It's perfectly legal to have a third baseman who isn't 6-foot-3 and capable of hitting 40 home runs a season.
You can win with lightning on the corners as well as thunder. Does anyone deny Chone Figgins was among the Angels' most valuable players before he left for Seattle?
The problem in 2010 was the Angels got virtually nothing from their third basemen, neither noise nor light. It was the coldest corner in baseball.
It became a revolving door of mediocrity once Brandon Wood fell on his face. Angels third baseman collectively batted .223 with a .266 on-base percentage, a .307 slugging percentage, eight home runs and 52 RBIs. The homer total was an American League low. The .573 OPS was the worst in the majors.
And the Angels fixed this glaring problem by... doing nothing.
They dipped their toe in the Adrian Beltre market, but found it overheated. So now, with about two weeks until opening day, they're left to rely on three possible solutions that were equally possible and equally unexciting last September: Maicer Izturis, Alberto Callaspo and Wood.
In other words, it remains the position of angst.
Izturis clearly is the most appealing pick today. He has the best lifetime on-base percentage (.340) of any of the candidates and manager Mike Scioscia has already said he's his preferred leadoff hitter. There's no reason Izturis couldn't be a similar catalyst to Figgins, a switch hitter with good speed, only with a little more pop.
He can't do those things if he isn't on the field. Izturis has been on the disabled list nine times since 2005 and Scioscia thinks his maximum payload is about 4-5 games a week. He's already missed a couple of games this spring with "undisclosed tightness." Izturis sounds great on March 15, but where will he be on Aug. 15?
The guy they're counting on is always a shaky bet, so what's that leave them?
Callaspo seems like a perfectly serviceable backup, but hardly someone you would want playing every day, or even a few times a week. His lifetime OPS (.720) and homer totals (21) make him a neutral addition to the lineup (at best), plus he is a barely average fielder with below-average speed. He's just a guy, hard to tell how he's even better than Kevin Frandsen.
Then there's Wood. What to make of him? A brilliant prospect a few years ago, he's now had parts of four seasons to prove something to somebody at the major league level. Here's what we know: He's got a .169 average and a .458 OPS. Wood would be on somebody else's roster, fighting to salvage his career, if he weren't just 26 years old.
The debate within the Angels is when to give up on Wood, not whether he's an option to play every day any more. He'll be lucky if he makes the Angels roster, considering a guy he's competing against for a roster spot, Mark Trumbo, is the team's hottest hitter this spring.
You wonder why the Angels didn't take a chance and bring in a veteran or two to make things more interesting. Eric Chavez was out there for a long time before he signed a minor-league deal with the New York Yankees on Feb. 11.
Chavez grew up in San Diego and lives in Los Angeles. An offer from the Angels might have tempted him to give it another go.
Chavez isn't only batting .370 this spring, he's also been playing a solid first base on an experimental basis. He's got Gold Glove defensive skills at third and he's a left-handed hitter, which would have been a nice counterbalance to the Angels' right-leaning lineup.
Yeah, there's a good chance Chavez, too, will get hurt again (he's played in 154 of a possible 648 games the last four years because of back, shoulder and neck injuries), but you wonder why the Angels couldn't have at least tried something creative and outside the box.
Instead, they went with their new favorite Plan B: inactivity.