The Angels, whose replacement team has several glaring weaknesses, might soon join the growing list of clubs offering inducements to minor leaguers to cross the union’s symbolic picket line.
General Manager Bill Bavasi spent Monday afternoon at the team’s minor league complex in Mesa, in part to evaluate personnel and talk to players who might be interested in becoming replacements.
“Sooner or later something will be planted, but it’s not going to be universal, it won’t be offered to 100 guys,” said Tim Mead, assistant general manager.
Teams such as the Dodgers and Red Sox have guaranteed minor league roster spots or jobs to those willing to play in replacement games, and the Rockies are paying players $150 for each replacement game they play in.
Mead said the Angels will only target minor leaguers who can fill specific needs--speed, power and pitching seem to be the most obvious deficiencies. He added that no minor leaguer will be given a play-or-go-home ultimatum.
“We’re not looking to bring up 30 guys to replace this team, we’re looking to make this team better,” Mead said. “It’s March 20, and if there’s no end in sight (to the strike) and replacement games count, it’s our responsibility to field the most competitive team we can.”
The Angels snapped a three-game losing streak with a 5-3 victory over the San Diego Padres in front of about 300 Monday in Tempe Diablo Stadium.
Tyrone Boykin hit an inside-the-park home run in the seventh inning, and right-hander Tony Mack, who made one major league start for the Angels in 1985, gave up only three hits and one run in six innings to gain the victory.
“That’s the best start we’ve had from anyone this spring,” Angel Manager Marcel Lachemann said. “He threw the ball hard, he had some good sliders and is starting to use a changeup.”
The Angels were outscored, 33-20, in three previous games, which had been marked by sloppy defense, terrible baserunning and poor pitching. But the Angels committed only one error and had only one runner picked off Monday.
Catcher Doug Davis, who called a players-only meeting before the game, said too many Angels had been pressing recently.
“This is a big-league camp, we’re working with the major league coaching staff, and sometimes guys feel they have to perform at a major league level, which none of us are at,” Davis said. “The only thing people expect is for us to perform at the level we’re at.”