Expect the Angels to remain interested observers, rather than fierce bidders, when it comes to the pitching market this winter.As General Manager Billy Eppler was preparing to head for next week’s GM meetings in Orlando, he reiterated that the primary goal is finding more bats.“We’d still like to address more offense,” Eppler said, “while keeping an eye open on the pitching market, both starting and relieving.”Eppler said the Angels will “look for value, similar to what we did last year,” when it comes to adding pitching. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error If that sounds like the Angels will be on the sidelines when it comes to the pursuit of marquee starters like Yu Darvish, Jake Arrieta or Shohei Otani or closer Wade Davis, it’s probably a fair assessment.Never one to paint himself into a corner, Eppler left some wiggle room that they still may end up acquiring an established pitcher: “You can get good deals on a Mercedes. It’s possible. You just understand what you’re willing to allocate toward a certain player, and if your expectation and their expectation intersect, you try to get something done.”While it may disappoint many fans that Eppler views pitching as a secondary need, it’s understandable. Eppler believes the Angels have plenty of good pitchers. The problem was they weren’t healthy last year.As of now, starters Garrett Richards, Andrew Heaney, Tyler Skaggs, Matt Shoemaker, Nick Tropeano and Parker Bridwell are all fully cleared. JC Ramirez, who underwent stem-cell therapy to treat a sore elbow, has another ultrasound scheduled for the end of this month, after which the Angels are hoping he too will be cleared.“I feel good about it because of what we were able to see from Garrett down the stretch and Andrew coming back and showing where he’s at from a health perspective,” Eppler said. “Last year we didn’t know we’d have Heaney and we knew we wouldn’t have Tropeano.” Ramirez, who was a reliever, and Bridwell, was with the Baltimore Orioles, are both additions to the starting pitcher depth chart from a year ago.“There are a number of names there for us that we did not have last year,” said Eppler, who added prospects Jaime Barria, Osmer Morales and Vicente Campos into the mix to help in 2018.Obviously, most of those pitchers have been question marks because of injuries or even mixed performance. But Eppler appears to believe that there is enough quantity there that they can piece together a winning rotation.As for the bullpen, two of the Angels most valuable relievers in 2017 — Yusmeiro Petit and Bud Norris — are free agents. Eppler said it’s too early in the process to know if either will be back.Otherwise, the top holdovers for the bullpen include Blake Parker, Cam Bedrosian, Jose Alvarez, Keynan Middleton, Noe Ramirez and Blake Wood. Although Ramirez and Wood made only September cameos with the Angels, their combined 32 strikeouts in 25 1/3 innings have Eppler feeling good about their role going forward.While there are plenty of pitching names on the Angels’ board that they like, they still have at least one gaping hole — at second base — on the offensive depth chart, which is why that’s where Eppler believes the resources are best spent now. The Angels also could upgrade at third or first.Otani, of course, could help the pitching and the offense.Otani has starred on the mound and at the plate in Japan. The Nippon Ham Fighters announced on Friday that he will be made available to major league teams this winter, and he’s hired a U.S.-based agent.Eppler wouldn’t say how hard the Angels would go after Otani, since he’s not even officially available yet. The process of signing him won’t be simply a matter of offering the most money, though. Under the terms of baseball’s new collective bargaining agreement, Otani, 23, falls under the same rules as international amateurs, so his bonus is limited by the international spending pools. No team has more than about $3 million left, and the Angels have less than $1 million.That means Otani’s decision is likely to come down to where he wants to play, which could be based on a franchise’s history with Japanese players, his marketing opportunities and a club’s willingness to let him play both ways.With Albert Pujols locked in as the Angels’ designated hitter, it would seem to limit the team’s flexibility to let Otani hit regularly.AlsoEppler said the Angels are still having conversations about hiring a new third base coach to replace Ron Roenicke, who left to be the Boston Red Sox bench coach…Sal Fasano, the Angels’ Double-A manager, left to become the catching coach for the Atlanta Braves.
Facebook2Tweet0Pin0 Submitted by Timberland Regional LibraryLorrie Jones, certified in Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction and an expert on emotional eating, will be at the Olympia Timberland Library to speak on why we eat (or don’t eat), how to create mindful eating habits, and learn guidelines to keep pounds off for life. The presentation takes place after regular library hours, from 7:30 to 8:45 p.m., on Wednesday, October 24. Like all Timberland library programs, the presentation is free of charge.Dieting is a multi-billion dollar a year industry in our country. Yet it has been reported that 95 to 98 percent of all the weight lost in the United States is gained back in a year to a year and a half. Diets don’t work, according to Jones, because they are based on inadequacy and shame.Mindfulness is bringing a focused awareness to the present moment, non-judgmentally, and developing freedom from reactive, habitual patterns of thinking, feeling and acting. As Jones explains it, mindful eating is respecting our own inner wisdom, choosing food that is both pleasing and nourishing by using all of our senses to savor and enjoy food without judgment, and learning to be aware of physical hunger and satiation to guide our decision to begin eating and to stop eating.Jones offers acceptance and understanding to people struggling with eating issues and provides information and her personal story. As a younger woman, Jones tried numerous diets, losing and gaining a combined total of 1,900 pounds over a ten-year period.Jones is a Washington State Certified Counselor with a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing, certification in Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, and Beginning, Advanced and Senior Yoga and Mat Pilates. Her website is www.simpleserenity.com.The Olympia Timberland Library is at 313 8th Avenue SE. For more information, call (360) 352-0595 or go to www.TRL.org.
Hobbymasters in Red Bank is in its 43rd year of operation, and the shop’s owner plans to adapt to the closing of Toys ‘R’ Us by upgrading his inventory.By Chris Rotolo |For Hobbymasters general owner Lou Troisi, the announcement that Toys ‘R’ Us had filed for bankruptcy and would be liquidating its 800 stores around United States produced mixed emotions.Though he does expect the closure of four Monmouth County stores – including locations in Hazlet, Shrewsbury, Tinton Falls and Freehold – to provide his shop with new business, Troisi can’t help but think about the impending termination of 33,000 employees across the country, some of whose pensions have been placed in jeopardy.“We never want to hear that any toy or hobby store is closing their doors, and most importantly because of the employees and the families that this going to effect,” Troisi said. “But from a business aspect this is a double-edged sword.”Troisi believes the local closures will certainly send new customers to his hobby shop – which is in its 43rd year of operation on White Street in Red Bank – but he also understands that the referrals Hobbymasters used to receive from the big box retail outlets will no longer be in play.“We carry some items that a Toys ‘R’ Us won’t necessarily have, which, in the past, would send new customers to us. We just hope the community understands that we’re still here to help them and to make sure they get what they need,” he said.Troisi expects this new landscape of toy sales in the Two River area will cause him to re-evaluate his inventory, forcing Hobby Masters to expand its offerings in hopes of meeting the more diverse needs of the local customer base, especially after his shop’s former neighbor Toymasters closed in November.“When Denise (Zappoli) announced that she was retiring after 33 years to focus on her health and that Toymasters would be closing, we took a hit right before holidays because customers assumed Hobbymasters was closed too. But that’s not the case. We are open. And we want to be able to serve families in our community who won’t have Toys ‘R’ Us as an option anymore.”Fair Haven retailer Distinctive Toys, located at 595 River Road, is another local shop expected to see an impact in the wake of Toys ‘R’ Us closings. But vice president and buyer Margaret Spicer said she will be focused on maintaining and developing the business model that helped make her store flourish, rather than revamping its stock.“When we opened the store we knew we were going to be a birthday gift destination. We’ve never tried to deviate from that. We’ve never tried to compete with Toys ‘R’ Us or anybody else,” Spicer said. “I think now that Toys ‘R’ Us is going to close, my customers are going to wish I carried Lego and brands of that nature. But that type of acquisition wouldn’t make sense for our model.”According to Spicer, the model Distinctive Toys is built upon is one that places customer service as its top priority, which means having a knowledgeable staff able to assemble and gift wrap all in-stock items, leaving little or no work for the gift giver beyond the shopping.“There are specific services that we, and stores like us, are able to provide to customers that you just won’t get at the big box stores,” Spicer added. “And we’ve been able to succeed because of those services. You’re going to get a particular experience and be able to work with experts in the field when you come to see us.”The Toy Gallery of Union Square Shopping Center – located at 420 Route 35 in Middletown – boasts a similar sort of customer attention, but a different base of industry knowledge.Distinctive Toys in Fair Haven specialize in birthday party gifts, from model cars, to board games and stuffed animalsToy Gallery manager Anita Kleinman and her husband Perry have been area residents for many years, but first entered the retail toy industry in New York City, operating various Hallmark stores around Manhattan, including a location inside the World Trade Center.Following the events of 9/11, the Kleinman’s continued to manage several New York locations, but three years ago decided to turn their attention closer to home.“We’ve always operated with a customer-first approach. And we ensure everyone that we hire is able to put customers first, even before we talk about the other necessary qualifications for the job,” Kleinman said. “We want the experience you have with us to be different than Toys ‘R’ Us. We want it to be more personalized.”Kleinman offers customers and their children the opportunity to open up the boxes of their extensive inventory and play with the products before purchasing, a policy aimed to ensure buyer satisfaction.“We pride ourselves on being able to find exactly what you need. With Toys ‘R’ Us closing, customers are going to look elsewhere, and we’ll have to adapt. For instance, we’ve never carried action figures before, but it’s not a hard change to make and we’re happy to do it for our customers. Success is about the customer experience and your willingness to adapt and we have both.”Though an official closing date has not yet been finalized, Toys ‘R’ Us stores are expected to shut down within the next two months, as the company – which has its headquarters based in Wayne, New Jersey – will be paying employees for the next 60 days (beginning on March 16), as is required by federal law.Babies ‘R’ Us stores are also closing across the nation due to the liquidation. Registries will remain online.This article was first published in the March 22-29, 2018 print edition of The Two River Times.
In today’s spotted, we bring you images of Gaselys, a liquefied natural gas (LNG) carrier which underwent a renewal survey maintenance program at Damen Shiprepair Brest (DSBr) in France.The 154,472 cbm vessel is co-owned by Japanese shipping company NYK Line and French electric utility company Engie and operated by Marseille-based shipping firm Gazocean.Featuring a length of 289.6 meters and a width of 43.4 meters, Gaselys was built at French STX France shipyard in 2007.When it was launched, Gaselys was, along with its sister ship Provalys, the largest LNG carrier ever built, Damen said.In February, Gaselys arrived at DSBr yard for a regular periodical docking that included a full schedule of works.The maintenance program included, among other tasks, servicing the cargo pumps, overboard valves, thrusters, mooring winches and the cargo cranes. Two of the main compensators were also replaced, the fans overhauled, and assistance given to the specialist subcontractors responsible for maintaining the LD HD compressors. In addition, new insulation was fitted to areas of piping.Additional works included removing mud from the ballast tanks, and blasting and repainting the hull and superstructure, according to Damen.Image Courtesy: Damen