Why Angels Have To Trade
Don’t let Angels’ management fool you.
They talk about making do with what they have and utilizing players from within and getting by with people already in the organization. All of it is enough to make the Rally Monkey’s head spin.
The truth is, they HAVE to make a trade. And the longer they wait, the more it seems to be putting them in a seriously desperate mode.
Kendry Morales, easily their best hitter and run producer, goes down, for the season, and they don’t want to panic. That’s understandable. Then Erick Aybar gets hurt and probably is out for a couple months. Now Macier Izturis, who is a capable back-up at shortstop, is out with some new arm injury.
What are Mike Scioscia and GM Tony Reagins waiting for, the whole starting lineup to go on the DL?
Something has to be done, and it needs to be done quickly. It’s not only the lack of a quality bat in the middle of the order now. It is the constant shifting and shuttling of players that is making their defense a farce.
You know why Aybar really got hurt? It wasn’t because of an overly aggressive slide by the Brewers’ Casey McGehee. It was because the first baseman, Kevin Franzen, had only played a handful of games at the position. His errant throw to second base is what put Aybar in a vulnerable position and eventually resulted in his knee injury.
This team can’t keep counting on the Franzens and Michael Ryans and Robb Quinlans as starters. They need some bonafide major league players at first and third base, not to mention shortstop, where poor, psyched out Brandon Wood is operating at the moment.
Of course, the Angels can’t trade for all of that. But they have to deal for some of it. Scioscia already is on record as saying they don’t want to trade prospects for a rent-a-player, someone who’ll be a free agent at the end of the season, ala Mark Teixeira two years ago.
Well, that’s a nice thought. But you desperately need a first baseman, and anybody you deal for there would have to move over when Morales comes back in 2011. Coincidentally, first base is where many of the so-called “available” talent happen to play.
Sure, in an ideal world, Mike Napoli can start there when Jeff Mathis returns behind the plate. You watch Napoli hit home runs the other way, and you have to be impressed. If he took all those outside pitches to right field, instead of falling into that pull-everything habit of his, he might hit 35 home runs some day.
Even then, though, it’s too much to ask a catcher to learn how to play first base at this level. Already, there have been plays where he has looked shaky, and the longer you keep him there, the more it will happen. That’s nothing against him. It would be the same for almost anyone.
Franzen is what he is. A nice player to have come off the bench. And as for Wood, you knew his head was messed up when he went back down to Triple-A and managed only one extra base hit in 50-some at-bats. The one clear offensive skill this kid had was his power, and somehow, in their attempt to cut down on his strikeouts, the Angels have taken that away. It’s sad, because no one tries harder than Wood, who may be in the lineup now by default.
At the very least, Reagins needs to go out and get a third baseman. Mike Lowell, who’s not playing in Boston, would seem like an obvious candidate, even if he doesn’t qualify in Scioscia’s “player who we can use in the future” category. Ty Wigginton, in Baltimore, is another name that comes to mind.
There are players out there. In an ideal world, the Angels would like to wait until the market becomes clear and, more importantly, they can save some of those dollars on current contracts.
But if they want to compete in a division where Texas’ lineup currently looks, oh, maybe two or three times as potent as theirs, they need to step up. They need to do it not only for themselves. They need to do to it for their fans.
You know, the people that are paying those enormous prices for tickets. The ones who will put them over 3 million in attendance yet again this summer. They aren’t shelling out that kind of money to watch your basic Triple-A infield.
Even with all the injuries, they expect and deserve more than that.
Owner Arte Moreno always has said money is no object when it comes to winning and doing everything he can for the fans.
Memo to Arte: Now is the time to take out your wallet and prove it.
— Steve Bisheff