Thursday, February 22, 2007

I Don't Know is on Third

A few weeks ago, the Angels were poised to enter the season with five different guys who could end up at third base. Chone Figgins was, and probably still is, the most likely candidate with the outfield more or less spoken for at this point. Additionally, camp begins with Maicer Izturis, Shea Hillenbrand, and Robb Quinlan among the guys who could see time at the hot corner. Dallas McPherson's back surgery had trimmed that list to those four. Well, add one more back to the list.

The Angels are starting camp with phenom Brandon Wood taking grounders at third base in preparation for a possible and pretty much expected inevitable move from shortstop. And while I'm linking, can anyone explain why the hell the LA Times is printing both an "Angels Report" and an "Angels Beat", which is essentially the same, yet slightly different article? Anyway, Mike Scioscia has been quick to point out that they're not giving up on Wood as a shortstop, for whatever that's worth.

Actually, this isn't particularly surprising. There aren't a lot of at bats to go around at shortstop this spring, what with Orlando Cabrera, Maicer Izturis, Erick Aybar, and (I assume) Sean Rodriguez all in camp. And the Angels are no strangers to bringing up a guy they think is ready while also creating a position for him on the fly (see also: Howie Kendrick at first base; Chone Figgins everywhere). I won't be surprised if Wood returns to short at Salt Lake, but I also wouldn't be surprised if they simply decided that they have enough depth at the six that it makes sense to get Wood more seasoning at third base.

I don't really think this is a big deal, and it's a pretty unsurprising move. It's not like moving Erstad from center to first base, where there's a huge drop in the value of an average bat. Wood will still have a lot of value as a third baseman, though perhaps not as much as at short. That difference could be made up on defense. To the extent there's been any Angels "news" lately, I guess this is it.

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