Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Pujols Should Play Third Base

 "I don't think our goal is to keep everyone happy.  Our goal is to keep guys productive and find roles,         and that's what we need to search for." - Angels Manager, Mike Scoscia

Good news, Mike; if you're looking to keep guys productive and find roles; search no more.  I have the answer; but it's a bold move.  However, bold moves are what it's going to take to compete with the vastly superior Texas Rangers.  Some observations:

The LA Angels of Anaheim need to get last year's rookie sensation, Mark Trumbo into the lineup every single game, not just 10 out of 16 games (his current pace).  The reason Trumbo needs to play every day is simple:  Trumbo is the only Angel currently slugging over .500; actually, he's closer to .600 (.567), so that's all the more reason to get him in there every day; that's clearly obvious.

Where to play Mark Trumbo?  The experiment at third base hasn't worked; sticking him in the outfield isn't the answer.  The answer:  First base; his natural position.  "But Albert Pujols plays first base", they cried.

Not anymore.  He needs to move across the diamond; to third base.  Albert played quite a bit of third base during his 2001 rookie year with the Cardinals, and played it reasonably well, with above-average  range.  He also played some left field, but at this stage of his career, putting him in the outfield might not be a good idea; that's probably an understatement.  However, he's a very good fielding first baseman, with great reflexes and instincts; playing the hot corner should be no problem for The Machine.  He's got a great throwing arm to go along with those soft hands, so why not give it a try?  It's all the rage; if Miguel Cabrera and Hanley Ramirez can do it, why not the King?

If nothing else, it would shake things up on a team that appears to be pressing; the biggest "presser" on the team is Phat Albert.  By taking on a new position, it would help him get his mind off trying to hit home runs every single at-bat, and would help restore some enthusiasm on what is currently a moribund team, and a disheartened fan base.  In other words, Pujols would once again be a hero, just for making the effort to be a "team player".  That kind of stuff goes a long way in building team chemistry and whatnot.  Not only would it be a public relations coup, it just makes sense to get Trumbo's bat in the lineup every day.  Without trying to make anyone look bad, here's an interesting comparison:

Pujols -    16 G - 65 AB - 16 H - 0 HR - 6 R - 4 RBI - 5 BB - 0 SB - .246 BA/.300 OBP/.354 SLG
Trumbo - 10 G - 30 AB - 10 H - 2 HR - 7 R - 6 RBI - 4 BB - 1 SB - .333 BA/.412 OPB/.567 SLG

So, what have we here?  Pujols has had more than twice as many trips to the plate as Trumbo; yet Mark has out-homered him, scored more often, driven in more runs, and has even stolen a base, while slugging over 200 points higher.  Other than that, they're about even; just kidding.

Let's face it; although the season is barely 10% complete, the Angels cannot afford to stand pat, if they hope to contend in the AL West race.  The Halos really have nothing to lose; much to gain.  They're already seven games behind rival Texas, and falling fast; and the way things are going, they'll be fighting only for a wild card spot by the middle of May; at best.  I don't think that's what Arte Moreno had in mind when he brought the Machine on board.  I think he envisioned some extended postseason play for his team; possibly a World Series championship.

It's a simple solution to the problem of adding more offense to a lineup whose offense has so far this season, been very "offensive" to witness.  The natives are getting restless; this is a team that is not only falling by the wayside in the AL West race; they are also looking pathetic compared to the rival LA Dodgers, with Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier getting all the positive headlines in that highly competitive Southern California market.  The Angels really need to stir things up; this appears to be the best strategy.

But will Mike Scoscia have the guts to try it?  If his goal is to keep "the most productive lineup" on the field and "find the right roles" for his players; this makes sense.  Otherwise, it's going to be a long season of discontent in Anaheim.  Going to Disneyland would be the best bet for families looking for the best value for their entertainment dollars; sad but true.

No comments:

Post a Comment