Chat with Mark Saxon
Welcome to SportsNation! On Thursday, Los Angeles Angels writer Mark Saxon will stop by to chat some baseball.
Saxon is a staff writer for ESPNLosAngeles.com. He spent six years at the Orange County Register, and began his career at the Oakland Tribune, where he started an 11-year journey covering Major League Baseball. He has also covered colleges, including USC football and UCLA basketball.
Send your questions now and join Saxon Thursday at 2 p.m. ET/11 a.m. PT!
Mark Saxon (2:00 PM)
Were these two games signs of a turnaround or just another false start in a doomed season? Was the Mickey Hatcher firing justified? Plenty of stuff to get into, so let's open today's chat.
Is Pujols declining some, or is everyone burying him prematurely after a small sample size?
Mark Saxon (2:02 PM)
It's got to be a little of both, right Alex? But the latter seems more relevant to this because there's decline and then there's falling off a cliff, which is what Albert's production has done. I think we can expect a tapering of his numbers during this contract, but this feels like something different.
Hey Mark, Pujols' two homeruns have come in the last two games I've attended so clearly the Angels should pay me to attend all their games, right? On a more serious note, given the play of Trumbo in the outfield (and the plate) and with Borjous' glove lurking on the bench, is it looking more and more likely that Hunter is not re-signed after the season?
Mark Saxon (2:04 PM)
Dan, It's going to be a tough pillow to swallow because of who he is and what he means to everyone on the team and in the fan community, but it looks like Torii is very unlikely to re-sign here. The Angels no longer need an everyday outfielder and I don't think Torii will view himself as a fourth outfielder by November.
It looks like Callaspo is playing himself into a regular role both offensively and defensively. Have you heard any talk of him earning an extension?
Mark Saxon (2:05 PM)
No, none, but frankly I haven't asked anybody about it either. Izturis is a free agent, so Alberto will probably stick around, but they might just go through the arbitration process and take their chances. It's not like teams are lining up to get this guy when he becomes a F/A.
My brother and I were discussing the Angels recent dismissal of Mickey Hatcher. We hypothesized that perhaps his dismissal might have had to do with Pujols not being comfortable with him as the hitting coach. What do you think of our guesswork? Obviously the whole team was having trouble hitting (which I'm sure contributed in some part), but we think that might be the primary reason for the Angels getting rid of Hatcher. Thanks for the great work you do!
Mark Saxon (2:07 PM)
Chad, I think that sounds perfectly reasonable, but I'm told Albert nothing to do with it and wasn't even consulted. On the other hand, Albert had a lot to do with it because his poor performance fed into the Angels' overall flailings and that's what took down Mickey. I talked to a well-connected sports writer in St. Louis yesterday and was told Albert has always been his own hitting coach. The main thing Mickey did was throw him lots of BP.
daniel (Whittier Ca)
how long is torii huntert gonna be out
Mark Saxon (2:08 PM)
Just talked to Mike Scioscia about that. He said it won't be measured in weeks, but that it's going to take some time for Torii to feel "comfortable playing baseball again." Still vague, but has a few parameters.
Marco (East Los Angeles )
do you knw of any rumors right now about any trades??
Mark Saxon (2:17 PM)
The Peter Bourjos trade rumors are persistent, as the Washington Nationals seem to be locked in on Peter as the guy they want. The problem is both teams are contenders and it's hard to make those kinds of trades. I would be surprised if Jerry Dipoto doesn't do something, but it probably won't happen for a couple of months.
So as we all suspected, firing Mickey Hatcher solved everything. Right? Umm, right?
Mark Saxon (2:18 PM)
I'm not sure. Maybe Mickey was secretly drilling microscopic holes in these guys bats late at night.
So article in the Times today wonders if Scioscia is on treacherous footing. Another online column ponders if Terry Francona is waiting in the wings. What is your take? If nothing else, wouldn't Arte Moreno get tired of eating all these long term deals he hands out?
Mark Saxon (2:25 PM)
Yeah, some of that stuff sounds a bit premature to me. First of all, if the team begins to win, bad vibes have a way of clearing up. Second, they owe Scioscia something like $30 million between now and 2018. If he leaves, I predict it's to manage another team (would the Dodgers be interested under new management?). That way the Angels get out from under a contract and, perhaps, Scioscia moves to a setting where he's more comfortable with the GM.
Mark Saxon (2:26 PM)
But ultimately, he's going to have to live with having a boss who makes the final calls. The other model just doesn't work, in my opinion.
Ryan (Tustin )
so Bourjos is basically gone right? If Wells starts becoming serviceable We might as well use our best trade chip for bullpen help right? We all know Scioscia is going to keep playing Wells
Mark Saxon (2:27 PM)
When it's close, you play the contract. If Peter Bourjos had been tearing up the league with his bat, this would have been a very different move. But right now, it makes no sense for the Angels not to play Wells. The unfortunate thing is Peter doesn't get to hit his way out of the slump he started the season in. He's still young enough that he needs to play and develop his skills. They're atrophying on the bench, so I guess I agree that they should explore moving him.
Why didnt the Angels call up Hank Conger when Chris I. went down? Is he really doing that bad in the minors?
Mark Saxon (2:28 PM)
Preppy, Conger is on the DL in the minor leagues with a shoulder injury. He has had a lot of trouble with that throwing shoulder, so in this case, his body, not the organization, cost him an opportunity.
I don't quite understand the logic of playing Wells simply because he has a large contract. No matter what, the second Reagins and Moreno decided to take on all of that deal, the money was gone. If Wells continues to hurt the team, he shouldn't be playing. I think it would be a shame to give up on Bourjos simply under the guise of "We screwed up on Wells, but we have to keep him out there."
Mark Saxon (2:53 PM)
No, they didn't spend the money when they acquired him. They're still paying him. If you bought a $5,000 sweater, would you feel good about throwing it in the closet and not wearing it? I'm sure Arte Moreno would like to get as much as he can out of his investment. Like I said earlier, Peter Bourjos hasn't shown that he's more productive than Wells to this point.
Any chance that if Kendrys doesn't start hitting for more power we let him go after the season? I like Morales a lot, but just thinking how that way Trumbo can DH and fill in in the OF as needed, with an everyday OF of Wells, Bourjos, Trout in 2013...
Mark Saxon (2:55 PM)
Yeah, there's a chance. why not? But it's just way too early to conjecture on that because he's still showing the team what kind of hitter he's going to be. What if he hits 35 home runs again and bats .300. I imagine then, they'd like to keep him.
Blain (Newport Beach)
Mark, If Pujols were hitting this season like we all know he can, do you think Hatcger would've been fired?
Mark Saxon (2:55 PM)
Blain (Newport Beach)
Mark,There's a lot of talk about the Nationals interest in Borjous. Do you know who the Angels would consider from Washington in exchange for Peter?
Mark Saxon (2:56 PM)
No and I think that's the problem in a nutshell. They both want productive major-league players, not prospects. If the Angels fall deeply out of it by July, then it would be easier to swing.
Mark Saxon (2:56 PM)