Welcome to Monkeying Around, a monthly-ish column in which I basically mail it in. Usually it is because I couldn’t think of a good topic, but this time it is because I am on vacation from the job that actually pays my mortgage. So it isn’t that I don’t have a good topic, it is that I just am too lazy to write it. Isn’t that better?
OK, maybe not. The point is I felt bad about not posting an actual column two days in a row, so this is what you get and you’re just going to have to like it. As I tell my five-year old, “You get what you get and you don’t get upset.” She usually gets upset anyway, but I’m hoping you all can at least try and be more more emotionally stable than a five-year old.
- Every morning I check the projected playoff odds for the Angels at both Baseball Prospectus and Fangraphs. At both sites, the Angels are virtual locks to make the playoffs and win the AL West. Yet no matter how many times I see that, I immediately see a big “1995!” flash in my brain. I guess that is what happens when the first legitimately good Angels team of my lifetime (at least the part of my life where I was actually able to tell the difference) crashes and burns in epic fashion. I have the feeling that PTSD-like reflex is going to be with me for the rest of my life, even if the Halos rattle off seven straight championships.
- I know everyone made fun of the A’s for acquiring Adam Dunn after they got swept by the Angels, but I have to admit that I was actually kind of jealous. The Angels DH situation is secretly something of a black hole, especially against right-handed pitching. The Efren Navarro–Brennan Boesch soup du jour just isn’t blowing my skirt up. Plus, the Angels are only 7th in the AL in homers. Having a big bopper from the left side is pretty much exactly what the Halos needed, but the A’s got him instead. Let’s hope that the Triple-A batting title actually can translate to something in the majors for Boesch, I guess.
- I’m not sure yet who I should be hoping the Angels draw in the post-season. Assuming the Angels finish with the best record in the AL, they would draw the Wild Card game winner. That would either be Oakland, Kansas City, Detroit or Seattle. In a short series, the natural instinct should be to hope to face the team with the worst rotation, which would be the Royals. But there is also something to be said for facing the most inept offensive team, which would be Seattle. However, they are only marginally worse than KC. Plus, Kansas City is managed by Ned Yost and he seems like a lock to have at least one game where his managerial blundering costs his team the game. Both teams have no post-season experience, so I guess the edge has to go to KC, which almost assuredly means the Halos will face the A’s.
- Because of the recent struggles of C.J. Wilson, there are already people calling for the Angels to go with a three-man rotation in the post-season. Jered Weaver has started on short rest just twice in his carer, both in 2011. In the first game, he got shelled for seven runs in six innings. In the second game, he once age went six innings, but allowed just two runs. He struck out just two batters in both games though. Keep in mind that this happened while Weaver was still in his prime, not in his beleaguered Jamie Moyer v2.0 state that he now exists in. This is a bad idea.
- Hector Santiago has technically started on short rest four times, but three of those times, it was a start within three days of a relief appearance, so that doesn’t really count. He was fairly effective the one “real” time he did it. Keep in mind though that Santiago has only started on normal rest just six times this season, so he may not even have the stamina to handle such an assignment. Let’s not forget, this is a guy who hasn’t seen the seventh inning since April.
- Ever since 2002, there has been a sense around the Angels’ franchise and fans that just qualifying for the post-season was good enough. I don’t like that sentiment, but also kind of feel like I am in that camp this year. Just ending the last four years of disappointment seems like a moral victory to me. The only thing preventing me from fully committing to that way of thinking is when I look at the age of the non-Trout portion of this roster and the payroll situation (especially with all their luxury tax frightfulness this month), I realize that this might be their ONE shot at a World Series for at least the next three years (at least). Only then do they start getting out from under some contracts and regain some flexibility, but they are also going to get a lot older in the process. Even though Mike Trout‘s extension hasn’t even kicked in yet, they really need to make the most of this opportunity.
- Speaking of Trout, can we all just agree that he gets the AL MVP, no matter what? I know there is a push for Alex Gordon because he briefly had a better fWAR or Josh Donaldson because he currently has a better rWAR. Either way, Trout is close enough for the “variability in WAR” to come into play. But more importantly, he really should’ve been the MVP the last two years. This year’s MVP should go to him as a sort of mea culpa for the last two years, a lifetime achievement MVP, if you will, despite him being just 23. I get that we live in a “First Take” culture where everything must be debated in a heated and oft-contrived fashion, but let’s make this one thing the exception. Please? Yeah, I didn’t think so.