Friday, July 30, 2010

Well, duh

Yes, that is Dustin Brown of the Los Angeles Kings, "liking" ice hockey on Facebook.

Of course, the real reason my readers (hah!) come here is to read about the Angels. And the Angels have managed to fail as pundits have predicted for the last five years, sitting 9 games back of the first place Texas Rangers. They have a pitching rotation of Weaver, Haren, Santana, Kazmir, and Somebody, with Piniero injured and Saunders traded for Haren. They have a lineup which does not feature a single batter hitting over .280. They have outfielders who can't catch, a designated hitter who can't hit, and a bullpen that can't pitch.

This, clearly, is suboptimal.

At the same time, I'm seeing a lot of positives from this subpar season. The Angels will, finally, be sellers at the deadline, allowing them to start recouping the talent they've lost at the deadline every year since 2003, their last truly uncompetitive season. They should be able to move Matsui, Abreu, Rivera, one of Kendrick/Izturis, and possibly a catcher. The sum return of those parts might be limited, but getting rid of an old outfield and making room for useful prospects (Bourjos) and soon to be worthwhile free agents (Carl Crawford). Trading Mike Napoli would be tremendously foolish, but with the way Scioscia refuses to use his best asset, he might be traded for something of value.

With those things considered, my Angels lineup for 2011 looks markedly better than the current lineup:

SS -Aybar
OF - Crawford
1B - Morales
C - Napoli
DH - anyone who can swing a bat that isn't old
OF - Hunter
3B - Callaspo
2B - Kendrick
OF - Bourjos

In addition to sucking less than the current players, the median roster age will be substantially lower. Bourjos can actually play outfield, and should play center with Hunter moving to left, although we all know that won't happen. There's tremendous speed in the top two and last three spots of the order, with the DH spot open for league average batting that any worthwhile farm system can produce easily.

The starting rotation:


Frankly, not bad, aside from Scott Kazmir.

The bullpen should, with any luck, lose Fuentes and Rodney to other teams. Replaced with league average arms, this is a definite upgrade. Thompson, Kohn, Rodriguez, most of these players will be better than Fuentes and Rodney while charging the league minimum for their services.

I said before the season that this looked like the last year for the Angels to contend in the immediate future. I did not foresee the Haren trade, and I did not foresee the opportunity for the Angels to trade age for potential the way they now can.

So, Angels, thanks for ending this season quickly. I prefer a clean break to something drawn out every time.

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