….. Angel GM Tony Reagins had not made the trade I discussed on January 27:
“As time marched on towards spring training, he [Reagins] felt compelled to make a move, and a move he did make. Making probably the worst trade by a southern California team since the Dodgers gave away Mike Piazza, he traded Juan Rivera and Angel stalwart Mike Napoli for the over-priced, over-rated, and over-the-hill Vernon Wells. Wells’ numbers last season were not too bad – 31 HRs and 88 RBIs, with a .273 average. However, that is one home run every 19 at-bats and an RBI every 6.7. Compare that to Napoli’s home run every 17 at bats and RBI every 6.5 at bats. Compare all this further with the fact that before last season’s “comeback”, Wells had had three consecutive bad years, averaging only 17 home runs and 75 RBIs a year.”
Today, with 1/4 of the season left, Napoli and Wells have the following stats:
Napoli: 76 games 240 ABs 18 HRs 48 RBI .288 Avg. .386 OBP .583 SLG.
Wells: 92 games 362 ABs 17 HRs 45 RBI .204 Avg. .236 OBP .373 SLG.
Note also 2011 season averages compiled by the Angel catching staff: Hank Conger .214 Bobby Wilson .190, and starter Jeff Mathis .181, and a total of 7 home runs between them.
The single biggest criticism of Mgr. Mike Scioscia this season has been his dedication to catcher Jeff Mathis, but in reality Mathis is a decent clutch performer and a lot of what he has done at the plate has been in key situations. Plus, no other catcher on the Angel roster has done much better, including the talented youngster Conger, who critics say should be doing the bulk of the catching. In all fairness, it is again Reagins who has failed to bolster the catching staff he decimated by giving away Napoli.
Rivera had a disappointing time in Toronto, but has been lights out with the Dodgers since they picked him up last month.
Productive catching (read “Napoli”) and any decent two-bit, journeyman left fielder instead of the Wells deal, and Texas would be chasing the Angels, instead of it being the other way around.