Restoring the rosters: No. 10 – Los Angeles Angels

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This is part of a series of articles examining what every team’s roster would look like if given only the players it originally signed. I’m compiling the rosters, ranking them and presenting them in a countdown from Nos. 30 to 1.
No. 30 – Cincinnati
No. 29 – Kansas City
No. 28 – San Diego
No. 27 – Milwaukee
No. 26 – Baltimore
No. 25 – Chicago (AL)
No. 24 – Chicago (NL)
No. 23 – Pittsburgh
No. 22 – Detroit
No. 21 – Tampa Bay
No. 20 – New York (NL)
No. 19 – Houston
No. 18 – Oakland
No. 17 – St. Louis
No. 16 – Florida
No. 15 – San Francisco
No. 14 – Texas
No. 13 – Cleveland
No. 12 – Minnesota
No. 11 – Arizona
Held back only by an inability to develop outfielders, the Angels kick off the final third of the rankings.
Rotation
John Lackey
Jarrod Washburn
Jered Weaver
Ervin Santana
Joe Saunders
Bullpen
Francisco Rodriguez
Bobby Jenks
Scot Shields
Jose Arredondo
Darren O’Day
Scott Schoeneweis
Matt Wise
Santana and Saunders have been hurt and ineffective for much of this season, but the rotation still looks like a very nice group going forward, and the bullpen has one of the best one-two punches in the league. Depth is an issue, particularly with the futures of Shields and Wise in doubt. Troy Percival appears to be near-retirement, so he wasn’t included. Next in line for spots are Kevin Jepsen and Sean O’Sullivan.
Lineup
2B Howie Kendrick
SS Erick Aybar
RF Kendry Morales
DH Troy Glaus
CF Jim Edmonds
C Mike Napoli
LF Garret Anderson
3B Brandon Wood
1B Casey Kotchman
Bench
C Bengie Molina
2B Alberto Callaspo
INF-OF Alfredo Amezaga
OF Chris Pettit
Plenty of decisions to be made here. As mentioned previously, the Angels have pretty much stopped developing outfielders since coming up with Anderson, Edmonds, Tim Salmon and Darin Erstad. As a result, I’m sticking Morales in right field, leaving first base for Kotchman. Also, Edmonds gets the nod in center. He did hit .256/.369/.568 in 298 at-bats for the Cubs last season, and he never officially announced his retirement. He’d definitely make more sense in left than center these days, but the alternatives were Erstad, Amezaga or Reggie Willits.
If Glaus can still play the infield regularly, there’d be a lot more flexibility for the bench. Molina could catch three days a week, with Napoli seeing time at DH and Wood or Kotchman going to the bench.
Other options for the bench included Jeff Mathis, Robb Quinlan, Sean Rodriguez, Alexi Casilla, Dallas McPherson, Erstad and Willits. The way I see it, Amezaga’s versatility made him an obvious pick, and I really think Pettit would prove useful as a lefty killer. As outstanding as Morales has been this year, he’s still hit just .270/.283/.440 against southpaws.
I think it’s a fine lineup, if a bit odd. It’s certainly one that’s well equipped to deal with injuries.
Summary
Typically slow to make trades or give opportunities to youngsters, the Angels have occasionally been guilty of failing to capitalize on the wealth of talent produced by the system. Still, they’re set to go to the postseason for the sixth time in eight years and they won a World Series in 2002. If the system has hit a bit of a lull lately, it’s partly because free agent signings left the team without a true first-round pick in 2005, 2007 and 2008. The Angels, though, pursue tough signs later in the draft and continue to compete internationally. With their resources, it’s doubtful that they’ll fade from contention any year soon.

Royals pay tribute to late Yordano Ventura during spring training opener

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - AUGUST 12: Yordano Ventura #30 of the Kansas City Royals delivers a pitch against the Minnesota Twins during the first inning of the game on August 12, 2016 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
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The Royals honored former pitcher Yordano Ventura prior to their first Cactus League game against the Rangers on Saturday. Ventura was killed in a car accident in his native Dominican Republic in late January.

Rangers’ third baseman Adrian Beltre and center fielder Carlos Gomez paid their respects to the pitcher with a floral arrangement that was laid on the mound. Both teams stood along the foul lines during a pregame video tribute that highlighted Ventura’s tenure with Kansas City. Following the game, Gomez spoke to the media about his relationship with Ventura, describing their frequent conversations during the season and commending the pitcher for having “the same passion that I had early in my career” (via WFAA.com’s Levi Weaver).

A plaque dedicated to the 25-year-old was also presented to club manager Ned Yost as a more permanent commemoration of Ventura’s contributions to the sport. Blair Kerkhoff of the Kansas City Star reports that the plaque will be mounted in the club’s spring training facilities alongside tributes to members of the Royals’ 2014 and 2015 playoff teams.

The full text of the plaque is below, via MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan:

A brother and a teammate, Yordano Ventura, passed away on the morning of January 22 in his native Dominican Republic, at the age of 25. He signed with the Royals as a 17-year-old, eventually making the big league team in 2013 as a 22-year-old. On most days, he could be found laughing and joking with his baseball family in the clubhouse. However, on days when he pitched, that smile was replaced by a quiet confidence and an intense fire, which he brought to the mound for every start. He had many highlights in his abbreviated career, not the least of which was throwing eight shutout innings in Game #6 of the 2014 World Series to force a Game #7 vs. San Francisco.

Gerrit Cole named Pirates’ Opening Day starter

BRADENTON, FL - FEBRUARY 19: Gerrit Cole #45 of the Pittsburgh Pirates poses for a photograph during MLB spring training photo day on February 19, 2017 at Pirate City in Bradenton, Florida. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
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Right-hander Gerrit Cole is set to take the mound for the Pirates on Opening Day, according to a team announcement on Saturday. It’s a spot that was most recently occupied by former Pirate Francisco Liriano, who made three consecutive Opening Day starts for the club before getting dealt to the Blue Jays last August.

The 26-year-old produced career-worst numbers during his fourth run with the Pirates in 2016, due in large part to bouts of inflammation in his right elbow. He finished the year with a 3.88 ERA, 2.8 BB/9 and 7.6 SO/9 over 116 innings before getting shut down in September to avoid further injury to his elbow. When healthy, however, Cole has been lights-out for the Pirates. Prior to his injury-laden campaign last year, he touted a career 3.07 ERA, 2.2 BB/9, 8.5 SO/9 and cumulative 10.2 fWAR from 2013 through 2015.

Cole will go toe-to-toe with the Red Sox during Boston’s home opener on Monday, April 3. Right-hander Jameson Taillon is scheduled to make the second start of the year, while fellow righty Ivan Nova will cover the Pirates’ home opener against the Braves on April 7. The Pirates’ third and fifth starters have yet to be announced.