Scioscia says ‘Tweak’; Sorry, But That’s Weak
Someone finally asked Mike Scioscia about the only thing that matters now with the Angels: Next year.
The question to the manager was whether the club needed a major overhaul, or just a tweak. To the surprise of hardly anyone who has been around him, he said tweak.
My question is this: REALLY, Mike?
Just a tweak, huh? Get Kendry Morales back healthy, sign a hitter like — OK, dream on — Carl Crawford, and you’d be basically set, right?
Uh, wrong. What about the rest of this lineup? You know, the one that practically screams puny? Ask Jered Weaver what he thinks about it. I’ll bet he’ll give you a quick, but colorful reply.
Morales returns and you finally have a legitimate clean up hitter again, and that’s nice. But what do you do about the top of the lineup? Erick Aybar has been as miscast in the leadoff spot as Lady Gaga would be at a senior citizens’ lunch. He tried, but Aybar is just not suited for the role.
And what about the rest of the infield? Howie Kendrick has just kind of gone stagnant at second base. The guy seems to have .320 potential, but he’s currently hitting .270 something. Maybe you can hang in there with him, but not if you’re planning to go with the popgun twins, Maicer Izturis and Alberto Callaspo, at third.
Izturis goes down more often than an NFL quarterback. He never is healthy. Even when he is, he supplies little or no power. The funny thing is, Mike, you always talk about him as if he were Albert Pujols, or something. Be serious. He’s a nice little role player, but that’s it.
Same with Callaspo, whom GM Tony Reagins mysteriously traded for in midseason. What’s he had since coming over from KC, one home run? Bet that really scares those muscular guys in the Texas clubhouse, huh, Mike.
The outfield would be fine if you somehow put out enough cash to lure free agent Crawford away from the Yankees and Red Sox. But if you don’t, and that’s a strong possibility, what then? Do you even have a back up plan? We all know Torii Hunter and Bobby Abreu are showing their age, and Juan Rivera, well, he’s likely to be shipped out along with DH Hideki Matsui
But what about this kid, Peter Bourjos? He’s wonderful defensively in center field and he runs like the wind. But would he hit enough across a full season, especially on this team?
Then there is the problem of catcher. You love Jeff Mathis, and that makes it a fan club of about two. You and Jeff’s mom. The guy is good defensively, but can you really play him and his sub-.200 batting average every day on a team that strains even to put a couple of hits together? Lots of people don’t think so.
The public would like you to play Mike Napoli and his 24 homers every day, but we both know you won’t do that, don’t we, Mike? As a connoisseur of catchers, you just don’t think he can do the job behind the plate. So you’ll probably go with Mathis and Bobby Wilson, who doesn’t hit as well as Napoli and doesn’t catch as well as Mathis.
So where does that leave young Hank Conger? Oh yeah, probably back at Triple A for at least another half season. The kid can definitely hit, but he’s even more raw than Napoli defensively.
Not that you would ever know it watching your team now, Mike. I mean, you’re hopelessly out of the race in the A.L. West, so you called Conger up from Salt Lake City and now he just sits there near you on the bench. Same with Mark Trumbo, who just finished leading all minor leagues with 36 homers at Salt Lake. He’s a first baseman, and with Morales out, you’ve been playing people out of position there ever since. So why not take a look at Trumbo?
The kid also has played some in the outfield. Wouldn’t it be a good idea to know, heading into 2011, if he’s decent enough out there to consider putting him and his power bat in next year’s lineup? Seriously, I don’t get it.
As far as pitching is concerned, I know you like your starting rotation, and you should. The top four are solid. But Scott Kazmir? Come on, Mike, you know you can’t count on him.
Then there is the small matter of finding a closer. Fernando Rodney is getting big money, and I’m sure you’ll try to sell him as the guy. But anyone who has watched recently knows that’s a gamble. Especially when the alternatives are a bunch of young, hard-throwing kids who are still basically unproven.
But it’s like you said, Mike. No big worries. I mean, you don’t need an overhaul. Just a tweak.
Yeah, right. And with just another player or two, the Buffalo Bills would be in the Super Bowl.
— STEVE BISHEFF