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.

Hideki Matsui thinks Shohei Otani should pitch and hit in MLB

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Yankees’ special advisor and former outfielder Hideki Matsui expects to help the club “convince or recruit” Japanese two-way star Shohei Otani, according to a report from MLB.com’s Deesha Thosar. The Yankees are currently viewed as the favorites to sign Otani, though there still figures to be plenty of competition for his services when he finally becomes eligible to enter Major League Baseball.

Matsui also told Thosar that while he hasn’t seen a player find success as a hybrid pitcher/slugger in the majors, he’s taken notice of Otani’s success in both areas. “He’s done well in Japan, so as a baseball fan I’m looking forward to how he’s going to do here in the Majors and in the U.S.,” Matsui said, later adding, “If [pitching and hitting is] something he wants to do, and the team wants it, then why not?”

Neither the Yankees nor any other suitor should be too concerned with Otani’s ability to translate his .332 batting average and 3.20 ERA to MLB — at least, not just yet. There are still a few roadblocks in his path to the major leagues, most notably the lack of approval from the Players Association. Per FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman, the union doesn’t want to sign off on an agreement that would give the Nippon Ham Fighters a $20 million posting fee in exchange for Otani’s services. According to the posting system rules, Otani himself would be eligible to receive no more than a $4 million signing bonus.

The good news in all of this? The union agreed to reach a final decision by Monday, November 21, so there’s still a chance Major League Baseball will see the talented two-way player bring his unique skillset to the field in 2018.