The Angels May Still Have Problems, But A Mendoza Line Hittin’ Catcher Ain’t One…

Amazing how quickly they update the uniforms in these online pics. Behold the power of the Adobe Creative Suite...or whatever.

…Or is it? Oh, I don’t mean are the Angels still keeping Jeff Mathis. Jerry Dipoto made his first personnel move as the Angels manager on Wednesday, trading rookie pitcher Tyler Chatwood to the Rockies for catcher Chris Iannetta and, by all accounts, one of his next moves will be to non-tender Jeff Mathis and I am beyond okay with this. I think Mathis is a good guy and the pitchers love him. And he is rather good at take down plays at the plate. But there are also all of the mental errors in throw down situations and, ugh, that batting average. Yes, Mathis has a pretty swing to be sure but, after this many seasons, I’ve stopped waiting for the pretty swing to become a productive swing and just reflexively cringe whenever the guy steps into the batter’s box.

Suffice to say, I’m not going to miss Mathis much and would be thrilled to get an actual bat in the catcher’s position. And, initially, I was quite seduced by Iannetta’s lifetime .238 average and typical double digit season homeruns numbers…okay, so they’re just barely double digit and .238 isn’t that great a batting average for anyone who isn’t a catcher but compared to the lifetime .197 average and “he holds the record for most home runs…hit on opening day…on his birthday” stats that I’m used to? Please, that there is a hitting dynamo.

…But then I slowed down my ridiculous happy dance and began to think, hmmm. Rockies player. Batting in the land where balls hit with a stick fly freely into the upper deck and pitchers fear to tread. What are this guy’s road splits like? Ugly, as it turns out. Looking up to Mathis’ .197 most seasons, in fact. And the happy dance is slowing down. Sllloooooooowing down. And we’re stopping now. Well, yuck. And by yuck I really mean something that rhymes with yuck and has more of a Van Halen album title-ish vibe to it, but this is a family blog, or something like that.

I’m not crying foul on this trade yet. Maybe I’ve just been scarred by Vernon Wells’ last season and the home/away splits that preceded it. Maybe Iannetta’s splits have more to do with really feeling comfortable with the home crowd, the home clubhouse, home cooking, home anything but the Earth’s yellow sun like properties that Coors Field has on the would-be Superman bats of hitters ranging anywhere from mediocre to awesome. Maybe?? Or, maybe my pessimistic thoughts are more akin to realistic thoughts in this case.

In an interview today on Clubhouse Confidential Jerry Dipoto was asked about this very thing and chose the more optimistic interpretation of the splits. On the one hand, of course he would, he just made the deal! On the other hand, he did work for the Rockies and has some insight into the players. Then again, when asked what primary characteristic sold him on Ianetta, Dipoto said, He walks. A lot. Okay. So, what then? Iannetta is the Italian demi-god of walks?

Tyler Chatwood and Jeff Mathis, both of whom had seen better games at this point. Angels vs. Rangers, August 16, 2011. Photo by This is a very simple game...

Anyway, National League folks, or anyone else who knows a lot more about this player than I, lay it on me. What do you think of this acquisition?

And as for the trading away Tyler Chatwood, I don’t mind it terribly. I thought he was good, poised beyond his tender years, and showed promise as a bottom half of the rotation starter. I was less than thrilled with his strikeout to walk ratio and with how early and how well and thoroughly he sputtered out during his rookie season. I know that it will take another season to determine if that’s indicative of a long term flaw or just rookie stretching out and growing pains, but I still don’t view trading him as a bad thing, not that I would have minded keeping him either. Of course, if the Rockies turn around and trade him to the Rangers tomorrow and Chatty proceeds to take revenge on the team who scorned him by having a career year and sitting our asses down one by one all season long, I may revise my opinion somewhat.

Scarred, who? Me? 😉


    • This is a very simple game...

      Interesting that you wanted Iannetta. I kind of wanted Molina. “Kind of” only because sometimes coming back to a team works and it just doesn’t. I do have hopes for Iannetta. It’s just those splits that give me pause.

      — Kristen

  1. Red State Blue State

    I know you don’t want to hear this but if Mathis leaves the Halos this can only mean that he will have a career year in 2012, maybe even be considered for the World Series MVP if he can get there and win.

    • the male brown footed loon

      Jeff, the only true justice in the universe would be if that happened with a pickup by the rangers. So that we could see the disgusted WTF look on Napoli’s face.

    • This is a very simple game...

      Indeed Jeff, it could be no other way. If fact, he’s sure to become a silver slugger and tragically just miss the triple crown and all on behalf of a Mariners or A’s Renaissance. LOL! I can hear the MLBN pundits questioning the non tender decision now. “Well you know, that Mathis has hit more home runs on Opening Day on his birthday than any player still in the game. Letting him go made no sense…” 😉

      — Kristen

  2. Michael David

    Nice pick-up by the Angels. The Tigers are getting Laird back, I read, so I doubt Mathis could find a home there. Someone will pick him up, though.
    ‘Minoring In Baseball’

    • This is a very simple game...

      Thanks, Mike! I hope it all works out. Fortunately for us, the Jays dove on that grenade. I wish Mathis the best. Hopefully the Jays hitting coach can whip him into shape, except when he sees a halo’d logo and woefully relapses for three games or so…

      — Kristen

  3. Laura

    Hey! I’ve been watching the trades on that lovely twitter machine and I’m happy about both trade aways. I too cringed with Mathis at the plate and toward the end of the season, I cringed with Chatty on the mound. He had so much potential but he gave me too many gray hairs (at 18) for me to count.

    I’m just curious what you think of CJ Wilson potentially coming to Anaheim. I’m excited. But I’ve heard rumors of the Angels pursuing Pujols but I’m not sure I like it. First base is gonna be tricky enough with Morales coming back as it is. Unless Pujols has another position that I didn’t know about. (Which is totally possible)

    • Laura

      I guess I spoke too soon! The Angels are officially despised by all St Louis. I’m not too happy about it. Because we might lose Trumbo and that would break my heart.

      • This is a very simple game...

        I hope this doesn’t mean losing Trumbo either Laura because if we lose our only slugging bat to gain a better slugging bat we still have only one slugging bat in the lineup which doesn’t make much sense to me. Of the available choices, I would reather they get rid of some of our utility guys but then I feel like we’re trying to cobble together an entire puzzle from middle pieces and one of the edges, LOL.

        — Kristen

    • This is a very simple game...

      Sounds like we signed Wilson today too Laura, wow. Dipoto announced his presence with authority! I’m of two minds on Wilson. I think he’s very, very good but in our rotation, number 3 or number 4…which we need, don’t get me wrong. I am concerned that he still seems to be “stretching out” from his days as a reliever and that he faded earlier in 2011 than in 2010. But that could be a fluke, I don’t know. We’ll find out. Now that he’s ours I sure hope it’s a fluke…

      As far as Albert goes, he was originally a third baseman in his rookie season. They also tried him in both corner outfield positions (yes, because we need another outfielder 😉 ) and then at first that season. Pujols hits best when he’s playing first though and he’s played there so long that I imagine they’ll send Trumbo to third (if they keep him, and I hope they keep him!) before they send Pujols.

      — Kristen

      • Laura

        I heard that Detriot is trying to take Izturis so I suppose Pujols could have a spot at third.
        I’m so happy about Wilson too! Weaver, Haren and Wilson are gonna be amazing.

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