The past few seasons, the trade deadline has come and gone, and Angel fans like myself have listened to countless rumors involving the Angels, one of their prospects, and some big bat with an expiring contract (Carlos Lee, Aramis Ramirez, Miguel Tejada all come to mind) have circled, the Halos have come away without any new pop for their mostly anemic lineup, leaving manager Mike Scioscia to concoct new ways to squeeze runs out small-ball style, like a retiree trying to negotiate a recession on a fixed income.
Until this year.
Yesterday the Angels officially secured the biggest bat of the 2008 Trade Deadline Derby, agreeing to a deal to acquire Mark Teixeira from the Braves for Casey Kotchman and a minor league pitcher (who is not one of their biggest prospects). Already owning the best record in baseball, the deal gives the Angels the slugger in the middle of their order — one they’ve been lacking ever since Vladimir Guerrero joined a lineup so devoid of any significant support it conjured visions of Morgana the kissing bandit in a strapless dress. Finally, Vladdy will have the big swingin’ backing needed to ensure he might actually see some decent pitches on a regular basis (not that Vlad needs them on many of his golf swings, but it can’t hurt for him to see a few balls in the zone).
As if the Big Tex news weren’t enough, the Angels other Big Tex — John Lackey — went out and two-hit the Bosox last night. After reaching the postseason and falling to Boston in 2004 and 2007, could July 29, 2008 be the day Angel fans remember as the one where this squad officially got over the hump?
Nobody’s busting out the champagne until the Halos do more than cross a symbolic hump and actually slay their postseason AL demons (which seem to center around Sox of various colors) and get back to the World Series. But for the first time since the storied 2002 season, the Rally Monkeys can set their sights on something bigger than another AL West title banner.