The Angels nearly traded for Joc Pederson last month, so they are aware they could upgrade in right field. When spring training opened, Fangraphs projected that the Angels would get the worst production of any team out of right field.
The Angels have considered Yasiel Puig, but not too seriously. Puig, who remains a free agent, is believed to have turned down a one-year, $10-million contract from a National League team.
And whatever money the Angels might spend now likely would be targeted for pitching, given the injury to Griffin Canning and the absence of Ross Stripling, after owner Arte Moreno acknowledged killing the trade that would have landed Pederson and Stripling.
So right field appeared clear for Brian Goodwin, 29, who batted .262 with a career-high 17 home runs last season. Goodwin knew, of course, that mega-prospect Jo Adell is likely to arrive in Anaheim and take over right field sometime this year.
Goodwin did not know the Angels would plan to play utility man David Fletcher extensively in right field, or that manager Joe Maddon would say prospect Brandon Marsh might play his way into the outfield later this season.
The Angels are betting on youth and depth, not just on Goodwin.
“That’s one thing about this game: Nothing is ever promised,” Goodwin said. “That’s life too. You’ve just got to have tunnel vision. See what you want to do and what you want to be when you break camp.”
If Adell does not break camp with the Angels, he could remain in Arizona and play for Team USA in an Olympic qualifying tournament March 22-26. In the eight-game Premier 12 tournament last fall, Adell led Team USA with a .394 batting average and three home runs. The United States finished fourth, forcing the team into another qualifying tournament this month.
Adell and Angels general manager Billy Eppler said they would discuss whether Adell should participate as the tournament draws closer.
“I can’t say if I’d be able to go or not,” Adell said. “I’d definitely look into it. It would be a cool experience to do for a second time.”
The round mound of baseball
Charles Barkley calls Philadelphia home in the summer. And, like most folks in Philadelphia, he expected Mike Trout to sign with the Phillies and play for his home team.
As you might have heard, Trout instead signed what amounts to a lifetime contract with the Angels.
“That was a shocker to our system,” Barkley said. “When Bryce [Harper] came to town, that was all he talked about. I’m glad he’s going to spend his whole career here, though.”
Barkley visited the Angels’ training camp Monday. He is friends with Maddon, who loves to lighten up spring mornings. So Barkley, the NBA Hall of Famer and nationally televised analyst and quipster, hung out with the Angels for their morning meeting, making jokes and telling stories.
“You’re going through this tedious, grinding schedule of spring training right now,” Maddon said. “Anything you can do to lighten up the day on a morning like this is good.”
Barkley said there was a lot to like about Maddon.
“I like his leadership style,” Barkley said. “I like his personality more. And we both hate analytics.”
Barkley was excited to meet Shohei Ohtani, and to see if he could complete a full season as a star hitter and a star pitcher.
“It’s more important for him to be a hitter than a pitcher,” Barkley said. “You can have a bigger impact every day. But, if a guy could actually do that, it would be one of the greatest accomplishments ever.”
He had warm words, mostly, for third baseman Anthony Rendon.
“He’s made my life miserable the last few years, because I’m a Phillies fan,” Barkley said. “Congratulations to him on winning the World Series. For him to come to a team like this, in his prime, that’s a great pickup by the Angels.”
And he was really looking forward to spending a little time with Trout, since he messed up the only other time the two had met. Barkley said he bumped into Trout at a hotel elevator and did not want to bother him, so Barkley just blurted out something about how he was from Philadelphia, too, and it was an honor to meet you.
“I didn’t get the words out that I wanted to say last time,” Barkley said, adding: “I was kind of fan boy on him, a little bit.”