Photo by Eric Notti
By Chuck Richter - Senior Editor Angelswin.com
The battle in the trenches began early Monday morning in Nashville, TN but Reagins and his commanding general were late to the front lines and perhaps, it cost them. Their prized target, Miguel Cabrera has been traded along with Dontrelle Willis to the Detroit Tigers for 2 solid prospects in Cameron Maybin and Andrew Miller. A package that's lacking compared to what the Angels were offering for Cabrera alone.
This seems all too familiar and begs the question, who's battle plan is this? Or like last off-season, was there ever a plan B, C or D that was worthy to be called an upgrade?
Bill Stoneman stepped down as General Manager a month ago and director of player development, Tony Reagins was named GM. Reagins started off like gangbusters as he traded his gold glove shortstop for Jon Garland & signed Torii Hunter out of nowhere. Initially, these two moves appear to be Stoneman-like in that we've acquired a gold glove centerfielder (defense) and (pitching), albeit a middle of the rotation starter.
Tony recently said "You win with pitching and defense. That's something we tried to address with the acquisitions of Jon Garland and Torii Hunter." That is true, but you also win with good hitting, just see the Boston Red Sox for an example. A balanced team wins games in October!
While Hunter's added home runs will help, you're still going into the season with a punch-less infield of Kotchman at 1B, Kendrick at 2B, Aybar at SS, Figgins at 3B, a deflated GMJ in LF and additional question marks surrounding which Garret Anderson at DH or LF will show up, the 1st or 2nd half version? The Angels entire infield would be lucky to hit 30-35 home runs in '08, that's 10-15 less than the Devil Rays 1B, Carlos Pena alone. That's embarrassing!
Just how influential is Bill Stoneman in these trade talks or free agent signings? Only Bill, Arte and Tony really know, but early on it makes you wonder. Stoneman who was often accused of playing X-Box live tournaments during the winter meetings by fans, looks poised to save GM Reagins from dealing prospects in attempts of landing a slugger to slot behind Vlad.
Three off-seasons in a row where GM Stoneman made mention of improving the offense followed by doing close to nothing by adding Orlando Cabrera, Steve Finley and Shea Hillenbrand. Orlando Cabrera was a nice find for leadership and defense, but he hardly was the bat the Angels needed.
With the Yankees offense as potent as any, the Tigers showing an All-Star roster and the Red Sox on the verge of adding the best pitcher in Baseball in Johan Santana without subtracting from their world series squad, the Angels have their fans headed for another off-season letdown.
Tony had this to say following the Cabrera to Tigers trade: "We know we have a good club right now. We're going to compete for years to come. What I would say to Angels fans is to hang in there and keep supporting us, because we feel we're on the right track." Sounds like the same line we've been fed for the last 3 off-seasons. We're good yes, but are we good enough to hang with the power houses in October?
Be that as it may, the night is still young and the week is still ahead of us and with Tony's latest comments it brings hope to Angels fans abroad .. "some interesting and exciting things have surfaced" in the last 24 hours, "things with new teams that I didn't expect to come up. We have strengths in certain areas, and other organizations see that."
It certainly seems odd to have all these starting pitchers, outfielders & prospects and still field an anemic infield for offense. Let's hope Tony has the courage and takes charge in Nashville because his advisory is just delaying the victory.