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Original Issue



A rival scout sizes up the Angels

When you sign Albert Pujols, you're booking your ticket to the playoffs. All 10-year contracts are bad, you're never going to get bang for your buck at the back end, but in his first few years they could win a World Series or two. Pujols has hit nothing but rockets this spring.... It's a solid lineup, and there's so much depth. Rookie outfielder Mike Trout is legit. He doesn't have Bo Jackson power, but he has Bo Jackson--type game—his athleticism is off the charts. But there's no need for the Angels to rush him right now.... With Pujols, Mark Trumbo goes from a Rookie of the Year candidate to having no place on the team. They're talking about playing him at third base, but he's so slow-footed and knock-kneed, it's going to be a challenge for him. He belongs in leftfield.... Howie Kendrick is going to win a batting title someday. And he overcame his deficiencies at second base and now finally looks comfortable.... Vernon Wells was pressing tremendously last year to live up to his contract. Now there's no pressure on him. He's lost 10 to 15 pounds, and I expect him to have a good year.... No one has a better top four in the rotation. Jered Weaver is so deceptive and unpredictable. And he's just straight up mean on the hill.... Dan Haren is an ace on a lot of staffs. He's a horse who you can pencil in 200 innings for.... C.J. Wilson is the fourth-best pitcher on the staff. I was surprised to see him get paid as much as he did. But as a No. 4? That's nasty.... They are real thin on their prospects—besides Trout, there's no help on the way. The Angels are built to win now. The window is going to close real fast.


With 2011 Statistics


13th season with Angels




$148.4 million



Slugging percentage by Angels DHs in 2011, second lowest in the AL. The signing of Albert Pujols to play first base should help add pop to the DH spot, which will be filled mostly by Kendrys Morales (career .502 slugging percentage) and Mark Trumbo (.477 SLG as a rookie last year).


When the Angels signed Albert Pujols, it created significant playing-time pressure on the rest of the roster—particularly on Mark Trumbo, who inherited the first base job last spring when Kendrys Morales couldn't recover from his fractured tibia. Trumbo hit 29 homers, had 87 RBIs and finished second in the AL Rookie of the Year voting. In an effort to get his bat into the lineup, the Angels tried the 6'4" 220-pounder at third base and in the outfield corners this spring. The question: Why? Despite the counting stats, Trumbo wasn't all that good last year: He had a .291 OBP and a .477 SLG. The likelihood that the lumbering Trumbo will be able to handle third is small, and the team passed on the idea of him playing outfield in the minors. Moreover, those positions aren't holes for the Angels. Third baseman Alberto Callaspo is a career .281/.337/.389 hitter who had his best defensive season a year ago. And the outfield is loaded; rookie Mike Trout is trying to push aside Vernon Wells in leftfield as it is. Trumbo was a better story than he is a player. Making the defense worse to get his low-OBP power into the lineup is counterproductive.