Results tagged ‘ Delmon Young ’
The Draft starts today, and after going heavy-handed on pitching the last two years, the Angels are expected to target position players this time around. They — like any other team — want to set themselves up so that every time there’s a need on the Major League club, there’s a player in their farm system ready to take over. It’s too risky, not to mention expensive, to rely on the free-agent market to fill holes. Look no further than that brutal offseason heading into 2013, which saw the Angels sign Josh Hamilton, Joe Blanton, Tommy Hanson, Ryan Madson and Sean Burnett. Ouch.
The Cardinals are the gold standard when it comes to organizational depth, as evidenced by a Major League-leading plus-70 run-differential without Adam Wanwright or Matt Adams.
The Angels? Well, they’re working on it.
Their farm system was in need of a major replenishment right around the time Jerry Dipoto took over as general manager after the 2011 season, but major free-agent signings stripped the Angels of early-round picks and new CBA regulations limited how much teams can spend on amateur talent. It’s been a slow process. But over time, the Angels have at least done a good job of building some respectable starting-pitching depth. Some notables …
Triple-A: Andrew Heaney, Nick Tropeano
Double-A: Nate Smith, Kyle McGowin
Class A Advanced: Sean Newcomb, Chris Ellis, Victor Alcantara
Class A: Jeremy Rhoades, Jake Jewell
Lower levels: Joe Gatto, Hunter Green
That brings us to the upcoming offseason, and why that starting-pitching depth could be so important. The Angels — losers of five straight games — could have up to five holes in their lineup once this season ends: catcher, second base, third base, left field, designated hitter. In the majority of those spots — perhaps all of them, if you’re being really cynical — the Angels don’t have players in their organization ready to come up and take over. And their big financial flexibility won’t come after the 2016 season, when C.J. Wilson, Jered Weaver and Erick Aybar, among others, come off the books.
Dipoto, with a contract that carries a lingering club option for 2016, knows he’ll eventually have to part ways with some of the precious starting-pitching depth he’s worked so hard to compile. He may have to trade some of it within these next two months, with his club in desperate need of some offense. And he’s almost certain to do so over the winter, given all their upcoming needs.
Here’s a snapshot …
Current option: Chris Iannetta, in the final season of a three-year, $15.55 million extension
In-house replacement(s): Carlos Perez, Jett Bandy
Free-agent options: Iannetta, Alex Avila, John Jaso, Dioner Navarro, Jeff Mathis (!), Matt Wieters
Probable outcome: The rest of this season could play a big part in deciding how the Angels handle this position. They need to find out if Perez, basically a throw-in in the deal that sent Hank Conger to the Astros for Tropeano, is capable of being a semi-regular. Bandy has made some pretty big strides in the last year and is solid defensively, and that free-agent list is pretty compelling. But I’d guess that if the Angels splurge on a free agent, it’s an outfielder, not a catcher.
Current option: David Freese, making $6.425 million in his final arbitration year
In-house replacement(s): Kyle Kubitza
Free-agent options: Freese, Aramis Ramirez, Juan Uribe, Casey McGehee, Alberto Callaspo (!)
Probable outcome: The hope – the initial plan – is that Kubitza is ready to be the everyday third baseman in 2016. The likely scenario is that Kubitza is paired with a right-handed-hitting veteran who doesn’t mind sharing the job and can help Kubitza make the transition to the big leagues. I think it’s unlikely that they make a run at resigning Freese, especially since he’ll probably make good money given the lack of talent in the free-agent pool at third base.
Current option: Johnny Giavotella, controllable through 2019
In-house replacement(s): Giavotella, Josh Rutledge, Grant Green, Taylor Featherston, Alex Yarbrough
Free-agent options: Howie Kendrick (!), Ben Zobrist, Daniel Murphy
Probable outcome: Giavotella has been a revelation of sorts and is out of options. None of the other in-house options are all that appealing, as Spring Training might have shown, but the free-agent market isn’t deep here, either. The Angels don’t really do reunions, but Kendrick was huge for their lineup these last few years and he loves playing in Southern California. This is a position where they may ultimately have to get creative again.
Current option: Matt Joyce, making $4.75 million in his final arbitration year
In-house replacement(s): Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Collin Cowgill, Efren Navarro, Alfredo Marte
Free-agent options: Joyce, Yoenis Cespedes, Jason Heyward, Torii Hunter (!), David Murphy, Justin Upton, Chris Young, Shane Victorino
Probable outcome: As you can see, this is a major, major problem. Outfield is by far the Angels’ biggest organizationally need and they’ll most certainly have to get somebody from the outside. That may happen before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline, though. Dipoto has been looking for a left-handed-hitting left fielder for quite a while, and for obvious reasons, he’d like to get someone who’s controllable beyond this season. Upton would be a very appealing option, though.
Current option: C.J. Cron, controllable through 2020
In-house replacement(s): Cron, Marc Krauss
Free-agent options: Chris Davis, Mike Napoli (!), Delmon Young
Probable outcome: This situation is strikingly similar to left field. For the last two years, Angels manager Mike Scioscia has been scrounging for that ninth bat, going from Raul Ibanez to Cron to Navarro to Krauss to Green to Cron again. Most teams have this problem, though. Perhaps the Angels remain patient with Cron, but I see them getting two bats before August.
If it wasn’t already obvious (it should’ve been), then the Phillies’ recent signing of Delmon Young seemingly sealed it: Vernon Wells and his bloated contract will be with the Angels in 2013. At least the early part of it.
The Phillies were one of few teams linked to Wells this offseason, and the fact they were only willing to guarantee Young $750,000 (with bonuses that can ramp it up to $3.5 million) is perhaps an indication of how dry the market for Wells is at this point.
The Angels expect to absorb a vast majority of the $42 million owed to Wells over the next two years in any trade, but they won’t give him away. They still feel he can contribute — as a right-handed power hitter and the first outfielder off the bench; perhaps even as insurance if Peter Bourjos gets off to a rough start — and they’d want to replace him via free agency if he departed anyway.
So, for the first time in his career, Wells will show up to Spring Training as a clear reserve, behind Bourjos, Mike Trout, Josh Hamilton and DH Mark Trumbo in the outfield pecking order.
On Monday, 17 days before position players take their physicals in Tempe, Ariz., Wells joined “Angels Talk” hosts Victor Rojas and Terry Smith AM 830 KLAA. Asked about his diminished role, he took the high road — he always does — and didn’t really seem too bothered by it.
Here’s a partial transcript:
On being hurt the last couple years …
“I think that’s just part of the process. I don’t think it matters where you are in your career. You’re going to have some frustrating times, and unfortunately the last couple years have been frustrating, not only for myself, but for a lot of outsiders also. I think that’s what the offseasons are for, to kind of get a chance to regroup and refocus, and I think the thing for me moving forward is I have to be comfortable. I have to just relax and go play the game like I did when I was a kid. I don’t think I’ve done that as much as I’ve needed to.”
On the preparation going into a season when he’ll probably come off the bench …
“I think every athlete prefers just to be in the best shape they can and for whatever’s thrown at him in Spring Training. I don’t know exactly what the role is going to be. I think it’s been documented what it could be. But for me, as a competitor, you have to go in and be ready to fight. I think that’s what everyone wants to do and everybody’s going to do, because in order for this team to achieve what it needs to, everyone has to be thinking that way.”
On whether the trade rumors have bothered him …
“No, not at all. I put myself in that position, so I can’t get mad about it. I think that’s pretty obvious. You live and you learn. I’ve enjoyed my last two years, even though it’s been frustrating at times, but everything you go through you learn from it, and sometimes it takes a month, sometimes it takes a year, and sometimes it takes two years to kind of get everything straightened out. But I like the opportunity I’m going to get, and I’m going to run with whatever they tell me to do.”
On whether he’d prefer to go to a team with a more prominent role …
“I want to play, and I want to play for the Angels. But I have to earn that. That’s an easy question to answer. I want to be an Angel and I want to play. If I don’t get the opportunity to play, then obviously I need to continue to work harder because I still want to wear the uniform. I want to be able to really show what I can do, and I haven’t been able to do that the last couple of years. There’s still a lot to show some Angel fans. I’m looking forward to the opportunity to do that, and if I don’t get it, then so be it.”
Pitching: LH C.J. Wilson (9-5, 2.43 ERA)
Pitching: RH Doug Fister (3-6, 4.39 ERA)
Some pregame notes …
- Dan Haren (stiff lower back) threw a 40-pitch bullpen session, is feeling good and is eyeing a weekend start against the Rangers. Asked about the pressure to pitch well, given how his return to form can impact how active the Angels are in the trade market? “No added pressure. I mean, the Trade Deadline is such a weird thing. I’ve gone through it personally. There’s only so much I can control. I want to come back and help this team. I’ve been a really good pitcher for eight or nine years. I’ve had a couple bad months, pitched through some stuff. I think people kind of forget how good I can be. It’s been kind of frustrating hearing all that stuff. I went on the DL to try and help this team, to get better for the last 12 starts I’ll make because I know those are going to be very important. I kinda had to swallow my pride and just get better.”
- Mike Scioscia, when asked about Vernon Wells’ role on the team when he gets back in late July (he’ll start a rehab assignment with Triple-A Salt Lake on Friday): “We’re going to look at the situation presented when Vernon’s healthy and back and ready to go, but I think Vernon understands the situation. With the way Mike and Mark are playing, they’re going to be out there every day, and we’ll see how everything else folds in.”
- The Angels signed outfielder Trevor Crowe to a Minor League deal recently, shortly after he was released by the Indians. Crowe could’ve come over in the nixed Bobby Abreu deal of late March.
- Jerry Dipoto, on his ostracized center fielder: “At no point have we offered Peter Bourjos for anyone, starter or reliever.”
- Dipoto, on trades: “We have nothing significant or imminent at this time. We’re just doing our due diligence.”
- Jordan Walden (right biceps strain) is expected to throw again in a couple weeks. He’s waiting for some anti-inflammatories to set in.
- Chris Iannetta (right forearm strain) threw to second base again today and felt good.
Pitching: RH Garrett Richards (2-1, 4.21 ERA)
Pitching: RH Justin Turner (0-1, 1.80 ERA)
Some pregame notes …
- Mike Scioscia finally relented, putting Trumbo in as the cleanup hitter behind Pujols, instead of Morales. “We all feel that Kendrys is pressing a little bit. He understands the importance of just being able to hit behind a guy like Albert. I don’t think he’s changed his game much, but right now he’s not very comfortable in the box. It doesn’t look like he’s attacking the ball like he can.”
- Haren (stiff lower back) is expected to be with the team today and will throw a bullpen session in the next couple days. Scioscia, on his rehab outing: “First couple innings was a little bit off of his command, but physically he felt great, so it was a good workout for him. He feels good.”
- Vernon Wells (right thumb surgery) expects to start a rehab assignment with Triple-A Salt Lake on Friday.
Some Angels.com links from Monday …
- Bullpen woes cost Angels a win
- Notebook, on Bourjos and the rumor mill, Chris Iannetta‘s throwing and Wells’ injury status
- Haren feels good after rehab outing
- Preview, on the Richards-Turner matchup
Some AL West links …
- Neftali Feliz makes headway in first rehab start
- Mariners cruise in Kansas City
- Inbox: Is Oakland a legit contender?
Mike Miller decides against retirement.
Pitching: RH Ervin Santana (4-9, 5.75 ERA)
Pitching: RH Rick Porcello (6-5, 4.47 ERA)
Some pregame notes …
- The Angels haven’t made a formal announcement on their Tuesday starter yet, but plan on it being Garrett Richards.
- Chris Iannetta (right forearm strain) threw to bases today. Mike Scioscia said he “definitely took a step forward” but will have to repeat the workout before seeing when he’s ready to go out there and feel comfortable enough for a rehab assignment. “He had a good workout today, he’s just not quite where he needs to be.”
- Vernon Wells (thumb surgery) worked out again today and could get on a rehab assignment, probably 7-10 games, by this weekend.
- And this could be a very big week with regards to the Angels’ pursuit of a starting pitcher.
Some Angels.com links from Sunday …
- Bullpen almost blows it, but Angels escape Bronx with win
- Notebook, on Ernesto Frieri giving up his first run, Jordan Walden landing on the DL, Dan Haren‘s rehab, Hunter’s status, etc.
- Bloom: Angels facing fight to the finish in the AL
- Preview, on the Santana-Porcello matchup
Some AL West links …
- Rangers Inbox, on the pursuit for a starting pitcher and other stuff
- Mariners’ offense comes up empty against Matt Harrison
- A’s sweep Twins and are in contention (at least for now)
And Chris Bosh expects his role to change given the Heat’s new acquisitions.
Carl Crawford, LF
Evan Longoria, 3B
Carlos Pena, 1B
B.J. Upton, CF
Willy Aybar, DH
Jason Bartlett, SS
Sean Rodriguez, 2B
David Price, LH
Wade Davis, RH
Rafael Soriano, RH (CL)
Joaquin Benoit, RH
Randy Choate, LH
Grant Balfour, RH
Kelly Shoppach, C
Dan Johnson, 1B
Reid Brignac, INF
Matt Joyce, OF
Why they’ll win: The Rays have a potential (or favorite?) Cy Young winner in Price, they have a back end of the bullpen that makes the late innings a nightmare — with Benoit in the eighth and Soriano in the ninth — and their speed element — led by Crawford and Upton — is as unique as it is excruciating to defend. Tampa Bay finished 2010 first in the AL in relief pitcher ERA, third in fielding percentage and, despite an inconsistent offense, third in runs. All big keys to success in my book.
Why they won’t: As threatening as they are on the basepaths, the Rays’ offense has been rather inconsistent this season, because those surrounding Longoria (fully recovered) and Crawford have been very streaky. The big key will be Pena, the power-hitting first baseman who hit just .122 since the start of September. The importance of Pena to the offense is matched by the importance of Shields to the rotation. Joe Maddon surprised me by naming him the No. 2 starter behind Price, despite his 7.59 ERA in his last six starts. He’ll need to be “Big Game James” and give this up-and-down rotation another solid option if the Rays are to make a return trip to the World Series.
Mark Teixeira, 1B
Alex Rodriguez, 3B
Robinson Cano, 2B
Lance Berkman, DH
Jorge Posada, C
Curtis Granderson, CF
Brett Gardner, LF
CC Sabathia, LH
Andy Pettitte, LH
Phil Hughes, RH
A.J. Burnett, RH
Mariano Rivera, RH (CL)
Kerry Wood, RH
Joba Chamberlain, RH
Boone Logan, LH
Francisco Cervelli, C
Ramiro Pena, INF
Marcus Thames, OF
Austin Kearns, OF
Why they’ll win: Because they’re the Yankees. They’re the defending champions, the payroll monsters and the ones with all the mystique. Their lineup is loaded with dangerous hitters from top to bottom and sprinkled throughout with gritty postseason performers who know what it takes to win this month. So does their ace, Sabathia, and their closer, Rivera. With names like those, along with A-Rod, Jeter, Teixeira, Posada and Cano, the potential MVP, it’s hard to ever bet against the Yankees. Wood has also been a key addition and makes the Bombers yet another team in these playoffs with the eighth and ninth pretty much locked down.
Why they won’t: Because the starting rotation won’t let them. That’s the only glaring weakness I see for the Yankees in this postseason (though, granted, it’s a big one). Joe Giradi has been mum on who follows CC in the rotation — and maybe he doesn’t even want to think about it. Seriously, who do you go with? Burnett has been awful this season, especially lately. Hughes has been up-and-down and has far-exceeded his previous career-high innings mark. Pettitte isn’t far removed from a long stint on the shelf (and he’s 38). And Vazquez’s struggles have pretty much exiled him from the postseason rotation.