The Los Angeles Angels had a highly disappointing season in 2013 and after retaining their manager Mike Scioscia and general manager Jerry Dipoto, they are on the hunt to fix their main problem: pitching.
The Angels’ pitching was horrendous this past season, apart from Jered Weaver and C.J. Wilson, the back end of the rotation and their bullpen were a mess and were the main reason the Angels missed the postseason for the fourth time in a row. They had the same issue last offseason and failed to bring in anyone meaningful to help the staff.
Many believed Jerry Dipoto would be let go after his three significant pitching signings and his one pitching trade failed miserably. Dipoto signed closer Ryan Madson, who hadn’t pitched in a year recovering from Tommy John surgery, and then signed left-handed pitcher Sean Burnett, who was dealing with his own injuries with the Washington Nationals a year before. He finished it off by signing Joe Blanton to help the rotation who hasn’t been any good for a few years now.
He then traded inconsistent hard thrower Jordan Walden for Tommy Hanson, a once promising young pitcher who became increasingly inconsistent with his command and speed and the Atlanta Braves finally gave up on him, opting to unload him on the Angels.
Dipoto did pull the trigger on a trade that looked good at first, Kendrys Morales to the Seattle Mariners for lefty Jason Vargas. Vargas was having a solid season for the Angels until he went down with a blood clot in his left armpit that sidelined him for a month. When he came back, he wasn’t as strong.
Well, the Angels may have learned their lesson and are starting to stockpile some arms in this early offseason. They went out and signed right-hander Chris Volstad to a minor league contract with an invitation to Spring Training.
Volstad, 27, was selected by the Florida Marlins, now Miami Marlins, as the No. 16 pick in the 2005 draft. Volstad was part of Baseball America’s Top 100 prospect list three times, getting up to 40th overall prior to the 2007 season.
Unfortunately for Volstad, he never put everything together in the majors. In 703 2/3 innings, Volstad had a 4.94 ERA and a 442-to-248 K/BB ratio while bouncing around from the Marlins to the Chicago Cubs and Colorado Rockies.
Volstad is coming off a bad 2013 season where he made six appearances for the Rockies allowing a run in each of them for a 10.80 ERA in 8 1/3 innings. He was doing an okay job at Triple-A so he might have a chance to turn things around.
The Angels then went ahead and signed lefty Wade LeBlanc to a minor league deal with an invitation to Spring Training. He will look to earn a spot in either the rotation or bullpen.
LeBlanc, 29, was selected by the San Diego Padres in the second round of the 2006 draft. After six seasons in the organization, LeBlanc was traded to the Miami Marlins last season, was designated for assignment in June and picked up by the Houston Astros.
LeBlanc’s 2013 season wasn’t good either as he posted a 5.40 ERA, 5.4 K/9, 3.3 BB/9, and 1.15 HR/9. He was once viewed as a solid number three starter and Angels might be hoping he becomes one.
It’s early in the offseason so it’ll be interesting what else the Angels are going to do but so far the Angels are stockpiling arms.
Not good arms, but arms whatsoever.
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