Angels Throw in the Towel

With the Angels losing their last three against the first place Athletics, falling seven games under .500 and 13 games out of first, and with the weekend news that Albert Pujols is likely done for the year, it became apparent today that the team has given up on the 2013 season, and is now a seller on the player market.

The Angels this morning traded their number one lefty out of the bullpen, solid veteran Scott Downs, to the Braves, for a fringe prospect, righty Cory Rasmus. With Sean Burnett on the disabled list, as he has been most of the season, in fact the team as NO lefty reliever. In fact, C.J. Wilson is the only lefty on the active roster.

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As the Angels start a three game set in Texas, three things should be evident: 1) A lot of other veterans will be looking over their shoulders, wondering, 2) A lot of young pitchers will be getting starts instead of Joe Blanton and Jerome Williams, and 3) The team won’t be rushing Pujols, Burnett, Ryan Madson, Robert Coello, Jason Vargas, or Peter Bourjos off the DL and onto the active roster.

The only upside to this is that the pressure of winning will be off a lot of players, and the guys who should not fear a trade, will be playing with more relaxed

attitudes. On the other hand, the guys who may welcome a trade may be even more anxious.

Maybe above all else, what will be the status of manager Mike Scioscia? Once almost universally regarded as the best in the game, Scioscia has been handed a wealth of talent over the past two or three years, and the results have been abysmal. While I still think there are few managers in the game with his capabilities, experience, and savvy, there comes a time in baseball when even the best has gotten to the point of no return and it’s time to move on. Sparky Anderson at Cincinnati, Jim Leyland at Pittsburgh and again at Miami, and Tony LaRussa at Oakland are just three examples of top managers that hit a wall after considerable success, but who came back somewhere else to build anew.

Maybe it is time for Scioscia to move on. A new face on the bench in Anaheim my do wonders for the Angels, and there would be no shortage of teams lining up to hire Scioscia.

Meanwhile, Tim Wallach continues wasting away as the Dodgers’ third base coach. Still in my opinion the number one untapped managerial talent around, current Dodgers’ success means it is even more unlikely that the Dodgers’ brain trust would use some brain power and replace the empty uniform non manager mattingly with Wallach. So, Angels, there he is, for the taking.

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