Make no mistake: the Angels are looking at Friday’s promotion of top prospect Mike Trout to the majors as a short-term fix. The plan is for the 19-year-old to help out this weekend and then return to the minors if the hamstring injury suffered by Peter Bourjos last night proves as minor as hoped.
The only way for Trout to change that is to have the weekend of his life and to convince the Halos that they’re much better off with him than they would be without. Trout possesses that kind of talent; he’s hit .324/.415/.534 as a 19-year-old in Double-A.
Still, it’s going to be a tough sell. Bourjos is the Angels’ lone outfielder not making a boatload of money, and he’s exceeded expectations offensively this season while playing center as well as anyone in the majors. Vernon Wells and Torii Hunter have both been big disappointments, but Wells finally found his stroke last month and it’s hard to imagine the Angels sending Hunter to the bench.
There is one route the Angels could go, but it’d be a big risk: they could release Bobby Abreu. Abreu is getting on base 40-percent of the time as the team’s primary DH, but he has just three homers and 35 RBI in 85 games. Of course, he’s been more productive than Wells or Hunter, but unlike those two, he has no defensive value at all.
Still, the real reason for the Angels to consider releasing him is that he’s 74 plate appearances away from having his $9 million option for next season vest.
If the Angels did cut him, they’d most likely face a grievance and it’s possible they’d end up paying him that $9 million anyway.
Plus, Abreu still has value, even if he’s not worth $9 million per year anymore.
So, Abreu will likely stick and Trout will probably head back to the minors next week and stay there until Sept. 1 or one of the aforementioned players lands on the DL.
But it would be fun to see him force the issue.