Inbox: Would Angels forfeit pick for right FA fit?

Beat reporter Maria Guardado answers Halos fans' questions

Inbox: Would Angels forfeit pick for right FA fit?

If the Angels target a free agent that rejected a qualifying offer, will they lose their first-round Draft pick? If so, wouldn't the Angels be a little reluctant to give that up with a below-average farm system?
-- @chavezjd11 via Twitter

The qualifying offer rules have changed quite a bit under the terms of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement. The previous CBA required teams to surrender their top unprotected Draft pick if they signed a free agent who had rejected a qualifying offer. Under the new guidelines, teams will still have to cede one or more Draft picks if they sign a qualified free agent, but their highest first-round selection is exempt from forfeiture. Penalties are now determined by the financial status of the team that makes the signing.

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Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Which prospects will Halos protect from Rule 5?

Players must be on 40-man roster to avoid potential selection in Draft

Which prospects will Halos protect from Rule 5?

ANAHEIM -- With the deadline for finalizing 40-man rosters approaching, the Angels will soon face tough decisions regarding which prospects to shield from next month's Rule 5 Draft.

Six players featured on MLBPipeline.com's list of Top 30 Angels prospects will be eligible for the Rule 5 Draft unless they are added to the 40-man roster ahead of Monday's 5 p.m. PT deadline. Those left unprotected could be selected by another team during the Rule 5 Draft, which will take place on the final day of the Winter Meetings, on Dec. 14.

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Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Ramirez progressing post stem-cell injection

Angels righty aiming to avoid surgery on partially torn UCL

Ramirez progressing post stem-cell injection

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Angels right-hander JC Ramirez, who received a stem-cell injection in August to help heal a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament in his throwing elbow, has shown progress in two medical checkups this fall, creating optimism that he'll be able to continue his rehab without surgery.

General manager Billy Eppler said Ramirez is scheduled to undergo a third ultrasound at the end of the month, which will be his final assessment before Spring Training.

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Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com

Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Halos lay groundwork at GM Meetings

First base, second base among Angels' offseason pursuits

Halos lay groundwork at GM Meetings

ORLANDO, Fla. -- The Angels will continue the exploratory phase of their offseason this week, as general manager Billy Eppler and the rest of the club's front-office contingent arrived in Orlando, Fla., on Monday for the annual General Managers Meetings, where executives and agents congregate to lay the groundwork for potential winter transactions.

Finding more bats will continue to be a priority for the Angels, who are expected to meet with the representatives for free-agent first baseman Logan Morrison this week, according to MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi.

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Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com.

Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com. Bryan Hoch contributed reporting from Orlando, Fla. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Maldonado, Simmons named Defensive POYs

Maldonado, Simmons named Defensive POYs

ANAHEIM -- Angels shortstop Andrelton Simmons and catcher Martin Maldonado, both of whom won Rawlings Gold Gloves Awards earlier this week, picked up more fielding accolades on Friday, capturing Wilson Defensive Player of the Year Awards at their respective positions.

It was the fourth such honor in five years for Simmons and the first for Maldonado. Wilson determines the winners of the award, which is given to the top defender at each position, regardless of league, using a formula that includes traditional defensive stats, advanced metrics and information gathered by Inside Edge.

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Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Upton wins third career Silver Slugger Award

Angels outfielder set career highs in homers (35) and RBIs (109) in '17

Upton wins third career Silver Slugger Award

ANAHEIM -- Angels outfielder Justin Upton won his third career Louisville Silver Slugger Award on Thursday, earning recognition as one of the best offensive players at his position in the American League.

Upton, who signed a five-year, $106 million contract to stay with the Angels last week, also won the honor in the National League in 2011 with the D-backs and '14 with the Braves. The 30-year-old picked up his first AL Silver Slugger after batting .273/.361/.540 and setting career highs in home runs (35) and RBIs (109) in 152 games between the Tigers and Angels this season.

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Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Maldonado, Simmons capture Gold Gloves

Halos have two winners for first time since Erstad and Molina in 2002

Maldonado, Simmons capture Gold Gloves

Shortstop Andrelton Simmons and catcher Martin Maldonado, two cornerstones of the Angels' strong defense in 2017, won Rawlings Gold Glove Awards on Tuesday, cementing their status as the American League's premier defenders at their respective positions.

Simmons beat Elvis Andrus of the Rangers and Francisco Lindor of the Indians for his third Gold Glove and first with the Angels. He had previously won the award twice with the Braves in 2013 and '14. Simmons is the third shortstop to win a Gold Glove Award in both leagues, joining Omar Vizquel and Orlando Cabrera.

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Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

With Upton in fold, Angels target other needs

Infield, pitching staff high on list as club seeks 'good value' while being 'opportunistic'

With Upton in fold, Angels target other needs

LOS ANGELES -- Last week, the Angels crossed a key objective off their offseason to-do list by re-signing left fielder Justin Upton to a five-year, $106 million contract. But work remains to be done by general manager Billy Eppler and his staff, who still have other holes to address this winter, particularly around their infield and on their pitching staff.

"If we can improve in other areas, we're going to look to do that," Eppler said. "Whether that's on the mound, either starting or relieving, whether that's a spot on the infield, whether that comes from an addition behind the plate, another outfielder potentially. I think we need to remain opportunistic and focus on securing things that we deem are good value."

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Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Upton bypasses opt-out, signs with Angels

Slugging outfielder's five-year deal includes full no-trade clause, runs through 2022

Upton bypasses opt-out, signs with Angels

ANAHEIM -- As Angels general manager Billy Eppler met with Justin Upton and his representatives throughout the month of October, he didn't think much about the possibility of losing Upton to free agency. For Eppler, it was clear that both sides were working toward the same goal, which yielded a new five-year, $106 million contract that will keep Upton in Anaheim through 2022.

"It felt, to me, over the last 30 days of our season that Justin wanted to be here, and we wanted to have him here," Eppler said Thursday. "So we just focused on our relationship and didn't really consider other alternatives or anything of that nature. We just really wanted to make sure we could keep this union together, and he did, too."

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Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

3 offseason questions for Angels to answer

3 offseason questions for Angels to answer

ANAHEIM -- For the third consecutive year, the Angels watched the playoffs unfold without them, but they'll soon get to work assembling a roster they hope will bring October baseball back to Anaheim in 2018.

Here's a look at three Angels storylines to follow this offseason.

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Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Fall Stars wrap: How top prospects performed

Fall Stars wrap: How top prospects performed

Below is a recap of each player's performance from the 12th edition of the Arizona Fall League's Fall Stars Game at Salt River Fields in Scottsdale, a 4-2 win for the East division.

Among the highly regarded players in this year's exhibition were 10 players on MLBPipeline.com's Top 100 Prospects list.

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Manny Randhawa is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver. Follow him on Twitter at @MannyOnMLB.

Austin Laymance is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Inbox: Who will bat leadoff for the Angels in '18?

Beat reporter Maria Guardado fields Halos fans' questions

Inbox: Who will bat leadoff for the Angels in '18?

What are the Angels' options/plans for the leadoff position next year?
-- Rick S., Chino Hills, Calif.

The Angels' three primary leadoff hitters in 2017 -- Yunel Escobar, Cameron Maybin and Brandon Phillips -- are not under contract for next season, so Los Angeles will have a hole to fill at the top of its lineup. I think Kole Calhoun and Andrelton Simmons are the best leadoff options among the club's returning hitters, as both have experience in that role, though it's possible that the Angels will make an external addition this offseason to fit the bill.

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Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Trout got a ball after an Eagles TD

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Trout got a ball after an Eagles TD

Thus far, Mike Trout has spent multiple offseason Sundays taking in the performances of his hometown Philadelphia Eagles. When he's in attendance, the Eagles have a tendency to pay tribute to the two-time American League MVP Award winner. Earlier this season, he celebrated a touchdown with a mini simulated baseball game.

After tight end Zach Ertz caught a touchdown pass against the 49ers on Sunday, he quickly found Trout and awarded him his door prize:

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Angels host 12th annual Challenger Classic

Kids from Little League Challenger Division participate in event

Angels host 12th annual Challenger Classic

ANAHEIM -- When Dr. Darrell Burnett helped coordinate the first Bank of America Challenger Classic in 2006, he customized an Angels jersey with the No. 06 to commemorate the occasion.

More than a decade later, Burnett was sporting that same jersey as the Angels Baseball Foundation hosted the 12th annual Bank of America Challenger Classic on Saturday morning.

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Ryan Posner is a contributor to MLB.com based in Los Angeles. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bedrosian remains key member of bullpen

Angels remain confident despite reliever's second-half struggles

Bedrosian remains key member of bullpen

One year ago, Cam Bedrosian appeared to be the Angels' closer of the future, but he struggled to build off his breakout campaign this season. After logging a 1.12 ERA in 2016, Bedrosian finished this year with a 4.43 ERA and endured his worst outing on the penultimate day of the regular season, when he surrendered five runs without recording an out.

How do the Angels view Bedrosian now?

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Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Hinske tabbed as Halos' hitting coach

Hinske tabbed as Halos' hitting coach

The Angels announced Monday that Eric Hinske has been hired as the club's new hitting coach. Hinske will fill the vacancy on the coaching staff left by Dave Hansen, who was dismissed earlier this month following a disappointing offensive performance from the Angels this season.

Hinske, 40, served as the Cubs' assistant hitting coach for the past three seasons. A former first baseman and outfielder, Hinske played for the Blue Jays, Red Sox, Rays, Pirates, Yankees, Braves and D-backs over his 12-year career in the Majors, batting .249 with a .762 OPS, 137 home runs and 522 RBIs in 1,387 career games.

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Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Shoulder injury knocks Ward off AFL roster

Angels' No. 10 prospect replaced by fellow catcher Wass

Shoulder injury knocks Ward off AFL roster

Angels catching prospect Taylor Ward was removed from the Arizona Fall League's Scottsdale Scorpions roster earlier this week with a right shoulder impingement, general manager Billy Eppler said Thursday.

Ward, who is ranked the Angels' No. 10 prospect by MLBPipeline.com, played in one AFL game on Oct. 11 before suffering the injury. He was replaced on the Scottsdale roster by fellow backstop Wade Wass, who hit .257 with an .846 OPS and 11 home runs in 59 games with Double-A Mobile this season.

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Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Jonathan Mayo

Angels' Arizona Fall League overview

Thaiss ascending system thanks to plate discipline

Angels' Arizona Fall League overview

When Matt Thaiss was drafted in the first round of the 2016 Draft by the Angels out of the University of Virginia, it was thought he would be the kind of advanced college hitter who would move quickly up the Minor League ladder. The college catcher-turned-pro first baseman certainly lived up to advanced billing on that front, reaching Double-A in his first full season.

"I wouldn't say that was a goal," said Thaiss, the Angels' No. 3 prospect. "Everyone wants to move up and they want to move quickly. I try not to set goals, whether they be statistical or getting to certain places at certain times. I kind of just let the season ride out and I was lucky enough to get up to Double-A and experience the competition there."

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Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLBPipeline.com. Follow him on Twitter @JonathanMayo and Facebook, and listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Multi-inning relievers a priority for Angels

After Petit's stellar season, club hoping to strike gold again

Multi-inning relievers a priority for Angels

Coming out of Spring Training, the Angels had three relievers on their roster who they thought would be capable of pitching multiple innings: Yusmeiro Petit, JC Ramirez and Bud Norris. But injuries soon forced them to reallocate those arms.

When Garrett Richards landed on the disabled list in the first week of the season, Ramirez was pressed into the starting rotation. Injuries to Huston Street, Andrew Bailey and Cam Bedrosian, meanwhile, forced Norris into the closing role. That left Petit as the Angels' primary multi-inning reliever for most of the season, a role in which he excelled.

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Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

The Eagles gave Trout a TD celebration

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The Eagles gave Trout a TD celebration

Mike Trout has never kept his Philadelphia Eagles fandom a secret. He grew up in Millville, N.J, which is less than an hour drive from Philadelphia, and routinely attends Eagles games in the MLB offseason.

It was little surprise, then, when he showed up for Sunday's game between the Eagles and the Arizona Cardinals, and even less of a surprise that he quickly declared his rooting interests:

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Barria, Jones named Prospects of the Year

Barria, Jones named Prospects of the Year

ANAHEIM -- Jaime Barria's steep rise from Class-A Advanced Inland Empire to Triple-A Salt Lake this season cemented his status as one of the brightest pitching talents in the Angels' improving farm system. His stock was further validated after he was named the organization's Pitching Prospect of the Year by MLBPipeline.com for the second consecutive year.

Jahmai Jones earned Hitting Prospect of the Year honors for the Angels.

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Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Hansen won't be back as hitting coach

Hitting coach Dave Hansen will not return for the 2018 season, the Angels announced on Wednesday.

Hansen had served the club in that capacity for the past two seasons, following two seasons as the Angels' assistant hitting coach. He began his tenure alongside the late Don Baylor under manager Mike Scioscia.

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Daniel Kramer is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver. Follow him on Twitter at @DKramer_. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Adell, Canning lead prospects at instructs

Adell, Canning lead prospects at instructs

Several members of the Angels 2017 Draft class are in Arizona participating in instructional league, including each of the club's first four selections.

Most notably first-rounder Jo Adell and second-rounder Griffin Canning, the Angels No. 1 and No. 4 prospects, are present and building toward the future.

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William Boor is a reporter for MLBPipeline.com. Follow him on Twitter at @wboor. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Scioscia 'thrilled' to return in '18, a contract year

Scioscia 'thrilled' to return in '18, a contract year

ANAHEIM -- Mike Scioscia will return to manage the Angels in 2018, but his future with the organization is unclear beyond that.

Scioscia, the longest-tenured manager in baseball, will be entering the final season of the 10-year deal he signed with the Angels in January 2009, but he said Monday that he is simply focused on 2018 and would be "absolutely" fine with managing without the promise of a contract beyond next year.

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Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Trout among most popular jerseys

Trout among most popular jerseys

Aaron Judge has the highest number in all of Major League Baseball, and this time we are talking about total sales of his No. 99 Yankees jersey.

MLB and the MLB Players Association jointly announced the latest Most Popular Jerseys rankings on Tuesday, and the rookie slugger topped the list to add another distinction to an historic first full year. The list is based on sales of Majestic jerseys from MLBShop.com since Opening Day.

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Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com and a baseball writer since 1990. Follow him on Twitter @Marathoner and read and join other baseball fans on his MLB.com/blogs hub. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Angels fall short despite highlight-reel season

Trout's dominance, Pujols' march on record book led 2017 moments

Angels fall short despite highlight-reel season

ANAHEIM -- Though they hung around in the postseason race longer than most expected, the Angels fell short of their goal of clinching an American League Wild Card berth and ended up finishing with a second consecutive losing season.

It marked the third straight year that the Angels have been unable to make a postseason appearance, though their 2017 season still carried several bright spots that the club hopes will position it for more success in the near future.

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Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Angels counting on healthier pitching staff in '18

Angels counting on healthier pitching staff in '18

ANAHEIM -- The Angels' greatest source of optimism heading into 2018 centers around a starting rotation that is projected to be healthier and deeper than it has been over the last two seasons.

Injuries decimated the Angels' rotation in two consecutive years, a major reason why the club posted back-to-back losing seasons for the first time since 1992-93, but the outlook is brighter next year, when Garrett Richards, Andrew Heaney, Tyler Skaggs, Matt Shoemaker, Nick Tropeano, Parker Bridwell and JC Ramirez are all expected to arrive to Spring Training healthy.

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Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bridwell finishes breakout season on high note

Right-hander leads all American League rookie starters with 10 wins

Bridwell finishes breakout season on high note

ANAHEIM -- Parker Bridwell capped his breakout rookie campaign on a high note, tossing seven scoreless innings to lead the Angels to a 6-2 victory over the Mariners in Sunday afternoon's regular-season finale at Angel Stadium.

In his 20th and final start of the season, Bridwell held the Mariners to three singles while walking one and striking out three. He outdueled Mariners left-hander James Paxton, who worked six spotless innings before the Angels broke the game open by scoring six runs in the seventh against Seattle's bullpen.

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Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Scioscia believes Pujols will bounce back in '18

Angels slugger set to avoid surgery this offseason and report healthy in spring

Scioscia believes Pujols will bounce back in '18

ANAHEIM -- It's been a difficult season for Albert Pujols, but the Angels have reason to believe that the 37-year-old slugger will rebound in 2018 with the help of a normal winter.

Pujols is poised to enter the offseason without the need for surgery, which the Angels hope will allow him to pursue an uninterrupted training regimen and improve his conditioning before Spring Training. Pujols has had three surgeries in five winters since joining the Angels, including last year, when he underwent an operation to release the plantar fascia in his right foot in December.

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Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.