Anaheim, CA, USA; Los Angeles Angels third baseman Mark Trumbo (44) catches a fly ball in the second inning against the Kansas City Royals at Angel Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-US PRESSWIRE
Go ahead. Draw some over-arching conclusions from this incredibly young season.
Roy Halladay and Justin Verlander are locks for Cy Young Awards. Mariano Rivera is finally going to pitch like his age. Adam Dunn's out of his year-long slump. Bruce Chen will never allow another run.
Go ahead. You know you want to.
Okay, then. If you've got that out of your system, let's discuss the only thing that's happened so far that really means anything (unless one of the playoff berths is determined by one game) ...
The Orange County Angels have a real shot at winning the American League West or (at the least) one of the two available Wild Cards (thanks to the generosity of Commissioner-for-Life Allan Huber Selig). And they got their season off to a good start, with a 5-0 win over the hapless Kansas City Royals.
But they didn't get much help from their "third baseman".
In the second inning, Yuniesky Betancourt reached safely when Trumbo foozled a routine throw to first base.
In the seventh inning, Betancourt -- who, it must be admitted, has led a charmed life for some years now -- singled after his plate appearance continued when Trumbo whiffed on a routine foul pop near the third-base dugout. According to the play-by-play, Trumbo "dropped" the pop. But that's not what happened. He wasn't close enough to drop it, or even touch it.
This spring, most of the conversion-related press went to Miguel Cabrera, probably because he's a superstar. And of course I agree with the consensus opinion that it's not going to work out real well. But it's not likely to matter. Leaving aside the occasional hot smash that results in stitches, Cabrera and the Tigers will probably be fine, regardless of how well he takes to his old position.
The Angels, though? I'm not so sure. They've got real competition in their division (as opposed to the Tigers) and on paper they're one of five teams fighting for four postseason berths. They haven't yet lost a game because Mark Trumbo can't really play third base -- in fact, before Friday night Trumbo hadn't started a regular-season game at third base in his entire professional career -- but if he keeps at it, they almost certainly will.
This just isn't going to work. Or probably isn't. It's almost as if the Angels felt guilty about signing Albert Pujols, and are giving Trumbo a shot at third base to assuage their guilt.
Well, baseball's no place for guilt. Or feelings, generally. The moment the Angels signed Pujols, they should have traded Trumbo. Or if not then, later. When they decided that Kendrys Morales would come back.
Hey, maybe Trumbo will learn to play third base. But third base in the cauldron of a pennant race is a rough place for a first baseman. Just ask one.