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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

FIVE SPOT 

As you know, and this comes to no surprise to anyone, there is a good chance that Bartolo Colon is injured and that the Angels will have to figure out what to do with the fifth spot in the rotation. And even if it turns out Bart's injury is minor, the fact remains that he's pitching as though he's hurt; I consider this so self-evident that I won't bother to explain myself further.

Now, what kind of options do the Angels have here?

1. Declare Ervin Santana "cured" by his one good start at AAA and recall him.

2. Move Dustin Moseley or Chris Bootcheck into the rotation, pending Ervin proving he's ready to come back.

3. Bring up some AAA veteran like Kasey Olenberger.

4. Bring up some prospect whether he's ready or not, like Steve Shell or Nick Adenhart.

5. Trade for a starter.

These are, to put it mildly, unexciting options. I think the least unexciting, or, rather, the most manageable, may be the second one. Moseley and Bootcheck aren't inspiring -- hell, Moseley's strikeout rate is downright pathetic -- but we could even tandem them up in a way: Moseley starts, for instance, and we just tell him to make it through the order twice, then Bootcheck comes in and gets us to the real relievers. Something like that.

Such a move may chip at our bullpen depth, but at the moment we have only 37 men on the 40-man roster (plus two on the 60-day DL), giving us plenty of room to purchase the contracts of Jason Bulger and/or Marcus Gwyn, both of whom are doing well for Salt Lake. Room on the 25-man roster is also available, what with the practically unused gallery of Brandon Wood, Kendry Morales, and Nathan Haynes (yeah, Haynes would have to pass through waivers to get sent down).

With any luck at all, Ervin will get it together quickly, and earn a prompt recall from AAA. With the off-day Thursday, the Angels can delay decision on this a bit, even if news on Bartolo comes out today.

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Comments:
While Moseley (and to a lesser extent Bootcheck) might be more attractive options, there's actually another one, and he's currently in the Angels' pen. He has started 228 games in his career. His name: Darren Oliver.

Now, he has never been a particularly effective starter, and they couldn't really hope for more than 5 innings out of the guy at this point. But after a horrendous start to the season, he now has his ERA below 5. He and Moseley, for example, could be penciled in as a tandem duo (leaving Bootcheck in his mop-up role in the 'pen), while they purchase the contract of either Bulger or Gwyn (I'm liking Bulger's K rate) to fill out the bullpen.
 
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