Results tagged ‘ Brian Matusz ’
The ideal chip for the Angels’ next, seemingly inevitable trade for a starting pitcher is Kendrys Morales.
It’s hard to deny that. Morales is coming into his final season before free agency and — given his representation (Scott Boras) and his desire to be more than a full-time DH — will leave after 2013.
Trading him now would give the Angels an outfield foursome of Mike Trout, Josh Hamilton, Peter Bourjos and Mark Trumbo (with Vernon Wells‘ contract probably still lingering). Trout, Bourjos and Trumbo are still in their pre-arbitration years and all four are under club control until at least 2016. Trout (probably left field), Bourjos (center) and Hamilton (right) would make up one of the game’s best outfields — offensively and defensively — and would give the Angels somewhat of a revolving door at DH. Trumbo would get the most reps there, but his versatility would allow Hamilton and Albert Pujols, who need to stay on the field to maximize their nine-figure contracts, can start there, too, when needed.
But what kind of starting pitcher can Morales bring back?
The Angels will seemingly be selling pretty high on the 29-year-old switch-hitter. He’s coming off his first healthy season since 2009, batting .273 with 22 homers, 73 RBIs and a .787 OPS. Morales, who missed almost two full seasons with a couple of ankle surgeries, even proved he can still handle first base. Then there’s the belief that he’ll be even better in 2013, with the motivation of an expiring contract and a full season under his belt. That’s a pretty good package for a guy who will make about $4 million next year, and teams desperate for power — particularly from the left side of the plate — would no doubt love to have him.
Still, though, his market is limited, because you’d be hard-pressed to find a National League club willing to gamble on him as their everyday first baseman and because we’re at a point in the offseason when most teams no longer have big holes to fill. Of course, the Angels would love to move Wells, but I can’t imagine them getting back any significant starter for him, even if they eat the vast majority of the $42 million owed to him the next two years. They’ll also keep listening on Bourjos and Trumbo, and may pull the trigger if blown away by a top-tier, cost-controlled starter. But as Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com wrote on Twitter recently, the priority is to deal Morales for an innings-eater.
Who can they get?
Here are three potential (and purely speculative) AL fits …
Rays: I know, it’s the first place everyone goes. But Tampa Bay always seems like an ideal match because they’re (still) rich in starters and could always use offense. Right now the Rays have James Loney at first base, with somewhat of a platoon at DH with the right-handed-hitting Ryan Roberts and the left-handed-hitting Sam Fuld. Morales would give them a big upgrade, and someone who can protect Evan Longoria. But he wouldn’t get the Angels Jeremy Hellickson or Matt Moore, or probably even Alex Cobb. Maybe Jeff Niemann, who’s under club control for two more years and would cost about $3 million in arbitration in 2013? The Rays did pick up some flexibility for the rotation by signing Roberto Hernandez on Tuesday.
Orioles: They still seek a middle-of-the-order bat, have a spot open at DH and seemingly have some pitching they can afford to part ways with. Righties Jake Arrieta and Chris Tillman, and lefties Zach Britton and Brian Matusz are all young with upside, but with the exception of Tillman, they all struggled last year. Would the O’s be willing to part ways with the 24-year-old Tillman, one of few bright spots in an eclectic starting staff that ranked ninth in the AL in ERA last year? And given his past inconsistencies, can the Angels do better?
Indians: They’re trying to woo free-agent outfielder Nick Swisher, but could always use more offense, and Morales could split time at DH and first base with the right-handed-hitting Mark Reynolds. What about Justin Masterson, who had a rough 2012 season but has topped 200 innings the last two years and is signed for two more years? Well, he isn’t an ace, but he’s listed as Cleveland’s No. 1 pitcher, so they’d probably be very hesitant to give him up for K-Mo. Here’s another intriguing name: Ubaldo Jimenez. He’s been a shell of himself the last couple years, but he’s been relatively healthy, will make $5.75 million in 2013 and has an $8 million option for 2014. Perhaps working with his old catcher, Chris Iannetta, can get him back on track.
The important thing to ask yourself is whether any of these guys would be an upgrade over the 24-year-old Garrett Richards, who has yet to start a full season in the Majors but has a lot of upside. Adding another starter would likely push Richards to Triple-A, with Jered Weaver, C.J. Wilson, Tommy Hanson and Joe Blanton making up the rest of the staff, and Jerome Williams likely returning to the long-relief role. The Angels’ front office will have some important decisions to make before Spring Training (and perhaps they’ll linger beyond that). Do they hold onto Bourjos and Trumbo, keeping their position-player roster deep but not improving the rotation a whole lot? Or do they trade one of those two — or both, or more — to land the impact starter they could still use?
Welcome to Baltimore, the start of a nine-game road trip and a swing that will see the Angels play 16 of their next 20 on the road. (I know, because I’ll be covering all of them.) …
Pitching: LH C.J. Wilson (8-4, 2.44 ERA)
Pitching: LH Brian Matusz (5-8, 5.00 ERA)
Some pregame notes …
- Oriole Park at Camden Yards happens to be about a two-hour trek from the small town of Millville, N.J., where Trout grew up. And pretty much the entire town is here. There are about 10 reporters here to write stories on Trout’s surge, and one of them told me there will be like 1,000 people — including his parents and high school coaches — here to see him play.
- Oh, and in case you hadn’t noticed, Trout now leads the AL in batting average at .338, with Paul Konerko sliding down to second at .337.
- Former Angels hitting coach Mickey Hatcher was hired by his former team, the Dodgers, to be a special assistant to GM Ned Colletti.
- Jerome Williams (asthma) threw a 51-pitch simulated game and felt good. He could get in a rehab game at some point this week, and it’s looking like he’ll be ready to be activated off the DL when eligible, on July 4.
Some Angels.com links from Monday …
- Lyle Spencer: Fresh faces taking Halos to new heights
- Without fans’ help, Pujols won’t be an All-Star
- Preview, on the Wilson-Matusz matchup
Some AL West links …
- Forearm strain lands Colby Lewis on the DL
- Dustin Ackley fighting his way through struggles
- Tommy Milone hurls seven scoreless
And The Big 3 was on Oprah.
Pitching: LH Brian Matusz (0-2, 8.38 ERA)
Pitching: RH Jerome Williams (0-1, 16.87 ERA)
Some pregame notes …
- This you see above you is lineup No. 12 for the Angels and manager Mike Scioscia. It’s Trumbo’s first start of the season in the outfield, Peter Bourjos‘ (.206 BA) second day off in the last three days and the lowest Kendrys Morales (0-for-8 vs. LHs) has hit in the lineup since 2009.
- Scioscia, on the club’s disappointing start: “Would we rather have a better record? Absolutely at this point. You try to go out there and win every game, but I think there’s a mild frustration with some guys because they know we wanted to get off to a good start and we’re not there right now. The talent in this team is just real. And it’ll come to the forefront. And when that starts to happen, I think you’ll see a lot of guys relax and get into their game.”
- Trumbo, in case you hadn’t noticed, hasn’t started a game at third base since April 13. Trumbo and Scioscia both admitted he’s more comfortable in the corner outfield right now, but Scioscia re-emphasized: “He’s going to play third base. But we want him in there more than maybe what you would project the day starting at third base would be for the season, so he’s going to have to play osme corner outfield, some third bae and also DH.”
- Still no save chance for Jordan Walden, as the Angels are the only Major League team without a save.
- All-Star Game balloting has begun.
Some links from Thursday …
- Shaky defense dooms C.J. Wilson, Halos in finale
- Pujols not caught up in homer drought
- Erick Aybar, Angels more than content with extension
- Jerry Dipoto: Long-term deals give Halos solid core
- Mike Trout generating buzz with hot start in Minors
- Williams looks to rebound from poor debut
Some AL West links …
- The Rangers and Tigers were rained out Friday, so Matt Harrison will have to wait again
- The A’s (remember them?) win three straight vs. Angels
- Ichiro Suzuki is producing from the 3 spot
And the Miami Heat won a chippy game over the Chicago Bulls.