With Kendrys return shooting farther and farther away as the days go by, one must wonder when we'll finally get our hero back in the field mashing homers. Many people speculate the grand return of Kendrys, and the over/under on how many balls he'll mash out of the park on the day of his return. If you are afraid of Kendrys coming back half of the player that he left, then you should close out this article now. This is the exploration of such an event, an adventure through multiple scenarios....a journey through the twisted mind of MWaH! I should warn you that this is not going to be a happy-cheery daisies and unicorns article, put your big boy pants on and grab a box of tissues because this is going to be depressing as hell.
Let us engage in a moment of silence for all those championships we'll miss without him.
There is so much speculation on when Kendrys will come back, and if he'll be the same Kendrys we had before the injury. I'm frankly starting to get a little sick of it, no one is touching on the fact that he just might not come back, and if he does how sad of a sight it will be. Don't misunderstand where I am going this, I am not totally discounting the fact that Kendrys can come back at continue playing at the same pace he left off, I just happen to find it more and more likely as the days continue that he won't be making a grand return. There are multiple scenarios that we can all speculate on, both positive and negative, but we don't want to see anything positive here do we? We're Angels fans after all, negativity is our middle name! Brace yourself for some absolute worst case scenarios, here they come!
Scenario A: AKA The Juan Rivera Effect: This is, sadly, the best case scenario of all the worst case scenarios I have to offer. We all know the tragic tale of Juan Rivera, big hitter and big producer before his untimely Venezuelan winter ball injury. I'm not comparing Kendrys to Juan as a player, just the situation at hand. I don't need to remind you which Juan Rivera we got back, it's still fresh in our minds. Let's not kid ourselves here, Kendrys leg isn't going to be the same, and with that statement we can conclude that his power will never be the same. We're all smart baseball fans here, we all know the mechanics of the swing and how much a power hitter relies on his lower body to help him produce said power. Kendrys simply won't be able to produce the same drive and momentum off of his lower body that he did before. I don't want to seem like im saying all power comes from the legs, that's just dumb. Kendrys has great upper body strength, so he'll still be able to muscle the ball the same way he could before.
Another point that needs to be made is Kendrys actual hitting ability. His bat speed won't be going anywhere, and he'll still be making more than solid contact with the ball. The truth is, that's all he'll be doing with the ball, making solid contact. Don't expect to see any 30+ HR seasons from Kendrys anymore, you could pencil him into the 15-20 range. Kendrys defense will also face a big dropoff once he returns, he just won't have the same range we were all so graciously watching him develop. Once Kendrys comes back he's not going to be the All Star franchise hero we all foresaw, just another face in the crowd. He'll be a solid contributer, unfortunately that is all he's going to be. Think that sounds pretty bad....just wait, it gets much much worse.
Scenario B: AKA We're Well Beyond The Panic Button: This one is going to be very hard to swallow for not only us Angel fans, but for all of baseball. This isn't going to be a crazy out there scenario I created in my head out of sheer boredom, this is a realistic possibility we should all prepare for. Get ready....ok, are you good? Alright, i'll give you a few more seconds to brace yourself. Ok....here it goes. Week after week we have to sit through another torrent of reports stating Kendrys slowed progress. The Angels management are trying to take it slow here, but eventually they're going to have to amp up the rehabilitation in order to get him ready to play. If Kendrys can't handle the rehab, they'll have to slow it down again in hopes of being able to bring him back at a comfortable level for him. No biggie right, just an extended rehab. That's pretty much all we hear right now, extended rehab this push his return back that. But what if they take it too fast on Kendrys, what if they try to rush him back a month or even a few weeks from now? The possibility that Kendrys strains himself once again in rehab is not a far off idea, but the possibility that he hurts himself in rehab is a sad possibility.
Kendrys ankle cannot handle another beating, but if that's what happens in rehab do you know what that means? If Kendrys hurts his ankle again, we'll we can all just say goodbye to his career. With all the troubles Kendrys is facing in rehab, him hurting himself again is something that I have very well prepared myself to endure. Nobody here wants to see Kendrys end his career on that note, but that is an unfortunate outcome we all need to get ready for. Think about it, think about the severity of the injury, think of how long it is taking him to recover. At this point Kendrys should have at least been running near full speed, yet he can't even break into a sprint without his ankle affecting him. If something major goes wrong with his ankle, Kendrys will most likely have to retire and end his playing days. A sad thought to bear indeed, but a true thought it is. If Kendrys injury forces him to prematurely retire the Angels fanbase will go into a full fledged freak out mode. It would only be natural for them to act in such a fashion, but you can all rest your heads as the Angels have already put their backup plan into effect long ago. Say hello to the future starting 1st basemen of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Mark Trumbo!
Backup Plan to Scenario A: I may have spoke too soon, because Trumbo isn't going to be the Angels starting first baseman any time soon, at least not in this scenario. Most likely scenario, Kendrys and Bobby will split time at DH while Kendrys shakes off the rust and Trumbo gets to keep his starting 1B job until Morales is ready to field. Once that happens Kendrys is slowing going to start eating away at Mark Trumbo's playing time until the only glimpses of Trumbo we get are the camera shots of his bench time and his occasional pinch-hitting. There's the possibility that Kendrys hurts himself on the field and Trumbo recovers his starting job, but then again Kazmir could win Cy Young and Izzy could play in 150+ games this season. At this point I'm going to stop touching up on "chance" and go down the path of logic, a path less traveled by Angels management.
So Kendrys has come back and has worked his way back to fielding, pushing Trumbo to the bench....what happens next? Well, either Kendrys performance is so mediocre that he will be given time off to get his head straight, or Kendrys proves his worth and Trumbo loses whatever playing time he has. In that case, the next step for Trumbo is to find another starting job....on another team. You think that the Angels management will let Trumbo wither away on the bench after all that he has proved so far. Trumbo's stock is at an all time high right now, and once he's finished his job as a stopgap for Kendrys his work as an Angel is done. Sure the Angels can send him back down to the minors for another couple of year in case Morales leaves due to FA, but that wouldn't be very beneficial to the team would it? The best course of action would be to finally give in and send Trumbo away, but fear not Angel fans, as his leave will not go for naught. The smartest plan of action for the Angels would be to send him to a team weak in the 1B department or a team that is, for lack of better words, broke as hell. Sound familiar to you? It should, because there just so happens to be a team in baseball that fulfills both requirements, and that team just happens to be right next door.That's right, I am recommending that the Angels trade Mark Trumbo to the Dodgers. No I do not know what the Dodgers have that could benefit us, we don't need to argue the semantics of it (we'll save that talk for later).
To summarize everything up so far, Kendrys comes back and never regains what he once had. In order to compensate the Angels will most likely allow Marky Mark extra playing time in order to allow him to shoot his value through the roof. Once his value reaches a desirable level the Angels will quietly shop him under the radar until they find someone willing to give them back a sure-thing. You see, they won't want to risk Trumbo breaking under the scrutiny of not only us Angel fans and Angels management, but also the Angels players and the rest of baseball. You can't honestlysay to yourself that if Trumbo stinks it up the rest of the players wouldn't be thinking "If we had Kendrys playing this B.S wouldn't be happening." It may be shoved into the back of their minds, but the thought will only sit there and fester until it slowly erodes the team morale. Then again, Trumbo could handle the job with flying colors and completely fill any holes in our stomachs that have been gone since Morales was injured. If that happens.....well, where does Morales go?
He could be destinied to play out the rest of his career as a bench player slowly fading untill his eventual retirement is recieved with apathy. He could leave for free agency and play for a mediocre organization that crush any hopes Morales had of basking in the limelight of the World Series. He could get lucky and be included in a trade that sends him to a good organization that gives him fair playing time, maybe they'll even send him to the post-season once or twice. He could win a World Series on another team, that's an entire possibility. But would he be anything more then a face in the dugout? He'll never reach the potential he had to become a post-season champion, a franchise mainstay, a World Series hero. Maybe the Angels will keep him and make use of him, or maybe they'll send him off and release themselves of yet another burden on the team.
Backup Plan to Scenario B: So Morales is officially done for, never again to experience the majesty of playing under the lights on a breezy October night. At this point Mark Trumbo needs to gusto up and show the Angels what he has to offer this franchise. Right now Trumbo is just a stopgap player, although as the days go he continues to make his case for that everyday job. The scenario I had just described 2 paragraphs ago comes into play once again, yet this time around there is much more at stake. If Trumbo fails to live up to expectations the Angels are officially screwed, they don't have any good internal options and if they want to trade for a sure-thing player they'll have a much harder time. This is exactly the kind of pressure a young kid such as Trumbo doesn't need, who knows if he has what it take to carry the load. Not even Mark Trumbo knows if he can handle taking over for superstar in the making who's career met a tragic and unforseen end, because at that point all eyes shift to him. Every. Single. Eye
However, if Mark Trumbo can handle the pressure he'll be exactly what this team needs to take it all the way. Yeah I know that seems like the obvious statement to make, but I think you might be reading it the wrong way. We've all seen the Angels falter in the post-season time after time again, we know how much the pressure affects this team. Trumbo will be the post-season key the Angels need to carry them with the going gets tought, because the Angels don't really have "that" player that gets going. I'm not talking about a player that puts up good numbers in the post-season, I'm talking about the player can push through all those intangible factors. Again, this is assuming he handles the previously mentioned pressure of carrying a franchise. If a player can put a whole team on his back and carry them through the season as a rookie, he'll have no trouble carrying that same team through the post-season. Baseball is a mental game, not something that brute force and sheer talent can best on their own. If a player can't handle the mental weight of the game, no matter how good they are, they will never be successful in the game. A rookie strolling through town in his first full season and picking a franchise up off their knees isn't something that happens every day, some people would call such a player a "godsend".
Wasn't that nice? I didn't want to end this article on a low note, this whole situation is a one way ticket to depression. Nobody wants to come to terms with the situation, I know I didn't want too. It's nice to sit back and shut out all the negative news, knowing that once Kendrys comes back we all have a bright future to look forward to. Unfortunately that is not a sure fire thing, and someone had to explore this wretched abyss of horror. I'm glad we're done musing over that, I think I'm gonna go for a cry now.