Alphabet Soup #2, or “Grudzie” as I like to call him, has been brought in to ensure that yet another year is added to the streak of consecutive seasons with a different starting second baseman. (who would have imagined that Carlos Febles from ’99 through ’03 would be considered stable?)
Mark is a better than average line-drive hitter (his 23.6% rate ranked 21st among qualified batters last season) which helps him hit for a good average despite his low walk rate. Buddy Bell has already inserted Grudzie into the second spot in the batting order, so it’s likely his line-drive ability will be quickly neutralized by many requests to bunt people over.
Angel will be making some real money this year, the second of his five-year contract. The hope is that the 2003 Rookie of the Year can find some of the patience that allowed him to get on base at a 338 clip that season. If he can also manage to hit 20 home runs and throw the ball anywhere near Minkie’s glove, then he'll start to be worth the two million dollars he’s getting in ’06.