Results tagged ‘ Jett Bandy ’

The Angels’ uncertain, costly future …

dipotoThe 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.


Butera acquired from Dodgers for PTBNL or cash …

The Angels acquired veteran catcher Drew Butera for a player to be named later or cash considerations on Tuesday, addressing their need for depth behind the plate in the second day of the Winter Meetings.

Butera, 31, will compete with Carlos Perez, Jackson Williams and Jett Bandy for the backup job behind Chris Iannetta, but unlike the other three players, Butera can’t be optioned to the Minor Leagues.

“Some combination of Drew Butera and that group of three guys are going to make up the games in the big leagues that Chris does not catch for us,” Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto said, “and we feel comfortable with that.”

Butera has posted a .183/.239/.268 slash line while appearing in 251 games in the Majors from 2010-14, a span that saw the Orlando product mostly serve as a backup for the Twins and Dodgers. During that time, Butera – designated for assignment when the Dodgers claimed Ryan Lavarnway off waivers – has thrown out 33 percent of would-be base stealers.

“His defensive skill set is awesome,” Dipoto said. “He can really catch, can really throw, calls a good game, has the experience of being with good teams, catching good pitching staffs. He has a tremendous defensive reputation that certainly outdistances his offensive reputation, but we feel like he’s a nice fit for us.”

With Butera acquired, and the left-handed-hitting Marc Krauss claimed off waivers from the Astros on Monday, Dipoto’s only glaring need is a backup infielder. The Angels’ GM remains interested in resigning Gordon Beckham and has had dialogue with several teams about acquiring an optionable middle infielder, perhaps in exchange for one of his right-handed relievers.

Signing Beckham and trading for an infielder “don’t have to be mutually exclusive,” Dipoto said, given the Angels’ need for organizational infield depth.

“We’re on the lookout,” Dipoto added. “We’re still actively discussing possibilities that line up for us in the Rule 5 Draft and we’ve talked to a variety of teams regarding trades for that type of player. In the meantime, we’ll just keep our ears to the street.”


Bandy, Reynolds (and not Cowart) added to 40-man …

The Angels added catcher Jett Bandy and right-hander Dan Reynolds to the 40-man roster on Thursday, protecting both from exposure in the upcoming Rule 5 Draft. To make room on the roster, which is currently full, the club designated catcher Jackson Williams and lefty Michael Roth for assignment.

That means third baseman Kaleb Cowart, the former No. 1 pick who has seen his stock plummet after back-to-back rough seasons in Double-A, has been left unprotected and can be plucked from the organization in the Rule 5 Draft on Dec. 11.

Cowart – taken out of high school with the 18th overall selection in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft – was considered one of the top prospects in baseball after scorching through both of the Angels’ Class A levels in 2012. Then he batted .221/.279/.301 in Double-A in 2013 and .223/.295/.324 in 2014, scrapping switch-hitting along the way and raising questions about whether he should transition to a pitcher.

The Angels still think highly of Cowart, who’s only 22 years old and has the tools to be a Major League third baseman – but they’re rolling the dice that another team won’t take a chance on him.

“I think the one thing we have to keep cognizant of is that he’s only 22 years old,” Angels assistant general manager Scott Servais, who’s in charge of scouting and player development, said of Cowart earlier this week.

“It’s not to the point where we were hoping it would be. Obviously a couple years ago he was really on a fast track and that slowed down. As much as anything, Kaleb has been frustrated by it. He’s used to being a good, productive player, and it just hasn’t been there for him.”

Bandy, 24, batted .250/.348/.413 in 93 games for Double-A Arkansas this past season, but threw out 40 percent of would-be base stealers and is expected to compete for a job as the backup catcher now that Hank Conger is with the Astros.

Reynolds, 23, went from a failed starter to a successful relief pitcher in 2014, posting a 2.90 ERA, a 1.24 WHIP and a strikeout rate of 9.1 in 42 appearances for Class A Advanced, Double-A and Triple-A.

Roth, who has made 22 Major League appearances since being drafted in the ninth round in 2012, has been DFA’d for the second time this year. The first time was in late April, when he slipped through waivers and eventually finished up a solid season in Double-A, posting a 2.62 ERA in 22 starts. But Roth has a 7.79 ERA in 32 1/3 innings in the Majors.

Williams, 28, was selected off waivers from the Rockies on Oct. 22 after appearing in seven Major League games and batting .256/.353/.368 in 72 Triple-A games this past season.

If a player was 18 or younger during the First-Year Player Draft that resulted in him signing his first professional contract and five seasons have passed, or 19 or older the day of the Draft and four seasons have passed, he can be selected in the Rule 5 Draft if not on his team’s 40-man roster.

Teams had until 9 p.m. PT on Thursday to add Rule 5 Draft-eligible players to the roster. Other notable Angels prospects left unprotected include outfielders Matt Long and Drew Heid, right-handers Austin Wood and Daniel Hurtado, and shortstop Erick Salcedo.


Three Angels Rule 5 candidates …

cowart2Thursday is what the transaction calendar calls the day to “file reserve lists for all Major and Minor League levels.”

Translation: It’s the deadline to protect players from being selected in the Rule 5 Draft.

If a player was 18 or younger during the First-Year Player Draft that resulted in him signing his first professional contract and five seasons have passed, or 19 or older the day of the Draft and four seasons have passed, he can be selected in the Rule 5 Draft — Dec. 11 this year — if not on his team’s 40-man roster.

The Rule 5 Draft is typically uneventful. Teams won’t let a player they have high hopes for be left unprotected and it’s really hard for a player to stick with his new club if he is selected (the player must be returned to his original team if at any point he’s not on the 40-man roster the following season). The Angels haven’t carried a Rule 5 pick on their Major League roster since reliever Derrick Turnbow in 2000, and only four of the nine Rule 5 selections from last year even played in the Majors. (The Angels picked lefty reliever Brian Moran, who spent the entire season recovering from Tommy John surgery and was returned to the Mariners in October.)

But there have been some gems to come out of the Rule 5 Draft  — namely, Josh Hamilton, Johan Santana, Dan Uggla — and Thursday’s roster decisions are a strong indication for how an organization feels about certain prospects. The Angels’ 40-man roster is currently full, so they’ll have to do some maneuvering to protect some Rule 5-eligible players.

Below are three to keep an eye on …

3B Kaleb Cowart: He was once the jewel of their system, but he’s struggled mightily in Double-A and could be converted to a pitcher if he doesn’t turn it around. Cowart (pictured) hit .221/.279/.301 in 2013, then .221/.279/.301 in 2014, going from switch-hitting to only hitting from the left side midsummer, and struggled once again in the Arizona Fall League. Still, he’s only 22. And he has a lot of talent. I can see a team taking a chance on him if eligible for the Rule 5 Draft.

C Jett Bandy: Bandy hit only .250/.348/.413 in Double-A, but had an above-average caught-stealing percentage (40 percent) and Jerry Dipoto mentioned him as a potential Major League backup after trading Hank Conger. The Angels already have three catchers on their 40-man roster — Chris Iannetta, Carlos Perez and Jackson Williams — so they may have to just hope the 6-foot-4 Bandy doesn’t get picked up.

RH Dan Reynolds: The 23-year-old moved from the rotation to the bullpen in 2014 and might have turned his career around. Reynolds carried a 5.39 ERA in 26 starts for Class A Inland Empire in 2013, then posted a 2.90 ERA, a 1.24 WHIP and a 9.1 strikeout rate in 42 appearances for Class A Advanced, Double-A and Triple-A in 2014. But the Angels have a lot of right-handed-relief depth, so they can afford to keep Reynolds off the 40-man.


Angels announce Spring Training invites …

The Angels announced 21 non-roster invitees who will be joining those on the 40-man roster in Spring Training. Here’s a look at who’s coming to camp … 

Pitchers: Billy Buckner, Kevin Johnson, Tony Pena, Jo-Jo Reyes, A.J. Schugel, Mitch Stetter

Catchers: Jett Bandy, Luke Carlin, Carlos Ramirez, Zach Wright

Infielders: Kaleb Cowart, Brendan Harris, Taylor Lindsey, Efren Navarro, Luis Rodriguez, Eric Stamets, Alex Yarbrough

Outfielders: Randal Grichuk, Trent Oeltjen, J.B. Shuck, Matt Young

* Note that veteran reliever Fernando Cabrera will also be in big league camp when his contract his official.

Here’s the 40-man roster, in case you’re wondering who else is joining them. 

Pitchers report Feb. 11, position players report Feb. 14. 



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