The winter meetings start in a few days and I wonder what the Angels will do. What do you do with a guy like Brandon Wood? Wood is a minor league star, clubbing homeruns at a record pace. However, his big league performance leaves a lot to be desired. It makes me wonder if Triple AAA pitching is that bad. Are they unable to throw any type of breaking balls? Because the big league guys make Wood look horrible. Fastball up and in, breaking ball away, breaking ball away, Wood on bench, repeat over and over again. I have been around MLB clubhouses for quite awhile, and I should not be able to recognize what a pitcher is going to throw before an MLB player. I have watched Wood get down 0-2 many times, and have said to myself, “breaking ball down and away, don’t swing.” He does, and once again it’s back to the pine. Maybe someone should ask him how he would pitch to himself, and then maybe he won’t swing at so many awful pitches. Unfortunately, Wood takes his offensive problems to the field with him. I know he is a shortstop and not a 3rd baseman, but that should not excuse him from the lackadaisical, or just plain bad throws, he makes on a regular basis. Dude, I understand you’re pissed at striking out for the 1000th time, but we need your head in the game. Finally, can we start getting better nicknames? Woody is the best ya got? I guess that’s just as good as Nappy and Burgy. I miss Charlie Hustle or the Cobra. Even Mister May is clever. But Woody, sheesh!
I remember in 2002 the Angels were battling the Yankees in the playoffs. The Yankee lineup was stacked, except for one guy that I knew would make an out 5 out of every 6 times he came to the plate. His name: Juan Rivera. To my delight the Angels acquired him, and then re-signed him as a free agent. I am joking about that last comment. Rivera isn’t a bad player, having come a long way from 2002. However, right now, he is no better than a 4th or 5th outfielder. He did hit 15 homeruns with 52 RBI last season, but the Halos needed more from him all year and never got it. His outfield defense got weaker as the season progressed, as well. He made the plays, but many of them were adventures. He even cost the Angels a game late in the year with one of his blunders. I’m sure Jered Weaver was happy. He’ll be around, but he shouldn’t be starting.
Repeat after me, Torii Hunter is the man! He wants to be GM one day, and I think he’ll make a good one. Right now, he is the ultimate teammate. How many guys who have won as many Gold Gloves as he has would move to another position to accommodate a rookie? The answer: none. Hunter has really never played right field, but there he was manning that position for most of the 2nd half of the season. Hunter is the heart and soul of the Angels on and off the field, especially with the media and in the community. Do you ever notice that Hunter is the only guy who does live postgame interviews and every spot or PSA (Public service announcement) for radio and TV? Let me let you in on a secret: Most players have no interest, and some, no ability, to do them. They pretty much all say NO! So it’s just easier to go find the classiest and nicest guy around—Torii Hunter. Hopefully, he’ll retire as an Angel, but I doubt it.
Peter Burgos, or Burgy, has some serious skills. He got around the bases so fast in one game last year that it caught all the players in the dugout off guard. I remember he got to the dugout and the players looked at him like “dude, you’re supposed to be hitting, not sitting in here” Anyhow, those wheels are great, but remember that old adage, you can’t steal first. He hit a measly .204, and with possibly Mathis and Wood in the lineup, that is a murderer’s row of anemic. I will reserve judgment until he gets a full spring under his belt, but that speed at the top of the lineup could be devastating.
Bobby Abreu is probably gonna DH most of the time. He can still play the outfield, but his best position is no position. He is slowing down a bit as his .255 batting average with 20 homeruns and 78 RBI will attest. He could have just had an off year, but he isn’t getting any younger. Still a great mentor to the young guys and one of the few Angels who will actually take a pitch. He should make a fine DH and outfielder, in a pinch.
I won’t say much about Reggie Willets because I think he’ll be on another team next year.
Brandon Wood part II: I’m just spit-balling here, but how about Wood to the Royals for Alex Gordon? 2 former top picks who need a change of scenery. Neither of them has found the success that was expected of them when they were drafted. Interesting, maybe?
Last thing, Brian Anderson, late of the Royals and former top pick of the White Sox is now a pitcher in the Yankees system. You won’t meet a better guy. If his success matched his work ethic he would be in the Hall of Fame. Good luck to him.
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.