Now that the month of July has arrived, so too has the uptick in speculation that always seems to lead to rumors.
Rumors in the world of Major League Baseball are what fans grasp onto like barbecue sauce on a char-broiled steak. As each rumor swirls around the web and grows like a weed, it's hard to discover the difference between truth and fiction.
Fortunately, for fans of the Los Angeles Angels, you now have a place to come to in order to find out what's real and what's fake.
Over the next month, we will work to provide you with all of the latest information concerning your Angels—we'll break down each new bit of information as it's presented on the web, provide analysis for each rumor and transaction that involves the Angels and weed through all of the rumors/speculation/banter and determine whether they're valid or just a bunch of hooey.
Bookmark this link, Angels fans. There's no need to go anywhere for the latest in trade rumors and news—we'll keep you updated right here!
On Friday afternoon, the Los Angeles Angels ensured that they were in it to win it. The Angels pulled the strings and landed one of the biggest names on the trade market, starting pitcher Zack Greinke of the Milwaukee Brewers. In return, the Angels gave up three of their top 20 prospects, shortstop Jean Segura and pitchers Johnny Hellweg and Ariel Pena. .
Reaction on Twitter was swift, to say the least.
Matt Allen exclaimed his joy in seeing Greinke team up with Jered Weaver and C.J. Wilson at the top of the rotation.
"@Angels: It's official. Club acquires Zack Greinke from the Brewers!" Their pitching staff is full of studs!!— Matt Allen (@MattyIce4421) July 28, 2012
One particular fan gushed about her unabashed love of her favorite team, the Angels.
Best day of my lifee!!! #angels you never disappoint me!Zack Greinke!!! :)— Selena (@AckermanSelena) July 28, 2012
ESPN brought up a very important fact that was no doubt considered by Angels GM DiPoto when considering this particular trade.
Ben Bowman tweeted about the similarity between Zack Greinke and the Queen of England.
Zack Greinke trade or the "queen" jumping out of a helicopter at the Olympics. So much to tweet about.— Ben Bowman (@BenjBowman) July 28, 2012
Obviously, quite a bit of excitement in Anaheim surrounding this trade.
According to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the Brewers would love to create a bidding war for Greinke between the Los Angeles Angels and the Texas Rangers.
The Brewers would love to get the Angels and Rangers, rivals in the American League West, into a bidding war. The Angels have dangled right-hander Garrett Richards and centerfielder Peter Bourjos as trade bait in other talks. Richards could be plugged right into the Brewers' rotation, but they would much prefer shortstop prospect Jean Segura. If the Brewers intend to move Corey Hart back to the outfield, they'd be interested in first base prospect C.J. Cron.
The Angels haven't been keen on moving Segura, the organization's top-rated prospect according to Baseball America. Segura made his major league debut on Tuesday, and with the status of Erick Aybar (foot contusion) up in the air, the Halos may still be balking at moving him.
Long-term, Segura is blocked by both Aybar and Howie Kendrick, with both signed through the 2015 season.
Cron, the Angels' first-round draft pick last year, is hitting .291 with 18 HR and 95 RBI at Advanced Single-A Inland Empire. Cron can hit, so it's certainly understandable that the Brewers would be interested.
Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports tweeted that Greinke is high on both the Angels and Atlanta Braves.
The question at this point is whether or not can put a package together that fits what the Brewers are looking for without completely raiding the Angels' farm system.
That particular rumor now seems to have legs.
On Tuesday afternoon, ESPN's Tim Kurkjian reported that the Angels and Rays discussed a deal that would send Shields to Anaheim for three players.
In return, the Rays would receive catcher Hank Conger, center fielder Peter Bourjos and starting pitcher Ervin Santana.
The Rays have long coveted a solid-hitting backstop, and Bourjos would likely replace current center fielder B.J. Upton, who will likely be allowed to walk when his contract expires at the end of the season.
Kurkjian also said that because of the money involved, Santana would be included in the deal as well. Santana has an option of $13 million for next season, a figure that will likely be declined by Tampa Bay, so Santana would essentially be a castaway in the deal.
Shields has options for both the 2013 and 2014 seasons that total $21 million.
On Saturday night, Los Angeles Angels pitcher Ervin Santana continued with his season-long struggles, lasting only 1.2 innings and giving up six runs on eight hits to the rival Texas Rangers.
Santana's miserable effort raised his ERA to 6.00 along with a 4-10 record.
With Santana's struggles, along with uncertainty surrounding the return of Dan Haren and his ongoing back issues, the Angels have been rumored to be looking for starting pitching for the past several weeks.
Shields has posted an ERA over a run and a half higher than last season thus far (4.39/2.82), however, he is an innings-eater who has maintained a solid strikeout (8.5/9) and walk rate (2.7/9) thus far, and is considered fairly affordable with a $7 million salary this year with options of $9 million and $12 for the following two seasons.
The Angels hold a $13 million for Santana for the 2013 season, and given his inconsistency throughout the season, it's a safe bet right now that GM Jerry DiPoto will not exercise that option.
For much of the season, the Nos. 3 and 4 starters in the Los Angeles Angels rotation—Dan Haren and Ervin Santana—have mightily struggled.
Combined, Haren and Santana have posted a 10-17 record with a 5.24 ERA, not exactly what GM Jerry Dipoto had in mind for what he thought would be a formidable front four in his rotation.
Haren will be activated from the disabled list to make a start on Sunday night against the Texas Rangers. Haren was felled with back inflammation on July 5 and had admitted that he had been dealing with back pain for much of the season.
It was the first-ever trip to the DL for Haren, and if the pain that limited full back extension is indeed gone, manager Mike Scioscia is one who is hoping to see the Haren of old.
"What was hindering him from that full back extension is gone," Scioscia said.
Meanwhile, Santana has just been suffering from a lack of consistency all season long. At times he can look like the pitcher who tossed a no-hitter against the Cleveland Indians last year. However, he can also look like a pitcher struggling to find his command as well.
Over the next two weeks, DiPoto will keep a close eye on both as the trade deadline, and their performance will likely dictate moves that the Angels could make in order to secure a postseason berth.
DiPoto also said that the market is far less defined this year than in years' past, with many question marks surrounding impact players currently on the market.
"There is a grand total of maybe five teams out of 30 who you can comfortably say are movers in the market," Dipoto said. "There's a whole lot of hullabaloo about the (Zack) Greinkes and (Cole) Hamels, but we don't even know if those guys are available. There is less definition to this trade market than I've ever been exposed to."
For much of the season, Los Angeles Angels outfielder Peter Bourjos has been the subject of various trade rumors. However, GM Jerry DiPoto has repeatedly said that Bourjos was part of the Angels' long-term plans for the future.
That stance may have now shifted.
According to Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com, the Angels are apparently willing to deal Bourjos if the right reliever were made available.
The Angels are also looking for a starter, so Bourjos could become part of a package deal.
In addition, Knobler hinted that the Angels might be willing to part with designated hitter Kendrys Morales as well. It's the first time that Morales' name has been mentioned in any kind of trade speculation this season.
Milwaukee Brewers starting pitcher Zack Greinke continues to be one of the hottest names out there on the trade market as the non-waiver trade deadline approaches.
According to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, the Los Angeles Angels could potentially put together a package that could entice the Brewers.
The names mentioned by Rosenthal included Double-A shortstop prospect Jean Segura, Single-A third baseman Kaleb Cowart, right-handed pitching prospect Garrett Richards and current Angels outfielder Peter Bourjos.
Angels' GM Jerry DiPoto has been resistant in prior efforts of teams to acquire Bourjos, but also offered another interesting tidbit.
"I don't (want to trade Bourjos)," Dipoto said. "Peter is a valuable asset to the organization. Today, he's a valuable asset. He makes us a better 25-man roster. He happens to have a fair amount of market value because he's a young center fielder who can go out there and perform in an every-day role. He also has a tremendous amount of value to us going forward because of what he's able to do for this team both in an every-day role and from a balancing-the-payroll perspective.
"All of that together makes it very difficult for me to envision a scenario in which moving Peter is a good idea."
However, in an interesting twist, DiPoto also made other observations, saying things like "but you never say never" and "you have to give to get."
Whether or not he's willing to give Bourjos in order to get Greinke is another story.
Minnesota Twins pitcher Francisco Liriano has been sharp since returning to the rotation on May 30.
The Los Angeles Angels acquired reliever Ernesto Frieri earlier in the season to bolster their bullpen, and while Frieri has been lights out since joining the Halos, they are still actively seeking further help.
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) July 14, 2012
Liriano could provide depth for an Angels' rotation that has seen inconsistency at the back end.
Capps recently came off the disabled list for the Twins and has converted 14 of 15 save opportunities on the season.
Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Cole Hamels continues to be a hot topic of conversation as the MLB non-waiver trade deadline nears, and with his start today in Denver against the Colorado Rockies, Hamels drew considerable interest.
According to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, the Los Angeles Angels were in town, and presumably they weren't there for the fresh air.
#Angels also among teams scouting Hamels today in Colorado.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 15, 2012
In addition, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reported that the Phillies had a scout attending Sunday's game between the Angels and New York Yankees, further fueling speculation that the Phillies are at the very least interested in speaking to the Halos about Hamels.
Hamels certainly didn't hurt his cause, earning a 5-1 win over the Rockies with eight innings of six-hit ball, and is now 11-4 on the season with a 3.07 ERA.
The Angels have been riding high with starters Jered Weaver and C.J. Wilson—not so much with Dan Haren or Ervin Santana, however.
Haren is currently on the disabled list for the first time in his career with back issues, but according to CBS Sports senior baseball blogger Matt Snyder, Haren should make his return on Sunday, July 22.
Both Haren and Santana have been largely inconsistent thus far in the 2012, so it certainly makes sense that the Angels have interest in Hamels.
However, GM Jerry DiPoto does not have a farm system rife with top-tier free agents, and the Angels keep insisting that center fielder Peter Bourjos is not available, either.
Stay tuned, this could get very interesting over the next two weeks.
Former Los Angeles Angels closer Brian Fuentes was officially released by the Oakland A's on Wednesday, seven days after he was designated for assignment.
Does that mean the Angels, who are actively looking to beef up their bullpen, might have some interest?
According to Alden Gonzlez of MLB.com, in this particular case, familiarity does actually breed contempt.
— Alden Gonzalez (@Alden_Gonzalez) July 11, 2012
Fuentes will likely find a home somewhere, especially considering any team can pick him up for about half of the major league minimum. Fuentes is still owed approximately $2.5 million from the A's for the remainder of this season plus the buyout of next year's option.
The Los Angeles Angels are apparently all in on Zack Greinke.
According to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com, the Angels are in on the Greinke sweepstakes, with one of their main rivals also in hot pursuit.
The Angels have some issues right now with their starting rotation. Dan Haren is currently on the shelf with back issues and Ervin Santana hasn't been effective for much of the season.
Heyman believes that the Angels will decline the $13 million option on Santana's contract for the 2013 season, barring a significant turnaround in the second half.
Haren also has a $15.5 million option for next season, and considering his current back issues and performance, there's no guarantee the Angels will pick up that option, either.
There has been a lot of chatter about the possibility of the Los Angeles Angels being in the mix for starting pitching, especially with the continued struggles of Ervin Santana and Dan Haren.
Previously, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports discussed the chances of the Angels going after pitching by dangling center fielder Peter Bourjos as a trade chip.
With Victorino headed for free agency, Bourjos likely would intrigue the #Phillies in any Hamels talks.
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) July 5, 2012
If Hamels does indeed interest the Angels, they would likely have to shed payroll in order to fit Hamels into their future payroll. Santana and Haren both have options totaling $28.5 million combined for next season, and right fielder Torii Hunter's $18 million annual salary could come off the books as well.
As stated previously, GM Jerry DiPoto will be hesitant to give Bourjos up, as he as looked upon as the replacement for Hunter, giving the Angels an outfield of Bourjos, Mike Trout and Mark Trumbo for the foreseeable future.
However, the chance to add Hamels to a rotation along with Jered Weaver and C.J. Wilson would certainly form one of the most dominant pitching trios in all of baseball.
On Monday, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports speculated that the Los Angeles Angels could be in the market for starting pitching.
Rosenthal reported that some executives around the league wondered if Angels GM Jerry DiPoto would react to the inconsistent performances of both Ervin Santana and Dan Haren in the first half to bolster his starting rotation.
On Wednesday, Rosenthal added to the speculation, saying that teams continue to call the Angels about the status of center fielder Peter Bourjos, and that he could be used as a centerpiece to attract an impact starting pitcher.
Bourjos is essentially mired deep in the outfield depth behind Mike Trout, Mark Trumbo and Torii Hunter. However, Bourjos is seen as a replacement for Hunter, who is in the final season of a five-year, $90 million contract.
Also adding to the speculation is the fact that Haren has been bothered by lower back pain all year long. He told reporters on Tuesday night that the pain continues to linger and that he expects to be checked out by a doctor in Los Angeles.
The Angels have Garrett Richards, who pitched beautifully in the absence of Jered Weaver earlier last month. But the Angels' farm system is not rife with quality starting pitching, so few other options are available internally.
Add to that the fact that owner Arte Moreno likely doesn't want to add much to a $151 million payroll this season.
Rosenthal opined that the Angels could wait until the end of the season, when option years for both Santana and Haren will need to be exercised or declined. Haren has a $15.5 million option while Santana has a $13 million option. If DiPoto chooses to decline either or both option, combined with Hunter's salary coming off the books, money will be available to go after high-quality free agent pitching.
Ever since rookie phenom Mike Trout arrived on April 28, the Los Angeles Angels have been on fire, sporting the best record in the majors (37-21) since Trout's call-up.
Three weeks after Trout made his season debut, left fielder Vernon Wells landed on the disabled list after tearing a ligament in his right thumb attempting a slide into second base in a game against the San Diego Padres.
Wells could be back with the team by late July, but in what capacity? With Mark Trumbo, Mike Trout and Torii Hunter currently patrolling the outfield and Peter Bourjos supplying more-than-capable backup, Wells will likely see limited action upon his return.
On Sunday, Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe reported that Wells would be a great fit for teams like the Los Angeles Dodgers, Cleveland Indians and Pittsburgh Pirates, but only if two factors were involved.
One, Wells would have to waive his no-trade clause. And two, the Angels would almost assuredly need to pony up the vast majority of the $53 million left on Wells' contract that runs through the 2014 season.
As to the former, Wells told CBSSports.com last week that he was not in a mind to waive his no-trade rights.
“I prefer to stay here,” Wells said. “I love being here. The guys are awesome. We have the potential to be really good for a long time.
“I haven’t been thinking about (the possibility of a trade).”
Cafardo was merely speculating as to options that Wells and the Angels might have if, and only if, Wells were to waive his no-trade rights.
As to the latter, the Angels have yet to give any indication that they are willing to eat the majority of the money left on Wells' contract.