If Erstad is in center, leadoff hitter Chone Figgins becomes the third baseman, and where does that leave Dallas McPherson, the kid who was the power hope of the future as recently as a year ago?That's certainly one direction, although personally I'd be in favor of D-Mac playing third with Figgins moving around the field giving occasional days off while keeping his bat, and more importantly his legs, in the lineup. But then Bisheff starts to get a little weird:
Probably on the bench, at least until Scioscia and his coaches are convinced he's 100 percent healthy after that serious hip injury kept him out for most of 2005.
"McPherson could DH for us," Scioscia said, "and if Erstad got hurt and Figgy had to play center, Dallas could play third."
All things considered, the Angels would prefer to keep the team's intense, unofficial captain at first base, but at this point they need any semblance of offensive help they can find.Has Bisheff forgotten that the post-season is a small sample size? By his logic, the Angels ought to trade Vlad while they're at it. No one is suggesting that, of course, but Bisheff disregards the fact that the Angels offense, especially bad in the playoffs, was fairly average in the regular season, finishing seventh in the AL in runs despite missing Vlad for a month, giving far too many at bats to Steve Finley, and getting virtually nothing out of the DH spot. Moving Erstad to center, which frees up first base for Kotchman and his 124 OPS+, already improves the offense. So does the return of Dallas McPherson, assuming he's healthy, which is a pretty safe assumption at this point. One place the Angels could have made a big improvement offensively was left field, but as long as Garret Anderson is around, he's the starter, even with is 99 ERA+, which is horrid for a left fielder.
Especially since Stoneman has spent most of the past three months either dozing off in his office or heeding the orders of a boss who is no longer Anaheim's happiest businessman.
You would be tempted to say Moreno has put a lock on the team's payroll vault, except that it wasn't so many weeks ago that Paul Konerko almost accepted a reported $60million offer to hit his home runs in Angel Stadium.
But once the postseason MVP opted to stay with the White Sox, who purportedly matched those dollars, it was as if the Angels shrugged and decided to take off the rest of the winter.
As shrewd strategies go, that one ranks right there with USC wasting its last timeout on a Texas two-point conversion with less than 20 seconds to play in the Rose Bowl.
Or have Stoneman and his cronies somehow forgotten how absolutely anemic Scioscia's offense looked in the postseason?
So with one move, Angels have improved their offense at two positions (CF and 1B), and they have the power bat that they lacked in 2005 returning from injury. This team is already better offensively than the 2005 team, and that's with no acquisitions. Then Bisheff gets really loopy. In one paragraph he really destroys his credibility. He sets it up by slagging Juan Rivera:
If the manager were to write out a lineup card today, the No.5 hitter in his order probably would be Juan Rivera, the incumbent DH. Sorry, but that's just not going to cut it, especially in an AL West where everyone else seems to have improved in the offseason.Got that? Juan Rivera = wrong answer for DH. That's cool. Reasonable people can disagree. He's entitled to his opinion. So tell us, Steve, who would you prefer at the DH spot?
Seattle has taken Jarrod Washburn off the Angels' hands, signed Carl Everett, precisely the type of DH Scioscia needs, then paid big dollars to lure Konji Johjima, Japan's best catcher, to the Northwest.Huzzahwa?!?! Carl Everett? THE Carl Everett? Did I read that correctly?
Carl Everett, precisely the type of DH Scioscia needsYup. That's what it says. Un-freaking-believable. Let's do a little comparison, shall we?
OPS+ the last two years (in comparable plate appearances)
Everett: 85 and 94
Rivera: 118 and 106
ABs per strikeout last year:
Everett: 1 strikout every 5.4 at bats
Rivera: 1 strikout ever 8.9 at bats
So Rivera is younger, cheaper, better, fits in better with the Angels offensive philosophy, and presumably believes in dinosaurs, but he's not going to cut it in the improve AL West, while Carl Everett is just the type of guy the Angels need? Steve, I had high hopes after the first few paragraphs of that column, but that, I mean....just....wow. That's awful. That's the frontrunner for dumbest baseball related comment of 2006.