Kendry Morales’ uncertain status as he comes back from the broken leg that ended his 2010 season after 51 games has potentially opened the door for a minor leaguer to grab a roster spot and perhaps even a prominent early season role for the Angels.
So far at least Mark Trumbo looks like the man for the job thanks to the power the 6-foot-4, 220-pounder has displayed in camp, smacking three homers and slugging .875 in the early games.
Trumbo has just 16 at-bats in the majors, all of which came last September, but he tied for the minor-league lead with 36 homers at Triple-A last season while hitting .301 with a .945 OPS and Pacific Coast League-leading 122 RBIs.
Those numbers were significantly better than Trumbo’s previous production and the combination of a high strikeout rate and mediocre plate discipline make him far from a sure thing to succeed at age 25, but his power potential is tough to ignore when he’s smacking bombs off the batters’ eye in center field or into the parking lot every other day.
It was assumed already, but Mike Scioscia made it official during Monday’s press conference for new general manager Billy Eppler that he will return as Angels manager in 2016.
Scioscia, the longest-tenured manager in the majors, has been at the helm with the Angels since 2000. There was a clause in his contract which allowed him to opt out after the 2015 season, but he has decided to stay put. He still has three years and $15 million on his contract, which runs through 2018.
Jerry Dipoto resigned as Angels general manager in July amid tension with Scioscia, so there were naturally questions today about what to expect with first-time GM Eppler in the fold. According to David Adler of MLB.com, Scioscia isn’t concerned.
“I think we’re going to mesh very well,” Scioscia said. “If we adjust, or maybe he adjusts to some of the things, there’s going to be collaboration that’s going to make us better.”
Eppler is the fourth general manager during Scioscia’s tenure with the team.
After winning the AL West last season, the Angels finished 85-77 this season and narrowly missed the playoffs. The team hasn’t won a postseason game since 2009.
Astros center fielder Carlos Gomez sat out the final series of the regular season in order to rest a strained left intercostal muscle, but there was good news coming out of a workout today in advance of Tuesday’s Wild Card game vs. the Yankees.
This has been a lingering issue for Gomez, who missed 13 straight games with the injury last month. He aggravated the strain on a throw to home plate last Wednesday and was forced to sit while the Astros fought to keep their season alive. Astros manager A.J. Hinch told reporters last week that Gomez’s injury would typically take 45-50 days to recover from, so it’s fair to wonder how productive he can be during the postseason.
Gomez mostly struggled after coming over from the Brewers at the trade deadline, batting .242 with four home runs and a .670 OPS over 41 games.