Last year, the Angels’ bullpen was well below average. (You heard it here first!) This year, the bullpen is much deeper, and while the club might not have a bona fide closer, the collective unit should be able to get more outs this season. There’s a handful of players who can be reasonably expected to succeed in 2013; Ryan Madson (if healthy), Sean Burnett, Ernesto Frieri, Scott Downs, Kevin Jepsen, David Carpenter, and long men Garrett Richards and Jerome Williams should all compete for roles.
This doesn’t even mention some of the “see what sticks” guys that the Angels have in camp. The club gave minor league deals to Hiroyuki Kobayashi and Chad Cordero this offseason. Cordero pitched yesterday, and impressed GM Jerry Dipoto. Here’s a tweet from Alden Gonzalez about what Dipoto had to say:
Dipoto said Chad Cordero threw between 89 to 91, which is right around where he used to be. “I thought he looked great,” he said. #Angels
Cordero hasn’t appeared in the majors since 2010, and he’s tossed just 14 MLB innings since 2007. He entered camp as a big time long shot, and he did allow a long ball to Brendan “Defense-Only” Ryan, but the signs are encouraging, and Cordero might just have a chance to help the Angels in 2013.
On Saturday, MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez reported that Angels reliever Ryan Madson could begin his throwing as soon as this week, maybe even as early as today.
If there are no further setbacks, Madson could be in line to join the Halos’ bullpen as soon as mid-April. This comes after news last week that he hadn’t thrown since February 1.
When the Angels first signed Madson, we said it was a low-risk, high-reward move. The former Phillies’ closer will make a base salary of $3.5 million in 2013, with performance incentives based games finished and time spent off the disabled list.
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This morning, the Phillies and relief pitcher Juan Cruz rescinded an agreement to a minor league contract, according to MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki. As it turns out, Cruz never actually signed the dotted line; Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer tweets that Cruz and the club decided to part ways in wake of the club’s signing of Chad Durbin.
Cruz is not a closer, but in the wake of yesterday’s news about Ryan Madson, he could be a good fit for the Angels. One way to build a strong bullpen is by throwing a ton of darts at the board and seeing what sticks. The Angels have some very strong talent in the back of the pen with Sean Burnett and Ernesto Frieri, but the remaining roles in the bullpen are a bit unclear.
In 2012, Cruz pitched to a 2.78 ERA over 35.2 innings with the Pirates. He walked a few too many batters for comfort (4.8 BB/9), but he was able to strike out a fair number of batters too (8.3 K/9). Command has always been an issue for the right-hander, but he is definitely worth an invite to Spring Training.
If the club were to sign Cruz to a minor league deal, he could compete for a spot with the cadre of other arms competing for spots. Depth was something that last year’s bullpen lacked, so adding more talent to an already packed group can only help.
This angelic song comes to you from Scott Strandberg. Scott is one of those creative people who you can go to with any sort of task, and get something brilliant out of it. He first caught my attention with “The Ballad of Rodney”, a song that chronicled the trolldom of the Up & In Podcast’s Facebook fan page.
Scott is working on a Kickstarter campaign to release an “Acoustic album consisting of five original songs…combining folk, blues, jazz and pop influences.” We don’t ask you guys for much, and we aren’t asking for charity! By backing Scott’s Kickstarter project, you get to hear the album, and you could get a bunch of other cool stuff, too. Below you’ll find a song written and recorded by Scott, about this year’s Angels club.
Huge thanks to Scott for creating the song. You guys know what to do now! Head over to Kickstarter and show Scott your appreciation!