By adding Albert Pujols to a roster already well-stocked with first basemen and corner outfielders the Angels created a logjam that seemingly pointed to a trade.
Speculation centered on Mark Trumbo, because he’s 25 years old and the Rookie of the Year runner-up, but yesterday general manager Jerry Dipoto indicated that the Angels aren’t shopping him … or anyone for that matter.
“I don’t think we’re in position to move anybody,” Dipoto told Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register. “In the American League, you’re able to get at-bats a number of ways–DH, the corner spots in the infield and the outfield. … Mark has an opportunity to make an impact on our club for years.”
Trumbo is also recovering from a broken foot and his timetable has already been pushed back twice, so getting maximum value for him in a trade would be tough right now anyway. Beyond that Kendrys Morales’ health status remains uncertain two years after his broken leg, so the Angels’ logjam is more like a potential logjam if everyone is healthy.
And of course they’re still holding out some hope that Trumbo can move to third base on at least a part-time basis, which would make it a lot easier to divvy up the at-bats. However, he’s never seen any time at the position as a professional and very few people outside the Angels front office seem to think he’s capable of being anything more than significantly below average there defensively.
Once stud prospect Mike Trout is ready to stick in the majors for good and/or Morales is ready to play again it’s tough to imagine the Angels not making a move, but those issues may not be forced by Opening Day.
The Cubs wrapped up a four-game series against the Reds at Wrigley Field on Thursday afternoon, suffering a 13-10 loss to split the set. They’ll match up again against the Reds next week for a three-game series in Cincinnati. That’s good news for Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant, because that means he’ll get to see Reds first baseman Joey Votto some more.
As CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney reports, Bryant has grown quite fond of Votto. Bryant has already won a World Series ring, a Rookie of the Year Award, and an MVP Award, but he still looks up to Votto. According to Bryant, Votto is “the best player ever.” He added, ““He’s my favorite player. I love watching him. I love talking to him, just picking his brain. He gets a lot of (heat) about his walks and working at-bats and some people want him to swing at more pitches. But, gosh, I mean, he does an unbelievable job. You know that he’s going to give you a great at-bat every time he goes up there. It’s definitely a guy that I look up to and I can learn from.”
Bryant said that Votto is “a future Hall of Famer, that’s for sure.”
Bryant also explained how his approach changed by watching Votto. He said that in his rookie season, he was “swinging at everything.” Votto, however, is “aggressive, but he’s not going to swing at a pitch until he wants it.”
Indeed, in Bryant’s rookie season, he struck out in nearly 31 percent of his 650 plate appearances. This season, he has struck out in only 19 percent of his PA. His walk rate has also increased by more than 2.5 percent since his rookie campaign. Compared to last year, Bryant is down in HR and RBI, but his average is the same, his on-base percentage is markedly better, and his slugging percentage is only down by a minute amount.
Diamondbacks second baseman Daniel Descalso hit his team’s third inside-the-park home run of the season during Thursday’s 4-0 win over the Astros. In the top of the fourth inning, with the score 1-0 and the bases empty, Descalso ripped a 1-0, 83 MPH change-up to right-center field. The ball caromed off the wall, heading towards left field, which sent center Jake Marisnick on the chase. Marisnick tried to pick up the ball with his glove, but dropped it, which sealed Descalso’s destiny for an inside-the-parker.
It had only been five days since the Diamondbacks’ last inside-the-park home run. David Peralta hit one against the Cubs on August 12. Ketel Marte legged out his club’s first ITPHR on July 26 against the Braves.
As ESPN Stats & Info notes, the Diamondbacks have three as a team, which is amazing because the other 29 teams have hit seven combined.