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Someone should ask Mike Scioscia for his opinion of Mike Napoli’s performance

Oct 13, 2011, 10:34 AM EDT

Mike Napoli Reuters

This is squarely in “deep thoughts” territory. And by that I mean it’s a really, really shallow thought.  But I couldn’t help wonder last night, as I saw Mike Napoli block the plate on the Cabrerea play and as he threw out Austin Jackson on that steal, whether Mike Scioscia was kicking his television.

No, those couple of good plays don’t make Napoli into a great defensive catcher or anything. But given that he was basically run out of Anaheim because Scioscia didn’t like his defense — and given that one could argue that the falloff from Napoli to Mathis made the difference in the Angels’ season — it has to feel pretty good to be Mike Napoli right now.

Well, aside from the post traumatic stress disorder borne of Miguel Cabrera “running” him down last night, that is.

  1. visnovsky - Oct 13, 2011 at 10:47 AM

    Maybe it’s just society, but Mathis causes 30 outs a game when he plays (27 defensive, 3 batting).

    • clydeserra - Oct 13, 2011 at 12:36 PM

      How does he cause outs on defense?

  2. scareduck - Oct 13, 2011 at 10:50 AM

    If there is any saving grace in all of this for Scioscia, it’s that Napoli is going to be entering his age 30 season when he hits free agency, and both the Red Sox and Yankees have severe holes at the position. I also question whether this isn’t a career year for him, given his past performance; the player he was frequently compared to was Mickey Tettleton, though Napoli has far outclassed him in all three slash rate categories this year. His B-Ref comparables through age 29 include Jorge Posada and Roy Campanella.

    The scary thing, for Angels fans, is not just how starkly this calls into question Scioscia’s ability to judge offensive talent; that was a given, with the considerable record he has of putting his trust in RISP and RISP2 hitting as a repeatable skill. This makes Scioscia look like an ignoramus about the defensive aspect of catching as well. Whoever is the next Angels GM — and the current reports are that the organization is interviewing people from the Yankees — will have considerable reason to doubt he’s all that. The glow from 2002 is finally worn off, and Scioscia’s nonsensical adherence to religious tenets about the game learned while with the Dodgers make him look stupid and dogmatic.

  3. jimbo1949 - Oct 13, 2011 at 10:57 AM

    Maybe, just for balance, somebody should ask him about John Lackey’s performance.

    • paperlions - Oct 13, 2011 at 11:36 AM

      Except that Socia didn’t run Lackey out of town, they essentially gave Napoli away and kept a far inferior player instead.

      • clydeserra - Oct 13, 2011 at 12:38 PM

        They paid seventy million dollars to send Napoli away.

  4. shawnuel - Oct 13, 2011 at 11:03 AM

    Fabulous comment, scareduck. !00% on the money, IMO.

    On another tangent……I’d like to hear from other fantasy owners who had Napoli (admittedly got him cheap….$1) and dumped him in June when he was hitting something like .188 and Mr. Washington couldn’t seem to get him into the lineup with much regularity. Of course, he got hotter than Beyonce’s thong the DAY after I dropped him……….bastard!

    • cur68 - Oct 13, 2011 at 12:10 PM

      Ah, I call that the Vernon Wells effect. Any player remotely associated with Wells will break you heart. Fact. Man’s evil.

  5. Alex K - Oct 13, 2011 at 11:03 AM

    There is a real middle of the country bias in the blogs today. There are only three articles that mention teams from the east coast.

    • CJ - Oct 13, 2011 at 11:19 AM

      Conspiracy! The East Coast haters must be out in full force. There’s only 7 East Coast articles on the front page of HBT, and nearly twice as many for the heartland. This is simply unacceptable.

      • Alex K - Oct 13, 2011 at 11:36 AM

        I couldn’t agree more. I don’t expect HBT to cover the news of the day. I expect HBT to cover The Red Sox, Yankees, Phillies and maybe the Mets. Those are the only east coast teams, right?

      • jimbo1949 - Oct 13, 2011 at 11:54 AM

        Balmer, DC, and Miami. Tampa’s on the west coast.

      • CJ - Oct 13, 2011 at 12:43 PM

        It seems like there is a geographic expect among us, but truly the only East coast articles–and thusly the only articles needed on HBT–should be about (in order of importance, of course) the Phillies, Fried Chicken and Beer, Phillies, Red Sox, Phillies, Yankees, and oh, I almost forgot, the Phillies.

        Articles reflecting on the sucktitude of the Mets, the Braves collapse, and making fun of the Marlins new stadium are questionable, but would be considered acceptable for these purposes since the offseason is upon us and the whole content drives pageviews thing.

      • CJ - Oct 13, 2011 at 12:43 PM

        *expert. EDIT!

  6. SmackSaw - Oct 13, 2011 at 11:45 AM

    It would go something like this:

    What’s my opinion of Napoli’s performance!? What the BLEEP do you think is my opinion of it? I think it was BLEEPING BLEEP. Put that in, I don’t give a BLEEP. Opinion of his performance!!? What the BLEEP do you mean, “What is my opinion of his performance?” How could you ask me a question like that, “What is my opinion of his performance?” BLEEP. I’m BLEEPING pissed off he had that BLEEPING game. And you ask me my opinion of his performance! BLEEP. That’s a tough question to ask me, isn’t it? “What is my opinion of his performance?”

  7. steveohho - Oct 13, 2011 at 11:47 AM

    We need more gnashing of teeth over the early exit of the magnificent yankee-phillysaux. There is so much story left to tell.
    Seriously, what a throwout by Napoli!

  8. APBA Guy - Oct 13, 2011 at 11:52 AM

    I wouldn’t get too carried away with Napoli’s overall defense other than to say that Wash always emphasized improving a player defensively. In contrast to Scioscia, who was quite vocal about what Napoli’s deficiencies were, Wash took the Bob Fosse approach: ” I can’t make you a great dancer, but I can make you a better dancer”. Look around at the Rangers defense. It’s pretty good just about everywhere, excellent in a couple of spots, but the key thing is that Wash works on defense in Spring and throughout the year. It was no false sentimentality when Eric Chavez gave one of his 6 3B Gold Gloves to Wash in appreciation for what Wash had done to improve Chavez’ play at 3rd.

    As for Scioscia, the Angels always play hard and they have excellent starting pitching. Clearly their no-bid on Lackey was the right move. But I’ve said it here before about losing an offensive force like Napoli, you simply don’t do that in an era of declining offense.

    • cur68 - Oct 13, 2011 at 12:21 PM

      AP: did you just write a pro Ron Washington post? My dog man, that just isn’t done! I was working away like a bastard last night while watching the game & keeping an eye on the comments. You’d have sworn that RW was the luckiest, stupidest, flukeyest manager that ever lived. 2 nights ago he pitched to Cabrera when he should have walked him to pitch to the injured Martinez. Last night he walked Cabrera to pitch to the next guy. Neither move really worked out but it was all RW’s fault, either way. Man can’t win, that’s the story line, not “he does great work defensively with his players, they’re grateful to him, and hey, Mike Napoli can thumb his nose at Scioscia now, thanks to Ron Washington”…

      In all seriousness, when the day closes, there will be at least 2 or 3 people on this thread pointing out to you, either with cherry picked facts/stats or the old ad hominem attack why you are wrong. So I thought I’d beat them to it and get this tip of the old Blue Jays cap to you (and Ron Washington, too) before the blitz starts.

      • clydeserra - Oct 13, 2011 at 12:41 PM

        He is very lucky as a manager. As a fielding coach, he is outstanding.

      • cur68 - Oct 13, 2011 at 1:46 PM

        clyde; no offense man, but “He is very lucky as a manager.” = ad hominem

        Joe Girardi, Terry Francona, Tony LaRussa, Jim Leyland, Bruce Bochy, in fact any MLB manager is “lucky” even to have a job that they last in. Those guys are lucky, it’s a defining trait of being a manager and themselves as people. The unlucky don’t get the job or last, regardless of worth as a manager (see Wakamatsu, Don or Riggleman, Jim; good sound, knowledgeable baseball guys & relatively decent people if reports are to be gone by. Not lucky with the situation they found himself in though = no longer managing).

        Success = Lucky + good manager of resources + good resources + recognizing when you have good resources. For the reverse of this case see Scioscia, Mike & Napoli, Mike…and Buatista, Jose + 5 different teams in one season, Cruz, Nelson and waivers, etc,..say, who kept sending that guy Cruz, Nelson out there to hit even when he wasn’t playing so hot? Wasn’t that Washington, Ron? So that = “recognizing when you have good resources”.

      • clydeserra - Oct 13, 2011 at 2:54 PM

        Let me put it another way.

        He makes odd decisions. Playing vlad in the outfield in the world series. Benching Nelson Cruz for a week for no reason in 2010, not walking/walking Cabrera. Not using feliz/using feliz.

        I think getting a managerial job is less lucky that what happens after you have it.

        I think he makes bad decisions more often that he should. He gets bailed out by the quality of his team.

        Don’t forget he got the dreaded “vote of confidence” from Tom Hicks midway through the 2008 or 9 season. There was a Ron Washington death watch at the time. Everyone expected him to be fired, then the rangers started winning.

      • APBA Guy - Oct 13, 2011 at 3:47 PM

        Cur-I love me some Wash, man. Always have. Maybe it was my time in Louisiana at Ft. Polk. I doubt it, though, since that time did not lead to any Papelbon love. More likely it was the way he was always regarded so positively by the A’s “when they were good”.

        He is a quirky manager, though, but so has Leyland been. I think most of the older managers are prone make some counter-factual moves. That so many of them seem to work out tells me that they know something we don’t when they make those moves. Or maybe it’s just faith in their players.

        Besides, I got slammed pretty good a few times yesterday. I can take it. And I do believe I see Napoli flipping his middle finger in a generally Western direction…

  9. Kyle - Oct 13, 2011 at 1:58 PM

    Mike Napoli possibly being the difference between the Angels making the playoffs or not is endlessly amusing to me. And I haven’t even mentioned Vernon Wells yet.

  10. cosanostra71 - Oct 13, 2011 at 11:17 PM

    Is it possible for anyone in the media to mention Mike Napoli without also mentioning the Angels gave him up for Vernon Wells and are now starting Jeff Mathis? Isn’t the fact that we have Wells and Mathis punishment enough?

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