Willits, not Wilson, gets the call

Brandon Wood realistically couldn’t have done any more to keep his spot on the 25-man roster, but he’s back in Salt Lake, getting the at-bats that were not available in Anaheim.

What the Angels have in mind for Wood, now and long term, I don’t know. I suspect he’s their fallback at third base if Chone Figgins departs via free agency, but I also think he could slide in on a daily basis there next year if Figgins is retained as an outfielder or an all-purpose player.

Trouble is, if Figgins thinks that he’s going back to being something other than any everyday third baseman, it’s doubtful he’d want to come back. He loves having a position and a role, and who can blame him? He has shown himself to be a quality third baseman and one of the game’s best leadoff hitters.

Manager Mike Scioscia acknowledged before Wednesday night’s game against the Blue Jays and the great Roy Halladay that the decision-makers had considered bringing up Bobby Wilson to back up Jeff Mathis, with Mike Napoli sliding into the DH role on a regular basis.

Apparently, they decided it wasn’t time for that bold move and recalled instead Reggie Willits, a versatile and highly underrated role player who can do many positive things for a club.

Personally, I’d find a place for Wilson and Willits, but Scioscia feels he needs 12 pitchers and will continue to carry 12 until the pitching staff comes together. That could happen in June, July, perhaps not at all.

Again, this is just my opinion, but Napoli should be in the lineup every day, and the only way that’s going to happen is as a DH who occasionally catches and/or plays first base. What he does with a bat is too valuable to risk with the kinds of injuries that have sent Napoli to the DL the past two seasons.

In his two starts as a DH, Napoli celebrated with six hits in seven at-bats, with two walks and three RBIs. The one out he made sent an outfielder to the wall at Yankee Stadium.

The guy is a lethal hitter. I think he could approach Miguel Cabrera’s numbers in Detroit as an everyday DH. Mathis and Wilson are quality defensive players, both capable of hitting in the .250 range. Mathis has shown that even though he doesn’t hit for a high average, he is clutch. We’ve seen him deliver big hits under pressure frequently, and there’s a reason for that — he’s an athlete who happens to catch. You’ll never see a more athletic catcher.

Wilson has paid his dues and is ready for a role in the big time, along with a half-dozen teammates in Salt Lake. Wood, back with the Bees, is an everyday Major League talent right now with no place to play in Anaheim with the Angels’ abundance of quality infielders.

Like Napoli, Wood, playing every day, has the ability to hit 30 homers and drive in 100 runs. He won’t hurt you at third or at shortstop, either. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

As they used to say in Brooklyn, wait’ll next year.  



  1. roghenley@aol.com

    I like the idea of DH’ing Napoli but it looks like Vlad will be taking that spot most of the rest of this season. The Angels have a lot of tough decisions to make after this season, similar to 2003. I would have given Wood a couple of weeks at short to sink or swim because the errors from that position were costing games and it’s time to let him show what he can do. Matt Brown has been languising in Salt Lake since being sent back and I think it’s related to the demotivation that comes from doing what he did in spring and then not cracking the line-up. I still think we’ll win the division but it will be an interesting off season with Lackey still in limbo.

  2. hbmatt

    Good article Mr. Spencer. Do you think the Angels should make a deal for a pitcher, if we have an abundunce of infeilders and a hot prospect chomping at the bit to play everyday would it not be in the teams best interest for this year and our future to do this? I know that the Padres have mentioned moving Peavy and I am sure their are other teams willing to make a deal for Aybar and some of our other prospects (besides Wood).

  3. jokerbasher

    First, I am tired of hearing the word “prospect” in connection of Brandon Wood. He seems to have found is stroke judging by his spring and the few at bats he has had this season. This guy needs to get a few weeks of starting time to see what he really can do at the plate. We know he can field and after making his adjustments he seems to be ready. I think there is just too many guys a short and they either need to make a trade or put him in full time. Izuris is a much better shortstop than Aybar if just for his bat and clutch RISP hitting, but another power bat in the lineup would make the lineup even more potent. It’s time. Let’s put our prospect to work.

  4. teif24

    My favorite team LAA needs a closer since losing K-rod. As I look at teams farm systems and MLB games on the Dish I see Boston Redsox with an abundance of pitchers that could close the game. We do not need Wood with all the good infielders we have I would trade Wood for Masterson or one of their prospects.

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