CONVENTIONAL WISDOM IS WRONG
Once again the Angels break our heart and they will continue to do so until they defy conventional wisdom (CW) and make a few difficult and unpleasant changes.
AGREE WITH CW
I agree with sports scribes that the Angels must sign starting pitcher Zack Greinke. Agree that Angels need a “lights out” closer to complement Ernesto Frieri. They also need 2-3 new middle relievers.
DISAGREE WITH CW
Owner Arte Moreno has prematurely announced that manager Mike Scioscia and all the coaches will keep their jobs. Why set in stone (so early) the first rooms that need housecleaning. Scioscia seemed unsure and indecisive this year. He would often give his pitchers the hook either too late or too early. He never did decide on a steady starting lineup.
Likewise they should hire a new pitching coach. Mike Butcher has done a good job, but lately their pitchers don’t seem to get any better from season to season. When the pitching staff gets in a funk Butcher seems unable to push the right buttons. And sometimes a change is good when the last pennant was 10 years ago.
Against CW, the Angels should not resign Torii Hunter. We don’t need another player with the Mathews, Abreu, Rivera, Wells, Kazmir and Haren, “large-salary-over-the hill-syndrome.” As terrific as Hunter was the second half of the season, don’t forget that in 2011 and until mid May of 2012, Hunter’s play was lethargic, and improved only after Trout arrived and contract talk approached. There will be extreme pressure on GM Jerry Dipoto to re-sign Hunter but he should resist.
It’s time for the speedy Peter Bourjous to settle into center field and presumed Rookie of the Year Mike Trout in left, or the reverse. Mark Trumbo should start in right. You should never let your fastest and one of your most powerful players languish on the bench.
NEEDS TO BE SAID
If not for the rare occurrence of the first triple crown winner (Miguel Cabrera) in 45 years, Mike Trout would receive the MVP in addition to ROY and a Gold Glove.
The Angels have little left to trade except Vernon Wells, Alberto Callaspo, Hank Conger and some ineffective middle relievers.
They must make a deal with Wells to leave gracefully. No team will take him unless the Angels pay.
After the Angels were eliminated in the final three days of the season they still had a chance to get 90 victories and gather some team pride. Maybe that’s the problem. Not enough pride!
NO MO’ MONEY
A new slick-fielding third basement who has power and can hit .300 would be nice, but that is a luxury the Angels can’t afford.
The Angels should re-sign Irvin Santana but not Dan Haren. The trade (I said it then) three seasons ago of left handed starter Joe Saunders and several pitching prospects for Haren was, and still is, a bad decision. All Joe Saunders did was pitch the Baltimore Orioles to a victory over Texas in a one game wild-card play-off series. He knocked the powerhouse Rangers, in first place until game 162, out of the playoffs.
But all is not lost. In fairness, the Angels were pretty exciting much of the season. Fortunately they have Jerry Dipoto as GM. Perhaps he can work a little more magic this off-season and pull a few more closers and relievers out of his wallet.
Michael Arnold Glueck, Newport Beach, is an ornery curmudgeon
who writes locally, nationally and internationally on medical-legal and related issues.