Angels Should Be Looking Elsewhere

The Los Angeles Angels have experienced a slew of unfortunate injuries on top of the devastating death of young Nick Adenhart. If starting the season without Kelvim Escobar in the rotation wasn’t bad enough, John Lackey and Ervin Santana were both lost to ailments with the jury still out as to when they will return. Though the Scioscia-led Halos always seem to find a way to win, as Dave recently noted, all of this hardship might be too much.

According to Ken Rosenthal, the Angels are currently showing interest in Paul Byrd, Pedro Martinez, and Mark Mulder. Tony Reagins isn’t going to sign all three of these unemployed hurlers but Robo’s report suggested that there is a better than good chance that one of them ends up in California by summer’s end. All three have issues, however, ranging from Byrd’s desire to play to the shaky health histories of both Martinez and Mulder.

Mark Mulder has not pitched a full season since 2005 when a +2.2 win value deemed him a league average pitcher. He had experienced great success in Oakland for several years before going to St. Louis in the Dan Haren deal, but his time in St. Louis worked out about as well as Carl Pavano‘s with the Yankees. In 2006, he made 17 starts and posted an ugly 6.01 FIP in 93.1 innings of work, and had made just six total appearances over the last two seasons. At 31 years old, Mulder is not exactly a decrepit southpaw trying to hang on, but while his previous success will garner at least one more opportunity to pitch in the big leagues, why would the Angels, a team ridden with pitching injuries, sign someone with his history?

The same goes for Pedro Martinez, who might be a league average pitcher when healthy but who spends more time on the disabled list than on the roster. With Pedro, some think that signing him for just half of a season will eliminate the wear and tear that leads to his issues, but again, why take that risk?

Byrd publicly stated he was going to sit out the first half of the season, an odd move given that he has not exactly been at the top of everyone’s wishlist. Though durable, Byrd has not been truly effective since the 2005 season with the very same Angels. Strangely enough, Byrd’s strikeout rates experienced a sharp dropoff between the 2004 and 2005 seasons and have never looked back. He no longer fans hitters at a rate in the vicinity of the league average but is still tremendous with limiting free passes.

If the Angels were going to sign any of these three pitchers, given their injury troubles, Byrd makes the most sense given his durability. The bigger question is why would these three cover substantial ground on the Reagins Radar? A guy like Odalis Perez is available, likely for a fraction of the price of Pedro, and with much more of a track record for staying healthy than Mulder. I’m not necessarily advocating that the Angels sign Perez but rather questioning why their search would be somewhat limited to Martinez, Byrd and Mulder. A team suffering from pitching ailments should in no way, shape or form, bring in equally risky players to fill the void.

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Eric is an accountant and statistical analyst from Philadelphia. He also covers the Phillies at Phillies Nation and can be found here on Twitter.

4 Responses to “Angels Should Be Looking Elsewhere”

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  1. Joe says:

    Well, if Pedro is ready to go at the all star break, and will play for the minimum–or close to it, and a team could use a pitcher at the back of their rotation–then all that leads to why the risk would be worth it.

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  2. DanDuke says:

    Which pitcher in the Angels current rotation would you remove for Byrd and why?

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    • Frank in LA says:

      They have had SEVERAL removed already… the #4 and #5 are presently AAA pitchers: Matt Palmer (who won at the big league level last night) and Anthony Ortega (slated for a Saturday start against the M’s).

      So, that answers your question right there. There are two spots to be filled until Lackey and Santana return (early to mid-May). Whether the minor leaguers can fill in until then remains to be seen; but certainly the short time until the top two return is weighing on Reagins’ mind about pulling the $5 million trigger on Pedro.

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  3. Rina Chillo says:

    Thanks for this great post! It has been extremely helpful. I hope that you will continue sharing your wisdom with us.

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