Angels trying to trade for a new closer?

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From Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe comes word that the Angels have “inquired” about A’s closer Grant Balfour, Pirates closer Joel Hanrahan and Mariners closer Brandon League, with Cafardo calling Balfour the “most logical” fit because Oakland’s asking price should be the lowest.

Jordan Walden earned Rookie of the Year votes in the American League last year after registering a 2.98 ERA and 32 saves across 60 1/3 innings. But the 24-year-old right-hander has surrendered five hits, four walks and five earned runs in just 4 1/3 frames this year, prompting Anaheim to turn to veteran left-hander Scott Downs for interim ninth-inning duties.

And now the 7-14 Angels might take it a step further by bringing in an option from the outside.

Balfour, 34, has posted a superb 1.38 ERA, 0.62 WHIP and 10/3 K/BB ratio in 13 innings this year as the A’s stopper. He’s earning a $4 million salary this season and carries a $4.5 million club option for 2013.

The Players’ Weekend uniforms are terrible

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The Yankees and the Dodgers have a storied World Series history, having met in the Fall Classic 11 times. Part of what made those falls so classic was the livery worn by each club.

The Yankees’ uniforms have gone unchanged since 1936. The Dodgers, though changing cities in 1958, have had the same basic, classic look with only minor derivations for almost as long. You can’t even say the names of these teams without picturing pinstripes, those red Dodgers numbers, both teams’ clean road grays, the Yankees navy and the Dodgers’ Dodger blue.

They looked like a couple of expansion teams last night however, at least sartorially speaking.

As you probably know it’s Players’ Weekend this weekend, and teams all over the league wore either all black or all white with player-chosen nicknames on the back. We’ve had the nicknames for a couple of years now and that’s fine, but the black and white combo is new. It doesn’t look great, frankly. I riffed on that on Twitter yesterday a good bit. But beyond my mere distaste for the ensembles, they present a pretty problematic palette, too.

For one thing the guys in black blend in with the umpires. Quick, look at these infields and tell me who’s playing and who’s officiating:

The white batting helmets look especially bad:

But some guys — like Enrique Hernandez of the Dodgers, realized that pine tar makes the white helmets look super special:

There was also a general issue with the white-on-white uniforms in that it’s rather hard to read the names and the numbers on the backs of the jerseys. This was especially true during the Cubs-Nationals game in the afternoon sunlight. You’ll note this as a much bigger problem on Sunday. It’s all rather ironic, of course, that the players have been given the right to put fun, quirky nicknames on the backs of their jerseys but no one can really see them.

The SNY booth was reading many people’s minds last night, noting how much Mad Magazine “Spy vs. Spy” energy this is throwing off:

I’ll also note that if you’re flipping between games or looking at highlights on social media it’s super hard to even tell which team is which — and even what game’s highlights you’re seeing — just by looking which, you know, is sort of the point of having uniforms in the first place.

I’m glad the players have a weekend in which they’re allowed to wear what they want. I just wish they’d wear something better.