After seeing how well received Mike Scioscia's decision to swiftly replace Fernando Rodney as closer, it seems like the quick hook is the trendy thing to do nowadays. That really got me thinking, should the Angels start benching/releasing/demoting other players on the roster who are off to slow starts? If so, how many more games should each struggling Halo be given before getting the old heave-ho?
Step right up and place your bets.
Don't fret, this isn't about to become some sabermetric analysis on the optimal time to pull the plug on a player. No, this is actually going to be fun because I'm going to bust it out Vegas sportsbook style. I give you, the readers, an over/under line on how many more games each player should get to turn it around and you let me know if you'd bet the over or the under and why. It is just that simple, plus I won't take your money, which is always a plus.
Scott Kazmir = 1.5 games - I don't even know which way to bet on this one. If he is as bad in his next start as he was in his first, there is no way he stays in the rotation. On the other hand, if he is slightly better than horrendous, the Halos might give him another start if only because Joel Pineiro isn't healthy yet.
Jeff Mathis = 70 games - That is probably too low a line seeing how Scioscia never seems to lose faith in Mathis, but Jeff is off to a slow start, even by his standards. His bat has shown some life in terms of hitting for power (all four of his hits are for extra bases), but his average is still low and he is striking out a lot. What could really damn him though is his rough start defensively (six steals allowed in one game? You know Sosh can't be happy about that). He'll be given some time to turn it around, but with Wilson and Conger waiting in the wings, how much time can he really get?
Brandon Wood = 18.5 games - The line is at 18.5 because I think that is roughly how many more games the Angels will play before Kendrys Morales returns. Wood may not get to play much before then, so he better do something good when he does get a chance because if he doesn't, he'll be hitting the waiver wire to make room for Kendrys.
Fernando Rodney = 114.5 games - Fraudney has already lost the closer's job, but could his spot on the roster be in danger too? Maybe you want to bet that the impending free agent will continue to be so bad that the Angels just decide to give him the Justin Speier treatment and release him. Or, on the flip side, maybe you think Fernando will right the ship and become a potent late-inning weapon again and stick with the team. Or, now this is where it gets tricky, maybe Rodney gets good again, but is deemed superflous and gets traded before the deadline (which is about 108 games away).
Hisanori Takahashi = 50 games - Taka no doubt is not looking like a great signing thus far, but the season is young. One thing he has going for him is that he has minor league options left, so it is possible that if he doesn't get his act together in the next few weeks, he could be optioned to the minors until he figures it out. But would Angel management really do something that would make one of their few free agency acquisitions look so bad? Conversely, will Scioscia allow him to clog up a roster spot if he can't get anyone out?
Michael Kohn = 8.5 games - On one hand, he had a dominant spring. On the other hand, he keeps giving up untimely homers. On some other appendage, he has options left whereas others in the pen do not and the Angels will need to demote someone to the minors (or release someone) when Scott Downs returns in the next week or two. It is all a question of how much faith Scioscia has in the youngster.
Vernon Wells = 90.5 games - Ah ha! This one makes you think, eh? Now, this line isn't about when Wells will be released. Let's face it, that won't even be an option for a few more years, if ever (hopefully never). What I'm talking about is Wells losing his status as an everyday player. He is off to a miserable start thus far and, despite his salary, the Angels aren't going to wait on him forever. There is no way they are talking about benching him at this point (seriously, it is just six games), but if he is still slumping when Morales is healthy and producing and Mark Trumbo is potentially playing well but not able to find regular at-bats, you have to think Scioscia would consider cutting back Wells' time in favor of DHing Trumbo, benching Wells and putting Abreu in right. Sounds like the kind of move a team would make if a their new slugger still wasn't working out come the All-Star break, which just so happens to be 90 games away. I know it sounds far-fetched at first blush, but think about it and you'll start to realize how eerily plausible that scenario is.
Alright, loyal readers. Pull out your wallets and make your way to the comments section to place your bets!
EDITOR'S NOTE: My lawyer (who is totally real, as far as you know) wanted me to make sure everyone realizes this is just for fun and no bets will be honored, unless you actually want to pay me when you lose. That's totally cool.