A few days ago, Mike Scioscia raised a few eyebrows, and piqued a lot of interest, when he said the Angels' top prospect, Mike Trout, isn't in the team's current plans, but...
"Maybe in a month, if you're asking me, we're going to be having a different conversation."
The details of that conversation remain hazy, at best. You wonder at times whether the Angels, under general manager Tony Reagins, are charting a sensible course for the coming years. Or, are they charting a course at all, or simply making it up as they go along?
If Trout is so good -- and there's a wide consensus in baseball that he'll be a star some time in the next two years -- why do the Angels have more than $45 million tied up in outfielders -- for next year? If you consider Bobby Abreu an outfielder, that's the number you're looking at. The Angels seem perfectly willing to allow a $9 million option in Abreu's contract to vest (he only needs 209 more plate appearances), meaning they'll have him, at age 38, for 2012.
They'll also be paying a 36-year-old Torii Hunter $18 million and a 33-year-old Vernon Wells $21 million for 2012. In fact, they've got Wells pulling them down locked up through 2014.
The only way to accommodate Trout, barring a trade of one of those veterans -- doubtful, unless the Angels ate a few garbage bags stuffed with $100 bills -- is for Peter Bourjos to fail. The way he's hitting, that seems quite possible, but rooting for one of your best young players to do poorly so another gets an opportunity is a bad business.
When the Angels traded for Wells, it seemed like every human being on the planet blasted them because of the financial outlay ($86 million). That might just be reason No. 1 why the trade could pull this organization down for years to come. Consider Trout, who has a .947 OPS at Double-A Arkansas, reason No. 2.
As for Abreu, he is a vital cog in this Angels' offense because he actually gets on base, but allowing that option to vest would be just another poor long-term decision for a GM that seems to be specializing in them.