I have to say this is my favorite time of the season. No, it’s not the gifts under the tree or the turkey (or ham) in the oven, but it’s the time where the Hot Stove heats up. I’m talking about the time teams talk trades or sign free agents. One of those teams that should be warming up for a busy off-season is my Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. It’s hard to believe that I am saying the Angels had a down season, finishing 2 games under 500. I’ve been an Angel follower for about 35 years, so I’ve been part of seasons where by June the Angels were all but eliminated. For the Arte Moreno-owned Angels, however, this was a down year. Let’s take a look at what’s happening and what the fan in me would like to happen. (I am passionate so not everything is possible or logical)
Hideki Matsui: Thank you for the one year. I thought after the initial homestand vs. Minnesota & Oakland, where he hit .370 that he was going to have a monster season. For the most part he disappeared until about mid August—or about the time the Angels were making vacation plans. I really don’t care about the Vladimir Guerrero angle, as we all could attest that Vladdy was having trouble getting around on a good fastball in 2009. I was also in Detroit earlier that year when Jim Leyland kept intentionally walking batters to get to Guerrero, who obliged him by making outs every time. Good luck wherever you play next year.
Scot Shields: Boy was he dominant in his heyday. As good of set-up man as baseball has ever seen or will see. Unfortunately, he just couldn’t overcome knee problems and as I write, he looks to be retiring. But he’s only 35, so don’t be surprised if he pops up somewhere else in the future.
Staff Changes (so far)
Ron Roenicke: Named Manager of the Milwaukee Brewers. I’ve worked around the Brewers and liked Ken Macha, but I think Roenicke will rejuvenate that Brewers team. It seems to me that the way to becoming a MLB manager is to be an Angels bench coach (Joe Maddon, Roenicke) or pitching coach (Bud Black). Mike Butcher will probably be next.
Rob Picciolo: New Angels Bench Coach. Nice move. Was more of a small ball guy that I remember when he played with the Angels in the 70’s-80’s. Roenicke actually wanted him to join him in Milwaukee, but he accepted the Angels position instead.
Gary DiSarcina: If he doesn’t break his finger in 1995, the Angels would have never had that 1-game playoff against the Mariners. I believe they would have won the division with ease, but that season will always be known for the late-season collapse. I digress, DiSar. was named special assistant to the GM. GREAT MOVE!
Players on Active Roster
Jeff Mathis: I’ll admit it too you, I cannot stand Mathis. Take away his 2009 postseason vs. the Yankees and what do you have—not much. His career average is .199! I am aware that he hasn’t yet played 100 games in a season, but do you really believe that an extra 50 games makes him a .280 hitter? Defensively, I’ll give it to ya, he does handle a pitching staff pretty well, but I think I have seen him throw more balls into center and left field than any catcher in baseball. I think he’d look better in another uniform.
Mike Napoli: You know the Angels came close to dealing Naps to the Red Sox in July (At least that’s what was written). I’d be surprised if he is back next year, but you never know. He truly is a feast or famine hitter and his defense, I believe, isn’t up to par with what Mike Scioscia expects.
Kendry Morales: He is a Stud. Before his celebration injury he was on pace for a .295/33/117 season. No problem with that. And people, don’t worry so much about his injury, he’ll recover just fine.
Howard Kendrick: When is he gonna win that batting title? I’ve heard for years that he’ll win not one, but multiple titles. Since 2008, his average has gone south every year. Maybe if he could hit in the same spot in the lineup, instead of moving around things would be better for him. Angels are set at 2nd.
Erick Aybar: A few years ago I talked with Orlando Cabrera and thanked him for his great years with the Halos. Anyhow, in our conversation he told that he felt that Aybar has to be a better shortstop than he was with the Angels. That’s good enough for me, Angels are set at shortstop.
3rd base: ???????
Next time: Outfielders and Brandon Wood
About the Author
Written by Bill Mahoney
O'kay I'll talk about myself a little. I've been working in the television/radio industry for over 21 years. I started at 2 so I am just a tad over 21 (That is a joke). My career has taken me around and and even out of the United States. Right now I call Vegas home, but I just never know where life will take me next. Until 2002 my irrational love for the California/Anaheim/LAA had taken me down some very dark roads, but with Arte Moreno in charge I finally saw the a light at the end of the road. I really love most every sports and having as much fun as possible.