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Q : Does the one-year deal make Mike Trout a free agent after the season? (Via Twitter)
A : No, the contract allows Trout to sign a long-term deal with the Angels over the season now that his compensation for 2014 is set in stone. If Trout and the Angels don't make a long-term deal, Trout will be salary arbitration eligible at the end of the 2014 season.
Q : When will the Angels sign Mike Trout to a long-term deal and how much will it be? (Via Email)
A : I believe both sides are looking to get it done over the season, and as soon as possible. Both Team Owner, Arte Moreno and General Manager, Jerry Dipoto, have been quoted saying, "we're very optimistic" when it came to a long-term deal. Currently, the offer is sitting around six-years, $150 million, but years could be added on as well as dollars.
Q : Does Ian Stewart have a chance to make the big league roster with a good spring? (Via Twitter)
A : Of course he can but it is slightly unlikely sadly. I've always been a fan of Ian both on and off the field, but the competition is deeply fierce. Stewart's set position right now is third base where he is behind David Freese and Luis Jimenez, and as for the utility department, all other positions he'd be third in the depth chart as well. He'd have to put together a very strong case to make it out of Spring Training with the big club.
A : Both are incredibly sound defensively, some of the best in the league in my opinion. However, Romine's bat and base running gives him the edge, despite neither being known for their bats. I'll have to say Romine.
Q : Who will become the fourth and fifth outfielder for the Angels? (Via Facebook)
A : Brennan Boesch is pleading his case, but it seems that J.B. Shuck and Collin Cowgill will maintain their positions from last season. Shuck will be the fourth outfielder. His bat, base running and grit put him above the rest alone, but his defense has progressed well too. His routes have improved but are still not outstanding, and of course he has started to become known for his incredible catches, one of the more bipolar defensive players I've seen over time, but one thing that he has over all other outfielders is his arm. Last season, he showed that being a pitcher at Ohio State University can take him to the top, as he lead the team in outfield assist. Two guys to keep an eye on this spring and the early parts of the season will be Matt Long and Andrew Heid. Long of course is a common name on the split squad roster and has proved he can hang with the big boys. Heid however has been kept as a quiet secret in the Angels system. He should see time with the big club coming this season and has the talent and abilities to be a fifth outfielder.
Q : Will the Angels sign another starting pitcher before the season starts? (Via Twitter)
A : When you look at who's left in the free agent market, it wouldn't make sense for the Angels to go after anyone who isn't as quality as what they have. The answer in my opinion is no.
Q : Will Joe Blanton be on the Opening Day roster? (Via Email, Twitter, Facebook)
A : After his first performance of Spring, I'd say yes. Following his last one, I'd say (expletive) no. We'll have to see what the rest of spring brings for Blanton and his new delivery.
Q : How has Michael Kohn looked over Spring Training? (Via Twitter)
A : Command has been good, it seems he came in to spring ready to compete. He should be a good arm to come out of the bullpen for the coming season. Answer is good.
Q : What will the rotation look like at the beginning of the season?
A : The rotation depends on Tyler Skaggs ability to command his pitches. Jered Weaver, C.J. Wilson, Garrett Richards and Hector Santiago will be one through four in that order. Matt Shoemaker is making a strong attempt at becoming the fifth starter in the rotation, but it may only be for a short amount of time until Skaggs becomes steady. Skaggs of course will be in the rotation at one point in the early parts of the season, whether it be a month in or the fifth game of the season.
Q : How hard are Ernesto Frieri and Tyler Skaggs throwing? (Via Twitter)
A : The answer is "very hard" ... okay, sorry, had to use some sarcasm at a point. There's a reason a few of my colleagues call Frieri "Fireball," and one reason is his mid 90's fastball. Over Spring, he's touched 95 MPH, which is his mid-season form minus one mile per hour. As for Tyler Skaggs, his first appearance saw his fastball sitting at 93-94 MPH. In his second appearance, he was tapping 96 on a few pitches and sitting at 94-95 MPH. He has changed his mechanics slightly since his Diamondbacks days, and it has proven to improve on his velocity, but decreased his command. Once he fixes that, which shouldn't take very long, he will be one of the better threats in the Angels rotation.
A : Possibly. His command is flawless and he throws just as effectively as Sean Burnett. I believe Burnett has a slight edge of course with his veteran abilities. Moran though will make a case for the left-handed specialist in the bullpen. One guy who was picked up in the off-season who should have his name up with Moran is Clay Rapada. Sidearm pitcher who has gotten important outs, and with the AL West picking up big left-handed bats, these pitchers will be more important than ever.
Q : With the way Hector Santiago and Tyler Skaggs have been pitching, is the Mark Trumbo trade a good one? (Via Facebook)
A : I think the vast majority were upset to see Mark Trumbo leave, but were happy to see Santiago and Skaggs come over. I had never seen Santiago pitch prior to this Spring Training but I have to say he has shown a lot of promise. His screwball is something worth the price of admission alone, and the command on his fastball and changeup have improved every inning. Skaggs of course is a young pitcher as well, another lefty, which is important now. All three teams definitely got what they needed, and my answer is yes, this was a good trade.
I also received some questions that were non-Angels related, but felt I could answer them as well.
A : I have slight bias to this since I have worked with Brad Miller since the beginning of his career, but I will still pick him as the better overall player to start at short for the Seattle Mariners. Miller has better range at the position, and has the abilities to become a Major League leadoff man. Nick Franklin is a talented plate presence with a lot of power behind his swing. With that comes quite a few strikeouts, something I'm not very fond of. Franklin has shown a lack of range at the shortstop position at short despite an outstanding arm. With that said, I would take Brad Miller at shortstop.
Q : What is your favorite memory from your time with the High Desert Mavericks? (Via Twitter)
A : This is a great personal question and some of my colleagues from my time there agree. In a thick chase for the first half championship, the Mavs were playing the first place Rancho Cucamonga Quakes in front of a sellout crowd on a Saturday. Rancho scored nine runs between the seventh and ninth to take a 12-8 lead in to the bottom of the ninth. In the bottom of the ninth, a run came across, and in some odd fashion, the bases became loaded for Stefen Romero. A pitching change lead to a pitcher making his High-A debut and his first pitch was crushed off the light post in left center by Stefen Romero giving the Mavericks a huge comeback win in grand slam, walkoff fashion. The stands were filled with ecstatic fans, and even the press box was shaking in noise. It was a special night I won't forget throughtout my career.
Q : Opening Series in Australia, are you for or against it? (Via Twitter)
A : I'm for it, it's nice seeing teams play on an international level. I'm not sure about both teams losing a home game for it, and I'm not sure about it being the Opening Series. I believe it'd be better near the middle of the season, possibly around the All-Star break. That way players and fans of both teams will have an honest Opening Day like the rest of the league, but it is something I am for pushing on the international market.
Q : Who is your favorite baseball player of all time, as well as your favorite Angels player ever? (Via Facebook)
A : Mickey Kaline from "Hey Arnold" was my initial answer due to the person who asked, but in all honesty, I have a few favorite players of all time. Brooks Robinson for his defense, Joe Dimaggio for his bat, Derek Jeter for his competiveness and all around abilities as a baseball player, Bob Gibson for his dominance in the clutch, Don Drysdale for his don't give a [darn] attitude, and of course, Jackie Robinson for changing the game forever. As for my favorite Angels player, my initial answer was Tony Danza and Matthew McConaughey (once again, being a sarcastic punk), but I was always a huge fan of Darin Erstad and David Eckstein. The guys are legends among Angels fans (which I was not growing up) but just couldn't help but be astounded by what Erstad and Eckstein brought to each game.
Q : I'm having some guy problems, do you have any advice to give me an idea of if this guy likes me or not? (BEST QUESTION EVER Via Twitter)
A : With this being the most unique question I've ever gotten from one my Twitter followers who I have never met, I have to say just ask him straight out. Life is short, find your answers quick, and if it works, you're welcome. If it doesn't, feel free to hate me for the rest of your life, and I will say sorry no in advance.
I'd like to thank all who asked once again, and will put out another Angels Mailbox in due time.
For more updates on the Los Angeles Angels, follow me on Twitter, @TaylorBlakeWard, and don't forget to follow @ScoutAngels as well.