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Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Scioscia: "The Jury Is Still Out" On Kotchman, McPherson

Maybe it's best if you're trying to light a fire under someone if you do it in public:
And what of Casey Kotchman, who showed flashes in the second half?

Kotchman and third baseman Dallas McPherson, who is rehabbing from a serious hip injury, have the Angels caught in between hops.

"The jury is still out on both of them," Scioscia said.

Fair enough and all, but I would think that Kotchman's .333/.353/.479 line in September would be enough. Is this just a way of preventing divisive talk about who should be handed the starting first base job?

Yeah, well, the jury is definitely in on Finley and Erstad, but the guilty verdicts weren't enough to keep them out of the lineup.
Scoscia has had the luxury of inheriting a fairly solid veteran core, and then conveniently plugging in young talent without making really hard decisions about benching that core.

I'll give a lot of credit to Scoscia if he makes the right call and sets Erstad as a utility guy. But I'd be shocked if he did.

Then again, maybe Finley becomes a 20HR guy and Erstad a 300 hitter agian. Maybe mysterious injuries has been plaguing Erstad continously since 2002. Maybe Finley was trying to do without viagra this year, and it didn't work out for him.

They better. That A's staff is going to be scary next year.
They'll be good, but I wouldn't go so far as scary. The big problem the Angels will start facing is integrating the kids into the existing lineup without too much damage. Erstad and his $8M/year will be a problem, and the team will be minus Bengie's bat for the first time. Plus, regardless of how he got there, the team won't have a 3.20 ERA Washburn in its lineup. Pitching and offensive regressions will probably hurt the club; McPherson is the only regular who I have higher hopes for.
There's no such thing in Major League history as a regular 41-year-old center fielder, let alone one who can hit. And Erstad's slump is now going into its sixth year.

If Scioscia can't imagine Erstad in the oufield, Stoneman has to do his imagining for him. Deference to veterans arguably cost a shot at the World Series this year; it can't be allowed to further stunt the progress of a Mark Grace-caliber hitter.
<< Deference to veterans arguably cost a shot at the World Series this year >>

Not sure how any of the young guys could have compensated for ice-cold Vlad and Chone, though.

I mean, the decision to start Kotchman or at least feature him a lot seems pretty self-evident. He was rated as a plus defensive infielder as well, so it's not like you're going to have a big defensive drop at 1st base.

It just seems to me that the real issue is whether Scoscia makes the unpopular decisions or not. And I don't think anybody would mind if Finley played from the bench.
the team will be minus Bengie's bat for the first time.

You'll forgive me if I'm not exactly gnashing my teeth at the thought of losing a guy with a lifetime OPS+ of 84. He's had exactly one season above average at the plate compared to four below, three well below. I'd be surprised if Bengie signs a big deal and hits like he did this year.
I'd be surprised if Bengie signs a big deal and hits like he did this year.

I won't be surprised if Bengie signs a big deal. I will be surprised if he hits like he did this year. Even if he does in 2006, what are the odds for 2007? For 2008?
Well, the and was kind of the important word in that sentence. Bottom line, even with Bengie next year, we'd likely be without his 2005 bat.
Bengie has been well underpaid for the past couple years, and I wish the absolute best for him in his new contract that will compensate him for his past accomplishments. I just hope it isn't Arte Moreno that will be paying him $7-8 million next year. I wish we had Bengie for one more year...to give Mathis another one to mature, but please mister moreno, don't sign him for 3 or 4.

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