Could the Angels trade one of their catchers?

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Angels general manager Tony Reagins was asked about his catching surplus by Mark Saxon of ESPNLosAngeles.com and he didn’t shoot down the possibility of making a trade:

“You never close your mind to any potential deal that will make you
better,” Angels general manager Tony Reagins said.

Though Mike Napoli started behind the dish on Saturday afternoon against the Blue Jays, Jeff Mathis has started nine of the first 13 games to begin the season. Bobby Wilson is also on the 25-man roster, however that’s mainly because he is out of options. He has just one at-bat so far this year.

There’s an obvious crunch behind the plate, leading Buster Olney of ESPN.com to a possible solution, via Brian McPherson of the Providence Journal.

At a time when the Red Sox are looking for a strong defensive
catcher, the Angels and Boston would seem to have a possible trade match
on Jeff Mathis. Boston would obviously have to have at least one good
prospect in the deal, and you wonder if the two sides could also find a
way to work Mike Lowell into the conversation, given the Angels’ growing
issue at third base.


Again, that’s all speculation, and we don’t even know if Mike
Scioscia would ever consider trading Mathis, who has been playing in
front of Mike Napoli so much that Napoli met with his manager. It’s hard
to imagine that Boston would be interested in Mike Napoli, because the
Red Sox already have a catcher who is a better hitter than defender in
Victor Martinez; Boston’s preference for their next catcher will be
someone who can slow opposing base-stealers.

Jason Varitek allowed four stolen bases on Friday night, but for now, the Red Sox have told the pitchers to focus on the hitters instead of worrying about holding baserunners. Besides, three catchers aren’t a luxury the Red Sox can afford if they can’t find someone to take on Mike Lowell. Olney presents an interesting solution, but such a perfect scenario is unlikely to materialize.
 

Why Ryan Zimmerman skipped spring training

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All spring training there was at least some mild confusion about Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman. He played in almost no regular big league spring training games, instead, staying on the back fields, playing in simulated and minor league contests. When that usually happens, it’s because a player is rehabbing or even hiding an injury, but the Nats insisted that was not the case with Zimmerman. Not everyone believed it. I, for one, was skeptical.

The skepticism was unwarranted, as Zimmerman answered the bell for Opening Day and has played all season. As Jared Diamond of the Wall Street Journal writes today, it was all by design. He skipped spring training because he doesn’t like it and because he thinks it’ll help him avoid late-season injuries and slowdowns, the likes of which he has suffered over the years.

It’s hard to really judge this now, of course. On the one hand Zimmerman has started really slow this season. What’s more, he has started to show signs of warming up only in the past week, after getting almost as many big league, full-speed plate appearances under his belt as a normal spring training would’ve given him. On the other hand, April is his worst month across his entire 14-year career, so one slow April doesn’t really prove anything and, again, Zimmerman and the Nats will consider this a success if he’s healthy and productive in August and September.

It is sort of a missed opportunity, though. Players hate spring training. They really do. if Zimmerman had made a big deal out of skipping it and came out raking this month, I bet a lot more teams would be amenable to letting a veteran or three take it much more easy next spring. Good ideas can be good ideas even if they don’t produce immediately obvious results, but baseball tends to encourage a copycat culture only when someone can point to a stat line or to standings as justification.

Way to ruin it for everyone, Ryan. 😉