May 13, 2011

Morales is gone, but it's Jeff Mathis that must go

I was sitting in the stands last night watching the Angels and the White Sox when I heard something on the radio that didn’t sound too good. It was all kind of fuzzy because I wasn’t really focused on what was being said. When I finally got wind of the news that Kendry Morales was going to miss the 2011 season, my heart just sunk. I felt like someone just punched me in the stomach.

When I caught my breath, a million things raced through my mind… Will he ever play again? Wow, I’m glad we have Mark Trumbo. And then, I began to think of players who might be available via a trade for one reason or another. Albert Pujols? Prince Fielder? Crazy talk, right? Both long shots at best. 514 Fanatic - Terry (who was sitting behind me) threw out David Wright as a possibility. Hmmm.

My mind was all over the place and my mind wandered all game long. Who would the Angels have to give up to acquire someone? Better not be Mike Trout, I thought.

And then it hit me.

Once again the Angels were in need of a “big bat.” It seems like every year it comes down to this “big bat” thing, doesn’t it? I thought back to the off season and how Tony Reagins claimed getting Morales back was like signing a big time free agent. So much for that… I thought.

Something else hit me when the Angels entered the tenth after giving up a two-run lead in the 9th and I began to think of who could come off the bench to hit. Reggie Willits was already in the game and the other options didn’t offer much hope. I began to focus on the depth or should I say lack of depth the team had. The bench last night consisted of Alexi Amarista, Willits, Bobby Wilson and gulp… Jeff Mathis.

It was at that moment that I wanted to scream.

There’s no way the Angels can afford to carry three catchers for the rest of the year. Jeff Mathis has to go. He’s a human sink hole and he’s going to suck the life out of the offense and the joy out of Angel fans. He’s just painful to watch.

Tuesday night Mark Trumbo came up to bat on two occasions where a runner was on second base and first base was open. Mathis was in the on-deck circle. In each case, the White Sox intentionally walked Trumbo to face Mathis. You know what happened next…. Mathis’ ineptness has never been as obvious as it was Tuesday night. He is a glaring weakness and the Angels can’t afford such things any longer.

Last night, I had to wonder if things could get any worse. We had the devastating news about Morales, the Angels blew a lead and Jeff Mathis was still on this team.

Now, about that blown lead; I don’t expect Jordan Walden to save every game he enters, but I will be honest with you when I say that if I never see Kevin Jespen again, I won’t be disappointed. I have never understood the fascination with this guy. He hasn’t shown me much and I really hate the idea of him wearing Troy Percival’s #40. I just don’t think Jespen is a major league level relief pitcher at this point; at least not in key situations.

Look, the Oakland A’s and Texas Rangers aren’t going away. These two teams are going to be in the hunt all season long and it’s going to be an out and out dog fight. The margin for error is small and after the Morales news, it got even smaller. When your bench consists of two smurfs (Amarista and Willits), a guy who hardly ever plays (Wilson) and the human sink hole (you know who) you’re in trouble.

Bobby Abreu, Torii Hunter and Vernon Wells aren’t getting any younger. They’re going to need a break every now and then and this bench isn’t going to give the Angels a whole lot of wiggle room. Wells is already on the DL and if Abreu and/or Hunter get hurt, it’s really going to get ugly.

Something has to happen and it has to happen soon. Like yesterday. I don't want to wait and see what this team can do without Morales (not that I have any control over it); instead, I'd rather see them do something proactively to get better.

The team has a solid pitching staff and a bull pen that’s capable of getting the job done. I’d even venture to say that this rotation is a championship quality rotation. The Angels need to capitalize on the pitching they have and put an offense together that will allow them to compete into October.

The post-season is along ways off; however, I don't want to lose sight of October in May.


  1. I like the idea of David Wright, but who would we have to give up to get him? Amarista? Maybe other major league ready guys? I don't think Trout will ever be on the table for trades (unless its Pujols, and even then, I doubt it).

    Also, I don't think Jepsen can settle his nerves enough to be a viable big-league pitcher. Hopefully the Mets haven't noticed, and we can ship him to New York in the David Wright deal. ;)

    Love the insight, as always.

  2. I don't know what happened, but my original post disappeared for a bit. I've reposted it, but if you visited earlier and wondered what happened - you're not alone... I am wondering as well.

  3. AnonymousMay 13, 2011

    This is the first time I've been to your blog. Well done. I've been over Mathis for three years now. I just don't get it. Kendrys being out is horrible, but if Wells and Hunter step up and everybody else stays sharp we have a good chance. Trumbo for ROY! Keep up the good work.

  4. They should bring up Jeremy Moore, if you don't know about him, look him up. He can be a good 20-20 outfielder. That is, 20 homeruns and 20 SB's.

  5. kaflooey picturesMay 13, 2011

    Look, you get rid of Mathis, you still have Bobby Wilson...he of the .111 batting average. Scoring runs...and the Angels winning big...will always be a problem as long as the team is wedded to that Dodgers 1963, pop gun, pitching and defense and speed before anything else offensive philosophy...meaning as long as Scioscia manages the team. Get rid of him first, not Mathis. Then things will start to change

  6. AnonymousMay 14, 2011

    Glad to have another person on the DFA Mathis bandwagon. Don't worry, it won't ever get cramped this wagon magically expands the worse he does.

  7. AnonymousMay 14, 2011

    Kaflooey- Please tell me you're trolling, otherwise I have no choice but to shake my head.

    First off, Bobby Wilson is batting .200, not .111. Second, he's had a whopping TEN at-bats in 2011, compared to Mathis' 70, in which he's hitting .186.

    Here's another interesting juxtaposition. Last year, Mathis had 3 home runs, 18 RBI and 6 walks in 205 AB's. WIlson had 4 home runs, 15 RBI and 8 walks in, wait for it, 96 at-bats.

    Oh and here's the best part. Are you ready for it? Mathis is making 1.7 million this year, compared to Wilson's 416 thousand. Yeah, more than 4X. Wilson won't even be arbitration eligible next year, whereas Mathis' salary will climb regardless of how poorly he performs.

    Obvious solution- Either DFA Mathis or trade him for, shucks i don't know, a bag of peanuts and give Conger the majority of the time behind the dish.