- The Story: Erick Aybar avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $2.05 million contract with the team. The Monkey Says: The Halos won out in this negotiation, but Aybar’s price tag could get pretty high next year if he has a lot of success in the leadoff role this year. This leaves Jeff Mathis as the only unresolved arbitration case for the Angels and it is believed he will have his case heard today, assuming no last minute deal is reached.
- The Story: Scott Kazmir and Fernando Rodney are both limited by minor injuries early in camp. The Monkey Says: Kaz has a strained hammy and Frodney has sore shins, so both are fine to throw but will likely sit out fielding practice which shouldn’t be a problem since Kazmir obviously is a fantastic fielder already, especially on sacrifice bunts. I just made myself sad.
- The Story: Brian Fuentes is looking for redemption this year. The Monkey Says: How about looking for your fastball velocity, Tito? That might be a bigger help than anything else.
- The Story: Scot Shields vows to be ready to go soon. The Monkey Says: It sounds like he is running a little behind schedule in his recovery, but the Halos seem to be counting on Shields to play a big role out of the pen this year, so they must not be too concerned about it, because, you know, 34-year old relievers have such a great reputation for bouncing back so easily from injuries.
- The Story: Where in the order will Kendry Morales bat this season? The Monkey Says: He should be batting cleanup this year, but judging by the comments made by Mike Scioscia in the column, he is looking for reasons not to bat K-Mo fourth. Maybe if Morales told Sosh he was secretly 35 years old he could finally get promoted to cleanup since it seems Sosh thinks only old guys deserve to bat in such an important spot in the order.
- The Story: Each Angel player wrote a personal letter to Nick Adenhart’s parents after his death. The Monkey Says: This happened shortly after the tragedy, but only just became public knowledge and it is a truly touching gesture by the Angel players.
- The Story: A big increase in BABIP in 2009 raises questions over how well Erick Aybar can hit this year. The Monkey Says: Considering that Aybar has only been in the pros for a few years, it is hard to say what his typical BABIP truly is, so don’t go chalking up Aybar as a bust just yet.
- The Story: Which active multi-Gold Glovers live up to their reputations? The Monkey Says: Torii Hunter fans might want to skip this one because it doesn’t work out too well for him. But much like the author, I also fail to comprehend how Torii consistently rates as a below average fielder in all advanced statistical systems even though our eyeballs tell us he is at least above average.
- The Story: A profile of prospect Peter Bourjos. The Monkey Says: I don’t know that Bourjos is the #1 prospect in the Angel organization just because I can’t admit that defense is as important as offense. Still, Bourjos has the potential to be an exciting player and it will be very interesting to see what the Halos do to make room for him in the big leagues since he could be ready as soon as 2011 and Torii Hunter is signed through 2012.