Hi. I’m Jeremy Elwood. Let me introduce myself; I’m a new writer to this site, I’m a huge Angels Fan, and I’m a professional comedian and TV writer. Oh, and I live in New Zealand.
Figure that out in your own time.
So, as my introduction to Monkey With A Halo, I thought I’d use my slightly removed position to do a short series on the guys who aren’t dominating the Angels headlines thus far this year; The Forgotten Angels.
This off-season, like last, is a tale of two hitters. Last year it was Pujols and Trout, this year Hamilton and, yeah, Trout again. Attached to all that is who bats where, how’s the rotation, how often will Pujols and Trumbo play DH?
But wait a minute. Do we possibly have a third option there?
Last year, Morales seemed to fit, if he was fit. Now he’s gone, and all we have left is the Albatross, Vernon Wells.
Thing is, New Zealand has one of the only on-land colonies of Albatross in the world, so I can tell you something you might not know; just when you think they’re dead, they have a tendency to fly.
Yep, I get it. The Angels spent too much. He hasn’t delivered. He’s one of the reasons the Halos couldn’t afford to keep Greinke. He’s untradeable, and no-one seems to want to talk about him except with derision.
But here’s my point – all of those details? They’ve got to stick in a guy’s craw.
He’ll retire in 2014, and barring a brainfade at the Dodgers or Billy Beane getting another hunch, he will do so as an Angel. So, here’s a guy with two seasons to play, a contract that will pay him handsomely no matter what, and a couple of years of bad press under his belt. To me, that sounds like a perfect recipe for “damn the torpedoes”. Why not try and go out on top?
You want evidence? He’s having his best Spring Training since 2006, batting .389 with 3 HR in 18 ABs as of Tuesday. That’s better than Hamilton, Trout or Trumbo. He’s swinging like he has something to prove, which, frankly, he does. Is it possible that he’s trying, to prove it?
Much of the disappointment in Anaheim has been over money. If you’re being objective, they haven’t been awful seasons. In 2011, he batted .218, but still hit 25 homers. In 2012, albeit in far fewer games, his average went up to .230. Perhaps most interestingly, he’s been hanging out with Mike Trout, on-field and off. What better inspiration to play out the last two years of a decent career than mentoring a guy who might be starting one of the greatest careers, period.
Realistically, Wells will only get significant playing time if a series of disasters I don’t want to contemplate occur. But what if Pujols starts 2013 the way he started 2012, Trumbo starts like the 2012 All-Star game just finished, and anyone else doesn’t start at all?
Are you willing to bet against Vernon being in the mood to step up?