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Thursday, January 6, 2011
Mike Scioscia reacts to the front office's inaction

By Mark Saxon

It was uncharacteristic of Mike Scioscia when, at the winter meetings last month, the manager declared his team’s intentions in stark terms.

“I think that we do need to add offensive depth,” Scioscia said.

Hmmm… nearly a month later, nothing. The Angels’ lone moves have been to add relief pitchers, signing Scott Downs and Hisanori Takahashi to multi-year deals.


Offensive depth, as in Plans D through Z, appears to be all that’s left out there, forcing Scioscia to do a little verbal backtracking. After two of the biggest names on the free-agent market, Carl Crawford and Adrian Beltre, spurned the Angels’ offers for richer deals, Scioscia has had some justifying to do and lately, he’s been doing it.

He went on 710 ESPN Radio’s Mason & Ireland Show on Thursday and explained that the bidding simply got too rich for owner Arte Moreno’s blood. One thing to keep in mind: The Angels are saddled with eight arbitration-eligible players and, by opening day, the payroll likely will surge north of $130 million with no further additions.

“These contracts just ran away from what our team can do,” Scioscia said.

The Angels’ offense fell off a cliff from 2009 to 2010, shedding 202 runs and slipping from No. 2 in baseball to No. 19. On the plus side, the team has Kendry Morales returning from a broken leg and figures to get improvement from at least some of the players who had sub-par seasons last year.

Right now, it sounds as if those are the things on which Scioscia is banking.

“I hear the doom-and-gloomers out there, I get asked by a lot of media about it, I’m sure a lot of fans are wondering,” Scioscia said. “I’m optimistic about our team. On the offensive side, we’re not quite as deep. Two of the higher-profile guys we weren’t able to get, but we’re not finished yet. There could be some other minor things happening, but right now we’re still a good club.”

The Angels are believed to be talking to the representatives of outfielder Scott Podsednik and, possibly, Johnny Damon. Neither of those additions would appear to be over-the-top moves, but they're something.