The stupid dismissal of popular television broadcaster Rex Hudler in November of 2009 was one of a number of moves on and off the field that ended the Angels golden era of unquestioning fan commitment and the franchise's peak popularity. It has been 18 months since the Wonderdog was dismissed and the team is beginning to sink fast, mimicking its quick disappearance from contention last July.
And this rickety ship begs a question paraphrased as a classic Hud-ism: Who Got To Go? a polite way of saying "Sit Down" to victims of strikeouts, Rex would simply chime in with "He got to go."
After losing five straight seven of their last ten, after a 1-6 road trip through the AL West and with one-quarter of the season behind them stranding them in third place one game under .500, it is fair to ask: Who Got To Go?
Tyler Chatwood - The league is figuring out this pitcher and his confidence could suffer in the process, creating long-term damage. The anemic Angels offense cannot score more than four runs a game it seems and he is trending toward giving up that many on a regular basis. Send him to AA and season him a bit more for 2012. Trevor Bell can give the team league average fifth starter innings until some magic great trade is worked out.
Jeff Mathis - He is back to batting below .200 and lately his defense has been miserable. Hank Conger and Bobby Wilson are a fine tandem. Angels fans of all stripes are beating this drum in one consistent pounding message: He Got To Go.
Fernando Rodney - It is a given that a walk will occur at some point in any inning this man is on the mound. His inability to deliver a 1-2-3 inning mocks any sensibility toward building a bullpen. If he is not the worst member of the pitching staff on the team it is only due to some small sample sizes. Instead of saying give him the season to ensure this is proven on behalf of the other pitchers, cue Rex and say: He Got to Go!
The team has already cut ties with Jason Bulger to Brandon Wood; cutting the above three players will improve the team's on-field performance in the playing time it will afford more competent (I didn't say talented) players.
Besides players, the organization has had a lousy year and a half and could stand a swift guillotining at the top of the front office:
John Carpino - If you have heard the Angels-owned radio station AM-830 sold out to ESPN carpetbagging programming and rented to gearhead Bostonians on the weekend, blame Arte's former top billboard salesman and current Angels president John Carpino. He is presently auditioning to be a Yankees Vice President by corporatizing Anaheim's front office as his personal career-builder. Thanks for taking credit for a few years of 3-million-plus in attendance and then stabbing them all in the back with Tom Brady worship in late April via the four letter network you handed the team's airwaves over to. John would look good in those pinstripes - jailed for crimes against fandom. Smart to take away the voice of the fans in favor of talk that privileges your East Coast preferences Carpy, smart indeed.
Tony Reagins - this goes without saying. Vernon Wells and Scott Kazmir are soaking up over $30 million in salary and his only defense is Gary Matthews Jr making $11 million was not his signing. He has set the franchise back five years in the past twenty months. His denial-laden interviews have an odd air of being removed from humanity, his robotic delivery matched by an inability make contact or appear friendly.
While many fans call for coaches' heads, we have no idea of what level of drills and lessons and commitment Mickey Hatcher, Mike Butcher and others have. Criticism of Mike Scioscia's managerial moves are not egregious and the "feelings" fans have that he has influence in the front office are belied by Tony Reagins hogging of the spotlight whenever there is good news, a classic alpha male thrust-and-strut tactic. The dismissal of longtime trainer Ned Bergert might have been more closely related to the injury to Kendrys Morales than we will ever know. This leaves us with too many gray areas and blind spots of organizational knowledge to assess whether certain people deserve their jobs or not. The suggestions I've made here are done so based on demonstrable performance.
Despite the current listing, it is still great to be done with dismissed announcer Steve Physioc, so there are positives amidst these down-cycle days.