Well after blowing their shot at sweeping the Braves in Atlanta for the first time in nearly four years, the Mets turn their attention to the Angels. Jim Gardner (WiHaloFan) of Halos Heaven was kind enough to exchange a few questions with me about the Angels. Thanks, Jim!
Chris McShane: In a span of just six months, the Angels traded for Dan Haren, stealing him from the Diamondbacks for Mr. Winning Percentage Joe Saunders, but also traded for Vernon Wells and his massive contract. How does one general manager make both of those deals?
Jim Gardner: To me, this is the biggest thing that causes me sleepless nights. It’s not the inconsistent play on the field, it’s my complete loss of confidence in the Angels’ front office ability to do the things needed to fix the team. I think the Haren deal just fell into their laps as at the time of the trade a front-of-the-rotation starter wasn’t one of the Angels’ biggest needs. The Vernon Wells trade is an example of what happens when a weak front office doesn’t have at least one guy with enough balls to raise their hand and say, "I think this is a bad idea."
CM: The Angels are well below the major league average in runs per game. How much of their struggles can be attributed to the absence of Kendrys Morales?
JG: There’s no doubt the Angels miss Kendrys Morales, but I don’t think he would have been the savior of this team – there are just too many guys not getting it done. Come on, when Alberto Callaspo has hit clean-up in your teams’ batting order, your needs are greater than one Kendrys Morales. If Morales had been healthy, he would have allowed Mike Scioscia to spread out the middle of the batting order a little more, but even then, the holes created by Wells and Torii Hunter’s need to pull every pitch would be hard to overcome.
CM: Given the excellent production of the Angels' pitching staff, will the disappointment of Scott Kazmir soon be forgotten in Anaheim?
JG: Yeah, I think that’s one area the Angels are set up pretty good. They have enough pitching depth to at least get them through this season and will probably pick up another starter through free agency this off-season much like they did when they signed Joel Pineiro two seasons ago. It amazes me how far Kazmir fell at such a young age. There was never any mention of a major physical condition, he just lost it...what "it" was.
JG: Yes, and that’s what frightens me. If GM Tony Reagins can pull off a deal for a decent bat without trading Mike Trout, sure go for it. Aramis Ramirez or Todd Helton would be an okay pickup, but I’m afraid he’s going to deal Trout for Alfonso Soriano. And his entire contract.