George Kaplan

  • joined Mar 12, 2008
  • last login Mar 20, 2014
  • posts 89
  • comments 4877

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  • MLB Los Angeles Angels
User Blog

La Russa speaks about Pujols


He's a manager's dream, a player who hits for power to all fields, plays Gold Glove-caliber defense at first base, runs the bases smartly and aggressively, fights through nagging injuries, is ultra-prepared and will do anything to win. "All [Angels Manager] Mike Scioscia has to do is tell Albert the game starts at 7 and we're playing the A's," La Russa said. "That's how easy it is to manage Albert." --and-- "He's the best player I've been around in 33 years, and now the Angels have him," La Russa said. "This guy is perfect. If you find a flaw, tell me, and I'll challenge it."


Two Angels' clearance items worth checking out

The first one I already own and have been impressed with the quality. It's a half-zip pullover sweatshirt (fairly thin, not really heavy or bulky), originally $65 and knocked down to $33.73 plus...


Did everyone get an authentic, autographed Nolan Ryan photo?

Or was it just me? God bless Mrs. Kaplan, though on the flip side I make myself very easy to shop for. She has added some adornment annually to the room I keep as an East Coast shrine to the Angels....


John Danks makes me feel even better about CJ Wilson

The contract extension signed by Danks this past week stunned just about everybody in baseball who assumed the White Sox were rebuilding and thus were going to trade Danks. Instead, Kenny Williams...

The LSB Meltdown Alone Worth $250M


That coughing sound you hear from the Dallas Metroplex is a bunch of bubbas involuntarily swallowing their chaw in surprise. They were still reeling from the LaTroy Hawkins bombshell. Let's see if this forces the Rangers to sign Fielder. And how many here think Arte has been working on a revised broadcasting contract in the background?


Brad Pitt is NOT the Answer

Not that he is available or interested, but his name does get floated here quite a bit. I confess I don't understand the cult of personality which has built up around him. Moneyball was an...

Saayyyy...We could bolster the rotation with Carlos Zambrano!


What was that famous line? "He had a million-dollar arm and a ten cent head." This is simply unbelievable: He's 30 years old and has apparently lost the talent he wielded just a few seasons ago. File this under the "Kazmir Syndrome", just past the folder marked "Willis, Dontrelle".

The riddle of Jeff Mathis, solved


Why does the team continue to start Mathis? One of his pitchers may be providing the answer: Seattle starter Jason Vargas escaped a bases-loaded jam in the fourth by striking out Jeff Mathis. It was up to Mathis again to break the scoreless tie with two outs and runners at second and third in the sixth, but he fanned again. Mathis was 0-for-3, dropping his average to .181 and his average with runners in scoring position to .173. "Obviously, he's not swinging the bat real well right now, but from a team standpoint, his catching overshadows what he does at the plate. It always does," Weaver said. "He's nails back there. The fans don't see it that way, but he's too good to keep him out of the lineup. And he's too strong to let what he's not doing at the plate affect him." It doesn't matter what anyone thinks but the manager and the pitchers, and if Weaver's comments are shared by others on the staff, then it would seem they feel more comfortable with Mathis behind the plate than Conger or Wilson. When you want to impress your ace, make sure you have his favorite receiver on the roster.

Trouble in paradise? Rangers think Feliz is coasting


There is another story here. The gist is that Neftali Feliz, who was so sharp last year, is giving his manager and fans the impression that he isn't as engaged, nor is he pitching with the same effectiveness. This might lead to a deal for Heath Bell, but stories like these also let the Padres know they would have the Rangers over a barrel in trade talks. That, in turn, would lead to the Rangers either overpaying in prospects, or walking away from negotiations. The Rangers are also said to be kicking the tires on James Shields for the rotation, and it doesn't figure the Rangers will deplete their minors and do both deals.

Conger sent down


Someone had to go to make room for Chatwood, and with Bourjos still on the DL, Trout is staying for the meantime. According to the story, Conger will be sent to SLC to work on his defensive game, something more difficult to do when playing only twice every five games or so.

Phil Rogers repeats Weaver-to-Yankees nonsense to refute it


It takes a lot to make me appreciate guys like Whicker and Plaschke, but Phil Rogers manages. He took a non-existent idea that the Angels would trade Jered Weaver to the Yankees (which in turn was probably lifted from some Yankee idiot's blog filled with wanking ideas about how to get starters on the Yankee staff) and then dismissed the idea, as if to show his omniscience regarding all teams in MLB. Guess Rogers missed the news story about Pineiro needing more time to get ready. As long as Kazmir is the de facto #4 starter, the Angels aren't going to trade their ace. The Angels would need to be 80 games back before the All-Star Game for the team to trade Weaver to the Yankees or anybody else. If Rogers doesn't understand that, then he simply needs to impersonate an elderly Inuit and float off on an ice floe into the cold void.

Giants fan critically beaten following Dodgers' home opener


I can't imagine what would compel me to attend a Dodger game in 2011. The level of drunkenness and thuggery at the stadium has been building for years, and while Anaheim isn't immune to random acts of violence (as happened last season), it isn't anything like what is happening at Dodger Stadium. That entire organization needs a high colonic in the worst way.

Attention out-of-SoCal Angels fans: 4 games on MLB Network this week alone


Set your DVRs, since if you live on the East Coast (as I do) all but one of those games will begin at 3:30 pm ET. Nice to see the Angels getting showcased so much this week. I know the fans in SoCal can get them all on FSW, but those of us who don't live there anymore have to get more creative to follow the team. Meanwhile, I'll be checking out MLB.TV for 2011 this weekend; I already have the At Bat 2011 app for Android on my phone. On the latter, MLB slyly promises streaming video to "select models" of Android phones, but isn't naming names yet. The final version of the app will be updated to phones prior to Opening Day, and I imagine that is when the qualifying phones will be revealed. That is a step above last season, since no streaming technology was deployed at all for Android.


Rethinking the idea of an Angels Sports Channel

Could the Angels build a regional sports network with other local sports franchises?


Maybe this is why Carl Crawford didn't sign with the Angels...

We don't have verified details, but it does appear the Angels offered him over $100M across six seasons, with a vesting option for a seventh season. Apparently, the math works out to meeting Jayson...

DiGiovanna says Angels favorites to land Crawford


Money quote: Angels General Manager Tony Reagins said Wednesday afternoon that he has not had "face-to-face" meetings with any players at the winter meetings, and his plan Wednesday night was to have dinner with officials from the team's double-A Arkansas affiliate. But the Angels sent a contingent that is believed to have included owner Arte Moreno and Reagins to Houston in November to meet with Crawford, according to a source who requested anonymity because of the sensitive nature of negotiations. Hunter was not sure whether the Angels met in person with Crawford, and Reagins declined comment about a possible meeting. Sounds to me like this is just the sort of stuff which, as Carlos Pena said, indicates to Crawford that a team is serious about him.

Heyman sez...Angels have "piles of cash"


There isn't much more to his insight than that, but an interesting bit of info in contrapoint to Tim Brown's earlier assertion that the team was going to pull in the reins. I imagine Heyman was gratified that his source added "of cash" to append the statement about the team having piles.

Heyman reports on Cliff Lee offer for 7 years @ $20M-$25M per


...and it's not from the Yankees, who (he says) are holding firm at 6 years. For those of you who say "Who cares, we're not bidding on him", Lee is going to be the first domino to fall for Crawford and others to then make their decisions, since teams not getting Lee might then decide to make a run at Crawford.

Boras does his homework well; predicted futures of A-Rod, Jeter


One of the things Scott Boras was known to do earlier than other agents was to use sabermetrics and electronic media to make presentations to teams regarding his key clients. In this case, the presentation he made to the Texas Rangers before ultimately getting Tom Hicks to destroy his franchise's future for a decade contained projections of Rodriguez for the ten years of the deal, along with forecasts for Jeter and Garciaparra, then the three best SS in the AL. As we know, Garciaparra's career was derailed by injuries, but the statisticians employed by Boras did an incredible job of nailing the 2010 stats of both A-Rod and Jeter. The only big flaw was the inability to project A-Rod's decline in hitting for average, but the projections are otherwise stunningly good.

Beltre still in play for Angels; Sox seeking Gonzalez


The report from SI says the Padres and Red Sox are in negotiations for Adrian Gonzalez, with the Padres' front office thinking that he'd get a better return in talent now than at the trade deadline. IF the Red Sox get Gonzalez (and they're apparently just one of the teams in the hunt), then that would effectively end their discussions about Beltre, with Youklis moving over to 3B. The net effect of all of this is that Beltre's signing won't happen before the negotiations with the Padres end, one way or the other, unless Boras puts a time limit on waiting and he's usually the one to wait until Hell freezes over. Thus, the Angels might well wind up with Beltre, and for a price not inflated by counter-offers from the Red Sox. This may take awhile...

Kazmir's appeal to the Rockies, explained


Sure, it's only a Tweet, but it gives some idea how realistic the concept of trading Kazmir to the Rockies is: First, try and sign Carl Pavano; then, if that fails, go after Gavin Floyd; THEN, if that fails, see what it would take to get Kazmir from the Angels (among a pool of pitchers to enquire about). He's a fall-back position to a fall-back position. Doesn't look like there is much chance of this happening.

Tech Corner: Stat Search Extension for Google Chrome


For those of you who use Google Chrome as the browser of choice (and if not, you really should try it), there is an extension available to greaten your stat-searching joy. The extension pops a window with a text field to enter the player's name, then check boxes to search for that name in B-R, Cot's, Fangraphs, BP and other sites. It's free and it works. Click the title above to see a visual of the extension in action.

Shopping Alert: Angels 2009 Jacket on Clearance


I mention this only because I own this particular jacket and can testify that it is warm, moderately water-repellent (if you get caught in a sudden sprinkle) and keeps the wind off you. It is a good jacket to have in the trunk of the car in Winter in case you (or a passenger) are caught off-guard by bad weather. It's normally $120, on sale for $70. The quality is excellent. Since the weather here turned chilly about two weeks ago, I wear mine every day. As long as you wear Medium through XXL, you're in stock right now. (If you're 3X to 6X, the price is $100, reduced from $150.) (PS--Their site is a little ambiguous, but the jacket might qualify for an additional 25% off as clearance--you can't shoplift that cheaply.)

Dave Niehaus dead at 75


This may seem strange, since many here know Niehaus only as the voice of the Mariners, but he was the voice of the Angels for several years as well, before the Mariners' franchise existed. He was deservedly beloved in the Pacific Northwest, and his passing for those folks is like when Chick Hearn passed away for SoCal--it marks the end of an era.


Twitter, and what's wrong with electronic journalism today

Get ready for an onslaught of bad reporting brought to you breathlessly through Twitter as we head into the Free Agent market. Here is a case in point: Everyone's favorite Tweeting Munchkin, Ken...


This was the best possible outcome for the World Series

1) The Rangers had a soul-crushing defeat, with the Series being closed out on their field--their fans got to watch the Giants celebrate. Their bullpen was battered by a team which isn't known to...

Holy crap...Arte tells Times he'll spend what it takes

The tone was strange. The words were foreign. The call to action was almost unrecognizable. Did I really just hear what I thought I heard? Did the owner of an underachieving Los Angeles major league baseball team just tell me that he was angry, disappointed, and would spend whatever it took to return his team to the playoffs? "Yes," Arte Moreno said Tuesday. "That's how I feel. That's what I'll do." At that point in the phone conversation, I was so disoriented, I fanned myself with a large wad of Dodger divorce papers, wiped my brow with Dodger Stadium rent checks, and briefly rested my head upon a padded Dodger Dream Foundation salary. Then I got back on the line with the owner of the Angels. "If you want to continue to perform at the highest level, you have to keep building the business," Moreno said. "And that's what I intend to do." So that's competitive integrity sounds like. So that's how the steward of a public trust behaves. "We know where our weaknesses are, we know where we are thin, we know where we have to go to market," Moreno said. "It's going to cost money, but our fans need to know what we're committed to winning." So at the end of this lost season, apparently all is not lost. Into the wake of Dodgers owner Frank McCourt's spectacular summer embarrassment has stepped Moreno, whose team finished the year with an identical record but a far different mission statement. While McCourt fights to legally keep the Dodgers while refusing comment on their play, Moreno steps forward to be accountable. While McCourt's lieutenant Ned Colletti faces the media with no answers about how much money he can spend, Moreno steps forward to promise to spend whatever is necessary. Oh, yeah, and he is now also on record saying that absurdly cheap promotion of four tickets, four hot dogs and four sodas for $44 is coming back. "I love that thing," he said. "Because our fans love that thing." That last quote, of course, authenticates the call. Also... The Angels need an outfielder who can create runs. Moreno said he hopes to buy one. The Angels need another offensive threat, perhaps at third base or catcher. Moreno said he's on it. The Angels probably need another bullpen arm. Moreno is there. "Championship teams develop their players like we have, we know that," he said. "But sometimes when the prospects aren't there, you have to bridge that area, and I'm willing to do that." He said that after revenue sharing the Angels will lose money this year. Yet he said that's not going to stop him from spending it. "The fans need to see that we are doing something," he said. "And it's not just on the field. Are the bathrooms clean? Does the women's bathroom have enough paper? Do we have enough ice?" Do the women's bathrooms have enough paper? Did an owner of a major league team just openly wonder that? There is more in the story. It appears that, in one form or another, the Marines will arrive before Opening Day.

Angels' Charity Auction Ends Tonight

You can check on it here. Bidding ends at 9 pm ET/6 pm PT. Of note: ° The highest bid to date has been the Outfielder's basket, presumably because it is the only basket with Matsui items (there are...

More implosions than a Kingdome: Mariners fire another front office employee


Scouting director Carmen Fusco has apparently fallen on his sword for the Cliff Lee trade with the Rangers which brought the Mariners Josh Lueke. Lueke was suspended last season when playing in Bakersfield on charges of rape and sodomy, but pled guilty to lesser charges. The Mariners claimed they didn't know about his criminal record, and tried to undo Lueke's inclusion in the deal, but were unable to come to agreement with the Rangers. On a side note, Rick Adair, fired as pitching coach earlier in the season and now a minors instructor for the Rangers, said the M's front office WAS informed about Lueke's criminal record prior to the trade being completed. How long before the "Jack Z is a genius" line can be buried?

Still mourning the loss of Vlad? Read on, my friends...


While Vlad had an incendiary first few months of the season, his year is coming crashing back to Earth in a big way: His slash line, since July 1, is .215/.276/.319, with 3 HR and 21 RBI over that time. Perhaps even more significantly, he has no IBB and 21 K to 10 BB over 144 AB. In short, he has become the player the Angels feared he would be if they signed him. While Matsui hasn't brought comfort in the guise of major offense, the resolution to Vlad's year has, in some small way, vindicated the thinking in the front office this past offseason. Meanwhile, read the linked story from Evan Grant, beat writer for the Dallas Morning News, for his plea, "Horror on the Basepaths: Rangers' Guerrero Must Be Stopped". Just as with last year, Vlad's legs haven't received the memo from his brain that he can't run with abandon anymore (actually, he hasn't been able to do so for years). Grant spells out clearly the way that the feel-good story of the Guerrero renaissance isn't feeling so good at the moment.

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