived by Kansas City, Morin was selected by the Seattle Mariners in December of 2017. He would make just three big-league appearances for Seattle in the 2018 season, though he pitched well over 41 appearances (including three starts) with the Mariners Triple-A affiliates at Tacoma in the Pacific Coast League.
Morin was granted free agency this past off-season and the Twins signed him to a $750k deal for the 2019 season. Prior to being designated for assignment earlier this week, Morin was enjoying a solid but unspectacular season as a deep arm in the first-place Minnesota bullpen.
Morin appeared in 23 games for the Twins this year, producing 3.18 ERA, 4.50 FIP and 0.971 WHIP marks. He allowed 20 hits, including three home runs, over 22.2 innings with an 11/2 K:BB ratio.
The righty normally brings his fastball in the 90-92 MPH range. However, he is not a strikeout pitcher by any measure. Morin primarily utilizes a sinker and an effective changeup to keep hitters off balance and induce ground balls, a repertoire that could actually play well at Citizens Bank Park.
Morin was a close friend of recently deceased Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs, attending the wedding of his former teammate just last December. According to Betsy Helfand of TwinCities.com, Morin’s fiancee’ Amy Nece shared a suite with Skaggs’ wife, Carli, during the combined no-hitter last week in which Angels players draped their #45 jerseys across the mound as a tribute to the pitcher, who had died suddenly in his hotel room while on a recent road trip.
You just do life together,” Morin said per Helfand. “…Naturally, we all become close. We all become a family. And when you lose one of your family members, it’s pretty devastating.
Morin will become part of the bullpen mix with the Phillies as soon as he arrives. His pure numbers are better than a handful of relievers who have been pitching key innings of late, including Juan NicasioJ.D. Hammer and Cole Irvin. Fans should expect manager Gabe Kapler to use him liberally, especially if Morin pitches as he did with Minnesota.
In accompanying moves, the Phillies slid injured reliever Seranthony Dominguez over to the 60-day Injured List and optioned Hammer back to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Dominguez is not expected to return to the club until mid-August at the earliest.

MLB 2019 Power Rankings: Minnesota Twins take over the top spot

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The Minnesota Twins outfielders celebrate another victory

The Philadelphia Phillies have sat pretty much right in the middle of the MLB Power Rankings since I began producing them for 2019.

From June 1 (15th), through June 15 (14th) and on to July 1, when they ranked in the #18 slot the last time around, the rankings have not revealed much movement at all.
The Phillies currently sit in the #16 spot, buoyed by their defensive play, which ranks fourth in all of baseball. With a middling (15th) offense, what is truly weighing the club down and keeping them from seriously competing is their 25th ranked pitching staff.
As always, my own personal feelings have nothing to do with the MLB Power Rankings published here at Phillies Nation. Instead, the rank is all about actual results and statistical performances.
There is never any subjectivity on my part. I always take key statistics and rank each of the 30 teams in Major League baseball on their ability to actually win ball games as well as their performance on offense, on the pitching mound, and in the field.
The MLB Power Rankings are going to be updated at Phillies Nation on roughly the 1st and 15th of the month for the remainder of the regular season using the following methodology.

RANKINGS METHODOLOGY

Introduced and then upgraded during the course of last season, my formula for compiling the rankings is always being researched to see if it can be improved upon. That formula carries two categories over from the 2018 season: winning percentage and OPS against. The first is simple, reflecting each team’s ability to actually win ball games. The second reflects a pitching staff’s ability to control damage.
As of my first ranking in this 2019 season, runs-per-game replaced simple “runs scored” in order to get the offensive component. This acknowledged the fact that teams play various numbers of games as of the time of each ranking. It wouldn’t be fair to consider a club that had scored 100 runs over 50 games as effective as a club who scored 100 runs over just 45 games.
There has now been a new update to the methodology. The new defensive metric will be the “Defensive runs saved” as measured at Fangraphs, replacing simple “fielding percentage” to gauge a team’s defensive competence.
I then assign each of those component category team rankings a 1-30 numerical value and simply add those values up to determine an overall final ratings score. Where there was a tie, it is broken by win-loss percentage, then by runs-per-game, followed by pitching OPS.

2019 JULY 15 –  MLB RANKINGS

The new team at the top of the rankings are the Minnesota Twins, who were my Spotlight Team accompanying the June 1 rankings piece. The Twins are MLB’s surprise team this season. Many predicted they would be a playoff contender. I had them finishing second in the AL Central Division in my own 2019 MLB preview and predictions back in late March.
The hot risers are the Cleveland Indians, who have moved into a tie for an AL Wildcard playoff slot, and the Los Angeles Angels, who have rallied together in the wake of the tragic sudden death of starting pitcher Tyler Skaggs to win seven of their last 10 games to move back over the .500 mark.
On the down side, the Colorado Rockies have lost nine of 11, fallen below the .500 mark, and plummeted eight spots in the rankings from the start of July. The Milwaukee Brewers have lost eight of 10 to drop out of first place in the NL Central. The Brew Crew also have slipped in every one of my Power Rankings, a troubling sign for a team still sitting in contention for both that division crown and an NL Wildcard berth.
In parentheses are the team’s positions from the June 1, June 15 and July 1 rankings, shown in that order from left to right.
  1. Minnesota Twins (2-2-3)
  2. Los Angeles Dodgers (1-3-2)
  3. Oakland Athletics (8-12-5)
  4. Tampa Bay Rays (4-4-4)
  5. Houston Astros (3-1-1)
  6. New York Yankees (5-8-9)
  7. Chicago Cubs (10-13-11)
  8. Boston Red Sox (6-6-10)
  9. Arizona Diamondbacks (9-5-6)
  10. Cleveland Indians (18-18-15)
  11. Los Angeles Angels (19-17-19)
  12. Atlanta Braves (12-9-7)
  13. Washington Nationals (24-19-13)
  14. Saint Louis Cardinals (14-15-14)
  15. Texas Rangers (16-11-8)
  16. Philadelphia Phillies (15-14-18)
  17. San Diego Padres (17-20-20)
  18. Cincinnati Reds (13-16-17)
  19. Milwaukee Brewers (7-10-16)
  20. Colorado Rockies (11-7-12)
  21. San Francisco Giants (29-27-25)
  22. Kansas City Royals (21-21-22)
  23. Miami Marlins (23-26-21)
  24. Pittsburgh Pirates (20-25-23)
  25. New York Mets (22-23-24)
  26. Seattle Mariners (26-22-27)
  27. Chicago White Sox (25-24-28)
  28. Toronto Blue Jays (28-28-26)
  29. Detroit Tigers (27-29-29)
  30. Baltimore Orioles (30-30-30)

SPOTLIGHT TEAM: OAKLAND ATHLETICS

Previous spotlight teams: Minnesota (6/1), Atlanta (6/15), Texas (7/1)
The Oakland Athletics are currently tied for the second American League Wildcard playoff berth with a 53-41 record, and are five games behind the first-place Houston Astros in the AL West Division race.
After three straight last place finishes, the A’s rose to become a 97-win team a year ago. They were bounced out of the AL Wildcard Game by the New York Yankees in a 7-2 defeat in the Bronx.

Bob Melvin has been at the helm in Oakland since the 2011 season.(Keith Allison)
Managed by Bob Melvin, now in his ninth season at the helm (687-640), the A’s are a team without a true weakness. They show up at 4th in my pitching category, 6th on defense, and as the 10th-ranked offensive attack. It all adds up to the 8th-best record in Major League Baseball and their current playoff contending status.
The A’s offensive attack is led by one of the top young stars in the game today, Matt Chapman. The 26-year-old third baseman made his first AL All-Star team this year after finishing 7th in AL MVP voting a year ago during a season in which he won a Gold Glove at the hot corner.
Other key players are 24-year-old center fielder Ramon Laureano, 25-year-old first baseman Matt Olson, 28-year-old shortstop Marcus Semien, and veteran DH Khris Davis.
On the mound, 34-year-old veteran right-hander Mike Fiers tossed his second career no-hitter earlier this season and is having a strong overall year. Righty Chris Bassitt and lefty Brett Anderson have also been solid in a rotation that could get better in September with the return of talented 26-year-old right-hander Frankie Montas. He was lost to an 80-game PED suspension.
Liam Hendricks has taken over the closer role from Blake Treinen and proven lights out with a 1.21 ERA, 2.06 FIP, 1.000 WHIP and 35 hits allowed over 52 innings across 44 games. He has registered a half-dozen saves in the game-end role with a 65/17 K:BB ratio. A trio of veterans in right-handers Joakim Soria and Yusmeiro Petit and southpaw Ryan Buchter have been strong in setup roles.
The A’s are typically little known by many baseball fans. But team president Billy Beane of “Moneyball” fame has helped the organization put together another legitimate playoff contender on the cheap. They will be a difficult out for any opponent in a one-game Wildcard match-up, should they get there again.
Originally published at Phillies Nation as 2019 MLB Power Ranking: July 15

In wake of Mike Trout contract, Phillies fans need to move on and support their team

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Phillies fans are disappointed to not get a chance at Mike Trout

In one of my all-time favorite movies, 1988’s classic high school basketball film “Hoosiers”, there is a memorable speech delivered by Gene Hackman as coach Norman Dale.

He is a controversial new coach at the school and his star player has decided not to play that year in order to focus on class work. As the coach stands at center court to introduce his 1952 team, the crowd begins to chant for their star player.
Coach Dale’s response to the crowd is one that should be drilled into the minds and hearts of every team fan base at every level in every year:

“I would hope you would support who we are, and not who we are not.”

These six individuals have made a choice to work, a choice to sacrifice, and put themselves on the line 23 nights for the next four months to represent you, this high school. That kind of commitment and effort deserves and demands your respect. This is your team.
There has been much excitement and speculation surrounding the potential for the Philadelphia Phillies to sign local product Mike Trout when he was due to become a free agent following the 2020 season.
Phillies fans have wanted it to happen for years, and recent free agent signee Bryce Harper only fueled the fires after he signed with the club earlier this month.
I’m making $26 (million) a year, something like that, so I think that’s gonna be able to bring some other guys in as well that will help this organization win. I know there’s another guy (Trout) in about two years who comes up off the books. We’ll see what happens with him.”
That excitement was warranted. Trout is the best player in the game today. The argument is beginning to be made that he is one of the greatest players in the history of the game. You would have a hard time winning if you chose to argue against that point.
Trout is also a native of Millville, New Jersey. The town is just 45 miles southeast of Philadelphia. Trout grew up as a Philly sports fan. He tailgated at the 2008 World Series, has frequently attended 76ers games, and is a long-time Eagles season ticket holder.

It seemed like a natural fit. But it will not become a reality. Numerous reliable sources are reporting today that Trout and the Los Angeles Angels are now finalizing a 12-year, $430+ million contract that will likely keep the 27-year-old playing home games on the west coast for the remainder of his career.
Mike Trout has apparently made his choice, and that choice was to not play for the Philadelphia Phillies.

Bryce Harper made his choice. That choice was to play for the Phillies. He and his wife chose Philadelphia to build and raise their family.

Trout had $430 million great reasons to choose to remain in Los Angeles, or more specifically in Anaheim, where the Angels actually play their home games some 26 miles southeast of Hollywood. You cannot really blame him. But fact is, it was a choice, and he made it.
There is no need to boo Trout at Eagles games. He remains a great player who is from our area, and we should remain proud of that fact. I am quite certain that he still has and always will have great affection for the Philly-South Jersey area. But where baseball is concerned, that is no longer the point.
The Phillies have done a fabulous job in building a contender for the 2019 season and beyond. Harper, Jean SeguraJ.T. Realmuto and Andrew McCutchen join homegrown stars Aaron Nola and Rhys Hoskins to form the core of the team for the next few seasons.
The focus of Phillies management should now be on putting together a contract extension for Hoskins and Realmuto. And then in future seasons they will be able to focus their still strong financial position on other areas of need as those are revealed.

Phillies fans, it is time to stop dreaming about Trout to the Phillies. It is time to focus on the team that will actually take the field on your behalf. Many of them, including Harper, McCutchen and reliever David Robertson specifically chose to play here. They deserve our respect and affection. They are who we are on a baseball diamond. Trout is who we are not.

Originally published at Phillies Nation as Phillies fans should recall the words of Hoosiers coach Norman Dale

Mike Trout openly recruited to Philly by Bryce Harper

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Harper will try to bring Trout with him to Philly in 2020

Fans of the Philadelphia Phillies have been wishing upon a star for years now to one day see Mike Trout in red pinstripes manning an outfield position at Citizens Bank Park.

The Millville, New Jersey native is scheduled to become a free agent following the 2020 season. The Los Angeles Angels, who drafted him back in the first round of the 2009 MLB Amateur Draft, are not likely to even consider trading their superstar any sooner than the non-waiver deadline at the end of July that year, if then.
Now it is not just the fans who are wishing and hoping to see Trout play his home games in Philly. Newly signed superstar right fielder Bryce Harper is getting in on the action, and is being public about his desire to see Trout join him in Philadelphia.
At his introductory press conference on Saturday in Clearwater, Harper first publicly alluded to Trout when he said “I’m making $26 (million) a year, something like that, so I think that’s gonna be able to bring some other guys in as well that will help this organization win. I know there’s another guy in about two years who comes up off the books. We’ll see what happens with him.”


That “other guy” is, of course, Trout. This afternoon on Philadelphia SportsRadio 94.1 FM WIP, the new Phillies star pushed the early recruitment envelope even further when the topic of Trout was broached directly by co-host Jon Marks: “Are you gonna be recruiting Mike Trout when he becomes a free agent?
Harper’s response:
I think that’s one thing about this contract that I’m able to do. Having 13 years in a place, I’m able to help recruit guys to this organization. And when I have conversations with John and Leigh (Middleton), I can put my faith and trust in them to make big decisions like that.”
“For me, I can be able to talk to Trout or whoever it is, big name free agent or whoever wants to come to Philly or is thinking about coming to Philly, I can say “Hey, this is the place to be, where the fans are great. Ownership understands. Our manager is awesome.” I can really put that faith in myself in being able to say we’re gonna go about it the right way.
We’re the Philadelphia Phillies and we want whoever wants to come to Philly. If you don’t wanta come to Philly, then don’t come. Don’t be part of it. But if you want to come and be part of a winning team and a winning culture, we’re gonna need the best players to do that. I don’t think John’s scared to go out and get the best guys that we need to have.

“…if you don’t think I’m not gonna call Mike Trout in 2020 to have him come to Philly, you’re crazy.” ~ Bryce Harper

So, it’s respecting Mike Trout in a certain way during the season, and letting him play, and do the things he needs to do to be Mike Trout. But if you don’t think I’m not gonna call Mike Trout in 2020 to have him come to Philly, you’re crazy.”
Trout was far from the only topic brought up by hosts Marks and Ike Reese with Harper. Check out the entire fascinating interview at that embedded link above.
Harper and Trout have been linked since their earliest days in Major League Baseball. Harper was first promoted to the big-leagues by the Washington Nationals in late April 2012 at the age of just 19 years. Trout, who had received a cup of coffee the prior season with the Los Angeles Angels, began that 2012 season in the minor leagues as well. He was also promoted in late April.
Both players received their first 2012 starts on April 28. They would each be selected for their first MLB All-Star Game that summer. Both players would be selected as the Rookie of the Year in their respective leagues when the season was over.
The Phillies head into the 2019 season with renewed energy and enthusiasm. They have become a legitimate contender for the NL East crown, at the very least an NL Wildcard berth. Over in the American League, Trout will try to get his Angels club back to the postseason for just the second time in his career.
You can bet that the Angels will try to do everything within their power to keep Trout for the rest of his career. Owner Arte Moreno is not afraid to spend “stupid” money either. Rumors have already been thrown around that the club is considering a 10-year, $350 million offer.
Trout has said that he won’t talk contract during either this season or the 2020 season. So it would appear that next off-season will be the Angels last chance to keep him. The longer the process goes without Trout committing to Los Angeles for the long-term, the louder the drums will beat to bring him home. You can bet that Harper will be beating his drum loudest and hardest.
Originally published by Phillies Nation as Bryce Harper wants Mike Trout in 2020