Wednesday, May 10, 2006

1. Designate Esteban Yan for assignment; replace him on the 25-man roster with Jason Bulger and on the 40-man roster with Brian Specht.
Is there anything Esteban Yan really brings to a team at this point? Sure, he did string some scoreless innings together earlier this season, but we're talking about a guy with a 4.83 ERA in nearly 86 innings in Angel Red. His strikeout-to-walk ratio is an uncomfortable 59:42 in that time, his WHIP a substandard 1.45.

It's not that Jason Bulger is a panacea for anything, and it's not like the bullpen is a weakness, anyway, but the guy has a 0.57 ERA in 15 2/3 innings at Salt Lake, striking out 23 against only 5 walks and 9 hits. Even if he just comes up and performs like this season's version of Joel Peralta, that's not bad for the fourth or fifth guy out of the pen.

Another benefit is to clear a space on the 40-man, which could also be done by issuing a DFA to the likes of Greg Jones (who would have a great shot at passing through waivers, in my opinion) or even, if we're tired of him, Edgardo Alfonzo.

2. Return Howie Kendrick to Salt Lake and recall Brian Specht.
Is Howie Kendrick really advancing his game by starting twice a week for the big club? The kid needs to develop offensively and defensively to be in a position to take over the keystone next year, and the best way for that to happen is for him to play every day.

Brian Specht can play second, third, and short, can draw a walk, and can steal a base. He's basically the ideal guy to warm Maicer Izturis' spot while the latter is on the DL.

3. Dallas McPherson: all we can guarantee you is three weeks. Make the best of them.
Yeah, three weeks isn't much, so that kind of sucks. But Casey Kotchman will be on the DL for two, and I think he should be rehabbed at AAA for at least a week after that. That gives Dallas three weeks to demonstrate he can help the team now. Three weeks to produce.

Of course, common sense should be used; if he goes 0-for-three-games with a bunch of hard-hit lineouts and good at-bats, that's a good thing. But he has to show something in order to stay in the mix when/if Casey comes back.

4. Casey Kotchman goes on "rehab" until he gets his swing straightened out.
Casey started last season in terrible slump at AAA, was recalled and slumped some more, then went back down. He got it together, and after being called up later that summer, hit 302/369/526 the rest of the way.

I think he can hit 270/350/420 for us this year, and that's not awful. But he needs to show that he's his old self.

5. Give Garret Anderson a first baseman's glove and tell him to love it or suck it.
Not to be a starter. But this has to do with Juan Rivera taking over in center while Darin Erstad's out. Start Rivera in center, and designate Tommy Murphy as his defensive caddy for late in games, with Murphy entering at center, moving Juan Rivera to left.

Of course, there will be situations where we don't want to lose Garret's bat from the lineup. Well, we're not going to move him to catcher for those situations, so learn him at first.

There may also be times when we want to pinch-run Tommy Murphy for Kotch or Dallas in late innings, so this is also an alternative that can re-set our defense in such situations.

6. Edgardo Alfonzo: on thin ice.
As mentioned above, you could argue that Alfonzo should be the guy DFA'd to make room for Specht. I don't know that I'd argue with you. He's not hitting, his fielding has seemed decent but would be made redundant by calling up a legit utility guy, and there's no real reason he should take any playing time away from a healthy Robb Quinlan.

Anyway, nothing here shatters the world; just little improvements to try to get the team on track. At the end of the day, no amount of roster magic will do the trick until these guys start to produce at the plate.

I don't think Dallas is getting even so much as next year, what with his age and all.

Anderson has another year on his contract after 2006 and the Angels have no good OF prospects. Somebody gets traded, but we're getting an offseason ahead of ourselves.

I like the idea of bringing up Specht. He's one of the system's most overlooked players.

Kotchman I think is actually in real trouble. If his mono is as advertised (and I tend, these days, to think it is), then we can also say that it's likely to extend longer than just a few weeks. If this were just something that a bit of extra rest could have cleared up, why didn't that happen before spring training? He claimed to have been diagnosed with the condition in late November/early December, and so he had plenty of time before the season to recover. I think his mono's recurrance is stress-induced, and there'll be a lot of yo-yo-ism as he does well at Salt Lake, and gets bounced back down to the minors once he gets to the big club and can't hack it because Epstein-Barr bites back.
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