So many problems could have been solved on Thursday by doing nothing. By simply not sending over a contract to Jeff Mathis, the Angels could have solidified a commitment to Mike Napoli behind the dish and begun working in Hank Conger. Now the situation is murky as Mathis, arguably the worst player in the major leagues, has been tendered a contract and retained his place on the Angels' 40-Man roster.
Here are the Top Five reasons to lament this front office action:
1. The privileging of "mystical stats" like CERA (Catcher's ERA) and RISP/RISP2 (Batting average with Runners in Scoring Position/ with 2 outs) by the Angels is the worst place to be in the scouting vs. stats debate. The Angels believe in CERA and RISP... and thus believe that they are a stat-head organization. They aren't. Seven years ago my dad grew a mullet for his 75th birthday and laughed that we had to finally accept his growing a "hip guy hairstyle". How do you tell him that he is not switching sides in the haircut-hairstyle divide, that he is in a third camp of total ignorance? This is where Mike Scioscia is, explaining to Tony Reagins: they finally have to accept that we are stat-heads. Cut the mullet, Mike.
2. As SBN's Jeff Sullivan pointed out: Mathis has the lowest OPS in Angels history for players with over 1,000 Plate Appearances.
3. Maybe this should be reason number one, but if Mathis is on the opening day roster, just hand that 2011 division title over to Nolan Ryan and save us all the stress.
4. Halos Heaven contributor Suboptimal discovered four national league pitchers who had a better career OPS+ in 300 or more PA: Mike Hampton, Dontrelle Willis, Adam Wainwright and Carlos Zambrano
5. "There is no longer any sane person who can look you in the eye and say Jeff Mathis has a real shot of hitting .250. That dream is dead." -Matt Welch
Unless a trade of epic humor is in the works involving Mathis to some team for a closetful of bobbleheads, the only people in Los Angeles of Anaheim who think that this player belongs on the club are the mystic statisticians in the Katella Boulevard front office, tonight the lousiest baseball decision place on earth.