It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Now is the summer of our discontent.

After crushing a walk-off grand slam in the 10th inning against the Seattle Mariners on Saturday, first baseman Kendry Morales suffered a potentially season-ending injury when he broke his leg—along with Angels fans’ hearts—while celebrating with his teammates at home plate.

Oh, the irony.

From stadium-wide cheers to statewide groans, hope to despair, light to dark. The Los Angels of Anaheim and their fan-base are still recovering from the whiplash.

Unfortunately, the pain will only get worse from here.

Through the first two months of the season, the Angels are playing below .500 and remain firmly behind the Texas Rangers and Oakland A’s in the AL West. 

Team pitching is at or near the bottom of almost every category—the worst it’s been in at least a decade—and the offense is mediocre at best.

Consistency in any part of their game this year has been nothing more than a myth for the Angels. The only thing they had going for them was Morales.

The first baseman lead the team in average (.290), home runs (11), RBI (39), and was the only player to start every game this season. 

Over the last 10 games, Morales was batting .342 with two home runs and 10 RBI. He’s come through in the clutch, he’s shown power to all fields, he’s even flashed some leather on defense.

And now it’s all gone.

Even with Morales in the lineup, the Angels are only 24-27 following Saturday’s heroics…and subsequent tragedy. Irony at its finest.

But what’s most ironic of all is that as devastating as Morales’ injury might seem, it should force the brass to finally do the one thing they’ve needed to do since game one: take swift action to keep this team competitive.

Robb Quinlan is the most likely candidate to be called up from the minors when Morales is placed on the DL on Sunday, but he is hardly a sufficient replacement.

In 23 games at Triple-A Salt Lake, Quinlan is hitting just .253 with zero home runs and only five RBI. He struck out twice and failed to record a single hit in six at-bats at the major league level this season.

The Angels’ next best option, 24-year-old first baseman Mark Trumbo, is hitting .275 with 11 homers and 39 RBI in Salt Lake, but has yet to play a game in the big leagues.

No, if the Angels want to have a prayer of competing in their division this year, they will have to seek the help of a higher power. Or at least power from outside their organization.

Several interesting names have already surfaced this year as potential trade candidates, including Prince Fielder and Lance Berkman.

The struggling Milwaukee Brewers and pitiful Houston Astros are both well back in the NL Central and could be willing to part with their respective All-Star first basemen.

Fielder, on the verge of free agency, would more than make up for the lost offense from Morales without putting the Angels in an awkward position with two top-notch players vying for one spot.

At the end of the year, Fielder walks away to pursue a new contract while the Angels simply stick with their freshly healed star.

On the other hand, it will take a tremendous force to move the hefty Fielder. The Brewers will no doubt demand at least one major leaguer along with several strong prospects to help rebuild their franchise.

The same will be true for Berkman, though it’s unlikely Houston would ask for as much in return as Milwaukee, given that Berkman is older and off to a slow start after returning from an injury earlier this season.

Things will heat up as we get deeper into the summer and new names are sure to surface on the trade market. Of course, everything will depend on the severity of Morales’ injury and where the Angels sit in the standings.

If Kendry spends his summer on vacay and the team hasn’t fallen too far back, don’t bother trying to call the stadium. GM Tony Reagins will be tying up the phone lines from morning ’til night in search of a new leg to stand on.

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