Back in March, I picked the California Angels (yes, I still call them that) to win not only the American League West but also make it all the way to the World Series.
I thought they had the best pitching to win the West. I thought the weight of Toronto being taken off Vernon Wells’ shoulders would have led to a resurgence in his bat. And with Kendry Morales due back at mid season, they would get a nice jolt.
And I also figured in a short playoff series, the combination of Jered Weaver, Dan Haren and Ervin Santana would have them win both the Division Series and the ALCS.
Well that pick looks… well… not so good now.
But unlike my out of the blue picking of Oakland in 2009, I am standing by my pick.
Yes their offense is awful. They keep grounding into double plays and they’ve been shutout as many time this year as they had all last year.
Morales isn’t coming back, Wells has been a total bust and here we are in Mid June with the Angels 5 games under .500.
But here’s the thing. There is talent in the lineup. Mark Trumbo has shown some pop, Howie Kendrick is a decent hitter and Torii Hunter, Bobby Abreu and Maicer Izturis all have ability. They are in a funk.
Hitting is easier to fix than pitching, and this Angels team CAN pitch. Weaver and Haren are still pitching well, even if their win loss record doesn’t reflect it. Young Jordan Walden has stepped into the closer role.
The Angels need to make a move and they need to make it sooner rather than later.
Imagine a player like Carlos Beltran plugged into the lineup. Remove him from the purgatory of Flushing and have him play in an outfield with Torii Hunter and Peter Bourjos (would there be a better defensive outfield in the game?)
And having him go on one last contract run could mean the likes of Abreu and Hunter and Trumbo could see more fastballs.
And also remember the Angels are only 5 games back of the Rangers with about 2/3 of the season to play. AND the Rangers always have a tough time of it in August.
(Even last year, the Rangers had a losing August. They just had such a big lead that none of the other AL West teams could take advantage of it.)
Give this lineup a new spark and the Angels could start scoring more runs and getting on a roll. Just take a look at the Red Sox to see how quickly things can turn around for a talented club.
Last year they made the right move, realizing that they got the best of what they could out of Joe Saunders and packaged him off for Dan Haren.
In the past the Angels have held on to players long before they have any worth in the majors or as trade bait.
(Dallas McPherson? Robb Quinlan? Brandon Wood?)
Bring Beltran to Anaheim and see the line up click.
Then see that 5 game deficit crumble.
Then see one of my picks look pretty good.
Yup. I’m standing by my pick.