2013 Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Preview with Van Smack

Arte Moreno is a tremendous owner. - USA TODAY Sports

What is up? A tremendous Monday to you. Welcome to the Jungle. I am Jim Rome. We have a jam-packed schedule to get to today regarding the 2013 Angels, so hit me up.

The phone line, if you have a take, is 1-800-636-8686. If I do take your call, have a take. Don't suck. And you won't get run. I may take a call or two today, but I'm not feeling it. I don't want you Clones to bring me down. After all, more of me and less of you is good for the show.

I want to talk Angels today because, well, not because they're my team. I don't have a particular team. Granted, I get season duckets to the Angels from the best owner in the game, Arte Moreno. However, that does not create any bias on my end. That being said, I go to tons of Angels games when I'm not busy grinding on my radio show, my CBS Sports show, or my new show on Showtime. I work my ERRRRRRRRSEE off and it's all for my fans.

Last year was a tremendous disappointment for the Angels. After signing Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson, we were just about preparing for a ticker tape parade at Disneyland here in SoCal. We were all ready to party in Anaheim by going to Javier's and then downing some Marie Callender's pies. Instead, we got a disappointing third place finish to the Rangers and the Oakland. Oakland was such a tremendous story last year. Absolutely incredible. I don't think there was a bigger story last year in the AL West than Oakland ripping that Wild Card away from obviously better teams on paper.

I take that back, there WAS a bigger story in the AL West last year. In fact, it was the biggest story in baseball. I'm talking about the tremendous season twenty-year old Mike Trout had. Dude can't even legally drink yet and he's absolutely slamming down pitchers. If the Angels' pitching staff performed up to par, there's your 2012 AL MVP. I'm not down on Miguel Cabrera. He had a nice season. However, for Trout to come out the way he did and carry that team on his shoulders, shows he was the most valuable player.

If the Angels lineup was scary last year, it will be tremendously scary in 2013 with Josh Hamilton. Hamilton, who should be good for about 130 games a year, will make it perhaps the most feared lineup in baseball. We all know Josh Hamilton. We all know what he's good for. He won't give you 162. He won't give you 152. You're probably making a stretch to say he'll go 142. However, when he plays, and if he plays, he's one of the best.

That's what makes Arte Moreno so great. He goes out and gets the guy. He's basically taken the role of George Steinbrenner since he passed away a few years back. The shift of power from the east coast to the west coast is clearly, clearly evident in his dealings .

Alright, Clones, I'm going to open it up a little bit. Waiting on the line is Ronny in Fullerton. J-Stew told me he's been waiting on hold since last Wednesday to talk Angels. I guess it's time to drop the line. We. Go. To. Fullerton. Ronny, what is up?

Thanks for the vine, Jim. Yeah, I wanted to talk Angels because most of the takes I've heard about them have been propounded by weaklings up until now, present company excluded. Mike Trout's 2012 was EPIC. As epic as epic can get without involving Jim in Fall River's donkey. What gets me though, Jim, is why Ate brought back Mike Scioscia. I mean, the guy totally underachieved in 2012. I don't care about what he did in 2003, it's about what you've done for me lately. If you crunch the numbers, you'll see that Mike Scioscia has a inverse relationship between wins and increased payroll. When you look at the slashlines of his players, you'll see that. . .


Gotta go with the Manual Buzzer, Ronny. You can't do my boy Mike Scioscia like that. He's a made man here in The Jungle, like Trapper. Look, Scioscia is my boy and I hang out with him down at the track where we watch the ponies. When I was younger, I used to be a huge fan of the Dodgers and therefore him. Because of my journalistic integrity, he's off limits. That being said, that's not a good call. In order for a good call, you need to give me an A or an F. That was a C effort.

Yeah, I said it. I race horses with Mike Scioscia. He's a great guy. A tremendous guy. Oh, and save your "horse racing is only a sport when it's Rebecca Lobo running suicides before a Liberty game," Clones. It's unoriginal, unfunny and uninspired. Triple U.

Alright, we have some texts coming in now too. The subject line for this is "Slashlines."


I know a thing or two about slashlines.


Orenth . . .


Aaaaand, you're blocked.

Great. Obviously you Clones aren't picking me up. You're not making the show any better. I gotta do it myself.

I need a 5 Hour Energy after that text. It's got B vitamins and as much caffeine as a cup of the leading premium coffee. It gives me enough to grind through this show as well as my two television shows on CBS Sports and Showtime. In fact, it should be enough to get me through this burn on the Anaheim starting rotation in 2012.

The Angels have revamped their rotation for 2013. Clearly, having Zack Greinke was not enough to get them over the hump in 2012. If they can miss the playoffs with Greinke, they can miss the playoffs without him. However, Arte doesn't want to miss the playoffs. That's why he manned up and signed Joe Blanton, Jason Vargas, and Tommy Hanson to complement Jered Weaver. Sure, they Angels lost Dan Haren, but did they ever really have him? I'm glad Arte Moreno decided it would be better to shell out premium bones for 130 games of Josh Hamilton than 7 starts of Dan Haren. That's no knock on Haren who has been here in The Jungle numerous times. That's just reality.

The major concerns on paper will be C.J. Wilson and his return from elbow surgery. Elbow surgery is a serious thing. So serious that it makes me hesitant to say the Angels are the clear front-runners to win the World Series. Especially when you factor in Tommy Hanson's drop in velocity over the past two years. While they may not be the front-runners, they are the team to beat. I will say that. If another team is going to run away with the AL this year, they will have to do it by taking care of business with the Angels.

That's such a great take on the Angels. I have not been giving myself enough credit lately. I need to slap a tongue on that.

The ‘pen of the Angels has also improved this season. They added Sean Burnett who will complement Scott Downs nicely and Ernesto Frieri. Oh, and save your "Guy Frieri" takes, Clones. We get it. He's a bro and he serves bad food. I get it. You don't see me wasting time with Hamburgler smack, do you? In addition to the other faces in Angels' bullpen, LA added Ryan Madson who threw about 2 Spring Training pitches for the Reds before being lost for the year. How does that taste,‘Nati? If Ryan Madson is playing for the Reds in October, then they beat San Francisco. I'll be right back with my final takes of the day.


The lower portion of the lineup of the Angels is about as stacked as the middle of the lineup for any other team. Mark Trumbo is a tremendous power hitter. Tremendous. The Angels may score 1000+ runs . . . by August. Howie Kendrick is one of the best second basemen in the biz. I have always been a Chris Iannetta fan. Always. He's so gritty. Their nine hitter, Peter Bourjos would be the lead off hitter for about 25 teams in the bigs. Oh, and Vernon Wells is off the bench in case you need him. He'll be sitting alongside backup leatherface Hank Conger. And that leads us to our e-mail contest for today. What does it look like, KB?

Dear Jim,

Who is the backup catcher for the Angels, again?


Darva Conger.

P.S. Stop reading my e-mails! I just want my life back.

And your winner for the e-mail contest is . . . nobody. Thanks again, Blaise. (crumpled)

As always, thanks for tuning in. Check out my show on CBS Sports and my new show on Showtimes. I will be off for the next three weeks, but tune-in for Roger Lodge of "Blind Date" and Skip Bayless hosting Tuesday and Wednesday. The Sklar Brothers will be hosting the remaining 13 days. Have a tremendous Monday. Out.