Divine intervention: 2011 Angels preview

Pittsburgh may win it all, the Steelers that is. Although opening day is still a couple of months away and the only person throwing a fastball is Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers,… baseball fans, Are you ready for some baseball?!!

Lets dig in, we don’t want it to get cold.

Since our friends on the left coast tend to get and deliver the story last, we’ll give them a convenient monkey cut to the top. The city of Angels is buzzing with the addition of Vernon Wells’ contract and Vernon Wells of course.

Earlier this month, the Toronto Blue Jays took the proverbial Gorilla off their back and sent packing the 32year old Centerfielder for Catcher Mike Napoli and Outfielder Juan Rivera. Vernon will play left field with perennial gold glove Tori Hunter keeping his obvious roost in centerfield.

Although hotdogs in the stands and fresh cut lawns are a few months away, Angel’s fans are already whipping out their rally monkeys. Be careful what your wish for. Unless Wells turns into a modern day Andre Dawson, you may have gotten more “big money” than “slugger”. The only other addition of note is Hisanori Takahashi from the Mets and the former Jay, Scott Downs. In the new Pitchers era, I guess this will help…maybe. They did lose Hideki Matsui to Oakland, but that may be addition by subtraction considering Godzilla had the worst season of his career last year as lefties gave him fits.

Dan Haren, Scott Kazmir, Ervin Santana and Jared Weaver make for a formidable rotation.

Howie Kendrick, Kendry Morales, Izturis and Aybar make for a formidable infield.

Tori Hunter, Vernon Wells and Burjos\Willits + Abreau DH make for…ah you get the picture.

As long as formidable doesn’t turn into forgettable by mid summer due to injury or pitching coming up small (I’m looking at you Haren) or one of their 5 closer options turn into zero of their five closer options…the Angels should still be challenging well into September.

Whether they can get past the Yank’s or Sox is another question entirely.

Barring any game winnings celebrations that injure their best bats, things should be fine. They also have the best outfield prospect in the minors, Mike Trout. The trade for Wells may delay his call up but look at the bright side…the Wells trade may become a big mistake and be just cause for them to call him up…wait.

The loss of Mike Napoli, one of the best Angels’ catchers of all time will hurt. Depending on how spring training goes, Hank Conger, the Angels first round pick in the 2006 draft may replace current opening day starter Mathis at backstop.

The Angels need some “X-Factors” to come out of nowhere and have a good year. I.e. top prospect turned everyday 3rd baseman turned why did we let Chone Figgins walk to a rival for this bum, Brandon Wood. He had a disappointing 2010 season to say the least. They still have one of the best skippers in the game in Mike Scioscia so that helps.

All in all, the Angels are set up for success now and years to come. This is the franchises 50th year anniversary…hopefully they can make it a memorable.

Pre Spring Training Rating – A.



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