As we all know, the winter meetings are over. The week of wheeling and dealing has come and gone. We also know that the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, the Arizona Diamondbacks, and the Chicago White Sox, completed a three way deal that made some of the biggest headlines.
The good news: the Angels didn’t sign any aging pitchers that have been suspended for violating baseball’s drug policy (of course I mean Bartolo Colon) *happy dance*, or over-priced second-basemen (yep, I’m talking about Robinson Cano, high fives all around there). They did go out and address a major issue, pitching, without spending a bunch of money.
In doing so, they brought in a pair of young pitchers. Well, they brought one in and brought the other back. Tyler Skaggs was brought back to the Angels from the Diamondbacks by the GM that originally traded for him to begin with. Jerry Dipoto was interim GM for the Diamondbacks when he traded Dan Haren to the Angels for Joe Saunders, two minor league players, and a player to be named later.
Turns out that player to be named later was none other than Tyler Skaggs, who, at the time, was one of the Angels top prospects. Now he’s back to the organization that drafted him.
The other pitcher is Hector Santiago. I have to admit, I didn’t know much about him when the trade first went down. I quickly found out he’s on Twitter (@HecSantiago53) and I started following him. Not long after I learned that he’s very interactive with fans and I mentioned him in a tweet. Soon after I mentioned him, I was surprised to find that he was following me back.
I can tell that he’s going to quickly become a fan favorite. His mentions are littered with fans saying positive things about him. He talks about being excited to begin pitching in Anaheim. His excitement is contagious. He’s able to convey his enthusiasm about the coming season without alienating his old team or fans, like some players (I’m looking at you, John Lackey), which speaks volumes about him.
The bad news: the Angels had to give up Mark Trumbo. The most productive hitter in the Angels lineup last year, the leader in home runs every year since he was called up, and all-around good guy. When we were reviewing the past season here at Halo Hangout, I wrote my review on Mark and shared a personal story of one of the reasons I like him, you can read it here if you missed it. I’ll never forget that day he tweeted back to me. It sounds silly, but it made my Christmas.
It doesn’t quite compare to what happened this week. The day after he was traded to the Diamondbacks, Mark Trumbo attended the Angels Baseball Foundation holiday party. He didn’t have to, even though he had committed to do it, nobody would’ve thought twice if the guy that had just been traded the day before didn’t go. But he did. And then I read this by Bill Dwyre of the Los Angeles Times. Excuse me, I have something in my eye I have to take care of real fast.
Um, where was I? Oh yeah, I know he made those kids’ day, just like he made mine when he tweeted at me. Speaking of Twitter, Mark Trumbo may not be as active as others on the social network, but he still managed to express his thanks to the fans after learning the news of his trade:
Extremely thankful for the overwhelming support from the Angels faithful. Couldn't have ever asked for a better opportunity than what I got.
— Mark Trumbo (@Mtrumbo44) December 11, 2013
I’m trying to make peace with losing a player who did absolutely everything he could to help the team win, was willing to play anywhere, even if that meant DH, in order to get the chance to play, and who is so genuinely nice that he would attend a party for an organization that traded him the day before. I hope the next time the Diamondbacks come to the Big A, he gets a huge standing ovation. Torii Hunter, Vladimir Guerrero, David Eckstein-like applause to show him that the fans appreciate all he did for us while he was here.
And I wish Mark all the best on his new team. I imagine it would be tough, kinda like if my editor decided to trade me to another blog that writes for a different team. I’d have to learn a whole new cast of characters, get a feel for everyone else there, and feel my way around until I knew what to expect (don’t get any ideas , I’m not sure it would work! Lol).
It has to be just as difficult for the players coming to the Angels. As we say goodbye to some, we welcome others. Just as I wish all the best for Mark as he begins the next phase of his journey, so too, do I wish the best for the Angels and the newest members of the team, including David Freese. I look ahead to the coming season with anticipation and count down the days until pitchers and catchers report, Spring Training begins, and then the start of the 2014 baseball season. As of this writing 57 days until pitchers and catchers report.