I kicked off this Angels Roundtable with a Matt Welch interview last week. Today we soldier on (hurricane or not) with the Monkey With A Halo, Garrett Wilson.
Garrett is the editor of both moknkeywithahalo.com and The Outside Corner. My hats off to you sir. I can barely keep up simply being a staff writer for two blogs, let alone being the driving force. He’s a personal favorite, so if your not visiting his sites as well as this one everyday, you’re doing it wrong.
Let’s do this.
Peter Bourjos became the invisible man in 2012. Mark Trumbo was awesome, and then turned into Mario Mendoza. And, Kendrys Morales should have been named Comeback Player of the Year. Each one is a part of the log jam at both first base and in the outfield. Would you trade any of them to fix the glaring issues the Angels currently have in the bullpen?
At the risk of spoiling a post I have planned, I would trade Peter Bourjos. Personally, I think Trumbo will rebound from his second half collapse. I am convinced (possibly due to willful ignorance) that his struggles were related to the back/rib/oblique injury he suffered. I’d have no problem trading Morales since I think he walks after the season seeing how Boras is his agent, but I don’t think the Angels can get a big return for him because of the looming Boras threat and his injury history. That leaves Bourjos. If they re-sign Hunter, he has to go. If they don’t, he might still have to. There can be a role for him that way, but what I can’t get my head around is how the Angels are ever going to get the maximum utility out of his potential and Mike Trout‘s if they have to move one of them to left field. Both of those guys, Bourjos in particular, have a great deal of their on-field value tied up in the fact that they provide elite defense in center. By moving one of them to left, you are assuring that you will never get full value from that player. Besides, there is a real chance Bourjos could flameout at the plate again, killing his value. He obviously won’t fetch as much as he would’ve last off-season, but I think he still has enough value now. That being said, I would NOT trade him for a reliever. Relievers are commodities and I would hate to see the Angels burn their best trade asset on such a volatile investment. No, I’d move Bourjos for starting pitching, even if it is more of a back end guy.
I love Kaleb Cowart, probably too much, but I do. And, to me, he is rightfully the Angels top prospect. C.J. Cron on the other hand had monster year at the plate. Which of these two, in your opinion, makes it to the big leagues first? And, do you think C.J. Cron even gets to the bigs as an Angel?
Cron is a much more finished product at the plate than Cowart, so he should reach the majors first. If he tears up the minors next season I think he has a real shot at replacing Morales at DH in 2014. Cowart though has started to develop rapidly and Callaspo will be a free agent, so I can very much see him getting rushed up ahead of Cron. Cron’s lack of position is a real problem. They call him a first baseman, but he is a poor one. The guy is a DH. That just makes him too easy to block. I do think he will surface with the Angels at some point though. C.J. is noted for having a good eye and approach at the plate. That’s the kind of guy Dipoto has professed a real affinity for, so I don’t think he’ll be as eager to move him as other GMs would.
Even with Kendrys seemingly on his way out after next year, and Scioscia’s love for having a revolving DH (not to mention that being Albert’s spot in a few years), you think Dipoto will hold on to Cron?
Hard to say. The thing with Dipoto is that we really don’t know what his MO is yet. One season of work may not be enough of a sample size to understand his tendencies. Given how much he gave to get Greinke, he doesn’t appear to have a problem trading prospects, so one could assume any prospect is available for the right price. However, those weren’t guys he drafted, so we don’t really know how much he “liked” them. He didn’t draft Cron either, but he at least fits the description of guys Dipoto has said he prefers. If I had to bet, I’d say he keeps Cron, but replacing a DH is one of the easier things to do in baseball. He could very well just slide Trumbo to DH in 2014 and go out and sign an OF like Choo or Hart and move Cron in a separate deal. If I had to guess, I’d say 70/30 that Cron plays one season for the Halos but I am very willing to be wrong about that.
With Mike Trout being Mike Trout in 2012, I found new man crushes in Cowart and Nick Maronde. Nick was sensational coming out of the pen down the stretch, but has been a starter throughout college and his minor league career. Would you Keep Nick in the bullpen to shore up any weakness, or would you put him in AA next year to keep building on his repertoire as a starter?
OK, seriously, quit making me spoil all my November content. Maronde is an incredibly difficult case, but the more I think about it, the more convinced I am that he should pitch out of the Angels pen in 2013. Everyone worries about him not being able to develop his changeup in relief, which is a legitimate concern, but I don’t think him being in the bullpen precludes him for developing the pitch. But I think that concern only arises because everyone is assuming he will be a LOOGY in the majors. However, I think that if he continues to have such great success against lefties, he can earn the right to face righties as well and start sharpening up that changeup. Additionally, he’ll get great on the job education on facing big league hitters and pitch sequencing. Meanwhile, the Angels get a year of utility out of a young arm and so many young arms are lost to attrition in the minors that it gives the Halos a nice return on their investment. They can always move him to the rotation later. There is a roadmap for how to do that now with guys like Chris Sale and Jeff Samardzija. They just need to handle it smartly instead of the half-baked manner that the Red Sox tried to move Bard to the rotation.
Jeff Sullivan posted this article at Lookout Landing, 521 people voted in the poll that they would trade the entire farm system for Mike Trout. Which brings up the totally-off-the-wall-never-going-to-happen hypothetical question, who, if anyone or any package is worth trading Mike Trout for?
Trading a whole farm system is stupid. Those guys are unproven. Now, give me so proven young stars and we can talk. And, yes, I realize that is sacrilege but let’s be practical about this. Trout is potentially a generational talent, but you know who else is? Bryce Harper. You know who else might be too? His teammate Stephen Strasburg. Both of them are young and cheap just like Trout. If the Nats came knocking with a Harper-Strasburg package, the Angels definitely listen and I am pretty sure they accept. Or maybe they don’t, that is basically a challenge trade and challenge trades never happen because both sides are worried that the other side will “win” the trade and look stupid. Let’s be honest though, this is a fun hypothetical game, but there is no real world trade offer for Trout that will ever come the Angels’ way that they’d seriously consider.
It’s looking more and more like Torii Hunter might not be re-signing with the Angels, and nothing has been said as to what the team is thinking about doing with Dan Haren and Ervin Santana. With the prospect of signing Zack Greinke looming, who would you keep, if any of them?
I keep Greinke, obviously. I assume that was a given in your question. Santana can go pound sand for all I care. Haren I would only bring back for the right price, no more than two years and $18 million. People forget that he was a popular AL Cy Young sleeper pick heading into the season. People were falling all over themselves to point out how underrated he was. His back problems really screwed all that up though, but I think that since the back issues appear to be minor enough, he is a good enough gamble. As for Hunter, I’ve gone back and forth on him. He means a lot to the fans and I think he means… something to the clubhouse but his .389 BABIP screams regression. Basically, it comes down to whether or not it is worth spending several million bucks on what is probably going to be a league average right fielder because of what he adds to the clubhouse chemistry. Personally, I think chemistry is overrated. Even if it isn’t, do the Angels really need it? They have Pujols, he is a proven leader. They also have Trout and people won’t shut up about what a great leader he already is. Plus, I think that Scioscia guy that sits on the bench is good for a thing or two in the clubhouse still.
You wrote about missing out on Felix Hernandez’s perfect game this past season. Total bummer. Are you still kicking yourself over missing that game?
Only every day. I have the unused tickets up on my refrigerator to remind me of what I missed out on. Seeing a no-hitter/perfect game has been on my bucket list since I was 8. I am not exaggerating when I say that every game I go to, I hope will be such a game and I am pay keen attention to the moment when a no-no is no longer an option. All that being said, I have witnessed a no-hitter. It was the game where Weaver and Arredondo combined to throw a no-hitter and lose 1-0 to the Dodgers. Technically, that isn’t a real no-hitter since it was only eight innings, which is good because I hated that game and was actively rooting for the Halos to allow a hit so that they didn’t get hung with such an ignominious honor.
What do you think of Bud Selig? Is he really the antichrist, or just a facilitator of evil?
I think Bud is just misunderstood. He has a dreadful sense of PR and marketing, but many of the major changes he has made in his tenure have been for the best. Adding the first Wild Card was obviously of great benefit to the Angels and has generally made the post-season more exciting. Interleague play, though I hate it with a fiery passion, has been a financial boon to the league. He is even finally opening up the game to more instant replay, which might allow me to die a happy man. The real issue with Bud is that he just handles it all in a ham-fisted manner. Too many of his plans are instituted carelessly and need time to iron out the bugs. Once he finally does retire, I think everyone will eventually come around to thinking of his tenure as a positive one.
Rex Hudler was a polarizing figure as a color man for the Angels. But, in my opinion, he was still more enjoyable to listen to than Mark Gubizca. Who do you prefer, Gubi, or The Wonderdog?
I enjoyed Rex when I was younger and only able to watch the Angels a few times per week. He clearly loves the game and you have to appreciate his undying enthusiasm. However, as I got older and my understanding and appreciation of the game became more sophisticated, his act wore out real fast, especially since I was literally watching 162 Halo games per year by that point. I realize that makes me sound like a snob, but I also think almost all announcers get old when you are exposed to them every day. As for Gubi, I don’t mind him. He seldom adds anything to the game, but he doesn’t often take much away either. Truth be told though, I watch a lot of games now with the sound off or turned way down because I am working, writing or watching on my laptop while the rest of the family watches something else on TV. Long answer short, I pick Gubi by default.
Hank Conger was as good as traded when the Angels extended Chris Iannetta earlier this month, then Bobby Wilson got claimed by the Blue Jays. Was it the right move to not pull Wilson back off of waivers, or should Hank get a legitimate shot at being the back up?
Wilson is basically replacement level, so I have no problem letting him go. Given how injury-prone Iannetta has been, they need a back-up with more potential anyway. That being said, I don’t think it is going to be Conger. I know Scioscia doesn’t have the same say over the roster that he used to have, but I don’t think he trusts Conger in the least. I just don’t buy that Scioscia is going to be OK with Conger as the back-up and think he will push to have a more defensive-minded veteran brought in.
Ernesto Frieri was the “Who the hell is this guy” story for the first half of the season followed by turning into a pumpkin in August. Ditto for Scott Downs. Kevin Jepsen seemed doomed to AAA hell until he was recalled and suddenly remembered how to pitch well. Is Frieri the incumbent closer going in to 2013, or should the Angels explore other avenues?
NERD RAGE ENGAGED!!!! I absolutely f****** hate the idea of a “Closer.” The inning number should have nothing to do with which reliever is called into the game. Any manager that manages by inning instead of situation should be drawn and quartered. I get the idea that some relievers feel like they have to have a defined role in order to properly mentally prepare to pitch, but I think that is something that can be dealt with by a good manager with a sound plan for bullpen usage. But I digress. Clearly Scioscia isn’t going to come over to my way of thinking (though he kind of did when he allowed Frieri and Downs to share the closer job for a few weeks). I think Frieri is plenty good. Recenctly, bias has us all remembering him for those two consecutive blown saves he had but completely forgetting about his amazing start with the team. He can be dominant and should get to go into camp as the closer. Adding another high quality bullpen arm to hedge against Frieri proving to be too erratic is a good idea too, but really, adding “one more” high quality reliever in whatever role is a great idea for literally every team in the majors because there is no such thing as too many good relievers.
What do you think of the idea that the Angels bring in Ozzie Guillen as a bench coach? If only just so he can liven up the post-game interviews.
Ozzie has such an ego that he would only be a distraction if asked to serve in a secondary role. However, I think you might be on to something with the post-game interviews. Just hire Guillen to be Scioscia press secretary. Sosh seldom says anything interesting anyway, so just have Ozzie hang out in a luxury box during the game and then he can DH for Scioscia with the press after the game. It is the best of both worlds, really.
Rapid Fire Round
Who holds the most dip in their lip?
Josh Hamilton, before he quit and inadvertently submarined Texas’ entire season. Ha!
That depends; does that mean the other one died in the wreckage? I’d choose Pierzynski. What he pulled in 2005 was awful, but by all accounts he seems to be bad person all around. Plus, anything that prevents him from getting anymore work as a TV analyst is all good in my book. Kinsler is the douchiest douche that ever douched, but I think I’d get past it if he got traded to someone like Toronto.
More painful to watch, Jeff Mathis or Mark Trumbo’s second half of 2012?
Jeff Mathis. The answer is always Jeff Mathis.
Del Taco or Taco Bell?
While I appreciate the role Del Taco played in landing Torii Hunter, I must go with Taco Bell, at least until Del Taco develops a product better than the Dorito taco.
Wood and it isn’t even close. He was supposed to be a star, a HUGE star. MacPherson always had the faint scent of a potential bust and arguably only got as much hype as he did because he was drafting off of Wood’s shooting star.
After Jean Segura was traded to Milwaukee, Andrew Romine became, what most of us thought, the heir apparent to Maicer Izturis’ super utility role. With the addition of Angel Sanchez, that assumption is no longer the sure thing. What are your thoughts on the addition? Does Romine still have first crack, or do you expect Sanchez to break camp with the big club in 2013?
Romine is better than Sanchez. Angel Sanchez wasn’t even good enough to play for the Astros last season. I’ll say that again: THE ASTROS. I am, however, rooting for Sanchez because if he makes the team, he will be the first player in franchise history with the name “Angel” to play for the team. Plus he has the added bonus of having his last name start with S, which means he is “Angel S.” It works on so many levels! You don’t understand how much it bothered my in my youth that the Red Sox refused to trade for Daryl Boston.
And you thought you were interesting enough to turn this into a 3000 word article. Thank you Garrett for being a part of this.