Angels set to go with Trout-Bourjos-Trumbo outfield

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Speaking about the decision not to make a qualifying offer to free agent Torii Hunter on Friday, Angels GM Jerry Dipoto said he intends to go young and cheap in the outfield next season.

That means it’ll likely be Mike Trout in left, Peter Bourjos in center and Mark Trumbo in right on Opening Day.

“It wasn’t that we couldn’t fit Torii’s salary in” Dipoto said. “We made the decision to allow Trout, Trumbo and Bourjos to play on an every-day basis.”

That’s quite a change from last season, when Bourjos turned into nothing more than a defensive replacement after losing his job to Trout. He started just two games during the final two months, one of those coming in the final series after the Angels were eliminated. He had a total of two plate appearances in a seven-week span between Aug. 10 and Sept. 30.

Bourjos, though, is perhaps the game’s best defensive center fielder and one of the few people on the planet who could push Trout into a corner. Many believed Trout should have won a Gold Glove for his play in center last season.

Trumbo, a natural first baseman, got a brief look at third to begin last season, but that didn’t go to well. He went on to hit his way into the outfield picture and make 97 starts between left and right. However, his offense performance cratered after he made his first All-Star team in July; he hit just .227/.271/.359 with 10 homers and an 88/14 K/BB ratio in 256 at-bats after the break.

Besides leaving no room for Hunter, Dipoto’s decision also means Vernon Wells will be a $21 million fourth outfielder unless the Angels can trade him. He’s set to make about 10 times as much as the three starters ahead of him combined.

Cubs announce Anthony Iapoce as new hitting coach

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The Cubs announced on Monday afternoon that Anthony Iapoce will take over as the new hitting coach.

Chili Davis was fired as the Cubs’ hitting coach last week. As noted, the Cubs’ offense regressed in a few areas, notably in the power department. Additionally, the offense in general waned as the season went on, which opened up the door for the Brewers to challenge for the NL Central title.

Iapoce, 45, spent the last three years as the Rangers’ hitting coach. The Cubs point out that the Rangers’ offense made great strides in 2017 thanks in part to Iapoce. They are no doubt hoping he can bring the same magic to Chicago. Iapoce was the Cubs’ special assistant to the GM for the three seasons before joining the Rangers.

Though he never made it to the majors, Iapoce did spend time in the Brewers’ minor league system from 1994-2003 and another two in the independent Northern League in 2004-05.