The April 1st, 2013 (OPENING DAY!) edition of daily news for the Los Angeles Angels including the Angels finalize their Opening Day roster, Madson to travel with the team and much more...
The Story: The Angels finalized their Opening Day roster awarding jobs to Hank Conger, Brendan Harris, J.B. Shuck and Mark Lowe.
The Monkey Says: It is good to see Conger work his way back into good graces after it seemed like a given that he was going to get demoted again. Harris getting the final bench spot isn't much of a surprise and neither was Lowe after David Carpenter fell apart in the last week. The huge shocker though is Shuck beating out Kole Calhoun. Shuck had a great spring, but Calhoun is clearly the better player. The only thing I can think of that explains this is the Halos preferring Calhoun to get regular at-bats since the reserve outfielder is hardly ever going to get any starts in this lineup.
The Story: Ryan Madson will start the season on the DL, but will travel with the team while doing his rehab.
The Monkey Says: This is less of a sign that he is close to ready and more of a plan so that he feels like part of the team. FYI, Andrew Taylor will also start the season on the DL.
The Story: Mike Scioscia is one of the managers on the hot seat entering the season.
The Monkey Says: But it is his 14th season and he wears 14! You can't fire him during that season. It is his DESTINY to return to the World Series, right? OK, seriously though, he really needs to make the playoffs otherwise not even I can defend him anymore.
The Story: ESPN Sweetspot had a consensus prediction of Mike Trout for MVP.
The Monkey Says: As has almost every other publication I have seen. Many of them are also predicting a Nats-Angels World Series too.
The Story: The Angels have one of the toughest schedules in the month of April.
The Monkey Says: Hell yeah they do. All the more reason that they can't afford another slow start like last year. If they come out with bullpen issues or underperforming starting pitching, they are going to get their heads handed to them in the first month.
The Story: A radio station in New Jersey will broadcast every Angels game this season.
The Monkey Says: That's awesome, but it is also weird because it isn't as if New Jersey never produced a ballplayer before. I mean, it isn't like Trout is from some small town of 50 people in Idaho. Still, I'm amazed that MLB signed off on it given their arcane blackout and territory rights rules.
The Story: Josh Hamilton is curious what kind of reaction he will get in Cincinnati.
The Monkey Says: I'm surprised he has never been back, although interleague match-ups are screwy. What I don't get is why Reds fans would have any strong feelings toward him since he was only there for a year. It honestly, never even occurred to me that he might get a strong reaction one way or the other.
The Story: The Angels have the largest amount of "dead" money on their payroll.
The Monkey Says: Well, it could've been an even larger amount if they had Wells on the roster still. Get it? Because he was dead money even on the roster. Because he stinks. Vernon Wells is bad at baseball.
The Story: A look at the Opening Day payroll for the Halos.
The Monkey Says: They are paying $127 million in actual player salary, but that doesn't account for the aforementioned $10+ million in dead money. Amazingly, the Halos actually slashed payroll all the way down under $140 million this season, which they claimed they wanted to do to start the off-season, but was only made possible because of the Wells trade. It is the gift that keeps on giving.
The Story: Can Albert Pujols return to form in 2013?
The Monkey Says: I'll be honest, probably not. He is well past 30 and his body is breaking down almost as fast as his plate discipline. As much as I want to put on the rose-colored glasses, I just don't see anyway in which Pujols doesn't become a liability very soon. He should be pretty good in 2013, but I think this might be his last hurrah at being an MVP candidate, but even that might have passed him by.