Results tagged ‘ Jerry DiPoto ’
I wrote Wednesday about the Angels’ rotation, which is seemingly the only uncertain, less-than-stellar department of the 2013 team. The down-the-stretch trio of Zack Greinke, Dan Haren and Ervin Santana is being replaced by Jason Vargas, Tommy Hanson and Joe Blanton, a new trio that costs less but should put more pressure on the revamped bullpen and a stellar offense.
But here’s one other thing worth noting about this less-sexy rotation: It’ll absorb a plentiful amount of innings, perhaps more so than that of any other club in the American League.
Consider the averages of each of the five starters …
- Jered Weaver (2007-12): 200 IP
- C.J. Wilson (2010-12): 210 IP
- Vargas (2010-12): 204 IP
- Hanson (2010-12): 169 IP
- Blanton (05-12): 178 IP
Put another way: The Angels have a realistic chance of having five starters throw at least 170 innings in 2013. No other AL team was able to boast that in 2012. In fact, nine of the 14 clubs didn’t have more than two starters account for 170-plus frames (the Twins and playoff-bound Orioles only had one; the Angels, Rays and Yankees were the only ones with four).
Weaver (6.4), Wilson (6.1), Vargas (6) and Blanton (6.2) have each averaged at least six innings per start throughout their careers, while Hanson is at 5.9. So, if the quintet of Weaver, Wilson, Hanson, Vargas and Blanton stay healthy all year (a big “if” in every circumstance, of course), Angels starters will have absorbed about 991 innings combined, based on each of their career track records.
In 2012, 991 innings from a starting rotation would’ve ranked seventh in the Majors and fourth in the AL, behind only the Mariners, Yankees and Rays.
Yes, the Angels currently have just one — maybe two, if Wilson regroups — ace-like starter capable of single-handedly halting losing streaks and altering a short playoff series. But there’s something to be said about starters consistently pitching deep into games. It repeatedly gives an offense as potent as the Angels’ a chance to win, and it means a strong bullpen won’t have to account for so many innings.
It’s why Blanton doesn’t find the term “innings-eater” insulting.
“I’m fine with that, honestly,” said Blanton, who has actually averaged 198 innings since ’05 if you discount an injury-riddled 2011.
“In my personal opinion, I don’t feel like you throw 180, 190, 200 innings without being able to go deep into games. Just taking the ball every fifth day, if you weren’t getting the job done, you’d be done every five innings, and in 30 starts, that’s 150 innings. So you still have to go deep into games, and be successful enough and keep a team in the game enough to be able to rack up those innings.”
The Angels also have a little more overall starting-pitching depth than they entered with last season.
The high-upside Garrett Richards and the capable Jerome Williams, both of whom were competing for the fifth spot last spring, are now insurance policies; as are the likes of Brad Mills, Barry Enright and the two Minor League signings, Jo-Jo Reyes and Billy Buckner.
“The likelihood of having five starters go post-to-post and not miss a day is unlikely; it doesn’t happen very often,” general manager Jerry Dipoto said. “So you want to have that depth.”
Whatever the Angels’ rotation lacks in prestige is made up for in numbers — as in the number of innings absorbed and the number of viable arms.
I’ve made the mistake of believing the Angels were done before. So when general manager Jerry Dipoto, speaking shortly after trading Kendrys Morales for Jason Vargas, says “in all likelihood” he’s done making major moves this offseason, I’m naturally skeptical. But, yeah, barring a low-risk addition or two to the bullpen, probably via Minor League deals, this essentially puts a bow on Dipoto’s offseason. Seriously this time.
In my opinion, it was a very successful one for the Angels’ second-year GM.
With a very similar payroll (about $160 million), and a ridiculously expensive free agent market, Dipoto was able to add yet another weapon to an already-dangerous lineup, greatly improve a thin bullpen and build more starting-pitching depth. (Here’s an updated depth chart.) Granted, the rotation is nowhere near as heralded as it was at the start of last season, but it is solid and a lot more payroll-efficient.
We could go on forever about whether or not it was better to sign Zack Greinke (six years, $147 million) or Josh Hamilton (five years, $125 million). Frankly, I’m not sure. Greinke’s risk is greater, in some ways, because he’s a pitcher and it’s an extra year. In a vacuum, and if we’re factoring out that sixth year, it comes down to whether you prefer Greinke and Morales or Hamilton and Vargas.
But you can’t analyze offseasons like that because they never play out in linear fashion. It’s like the butterfly effect; each move is dependent on the other. Skipping out on Greinke allowed Dipoto to get Joe Blanton and Sean Burnett, adding them to the additions of Tommy Hanson and Ryan Madson. Then he got Hamilton, which allowed him to then flip Morales for Vargas. Had he delved into a bidding war with the Rangers and Dodgers for Greinke, perhaps he would’ve been stuck with nothing (look at the Rangers right now).
Basically, the 2012 septet of Morales, Greinke, Dan Haren, Torii Hunter, Ervin Santana, Jordan Walden and LaTroy Hawkins is being replaced by the 2013 septet of Bourjos, Hamilton, Blanton, Vargas, Hanson, Madson and Burnett. If we’re going by Wins Above Replacement, as interpreted by FanGraphs.com, the Angels improved this offseason.
Here’s a look at each player’s WAR from this past season …
Bourjos (from 2011): 4.5
Madson (’11): 1.7
It seemed like the Angels were mostly done for the offseason, after acquiring two starting pitchers (Tommy Hanson and Joe Blanton) and two back-end relievers (Ryan Madson and Sean Burnett) to push their payroll to about $140 million.
But maybe that has changed.
ESPN.com’s Buster Olney wrote via Twitter on Thursday that the Angels are “positioning themselves for a big strike in the market,” speculating that high-priced free-agent outfielder Josh Hamilton could be the target. Joe McDonnell of FOXSportsWest.com attributed a Major League source in tweeting that the Angels are in serious negotiations with Hamilton.
On Wednesday, when the four new pitchers were introduced at the ESPN Zone in Downtown Disney, Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto said: “I don’t feel like anything else is imminent, I don’t feel like anything else is pressing and I don’t think anything else is required.” And a source told MLB.com that if the Angels do make another signing, it’d probably be in January if the market dries up on a starting pitcher, prompting him to take much lower than expected.
But has owner Arte Moreno suddenly decided to stretch out the budget once more, like he did last offseason to acquire Albert Pujols? And is it a reaction to the big-ticket moves made by the Dodgers, as Olney speculated?
– Alden Gonzalez
Angels manager Mike Scioscia met with the media from the Gaylord Opryland Hotel in Nashville, Tenn., on Wednesday, the final full day of the Winter Meetings. With the pitching market moving slowly — and likely staying that way until Zack Greinke chooses his destination — the Angels haven’t addressed their final rotation and bullpen need, and there are still no indications that they’ll do so before heading back West.
In a wide-ranging interview, Scioscia talked about the Angels’ pursuit of Greinke — who he hasn’t talked to since the end of the regular season, the addition of Ryan Madson, the new-look outfield, Mike Trout‘s future spot in the outfield and Vernon Wells‘ limited role.
Here are the highlights …
Any sense you guys will be able to do something today?
Well, you know, there’s a lot of things that Jerry [Dipoto] is working on, and I think the important thing about this time of year is really not only who you’re targeting but the contingencies. Those guys have put a lot of time in and a lot of effort into getting us ready to go whatever direction negotiations take you, whatever direction these Winter Meetings take you. We’re very, very comfortable and confident in the team that we’re going to have. I think there are already some things that were vastly improved on from where we were in September. We’ll see where this leads.
Any concerns from a rotation standpoint, numbers and maybe some of the quality, as we get through right now?
Well, we have right now a couple good guys to build around when you talk about Jered [Weaver] and you talk about C.J. [Wilson]. Obviously there’s some young guys coming up, guys like Garrett [Richards] that are obviously going to have opportunities, Jerome Williams. But when you talk about the Greinkes, you talk about a lot of the other pitchers that are still out there right now with some question marks as to are they going to be part of your team or not, you know, there are things you have to prepare for.
So yeah, starting rotation is obviously the heartbeat of your club, and I know that Jerry is putting a lot of time and effort into it. And I think as we’re waiting for that to hopefully develop and get solidified, there have been some great additions that we’re very, very excited about.
What dialogue, if any, have you had with Zack over the winter or maybe in the last week or two?
The dialogue is really going to be between Jerry and his agent. I think Zack was very comfortable here at the end of last year, pitched very, very good baseball for us. Free agency is complicated. Right now we’re at a stage where I don’t know if there’s as much clarity as there are in some other areas that are going on, but he’s certainly a guy that I know that they’re talking to.
So have you talked to him at all?
I talked to Zack at the end of the season.
Even if you solidify the pitching staff the way you want, would you still consider it a disappointment if Greinke isn’t part of it?
I don’t know if you ever are going to say, well, this is disappointing and that’s disappointing. You want to see what direction negotiations take your team and what direction Winter Meetings take your team. I think we’re going to have a strong rotation with or without Zack. Naturally we’d like Zack to be part of it because we saw where he was and what he did for us last year, but if it plays out that way, then obviously that’s important. If it doesn’t go that way, I think there are some names that Jerry is certainly ‑‑ there’s some names that he’s in negotiations with that hopefully are going to take our rotation where it needs to be.
How do you feel about the bullpen right now?
I think it’s terrific. I think that when you look at a guy like Madson and you look at adding him to what [Ernesto] Frieri did and [Kevin Jepsen's] development, and you look at [Scott] Downs, there are so many situations where we didn’t hold leads the way we needed to last season. And I think going into this year, if everyone hits the ground running as far as our bullpen, we’re going to hold leads at a much better rate, and that’s going to definitely influence where we finish our standings.
If he’s healthy, is Madson the closer?
Well, there’s no doubt that he wants to be and has the potential to be. But I don’t think we have to make that determination right now. I think that where Ryan is is certainly one factor. Where Ernie is, if you look at Scott Downs who had saves last year, where Kevin Jepsen is, our bullpen is much deeper right now, and that’s encouraging. It’s always easier when that one guy emerges and can be the closer. If that is what materializes, great; if it doesn’t, then we’re going to hold leads in different ways and have the good arms to do it.
How will the loss of Torii Hunter impact your team on and off the field?
There’s no doubt it impacts our club. I think when you lose a presence in the clubhouse ‑‑ I think we have plenty of guys in the clubhouse that are a presence, and they’ll absorb that. I think what we have to carve out is that No. 2 spot that Torii just fit like a glove. He took that role and he just ran with it and got back to his roots of being a young player coming up and getting into a situational game and played at a high level for us. That’s what we have to, I think, be able to replicate, and hopefully we will.
What are you thinking for the 2-hole?
There’s a lot of guys we can revisit, but I think if you look at where Erick [Aybar] was and where Howie [Kendrick] was as they moved on in the season and got more comfortable, there’s certainly going to be some spots for that. Where we end up at the end of these Meetings and going into Spring Training will have a lot to do with who’s going to hit in the No. 2 spot.
Do you still have Trout leading off next year?
There’s definitely things that we’ve talked about. If you look at Mike Trout and where he can hit, he can hit anywhere from 1 to 4 in your lineup. Where you’re going to get the most production from Mike, he fell right into lead‑off hole and was just natural, but you certainly want to set the table for Mike, and I think as a lead‑off hitter, there’s certainly an argument to saying how much are your 8 and 9 guys getting on for Mike to be able to justify putting him in that spot. He might be suited to hit second in your lineup if you had the right combination.
I think there’s a lot of lineups that you can roll around right now. I think the one thing with Mike that was incredible was really the number of RBIs he had or really maybe not getting as many opportunities as some guys, and that’s something you would definitely explore when you’re putting lineups together.
What do you think [Peter] Bourjos can do offensively?
I think Peter had a good 2011 for us. If you look at how he did particularly in the second half where his on‑base percentage improved, I think you saw some power evolve. Pete’s obviously a presence in the outfield, but he still needs to bring us some offense, which he’s definitely capable of doing.
There’s some people that may not have seen a lot of Bourjos that go, ‘Hey, you have somebody that’s a better center fielder than Mike Trout?’
I think Mike has the tools to play an incredible level of center field, and with experience I think you’ll see Mike improve on some things as a center fielder. Not that he was really deficient, but you’re going to see some routes that are going to be cleaner. It just happens with experience. Peter had a little more time to play in the Minor Leagues and work on some things and is probably a little more polished in center field right now than Mike. And I think that says more about Peter’s ability than it does to say any deficiency that Mike has, because Mike Trout is a Gold Glove caliber center fielder. But Peter plays to a special level.
I’m assuming you will play him at left, Peter in center? What is the overall reason you would say, one or two reasons, and is there something to be said for exposing Mike a little less to some of the rigors defensively?
I don’t think that’s as much to where you think the pieces fit that give you the best defensive look you can have. You know, Peter is very polished on stopping at first and third, he’s got incredible range at center field he’s going to play, and there’s some things from a center fielder look that Peter is going to give you that gives you a chance to have a really dynamic outfield if that’s the way it plays out. Mike in left field and Peter in center, especially in our park, are going to give you range plus out there, and you know, we’ll see how things unfold.
If your question is taking pressure off of Mike going to be one of the reasons why we would go with that alignment, I’d say no. I’d say he can play center field every day. We wouldn’t shy away from that if that’s going to make us a better team.
What do you think you can get out of Vernon Wells this year?
Well, you know, Vernon is a guy that we’ve seen struggle for a couple years. I talked to Vernon over the winter about it. I think that for him to find his comfort zone and get into his game, he’s a guy that’s much more talented than he’s shown in the last couple years. Part of him was slowed a little bit with the groin injury in ’11, and then last season with the thumb. It’s been frustrating not only for Vernon but for us as a staff because of the talent. You still see the bat speed there. You see a guy that can play at a higher level, and you know, we’ll see where Vernon is. But he’s been very frustrated, also.
I keep getting questions about the 2013 payroll and how much money Jerry Dipoto can spend on starting pitching, but it’s hard to give a definite answer because the Angels won’t publicly say where they project it.
As I’ve written all along, though, my best assumption for 2013 — based on conversations with others, and simply the Angels’ approach thus far — is that they’ll be somewhere between $140 and $145 million; maybe a little less, maybe a little more. It won’t be $159 million like last year.
If that ends up being the case, it leaves them with less than you might think.
Here’s a breakdown, with a little help from The Count …
* The Angels owe just over $96 million to the following eight players: Vernon Wells, Jered Weaver, Albert Pujols, C.J. Wilson, Howie Kendrick, Erick Aybar, Chris Iannetta and Scott Downs.
* Ryan Madson, the ninth signed player, could make somewhere between $3.5 million and $7 million. Let’s assume, for the purposes of this exercise, that he makes $6 million — easily attainable if healthy. That puts them at $102 million.
* The Angels paid $3.5 million to buy out Dan Haren‘s option, and they paid the Royals $1 million in sending Ervin Santana to Kansas City. That’s now roughly $107 million (we’ll round up).
* The Angels will tender contracts to all four of their arbitration-eligible players. If we’re using MLBTradeRumors.com’s arbitration projections — about as accurate as you can find — that puts Kendrys Morales ($4.8 million), Alberto Callaspo ($4.2 million), Jerome Williams ($1.9 million) and Kevin Jepsen ($1.1 million) at a combined $12 million. Now we’re looking at about $119 million.
* You’d think that leaves them with somewhere between $21 to $26 million based on the earlier payroll projection, right? Well, you have to account for everyone else. I’ve currently listed 13 active players the Angels are accounting for on their 25-man roster. Let’s say they sign two starters and nothing more. That’s 15, leaving them with 10 players who make the Major League minimum because they’re between zero to three years of service time. Those contracts are usually about $500,000, so that’s an additional $5 million, putting them at $124 million.
If we bump that up to $125 million — some of the arbitration guys may get a little more; the Angels may pay Mike Trout a little extra after his near-MVP season — that leaves them with $15 to $20 million, if my payroll projection holds true. I’ve been told the Angels likely won’t be paying Zack Greinke $150 million on a six-year contract (an average of $25 million a year), and perhaps you can see why based on this breakdown. Will he really get that much? That’s the big question. Are they out on Greinke? I wouldn’t go that far just yet.
But the Angels need two starters, and if Greinke prices himself out of Anaheim, the alternate route could be to sign one mid-rotation starter, one innings-eater and more relievers.
Obligatory PSA: The current payroll is a rough estimation, and the payroll projection is an educated guess. I’m just trying to provide as clear a picture as I can. We won’t know for sure until the offseason concludes — and as last year showed, anything can happen.
The Angels are closing in on a one-year agreement with Ryan Madson.
And if the deal does indeed get finalized (it can happen as early as Tuesday), you have to figure it’s so that Madson eventually becomes the closer. Recovery from Tommy John surgery may not have him ready by Opening Day, and he’ll probably need a tune-up before resuming the ninth inning (see: Nathan, Joe in 2011). But part of the appeal for Madson to sign this early, and take a low-base, high-incentive salary, is to close on a contending team. And surely the Angels sold him on that.
That would move Ernesto Frieri to the eighth inning, one year after being one of baseball’s biggest surprises.
Frieri was basically unhittable shortly after coming over from the Padres in early May, finishing the year with a 2.32 ERA, a .96 WHIP, 13.3 strikeouts per nine innings and 23 saves in 26 chances. But Madson was one of the game’s best late-inning relievers from 2008-11, posting a 2.86 ERA and a 1.18 WHIP while averaging 68 innings, 68 strikeouts and 18 walks per season. He has the better track record, is less prone to walks and went 32-for-34 in saves with the Phillies in 2011 (giving up only two homers despite pitching out of Citizens Bank Park).
So, that probably means Frieri is the setup man, with Kevin Jepsen in the seventh, Scott Downs as a floater and the likes of Nick Maronde, Jordan Walden, etc. filling out the ‘pen (though the offseason is still very young). Here’s what Jerry Dipoto told me early in the offseason about Frieri and his plans for the ninth. Appropriate on a day like today, methinks …
“We didn’t acquire Ernie with the idea that he was going to step in as our closer. We acquired him with the idea that he was going to help us get the last nine outs and he earned being the closer. That wasn’t the design. Obviously, if our staff remained unchanged, then he has a very good chance to be that guy again. But we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it. Ernie had a fabulous year. It’s very easy to lose track with the two emotional losses versus Texas and Kansas City down towards the end how good this guy was all year. It was phenomenal how big an impact he made on our season and on our team. One thing I’m certain of is that Ernesto in 2012 was a huge advantage to us and we have every expectation that he’s going to be just as high an impact in 2013. But like the question I answered a year ago, we’ll go into the offseason with the idea that Ernie is our ninth-inning guy, and we’re going to try to craft a group in that bullpen that works, and however most effectively we can get those last nine outs, we’ll get them.”
The Angels have made it clear — even though their roster configuration can do it for them — that pitching is priority Nos. 1, 2 and 3 this offseason. It has to be with only Jered Weaver and C.J. Wilson returning from the 2012 rotation and with a bullpen that blew 22 saves this past season.
That’s why the Angels never had a chance with Torii Hunter, even though the veteran outfielder was willing to give them a hometown discount. On Wednesday morning, Hunter signed a two-year, $26 million deal with the Tigers, choosing not to wait on the Angels because they continue to scrounge for pitching (most likely via the free-agent market) and couldn’t offer more than a one-year, $5 million contract to a 37-year-old coming off a career year.
Question is: Are the Angels done with the position-player half of their roster?
It’s still early, and a lot can happen, but at the very least, it looks like they very well can be.
“It’s so early in the offseason that it’s impossible to say, but the reality is we are focused on pitching,” Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto said. “Right now, our primary focus is on pitching and we’re very comfortable with the position-player club that we have.”
Here are the 13 position players I’d have slated to join the active roster if the season started today …
OF: Mike Trout, Peter Bourjos, Mark Trumbo, Vernon Wells, Kole Calhoun
INF: Alberto Callaspo, Erick Aybar, Howie Kendrick, Albert Pujols, Andrew Romine
C: Chris Iannetta, Hank Conger
DH: Kendrys Morales
And as @GBenn823 asked via Twitter, here’s how I would do the lineup …
* Wells can start at DH (or perhaps right field) against a lefty, which were the days Morales sat in 2012.
The Angels would probably still deal Wells if they can find someone to kick in a little money on the $42 million owed to him the next two years, and they may look to shore other areas up to create more competition in camp. But their attention is turned almost solely to pitching, most notably Zack Greinke.
The Angels declined to tender Torii Hunter a $13.3 million qualifying offer today. It’s an expected move, yes, but it’s also a sign of how far apart the two sides are. Frankly, they’re far. Very far. And Hunter is starting to realize that it may not work out. But he’s also holding out hope.
Here’s what he said when reached by phone today …
On not receiving a qualifying offer …
I figured they wouldn’t. I’m not surprised. They have so much going on with Vernon Wells’ contract and they have to wheel and deal. I mean, all is not lost. There’s still a chance that I can be there, so we’ll see what happens. But right now, it’s the business side of baseball and my agent, Larry Reynolds, and I, we’re going to just come up with a game plan because it’s also a business for me. This is my business, this is my company, this is my job – me. And I have to take care of that company, so that’s what I’m going to do to the best of my availability.
On having to move on …
Moving on doesn’t mean I have to stray away from the Angels. Yeah, I have to move on. I have to go out there and see what’s out there for me. But as a free agent, the Angels are a part of that, too. Like I said, there’s still love in my heart for the Angels. Don’t get it twisted. But I have to be ready to take care of my company, which is me.
On how it’s gone …
Just individually – I love the Angels’ organization, I love the fans, I love my teammates, I love my manager. So, of course, I want to be there and you’ve been hearing about that all season. But it’s just not working out. It didn’t work out today. But all is not lost.
On the confidence level for a return …
It’s pretty low. … But you know, like I said, all is not lost and you never know. [Owner] Arte [Moreno] knows what he’s doing, he’s a business man, and when you think something’s not going to happen with him, it happens. I still think there’s a shot, but at the same time, there’s going to be a lot of teams with shots. I have to do that.
On playing on a winning team …
My plan is to win no matter what, and if I’m on a winning team, of course I’m going to try to get with a ballclub that’s trying to win. That’s the plan.
On playing center field …
I will be in shape for center field. … Don’t get it twisted, because a lot of people look into the numbers, I can play the outfield no matter where it is. I can play it no matter what. So any team asks me to play anywhere, I can play it, no matter what. And I’d probably be a lot better than normal.
Ernesto Frieri, CL
2012: 2.32 ERA, 23-for-25 SV, 66 IP, 98 SO, 30 BB, .99 WHIP
2011: 2.71 ERA, 0-for-0 SV, 63 IP, 76 SO, 34 BB, 1.35 WHIP
Frieri was the bullpen’s savior when he came over unheralded from the Padres, utilizing a deceptive, Jered-Weaver-on-steroids delivery and a funky fastball to navigate through the first half basically untouched, with no runs and 45 strikeouts in his first 26 1/3 innings with Anaheim. As the league got to know him a little bit, Frieri got hit around a little bit, most glaringly blowing two saves — and two Zack Greinke gems — in a five-day span in mid-September. In the future, he’ll have to work on his slider to off-set that fastball, and the Angels’ bullpen may be better off if he’s the eighth-inning man rather than the closer. But he still had a fantastic year and there’s no reason to believe he can’t put up those numbers again. His stuff is that electric.
Scott Downs, SU
2012: 3.15 ERA, 9-for-12 SV, 45 2/3 IP, 32 SO, 17 BB, 1.31 WHIP
2006-11: 2.57 ERA, 3 SV, 61 IP, 50 SO, 20 BB, 1.17 WHIP
It wasn’t a typically dominant year for Downs, who’s now 36 and looked every bit his age in the second half, giving up 15 runs in 15 2/3 innings while suffering a few nicknack injuries throughout the year. Most concerning, of course, is the shoulder, which prompted him to miss 20 games in August. I’m told he didn’t have any sort of procedure on it this offseason, but it’ll be something to watch for a guy with the tenure of Downs, who’s a critical component of a thin Angels ‘pen. He’ll be in the final season of a three-year deal in 2013.
Garrett Richards, MR
2012: 4.69 ERA, 30 G (9 GS), 71 IP, 47 SO, 34 BB, 1.56 WHIP
As much as manager Mike Scioscia may have wanted it to happen, Richards wasn’t really a great fit in the bullpen. The Angels put him there permanently after recalling him in late August, giving Richards several opportunities late in games. But he was rather hit and miss — mostly miss — with a 5.82 ERA in 17 innings. Next year, though, the 24-year-old right-hander will go back to starting, and you’d figure he’d have a set spot, considering his upside and the amount of holes Jerry Dipoto may have to fill in his rotation this offseason. In an ideal world, though, he’s the fifth starter in 2013.
Kevin Jepsen, MR
2012: 3.02 ERA, 44 2/3 IP, 38 SO, 12 BB, 1.14 WHIP
2009-11: 4.76 ERA, 42 IP, 38 SO, 19 BB, 1.54 WHIP
The explosive Jepsen the Angels had in 2010, and the one they anticipated coming out of Spring Training, finally materialized when he returned from the Minors in July. In 40 appearances since then, the 28-year-old right-hander posted a 1.67 ERA in 37 2/3 innings, striking out 34 and walking 10. Now the Angels hope he’s here to stay.
Jordan Walden, MR
2012: 3.46 ERA, 1-for-2 SV, 39 IP, 48 SO, 18 BB, 1.36 WHIP
2011: 2.98 ERA, 32-for-42 SV, 60 1/3 IP, 67 SO, 26 BB, 1.24 WHIP
Walden was just never right in 2012. He lost his closer’s job after a walk-off homer in Tampa in late April, missed about six weeks with a neck and right biceps strain and his average fastball velocity dropped, from 97.5 to 96.3 mph. The 24-year-old right-hander talked about incorporating his changeup more and improving his slider, but if he can’t dial it up to triple-digits — like he did frequently in 2011 and hardly ever in 2012 — he can’t be successful.
LaTroy Hawkins, MR
2012: 3.64 ERA, 1 SV, 42 IP, 23 SO, 13 BB, 1.38 WHIP
2000-11: 3.29 ERA, 7 SV, 62 IP, 45 SO, 19 BB, 1.27 WHIP
Hawkins, and the man who will follow, got a lot of criticism from fans this year because of what he didn’t do — help preserve leads by being a consistent force late in games. But frankly, that’s not really what he was expected to do. Dipoto identified the 39-year-old Hawkins early in the offseason, eventually signing him to a $3 million deal, not because he expected him to be a shutdown guy late in games but because he expected him to eat innings, throw strikes and guide the young guys. Hawkins did that for the most part, but he faded down the stretch and eventually lost Scioscia’s trust. He’ll head elsewhere this offseason, perhaps on a Minor League deal. The fact he was counted on so much says a lot about just how thin this bullpen was.
Jason Isringhausen, MR
2012: 4.14 ERA, 0 SV, 45 2/3 IP, 31 SO, 19 BB, 1.38 WHIP
2000-11: 3.10 ERA, 26 SV, 55 IP, 50 SO, 23 BB, 1.22 WHIP
Izzy didn’t have much left in the tank while finishing out the year with the Mets last season, and he had hardly anything left throughout 2012 with the Angels. It showed, of course, as the 40-year-old, 16-year veteran gave up 10 runs in his last 10 2/3 innings and appeared in only four games in all of September. A couple of positives from Isringhausen this year: He stayed healthy, and considering the circumstances he came in under — signed late in Spring Training, on a Minor League contract, didn’t make the team until his opt-out deadline — he probably provided more than the Angels expected. The problem, as with Hawkins, is that Isringhausen was never supposed to be as important as he was at one point. He’ll probably retire this offseason. If he does, he noted that his final pitch struck out Michael Young. “Tough to beat that,” he said.
Jerome Williams, LR
2012: 4.58 ERA, 32 G (15 GS), 137 2/3 IP, 98 SO, 35 BB, 1.26 WHIP
Williams was, in a word, serviceable. He began the season as the fifth starter, throwing a few clunkers (like seven runs in 5 2/3 innings vs. the Mariners on June 6) and a few gems (like a shutout against the Twins on May 1). Then — due in part to his asthma attack, Richards’ presence and the Greinke acquisition — he spent the rest of the season as a long reliever, which actually became a critical role considering that six-week stretch when the entire rotation seemed to go bad. Now, he’s heading into his second offseason of arbitration and is a non-tender candidate. Will the Angels bring him back? It’ll depend on what they do with the rest of their rotation.
Angels manager Mike Scioscia joined the Mason and Ireland Show on ESPNLA 710 AM on Wednesday, and was asked about the possibility that the Angels can resign Zack Greinke and Torii Hunter. Here’s what he said …
“Jerry [Dipoto] is working very hard on this and I think that he’s got some creative ways to try and make things work. He and Arte, I know, are going to make a great run at these guys. Right now, yes, it is up in the air. With Zack Greinke, it’s going to be a little later developing because of free agency and after the World Series. I know they’ve had some preliminary talks with Torii, but these things are probably going to take a little time to develop. We want those two guys back definitely. If we can, I think it gives us a much better base to work with going into Spring Training.”