December 28, 2009

End of the year inventory time

There are currently 37 players on the Angels’ 40 man roster. Three players need to be added by the beginning of the season. Of this group of 37, let’s see who might, should or will make the 25 man roster on Opening Day.

What we know…

Opening Day locks (assuming no one is traded or injured): Kendry Morales, Howie Kendrick, Erick Aybar, Brandon Wood, Maicer Izturis, Jeff Mathis, Mike Napoli, Bobby Abreu, Torii Hunter, Juan Rivera, Gary Matthews, Jr., and Hideki Matsui. That’s 12.

Opening Day pitching locks: Joe Saunders, Ervin Santana, Jered Weaver, Scott Kazmir, Brian Fuentes, Kevin Jepsen, Jason Bugler, Fernando Rodney, Scot Shields, and Matt Palmer. That’s 10 and brings the total to 22.

That means three others will make the team. One will likely be a pitcher; most likely Sean O’Sullivan or Trevor Bell with the edge going to O’Sullivan (after all, the Angels might need his dancing skills in October).

Two others need to make up the rest of the roster. Leading Candidates: Freddy Sandoval and Reggie Willits.

On the outside, looking in would include Terry Evans and Bobby Wilson; both of whom would be lost to free agency if they do not make the 25 man roster. Also on the bubble are pitchers Rich Thompson, Anthony Ortega, and Rafael Rodriguez. All three are likely to head back to Salt Lake City and be used as depth for the major league squad during the season.

Some interesting notes…

If you take a look at the official roster on the Angels web site, you’ll notice that Terry Evans will be wearing Darin Erstad’s old number 17. Kendry Morales has a new number and it’s 8. The #17 could be good luck for Evans, but let’s hope the #8 is not a jinx for Morales, as this is the number last worn by Dallas McPherson and Josh Paul.

Joe Saunders is now the oldest pitcher among the four locks for the rotation at 28. Should Palmer become the fifth starter, he would be the oldest at 31 (by Opening Day). Scot Shields will be the oldest member of the pitching staff at 34 beating Brian Fuentes by less than a month.

Sean O’Sullivan is the youngest pitcher on the 40 man roster at just 22 years of age and Peter Bourjos is the youngest position player also at 22, but will be 23 by Opening Day.

Two of the Angels best pitching prospects Trevor Reckling and Jordan Walden are not yet on the 40 man roster and will likely start the year at Salt Lake City. Keep your eyes on these two; they could make their way up to the big club soon.

Basically the Angels lose Lackey, Oliver, Quinlan, and Figgins and replace them with Palmer (or Kazmir depending on how you look at it), Rodney, Sandoval and Wood.


If the Angels don’t add any players, youth will definitely be served and some Angel fans will be more than a little nervous and/or skeptical. Personally, I think the Angels could still make a few moves.

I believe the Angels will try to add to their rotation. They may not get a top of the rotation guy, but they’ll try to find an upgrade at the fifth starter over Matt Palmer. Best free agent pitchers still on the market include Joel Pineiro, Jon Garland, Doug Davis, Todd Wellemeyer, Jarrod Washburn, Vicente Padilla, Pedro Martinez, Noah Lowry, Rich Hill and two guys coming off injuries – Ben Sheets and Erik Beddard. You can mix in a few veterans in John Smoltz, Tom Glavine and Paul Byrd. Not an impressive list based on their recent history; however, we’re talking about a possible #5 starter here.

Of that group, Pineiro or Garland would be the most likely targets for the Angels in my opinion; although, neither one excites me very much. The popular choice is Sheets because of his upside, but the injury risk isn't something I believe the Angels can tolerate.

A trade is also a possibility; however, the best option, Josh Johnson – doesn’t appear to be available. Perhaps the Angels could take a look at Aaron Harang of the Reds, who was last being pursued by the Dodgers. Harang is inconsistent, but can be pretty good at times.

On the offensive side of things, I believe Mike Napoli could be traded. I believe it is Mike Scioscia’s intention to make Mathis the #1 guy. If that’s the case, Napoli becomes expendable and a nice trade chip. The arrival of Matsui basically makes Napoli’s days as a DH a distant memory and again, expendable. Bobby Wilson would probably do a nice job as a backup to Mathis and could also provide a little bit of pop for the offense.

The other guy still on the block is Matthews with his remaining two year, $23 million contract. Where he ends up (if anywhere at all) is anyone’s guess. Chances are he will still be on the Angels opening day roster.

I’d still like to see the Angels sign Chad Tracy as a back up for first, third and LF. Yes, I'm still beating that drum.

Will the Angels do more? ESPN’s Rob Neyer asks the question: Are the Angels finished dealing

Moving on...

It’s been pretty quiet on the hot stove lately. I imagine things will pick up after the first of the year. Plenty of free agents still looking for jobs including the two biggest names in Jason Bay and Matt Holliday.

Some interesting names still looking for contracts include former Angels Bengie Molina, Garret Anderson, Jarrod Washburn, Adam Kennedy, Orlando Cabrera, Vlad Guerrero, Rob Quinlan, Alfredo Amezega, Darin Erstad, Scott Schoenweis, Justin Speier, Jeff Weaver, Brendan Donnelly, Bartolo Colon, and Kevin Gregg. That’s a lot of ex-Halos looking for work.

Other names still out there include Johnny Damon, Adrian Beltre, Hank Blalock, Adam LaRoche, Miguel Tejada, Joe Crede, Jermaine Dye, Jim Thome, Khalil Greene, Jose Valverde, and Randy Johnson.

For a complete list, visit

I am trying to remain optimistic about 2010. I don’t want to go back to the way things were pre-2002. My expectations have changed dramatically. There are some bright spots to focus on and I will try doing that.

First of all, I want to see what Scott Kazmir can bring to the table. Here’s a guy who has shown tremendous upside at times and could possibly be as good as or better than Lackey. His 2009 post-season wasn’t very good; in fact it stunk. I’m willing to give him a pass on that, but I want to see some lights out kind of pitching from him in 2010. If he’s as good as he can be it will make a world of difference. He was pretty darn good in 2005 (3.77 ERA), 2006 (3.24 ERA), 2007 (3.48 ERA with 239 K’s) and 2008 (3.49 ERA) and if he can come close to those years, I’ll be very happy.

As I said in a previous post, I’m excited about Brandon Wood and Kendry Morales. There are lots of things to be enthusiastic about. That might be hard for some fans to grasp.

Face it, Angel fans have gotten a bad rap in the past. We’ve been accused of having a lot of “bandwagon” fans. I think that’s basically true of just about every fan base and quite frankly, I hate labeling fans one way or another. There are all kinds of fans. All I ask is that when you come to a game you come to cheer and have a good time.

No question the upcoming season is full of question marks, but if you really love Angels baseball – you’ll see this as an opportunity to shock the world to a certain degree. No one saw 2002 coming and it could happen again. I don’t want to miss out. Do you?


  1. James, Call me crazy but my picks to add to the 25 man roster are Vicente Padilla for the #5 spot in the rotation. He has guts by pitching inside and keeping batters off the plate. As long as he maintains his command and conttol he is lights out. The replacement for Q I would bring on Hank Blalock to play the infield corners plus he has some pop in his bat. Only down side he is a Scott Borass client.

  2. Bo - you are crazy brother! Padilla is a nut job, in my opinion. Blalcok is probably looking for a starting position, but I do like him. Thanks for the comments!

  3. Padilla might be a nut, but he did pitch well for the Dodgers, and I do think he would be un upgrade from what we have in the number 5 hole. That being said, I would actually prefer taking a flyer on Ben Sheets. Unfortunately my understanding is that he wants a high guarnteed salary. But if we could do a low base with incentives I would be interested. Of course I would have been interested in Escobar as well.

    As for Blalock - I think I would prefer him over Chad Tracy. At least I think I do.


  4. Jeffrey, I like Tracy more than Blalock because Blalock is a horrible defender. Blalock is easily the bigger offensive threat, but I think Tracy is more versatile.

    As for Sheets, I'd love to take that risk, but doubt the Angels are willing. The margin for error in 2010 is slim, IMO.