Mark Trumbo has never played third base in a professional game, majors or minors, so the Angels’ plans to use him at the hot corner this spring and perhaps regularly during the season raised the question of whether they might do the same with Albert Pujols.
Pujols, unlike Trumbo, actually has plenty of third base experience in the big leagues. He came up as a third baseman, played the position regularly during his first two seasons, and saw spot action there in seven games last season.
So might manager Mike Scioscia give him a look at third base, if only in an emergency situation to help clear the first base/corner outfield logjam? Nope. Scioscia told Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles that it’s not an option because he wouldn’t want to disrupt Pujols’ hitting.
For his part, Pujols indicated that he’d be willing to give third base a try if Scioscia wanted, saying:
If that’s the decision he has to make, I follow the orders. My job is here in the locker room. I don’t have the office. He’s the one who has the office and writes the lineup. It’s about winning, man.
So, to recap: Pujols would much rather play third base than be called “El Hombre.”
It seems fairly unlikely that Pujols would be worse than Trumbo at third base, but it’s equally unlikely that Pujols would actually be good there and Scioscia is probably smart not to mess with a $250 million investment.
Major League Baseball announced on Wednesday that former Red Sox DH David Ortiz and Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant won the 2016 Hank Aaron Award in their respective leagues.
Ortiz, 40, flourished in his final season, batting .315/.401/.620 with 38 home runs and 127 RBI in 626 plate appearances during the regular season. His .620 slugging percentage, 1.021 OPS, and 48 doubles led the majors while his 127 RBI led the American League. Ortiz also won the Hank Aaron Award back in 2005.
Bryant, 24, is the likely winner of the National League Most Valuable Player Award as well. He hit .292/.385/.554 with 39 home runs and 102 RBI over 699 plate appearances. He also led the league by scoring 121 runs. Bryant is the first Cub to win the Hank Aaron Award since Aramis Ramirez in 2008.
Last year’s winners in the AL and NL, respectively, were Josh Donaldson and Bryce Harper.
If you’ve happened to catch any of the coverage of the 2016 postseason on Fox and FS1, you’ve heard former Yankees DH Alex Rodriguez as part of an analyst panel with host Kevin Burkhardt and former major leaguers Pete Rose and Frank Thomas. Rodriguez has drawn rave reviews not just for passing a rather low bar we set for former athletes-turned-commentators, but because he’s adding real insight drawn both from his playing days and from doing research.
Indeed, Rodriguez is taking his new job as an analyst quite seriously, Newsday’s Neil Best reports. Bardia Shah-Rais, the VP of production for Fox, said of Rodriguez, “This is not a hobby for him. It’s not a parachute in. He’s invested. If we have a noon meeting, he’s there at 11:30 a.m. He’s emailing story ideas in the morning. He wants research. He’s almost all-in to the point where it’s annoying.”
Rose also praised Rodriguez, saying, “You’ve never been around a guy who prepares more than Alex does. Alex does his homework. He knows the game. He understands players. He’s into the deal . . . Frank does a great job in preparation, too. I’m the only one that don’t prepare as much as these two guys. I don’t know if that’s because I can’t write or what it is. But these guys do their homework and they ask questions and they ask the right questions and then you put that in with our experience, all the things we’ve been through and how good we get along with each other, that’s why it shows up on the TV.”
Rodriguez, who hasn’t officially retired despite not having played since the Yankees released him in mid-August, wouldn’t commit to more TV work beyond this year’s postseason.