Checking in with Southern California’s real major league baseball outfit, we find your Los Angeles Angels of Wherever are in a really interesting place as the major league tradeline approaches on Sunday.
It’s called second place…in a league where the Wild Card is going to whoever finishes second in the East. They’re too good to break up, but they’re probably not good enough to win the race. In other words, welcome to purgatory.
When they get done celebrating Ervin Santana’s No-No, the Angels to figure out a way to move on up on the West Side. Just one thing: there’s no easy way for them to do it.
The Halos are a solid outfit. Tragically, their friendly division neighbors from Texas are solider. They’re outscoring their pursuers by over a run a game, and their pitching staffs are more or less even up. Every time the boys in red start to make a move in the division, a few days go by, and they find themselves a handful of games back of the Rangers again.
So…what do they do? Well, with better pitching – if not by much – than Texas, the Angels could be right there if they could just pick up a couple big bats – guys like Torii Hunter, Vernon Wells, and Bobby Abreu …from a couple years ago. That .169 batting average Abreu’s put up this month is, uh, brutal. Wells and Hunter are hitting for some power, but they’re both struggling to hit their weight. Ouch.
There’s also the matter of the black hole that has taken up residence behind home plate and the fact that the team is getting zero power at third base. While we’re at it, Mark Trumbo’s having a nice rookie year…and he’s also got an on base percentage under .300.
Okay, so if you’re running things in Los Angeles Anaheim, what do you do? Pull the plug on one or more of Hunter, Wells & Abreu? Really? And replace them with who? You could, of course, try for a bat that’s currently producing. You’d probably have to give up Mike Trout, who apparently makes Peter Bourjous look like a little old lady in the outfield and is built like a small condominium, and Hank Conger, who’s cooling his jets in Salt Lake City to the tune of .367 at the moment, but who should be back and productive when the calendar reads 2012.
In the immortal words of Tony Soprano, whaddya gonna do? Play Trout, currently hitting .167, for one of the vets? The Angels have talent. It’s just not producing this year. They’re waiting on the old guys to snap out of it. They’re waiting on the young guys to be ready.
Until something happens, they’re stuck between the kids who aren’t ready and the guys who are seemingly past their prime, all but forced to sit around hoping that Hunter, Wells, and Abreu suddenly snap out of it, or Trumbo, Trout and Conger suddenly snap all the way into it.
In the meantime, it beats what’s going on just up I-5. All in all, the movie poster says it best: Angels. Hard As They Come. (Now if the they could just get some of their machines a-throbbing.)