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Sunday, December 21, 2014

Mike Scioscia Not Yet Willing to Call Mike Napoli Trade a Disaster

Apparently there’s one person in the world who doesn’t think the Angels made an awful trade by dealing Mike Napoli for Vernon Wells: Mike Scioscia.

The Angels manager, a former defensive star catcher with the Dodgers, was always said to be dissatisfied with Napoli’s shortcomings as a catcher. The team ignored his ability as a prodigious slugger and dealt him to Toronto over the offseason (he was later flipped to Texas).

Scioscia told the Mason & Ireland Show Tuesday that it’s incorrect to say the Angels did not value Napoli. His last word on the matter tells us otherwise.

When asked whether he’d take a mulligan on the Napoli trade, Scioscia acknowledged that the deal backfired for his club this season, but he was unwilling to wave the white flag just yet.

“I think we have to wait a couple years first,” Scioscia said. “Right now, there’s no doubt that Mike Napoli is a huge addition for Texas, and there’s no doubt that he’s somebody who could’ve helped us last year. But the trade was made. We’ll evaluate it as it goes on. This year, obviously, they’ve gotten the best of that deal.”

Napoli has said he always felt like Scioscia was looking over his shoulder in Anaheim and because of that, he never felt comfortable. The problem is Scioscia was so focused on having his guy catch the type of game he wanted, he overvalued defensive contributions/deficiencies and didn’t play Napoli enough. Scioscia made it clear that durability was an issue for Napoli, saying he was always bothered by forearm and shoulder injuries. He says Napoli’s having success now because Texas monitored him closely.

What Scioscia is missing is that even if Napoli couldn’t catch 120 games, there was no reason to get rid of his bat. Who says Napoli wouldn’t have been a useful bat to have around, whether it was to catch, play first, or DH, similar to the way Texas has used him? Even if they were anticipating Kendry Morales’ return, and the emergence of Mark Trumbo, there was no reason to trade Mike Napoli — especially not for Vernon Wells and his awful contract.



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