The April 24th, 2012 edition of daily news for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim including Albert Pujols has gotten pull happy, Angel Stadium attendance is down early this year, Trout OK after being hit by a pitch and much more...
The Story: Albert Pujols has gotten very pull happy.
The Monkey Says: Picture perfect proof that Pujols is trying too hard. This is what I like to call Vernon Wells Syndrome. Hopefully Albert can find the cure that has thus far eluded Vernon.
The Monkey Says: I would chalk up the low home numbers thus far to the lackluster opponents they have faced, though it is surprising that the presence of Pujols hasn't been more of a draw locally. Where it has been a draw is on the road, where the Angels are now the top draw after being one of the lowest draws in the league last season.
The Monkey Says: Sigh of relief. The Bees trounced their opponent in that game, so the team was just playing it safe, which is probably a good idea since Trout is the future of the franchise.
The Monkey Says: I detest slideshows, but one of the relievers mentioned is Grant Balfour, who we all know I have deep trade-lust for. That lust was piqued yesterday after Buster Olney tweeted something that strongly suggested that the Oakland A's would be willing to trade him right now. Given their known interest in Alberto Callaspo, one would think there is a good match here, although the Angels would surely have to toss in some kind of prospect or perhaps some money to make it happen.
The Monkey Says: This article temporarily made me lose my mind on Twitter because it was tweeted out with the title of "Pujols just the latest big-money bust for Angels." That isn't quite what the story was about though. It is more about how the Angels have made a big free agent splashes in the past but never had it pay off in a World Series appearance. I don't really think that is a huge issue though. The Baylor, Rudi and Grich signings didn't lead to a World Series, but they did lead to the Angels first division title in 1979, which was a huge moment for the franchise, not a big money mistake as it is portrayed in the article. The Mo Vaughn signing definitely didn't work out as planned, but it did inadvertently lead to the trade for Kevin Appier, who was a major part of the 2002 World Series team. And that big 2003 spending spree is still a success in my mind as it established the Angels as a perennial contender and not just a flash in the pan. Sure, they didn't win a pennant, but they made several playoff appearances behind Guerrero and those other players. To make it seem like the Pujols signing is going to be a failure simply because they may not win the World Series this year is just wrong-headed. Let's give it five years before we start talking about whether or not the Pujols signing paid off, OK?
The Monkey Says: Sign your kid up now so that Mark Trumbo can teach him how to not play third base. Sorry, that was just too easy.
The Story: Now is the time to call up Mike Trout.
The Monkey Says: I am very torn on this issue, which is probably why I haven't written about it much even though it is prime for a post. On one hand, the Angels very much need the kind of top of the order catalyst that Trout stands to be. However, my problem is that I'm still not sure who's spot he should take since he is going to play everyday once called up. I've seen many suggest that he should take over for the struggling Peter Bourjos, but that runs a major risk of stunting Bourjos' growth as a hitter while also weakening the Angel defense. Wells seems like the most logical choice and I would not bemoan him being benched, but he does lead the team in homers. Moreover, he has shown some signs of coming around in the last week and the Angels probably should give him a little more time to re-establish himself. If I had to choose, I would choose to punt and delay any such decision for at least two more weeks to see how everyone is performing as I believe the Angels are emerging from this slow start, so everyone will begin to show their true colors soon.
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That "spray chart" (hard to call it "spray" when it all goes in one direction, more like "jet chart") was really an eye-opener, wasn't it? That really isn't Albert at his best. I wonder what's going on there. Nervousness about the expectation? Maybe V-Dub does deserve some slack.
Thank you, Mr. ™, for once again being the voice of reason. A shining, guiding light in the gloom to keep us from crashing on the rocks of despair. Have I poured it on thick enough? The comments about the relief pitchers, the Albert signing, a Callaspo trade to Raider-land and the calls for Trout were pretty much spot on, in my mind. I still fear that, all predictions to the contrary, we might be expecting a little too much from The One. We should double-check with The Oracle because there may be a little too much of The Angels' Minor League Hype Machine going on (see: BWood, DMcPherson, among others) with Trout. He looks good but no way Mickey Mantle-good. Maybe Garret Anderson good. Like, .300 annually and 25-30 HR's and better fielding. And no way he plays the all-around center field that Bourjos does, he doesn't have the arm. And, man, he might be fast but those little legs are churning at some pretty high RPM's to cover similar ground to Bourjos, who seems to have an awesome overdrive to throw it into. So, anyway, calling him the "future of the franchise" could lead to even more dashed hopes. I'll vote once again to dump Abreu when Trout comes up. You're going to want a better all-around player out there than BA and Wells still looks like he can play the field. And get rid of the old wive's tale of lefty/righty, righty/lefty in this case; just get the best team out there, whether or not it includes Trout! "Left-handed bat off the bench" does NOT describe BA!