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Friday, March 11, 2011
Trumbo and the redundancy of Wood

By Mark Saxon

The first conclusion to draw out of Mark Trumbo's sizzling spring (.389, 4 homers, 11 RBIs) is that he is beginning to look like a reasonable short-term replacement if Kendrys Morales isn't ready when the lights come on March 31.

The second thing you wonder is: How close is Brandon Wood to being shipped out? Of course, Wood was no lock to make the Angels' roster even if Trumbo weren't around.

Wood is eminently aware of this. When I spoke to him early this spring, he had his eyes wide open. Until you sign your first contract, you're always playing for all 30 teams.

But now Wood looks less useful than ever, and this is a guy who barely budged off the bench in June, July and August last year. He and Trumbo are similar-style hitters, right-handed with an all-or-nothing style that piles up homers and strikeouts. Wood's most useful asset before Trumbo's hot spring was an ability to offer coverage at first base. It's Trumbo's natural position. It's not Wood's.

The Angels don't need Wood to provide backup at shortstop and third base because they already have Maicer Izturis and Alberto Callaspo. Wood is out of options, so the Angels have only a few choices. They can trade him in the next couple of weeks, they can continue to carry him on their roster without a role in sight or they can try to demote him and see if he sneaks through waivers.

The trade route doesn't look particularly profitable, but it's doubtful he'd get by all 29 other teams on the waiver wire. Wood talked about having figured some things out with his swing, but after a delayed start with a stiff lower back, he has only five hits in 28 at-bats this spring and has six strikeouts.

His days in an Angels uniform appear to be numbered.