Out With The Crowd: "The team leads the world in runs scored"
Evan Jordan's confident the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, California, Estados Unidos, Earth can win the AL West — but he's less confident than some, primarily thanks to pitching. We spoke late last week about Vernon Wells, bad contracts, and the new kids in town.
Sarah D. Bunting: Who's your favorite acquisition for the 2013 season?
Evan Jordan: I'm going to cheat a little on this one and say Peter Bourjos. I basically consider him a new acquisition since he played so little last year. The Josh Hamilton acquisition raised questions about his future, but I was glad to see the team make the decision to stick with him and trade Kendrys Morales for pitching depth instead of trading Bourjos.
So you like him better than J. Ham?
Only because I feel like nothing Hamilton will do will surprise me. Bourjos represents a wildcard, and that's exciting for me.
And who's your least favorite new Halo?
I'd say Joe Blanton. Not necessarily because I think it was terrible direction to take, but because I didn't like the contract. I think the team overpaid on a two-year deal.
Anyone you were happy to see go over the winter?
That's the easiest question so far now that Vernon Wells is a Yankee.
It was a mistake to let [Mike] Napoli go, and it was a mistake to bring on Wells. Double whammy! And then Bill Stoneman lost his job. Coincidence? Probably not.
Anyone who's gone that you'll miss?
Definitely Torii Hunter. He was so much fun to watch and so easy to root for, it's hard to think of games without him. As a fan, I always felt he was giving it his best and really trying to make the fans happy. I'm going to miss that. In fact, I may even be cheering for the Tigers a little bit just because he's there.
I like that guy a lot. Most genuine smile in MLB.
He'll be missed. That's for sure. I agree with the decision, but that doesn't mean I won't miss him. I think management felt the same way.
A lot of peeps are picking the Angels as winning the West, but do you have any worries about them this season?
I understand the danger of trusting spring-training stats, but going 9-19 doesn't instill confidence.
I'm worried about the bullpen. Last year, the Angels finished fourth out of the West. The bullpen blew 22 saves. That's an issue, especially with guys like [Ernesto] Frieri and [Scott] Downs in for some regression on last year's performance. They made some good additions in [Ryan] Madson and [Sean] Burnett, but there are obvious Tommy John issues with Madson and Burnett hasn't pitched much this spring.
Where do you see the Angels finishing in the standings?
I see them at the top of the West. Mainly because of the steps Texas has taken backwards and the fact that Oakland is relying on one of the most unpredictable assets in baseball — young pitching. I think the offense covers the pitching woes, and the Angels come out atop the division.
That's a good story line too! I remember people claiming the AL West was a weaker division because there were only four teams. Well, this proves it's more about quality than quantity, right? A few extra games against Houston only helps the Angels' chances of at least nabbing a WC berth.
Word. That's going to be some St. Louis Browns-style foolishness this year. (Says the Mets fan…sigh.)
Hey — at least your fences are closer, right?!
Any surprises during spring training? Pleasant or unpleasant.
Unpleasant has been the performance of the pitching staff. The team leads the world in runs scored and is last in the Cactus League in the most important stat, W-L.
A pleasant surprise has been watching Mike Trout, Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton hit in the same lineup. That's so much fun!
Any hope that the pitching is just getting kinks out? Or do you think it's indicative? I mean, Mets fans can tell ourselves it's "just" spring training, but…the pitching will still suck come April. And May. And August.
The saving grace is that Madson and Burnett haven't pitched much. The problem is that is that Madson is coming off major surgery. The hope is that Burnett adds depth and the starting pitching eats enough innings to limit bullpen use. Along those lines, the Angels starting five can eat innings, so there's hope!
And that's not a bad segue to my next question: If you could tell your manager one thing, what would it be?
That's a tough question, because I think [Mike] Scioscia's strategy is pretty solid. If the starters are pitching well, he'll ride them. My only thought would be get some bullpen roles worked out fast! I don't know what those roles should be, but the Angels need someone to step up. Even if it's Mark Lowe, who they just acquired. They're trying pieces, but nothing's really standing out right now.
Anything else bugging you? Other teams? Ongoing stories? Mine is how the whole ESPN staff is berating themselves for picking the Yanks last in the AL East.
Ugh, yes. Well, for me, I'm sick of hearing the whole "attendance is down and baseball is dying" story.
Is that even true?
Attendance is low in some cities (see: Miami), but Forbes just came out with their annual franchise valuation and guess what, the Marlins were up year over year!
People compare MLB to the NBA in attendance. Well, here's a fun stat: attendance for MLB games in Detroit averaged 37,383 in the 2012 season, and you’ll remember they had a very disappointing season until the end of the year. Average attendance so far in 2013 for the Detroit Pistons: 12,262.
And given that's, like, the total population of Detroit at this point…
The other issue I have with the story is baseball makes more money off the field than it does on the field. In today's baseball, it's almost more about eyes on a screen than butts in a seat.
Especially in this market. The YES network is like the Vatican.
Jumping on TV revenue first is what made the Yankees the Yankees in my opinion.
There's a masters thesis in that.
Hmm, comparing investments of the Yankees to those of the Mets…sorry, couldn't resist.
Yeah, way ahead of you. #FreeBonilla
Evan Jordan was born in the shadows of Angels Stadium and has followed the Angels both from up close and from afar ever since then. He's currently following from afar in New York, where he works in public relations by day and follows baseball by night with his wife and two sons.
Tags: Albert Pujols Bill Stoneman Bobby Bonilla Detroit Tigers Ernesto Frieri Evan Jordan Houston Astros Joe Blanton Josh Hamilton Kendrys Morales Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Mark Lowe Miami Marlins Mike Napoli Mike Scioscia Mike Trout New York Yankees Out With The Crowd Peter Bourjos Ryan Madson Scott Downs Sean Burnett shut up Wilpons St. Louis Browns Torii Hunter Vernon Wells