By Ross Newhan
I don't totally dismiss all of the criticisms suddenly being directed at Angel manager Mike Scioscia. Some of his game moves during the series in Tampa Bay defied logic. Maybe it would be useful if he lightened up a bit. His expressionless dugout posture needs an ejection of personality. although Scioscia is Scioscia. He still hides his emotions behind a catcher's mask, and he wasn't any different during the seasons that his team was dominating the division.
Similarly, the criticisms of his revolving lineups are misplaced.
The $86 million acquisition of Vernon Wells by the over-matched Tony Reagins and the $240 million acquisition of Albert Pujols by Arte Moreno clogged the roster and payroll.
With the return of Kendrys Morales and the ongoing presense of Bob Abreau there is no regular role for Mark Trumbo despite his 29 home runs and 87 RBI as a rookie--he was supposed to become a third baseman overnight?--and there is no regular role for Mike Trout, tearing up triple A again.
With a team hitting sporadically, with a $151 million payroll and a lot of money to swallow on the bench and at virtually every position, what is Scioscia supposed to do except try and start the best nine based on the matchups in every game.
The season is not quite a month old. Some of this is bound to play out in time.
Pujols is coming off three declining seasons in St. Louis but his hapless April level can't be for real.
Trumbo and Trout--a potential T 'N T--have to play somewhere, which may mean biting the over- priced bullet with Wells, not exactly easy since the Angels are still suffering indigestion from having bitten that bullet with Gary Matthews Jr.
The rotation is still one of baseball's best, and it was--and still is--the new GM's responsibility to rebuild the bullpen, which is probably the most serious problem eroding the Angels' foundation, particularly at closer, where young Jordan Walden still comes without a guarantee and has picked up where he left off with his 10 blown saves of last year.
No manager is immune, and unless the Angels shake off the April lethargy before Mike Napoli (a haunting mistake for which Scioscia has to bear some responsibility), Yu Darvish, Josh Hamilton and the Texas Rangers put a stranglehold on the West, then Scioscia's long-term security may not be so long.
Until then, however, I'm just saying that several chefs (Moreno, Reagins and DiPoto among them) contributed to this ill-defined stew of a roster, and Scioscia hasn't suddenly changed in 12 years as a pretty darn successful manager.
I'm also saying that maybe Torii Hunter and other pseudo leaders should confine any criticisms to the closed door of the manager's office instead of the media.