State of the Angels

This isn’t Dodger-related, but I can’t imagine too many Dodger fans wouldn’t find this interview by Jim Bowden for ESPNLosAngeles.com of new Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto interesting.

An excerpt:

Bowden: Going into Spring Training will the Angels outfield be Torii Hunter in right field, Peter Bourjos in center field and Mike Trout in left field?

Dipoto: Right now it’s Hunter in right field, Bourjos in center field and Vernon Wells in left field. Trout will need to play his way on to the team. I know one thing, he’s going to play every day, and if it’s not in the major leagues then it will be in our farm system. Wells deserves a chance to bounce back. Throughout his career he has a history of bouncing back the year after he’s had a down year. Wells needs to be protected. That being said, we’ll play the best three outfielders on opening and if Mike Trout is one of those three, we won’t hold him back. …

Bowden: Hank Conger hasn’t been given a chance to be the everyday catcher despite many baseball people feeling that he could be the long-term answer. Are you going to give him a chance?

Dipoto: Conger needs to get out on the field and play with nicks and bruises. He can hit from the left side and is a good offensive catcher. Defensively, when he gets in a rhythm, he show he can do it. He deserves a chance to play every day and get the reps to find out what he can accomplish. It’s also understandable why Mike Scioscia has rotated the catchers, especially when you get such a special defensive player like Jeff Mathis. However, I want to upgrade our offense and ability to get on-base, and this is one of multiple positions where we have to find a way to improve our OBP.

Bowden: The Angels have been a poor OBP team in general the past few years. Are you going to address this deficiency?

Dipoto: Yes. The changes have to start at the grass-roots level in player development. I do respect and admire the Angels’ aggressive style of play on the bases and in the batter’s box, but going forward, we will see a shift on the roster with players that get on base more. The question is if on-base percentage is something a player is born with or a learned trait and that can be argued, but bottom line is we need to improve in that area at all levels. …

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