This ‘N That

Chris Pettit will miss the rest of Arizona Fall League with a strained back muscle.

Outfielder Chris Pettit, named the Angels’ 2007 minor league player of the year, left the Arizona Fall League on November 5 after suffering a strained back muscle, according to a source at 2007 was Pettit’s first full professional season, split between Cedar Rapids and Rancho Cucamonga. From there, he went on to four weeks in fall instructional league, and then to AFL. That’s more than enough for a first-year player.

Famed baseball executive Roland Hemond will be the featured speaker at the Kernels’ Hot Stove Banquet on Thursday January 31. He’s best known as the former GM of the Orioles and White Sox, as well as a founder of the AFL, but as documented earlier this year on he was also the first farm and scouting director of the Los Angeles Angels in 1961. Click Here to listen to my June 3 interview with Roland about that historical first year in Angels history. (Windows Media Player required.)

Tony Reagins, the Angels’ new GM, had his first outing this week in his new job as he attended the general managers’ meeting in Orlando. Although some folk on fan boards think trades are imminent, this meeting is more for GMs to act on rules changes and other technical issues. The meeting is mundane enough that the Orange County Register was the only local newspaper to report Reagins was going to the meeting. According to the Register, Reagins was accompanied by former GM Bill Stoneman, assistant GM Ken Forsch and special assistant Gary Sutherland — which reinforces my earlier impression that more experienced staff will surround Reagins who will handle mostly administrative matters as he did as minor league director.

The Orlando Sentinel reports from the meeting that the Angels would like to sign Alex Rodriguez. Well, who wouldn’t. The question is the money, which in my opinion could be better invested.

Of more specific interest is this passage:

On Tuesday, each general manager stood up during their meeting and stated what their offseason goals were. Many mentioned specific players they were making available. The idea was suggested by Boston’s Theo Epstein and Florida’s Larry Beinfest, co-chairs of this year’s meeting.

"Usually it takes a while to be able to reach all 29 other teams and hear what they’re trying to do. This increased our efficiency tremendously. It saves us all a lot of time," Epstein said. "Some teams were specific. Some were more guarded."

Florida Marlins’ third baseman Miguel Cabrera was specifically mentioned as available.

Personally, I think they should just hand over third base to Brandon Wood. He could use a little more seasoning but he has the potential to be the next Mike Schmidt.

The Sentinel also reports this proposed rule change of special meaning to Arkansas Travelers fans:

The final day of the annual meetings, GMs were to discuss whether first- and third-base coaches should wear helmets. Mike Coolbaugh, a first-base coach for the Colorado Rockies’ minor league team in Tulsa, was killed in July when he was struck on the head by a line drive during a game.

The Coolbaugh tragedy occurred in a game against the Travs at Dickey-Stephens Park in North Little Rock.

Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling signed a one-year deal to return to Boston for 2008. So much for my hope that the Angels might pursue Schilling as a free agent.

I’m trying to finish the last of the photos from the Salt Lake series at Las Vegas in mid-April. After that, I’ll start writing the annual Top 10 Prospects report, which is usually published in late November.

One reason I wait is to see what post-season decisions are made about six-year minor league free agents and waiver deals. Warner Madrigal was going to make my list, but because the Angels were unwilling to protect him on the 40-man roster they had to give him his free agency. That doesn’t preclude the Angels from re-signing Warner, but it would have to be to a minor league contract off the 40-man roster. Once a power-hitting outfield prospect, Madrigal was converted to the mound as a reliever in 2006 and was clocked in the high 90s this year with Cedar Rapids. If the Angels lose Warner, it’ll go down as a bigger loss than the self-destructive Bobby Jenks.

In closing … My inner geek thinks it’s seriously cool that Luke Skywalker’s lightsaber from Return of the Jedi flew on the recent Discovery flight to the Space Station. If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you know my wife and I have long-range plans to move to the Space Coast in about four years. If the schedule holds, I’ll be going out to Cape Canaveral in February for a launch on Valentine’s Day.

And while we’re in George Lucas’ universe, I’d also like to recommend the first volume of his Young Indiana Jones Chronicles DVD. The DVD release fulfills his vision fifteen years ago to use his archaeologist adventurer as a character to interest adults and children in learning more about history, by dropping the character as a child, teenager and adult into world events nearly one century ago. Lucas sent out two film crews around the world for three years to film footage that would be eventually edited into his intended vision. You may have seen earlier versions on ABC or the Family Channel, but this is the final version as originally intended without having to placate network television. The episodes are accompanied by a lot of historical documentaries that would give the History Channel a run for their money.

UPDATE 11/7/2007 8:30 PM PST — A Bulletin Board contributor notes that a press release on reports the Angels added Warner Madrigal to the 40-man roster, along with RHP Nick Green and Sean Rodriguez. So it looks like either BA got it wrong, or he was given his free agency as a temporary move until space was cleared on the 40. Anyway, glad to hear he’s still in the family.

UPDATE 11/8/2007 5:30 AM PST — Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports the Angels and Dodgers could pursue Miguel Cabrera as a cheaper alternative to Alex Rodriguez, but it would cost them dearly in prospects. Cabrera also has conditioning issues that could force him off third base. Shaikin suggests Cabrera could cost the Angels Brandon Wood, Nick Adenhart and either Jeff Mathis or Mike Napoli.


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