Could the Angels trade one of their catchers?

Leave a comment

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.
 

Report: Mike Trout as recognizable to Americans as NBA’s Kenneth Faried

Rob Carr/Getty Images
Leave a comment

On Monday, the Washington Post cited Q Scores, a firm that measures consumer appeal of personalities, with regard to Angels outfielder Mike Trout. According to Q Scores, Trout is as recognized to Americans as NBA forward Kenneth Faried, who has spent seven seasons with the Denver Nuggets and is now a reserve with the Brooklyn Nets. Trout’s score was 22, which means just over one in five Americans know who he is.

We have talked here at various times about Trout’s lack of marketability. He has expressed zero interest in being marketed as the face of baseball. Additionally, based on the nature of the sport, it’s harder for baseball to aggressively market its stars since star players don’t impact teams the same way they do in other sports. LeBron James, for example, carries whatever team he’s on to the NBA Finals. James has appeared in the NBA Finals every year dating back to 2011. Trout, despite being far and away the best active player in baseball and one of the best players of all time, has only reached the postseason once, in 2014 when his Angels were swept in the ALDS by the Royals. Trout can’t carry his team to the playoffs and his team hasn’t helped him any in getting there on a regular basis.

Baseball is also more of a regional sport. Fans follow their local team, of course, and don’t really venture beyond that even though games are broadcast nationally throughout the week. The NFL schedule is much shorter and occurs once a week, so fans put aside time to watch not just their favorite team’s game, but other games of interest as well. A June game between the subpar White Sox and Tigers doesn’t have much appeal to it since it’s one of 162 games for both teams, and both teams will play again later in the season. Comparatively, a game between the Bears and Lions has more intrigue since they only play twice a year.

It’s kind of a shame for baseball that Trout isn’t bigger than he is because he is a once-in-a-generation talent, like Ken Griffey Jr. In fact, Trout is so good that he’s still underrated. He’s on pace to have one of the greatest seasons of all-time, going by Wins Above Replacement. Despite that, he’s anything but a lock to win the MVP Award at season’s end because the narratives around other players, like Mookie Betts, are more compelling.

Trout’s marketability is an issue that isn’t likely to be fixed anytime soon. Trout is who he is and forcing him to ham it up for the cameras would come off as forced and unnatural. Major League Baseball will simply have to hope its other stars, like Bryce Harper and Mookie Betts, can help broaden the appeal of the sport.