Friday, August 20, 2004
Posted 10:51 AM by Sean
Okay, so word is the Angels are seriously considering trading for Arizona's Shea Hillenbrand, who has cleared waivers and would plug the hole at third now that Quinlan is done for the year. Though there's an outside chance that Glaus could return to the team in September, it would be strictly as a DH, and so the Angels' current options at third for the stretch run are Chone Figgins, whose bat is needed in the lineup but who plays an iffy third, and Alfredo Amezaga, who is defensively stellar but can't hit for beans.
Rob is critical of the Hillenbrand possibility, but to me it makes a lot of sense. Desperate times, etc. Anyway, here are Hillenbrand's splits:
v. LHP - 116 AB, .293/.341/.517
v. RHP - 298 AB, .309/.349/.443
Either of those lines actually looks pretty good. Hillenbrand is an average defender, and won't have the pop of Glaus, but he's certainly a better option than Amezaga, or the other waiver-clearers I've seen mentioned (namely Joe Randa and Jolbert Cabrera).
Equally as important, obtaining Hillenbrand to play third accomplishes another pretty important goal, which is to get Adam Kennedy the hell out of the lineup versus lefties. If Figgins plays third full-time, Kennedy more or less has to be the full-time second-baseman, and he's just not getting it done versus the southpaws.
Against righties, things would get a little complicated. Scioscia's not going to bench Kennedy entirely, so to get Figgins into the lineup - and Scioscia will get Figgins into the lineup - he'll need to make full use of his "superutility" status and plug him in at third, short, center, left, and right on various days, giving Hillenbrand and Eckstein occasional days off. On days when Figgins plays outfield, Scioscia would decide whether to give Guillen, Anderson, or Guerrero a day off, or plug them into the DH slot instead of Tim Salmon (who's actually hitting righties okay). And then there's Jeff DaVanon, who could play any outfield slot. There's no question a little juggling would be required, but I think it looks like a situation much preferable to the one we've got now.
The one concern I do have about Hillenbrand is his home/road splits:
Considering that Bank One Ballpark is generally regarded as a hitter's park, and Angel Stadium as a pitcher's park, that makes me nervous. Sometimes, though, you've just gotta risk it.