Sean McAdam, while noting that no conversations have occurred to this effect, observes that Mike Lowell might be a good fit with the Angels.
Makes sense: LAAofA just lost Kendry Morales for the year, they have a swirling vortex of suck at third base right now in the form of Brandon Wood and their DH — Hideki Matsui — has been less than effective. Lowell fits in all three of those slots.
McAdam quotes insiders who observe that the Angels tend to try to fill holes internally if at all possible. That’s great, but at some point you have too many holes. Brandon Wood stinks? Fine, that was always possible. Matsui? No worries, give Mike Napoli a day off behind the dish and hope that limited play causes Godzilla to spring back to life. But those two and no first baseman? Maybe too much to overcome.
It’s hard to see Anaheim wanting to give up too much for Lowell, but it’s not at all clear that they’d have to either. One gets the sense that the Boston brass is sensitive to the fact that Lowell is simply dangling right now. Yeah, it’s a business and all but you have to figure they want to do right by the guy and give him a chance to play.
The biggest barrier to this? Probably the fact that there’s a decent chance that both the Sox and the Angels have wild card aspirations, so why would one team want to help the other before it’s clear whether there’s going to be a race or not.
Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant was one of the most prominent examples of service time manipulation in recent memory. He was ranked as the No. 1 prospect in baseball going into the 2015 season by Baseball America. He then had an incredible spring, batting .425 with a spring-high nine home runs and 15 RBI. The Cubs, however, didn’t add him to the Opening Day roster, instead keeping him in Triple-A for the first two weeks of the season, ensuring the club would get another year of control over Bryant because he wouldn’t accrue enough service time. He made his debut on April 17 and the rest was history. Bryant won the 2015 NL Rookie of the Year Award.
While the MLB Players Association filed a grievance on his behalf, Bryant didn’t say anything. But it was a learning moment for him. The same is true of the past offseason, which Bryant says “opened my eyes,” as Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times reports. He now considers labor issues a priority, saying, “I need to study up, have my voice heard, continue to learn, because this is going to affect us for years to come. And I’d be foolish not to kind of offer myself out there.”
As Wittenmyer notes, Bryant hopes to replace Jake Arrieta as the Cubs’ player reprensentative. The players make that decision later this month. Bryant also vowed to fight for the next collective bargaining agreement. He said, “Maybe the focus was on other things rather than some of the more important things. But I think with this next one things are definitely going to change, and there’ll definitely be more fight on our side just because we’re going to get the chance to experience the effects of some of the things we agreed to. The only way to get what you want here is to fight for it. And I think you’re going to see a lot of that.”
It’s good to see Bryant motivated by recent economic developments in baseball. Hopefully more players take his lead and become more informed, arming themselves with all of the tools they need to create a better situation for themselves when the current CBA expires.