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.

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Scioscia Probably Cost the Angels John Lackey in Free Agency

John Lackey removed by Mike SciosciaOne of the most controversial moments from Game 5 in Anaheim on Thursday night came when manager Mike Scioscia removed starter John Lackey from the game in the 7th. Considering Darren Oliver came on in relief and gave up a 3-run double to Mark Teixeira on his first pitch and a game-tying RBI single to Hideki Matsui, the move by Scioscia looked awful. Making matters even worse was Kevin Jepsen who gave up a two-run triple to Robinson Cano to make it 6-4 Yankees within four batters of Lackey leaving the game. As if Lackey wasn’t already pissed off enough about being taken out of a game where he had a shutout going, seeing the bullpen blow the lead had to rip his heart out.

Non-Angel fans may have simply seen the move as what it was: John Lackey being pissed he was taken out of a shutout by his manager and the bullpen blew it. Angel fans will tell you that that move had much deeper repercussions; John Lackey is going to be a free agent after the year and being removed from his shutout could very well be his lasting moment with the team. Do you think he’ll be eager about going back to the Angels and a manager that didn’t trust him enough to get the final out of the 7th in the ALCS? I know a lot of people will say that Lackey was losing it and that going to Oliver was the right move, but once I saw that fire in Lackey’s eyes I would have given him another batter. The guy is a bonafide competitor and when you see that look coming from him you have to let him settle his score. Or maybe that’s just me speaking from the perspective of a former pitcher who’s said to his manager “This is mine, this is mine.”

I really hope that’s not John Lackey’s last moment as an Angel — it would be an utter shame. I rather see him pitch in Game 1 and Game 5 of the World Series and re-sign with the team. They’d have a tough time repeating without an ice like him.

The Squeeze Was the Perfect Call

I’m over the Game 4 loss by the Angels to the Red Sox that ended their season, eliminating them from the playoffs. It certainly does sting that Jon Lester was brilliant in both Game 1 and Game 4 after I trashed him earlier in the season. Boy do I look like a dope. There are several reactions I have from the game and the loss of the Angels’ season: Frankie Rodriguez is done as an Angel, his last two most important appearances were blown games against Boston in the playoffs (one this year, one last year). What will happen with Teixeira? How did this opportunity slip away — especially with such a vulnerable Red Sox team (Beckett, Papi, Lowell are hurt and mere shades of themselves). Yes, there is disappointment, but if there’s one thing I’d like to walk away from the game saying it’s that Mike Scoscia without a doubt made the right call asking Erick Aybar to lay down a squeeze bunt in the 9th with the game tied at 2.

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