With the Angels very much alive in the AL Pennant race, the Anaheim air is abuzz with talk of a big move.
Frankly, though, it doesn’t look likely.
Mike Scioscia is the kind of manager that values his team’s hard-earned chemistry over a splashy move. He won’t lobby Tony Reagins to do anything drastic before the trade deadline.
And really, his team has won every series since embarking on a successful road trip on June 13. The man deserves a little credibility.
Reagins has to feel good about himself right now. The Angels’ 2010-2011 offseason looked to be one of the worst in recent memory. The Halos passed on Adrian Beltre, Cliff Lee and Carl Crawford in favor of acquiring Toronto’s Vernon Wells in a much-derided trade.
Wells’s fat contract has finally started to pay off. He is batting .281 since June 13 and has hit nine of his season-total 13 home runs in that period of time. His bat has carried the team, and the Fire Reagins Brigade has quieted down (for now).
But while the one big move of the Angels’ 2011 season is paying off, the Halos’ homegrown talent is vital to the squad’s success. The rookie revolution is underway in Anaheim, and first baseman Mark Trumbo is leading the charge. Trumbo, catcher Hank Conger, center fielder Peter Bourjos have dazzled with their superior talent.
With all of the Angels’ personnel gelling so well at the moment, it seems unlikely that Mike Scioscia would want to tamper with a winning formula. If this truly is the identity of the 2011 Angels, Scioscia has very little to worry about down the stretch. His primary competitor is a Rangers club whose pitching staff won’t be able to keep up with the Angels rotation.
In addition to Scioscia’s qualms about a big move, Arte Moreno has put a gag order on Reagins’s spending. The Russell Branyan signing has yielded little return, so it’s understandable that Moreno would want to stop throwing money at the Angels’ problems.
This is a team that could very well win the American League West. But even if the Angels were to claw into the postseason, the massive shadows in New York and Boston loom oppressively. It’s entirely possible that the Halos could contend with these powerhouses come October as is. But apprehension abounds – if the Angels don’t make a move before the deadline, are they good enough to win it all? For any Major League club, anything less than a championship is a failure.
If the Angels do not make a big move before the deadline, it’s a show of confidence that this club is capable of going the distance and bringing a championship back to Southern California.
And really, it wouldn’t be a surprise at all.