Change The Angels In The Outfield

Last night, the Rangers beat the Angels 3-2 to push their lead in the AL West to six games. They did so, in large part, because Anaheim’s outfield defense is atrocious. Even Jered Weaver couldn’t hide his frustration with the fielding ability of the guys playing behind him, saying the following:

“Some things didn’t go my way there in the sixth inning or it could have been a little different game. We could be playing right now.”

“Obviously, (Vladimir Guerrero) hustled out there and turned what I thought was a single into a double.”

On Josh Hamilton’s double, Weaver stated that he “popped a changeup up.” Torii Hunter was a bit more direct, saying “Some balls dropped that probably shouldn’t have dropped.”

The misplays in the outfield isn’t a new problem for the Angels. On any given night, they have two of Juan Rivera, Bobby Abreu, and Hideki Matsui in the outfield, and none of them are exactly range monsters. Matsui can barely move at this point in his career, and as Guerrero showed last night, Abreu’s arm doesn’t scare anyone anymore either. Anaheim’s outfield defense is a big problem.

If they want to give themselves a chance to run down Texas, they should consider a drastic move – call up Peter Bourjos from Triple-A and play him everyday. Ideally, he would get to run around center field, but I’m sure that Hunter wouldn’t take that well, so they would have to settle for putting him in in a corner. Even there, Bourjos would still be such a huge defensive upgrade for the Angels that it’s worth trying.

Whether Bourjos will hit in the majors is still a question mark. He doesn’t have much power or a great approach at the plate, but he’s extremely fast and a pretty decent bunter. His upside is probably that of Juan Pierre, but right now, the Angels could use a guy like that.

Rivera and Abreu could split time between one OF spot and DH, limiting the damage the three statues can do to the pitching staff. And, at the same time, the Angels would get a chance to look at part of their future, since there’s a pretty decent chance that they’re not catching the Rangers this year anyway. Instead of trading for a first baseman, the best move the Angels can make is probably an internal one. I know Mr. Weaver would certainly appreciate the help.

Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.

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12 years ago

I said this about a month ago….but IMO Austin Kearns makes a ton of sense in the short term for the Angels.

Only has around $350K or so left on his deal so fits into any team’s budget. Won’t take a big player (if any) to get either. His defense is down some this year but overall pretty solid. Not a bad bench bat to have around too if you’re trying to catch the Rangers.