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.

Yu Darvish will report to spring training on time, hopes to begin mound work in March

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Rangers ace Yu Darvish missed the entire 2015 season after undergoing Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery last March 17. Most starting pitchers take 13-15 months to fully recover from that procedure, and the Rangers aren’t counting on Darvish until sometime this May.

His rehab so far has gone on without issue.

Darvish offered some very positive updates Tuesday to Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram …

Darvish, 29, boasts a 3.27 ERA and 1.196 WHIP in 83 career major league starts. He can also claim a whopping 680 strikeouts in 545 1/3 career major league innings.

Texas has him under contract for $10 million in 2016 and $11 million in 2017.

Masahiro Tanaka throws off mound for first time since October elbow surgery

Screenshot 2016-02-09 at 5.07.54 PM
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According to the Associated Press — via Chad Jennings of The Journal News — Yankees right-hander Masahiro Tanaka threw off a bullpen mound Tuesday for the first time since undergoing a cleanup procedure on his right elbow last October.

The throwing session took place in New York, and Yankees pitching coach Larry Rothschild later told the media in Tampa that all of the reports he heard were good.

Tanaka might be behind some of the Yankees’ other pitchers when spring training officially begins, but he should be ready for the start of the 2016 regular season.

The 27-year-old native of Japan posted a 3.51 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, and 139/27 K/BB ratio across 154 innings last season for New York. He owns a 3.16 ERA (123 ERA+) in 290 1/3 innings since becoming a major leaguer in 2014.

Tanaka is still pitching with a partially-torn ligament in his right elbow that could eventually require Tommy John reconstructive surgery. His surgery last October was of the arthroscopic variety and simply removed bone spurs.

Bud Selig to teach a class at Arizona State law school

Bud Selig
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Before Bud Selig ultimately retired, he had a couple of false start retirement announcements only to have the owners beg him to sign on for one more term. In one of those false starts he talked about how the University of Wisconsin had set up an office for him in the history department and that he’d be doing some research and teaching a class now and again. And he has, in fact, taught some one-off seminars at Wisconsin’s law school and the like.

Now something a little more permanent along those lines is in the works for The Greatest Commissioner in Baseball History. The Arizona Republic reports that Selig will join the Sports Law and Business program at Arizona State University’s law school where he will teach and advise as well as start up a speakers series in which he will bring in high-powered guests. No word on how many speakers will talk about big, important historical sports law cases like, say collusion in baseball, which was orchestrated by an ownership class in the mid-to-late 80s, of which Bud Selig was far and away the most influential member. That could get sort of awkward, I suppose.

Either way, it’s a good way to keep busy. I mean, that’s what it has to be as he’s not hurting for cash, what with the obscene $6 million severance package the owners gave him to, I dunno, not give interviews about bad stuff that happened back in the day like Fay Vincent does all the time. Stuff like collusion. Maybe he gets the $6 million for some other purpose. Who can say, really? It’s never made any sort of sense otherwise.

Anyway, good luck in Tempe, Bud. Maybe I’ll stop by your office at ASU when I’m there next month — I always stay in Tempe — and we can chew the fat or climb that butte with the big A on it or something. First round at Four Peaks afterward is on me.

White Sox sign first baseman Travis Ishikawa

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First baseman Travis Ishikawa has agreed to a minor-league contract with the White Sox that includes an invitation to spring training.

Ishikawa was previously reported to have a minor-league deal with the Mariners last month, but the signing was never finalized. Now he joins the White Sox, who have Jose Abreu and Adam LaRoche ahead of him on the first base/designated hitter depth chart.

Ishikawa had some big moments for the Giants in the 2014 playoffs, but he’s a 32-year-old journeyman with a lifetime .255 batting average and .712 OPS in 488 games as a big leaguer.

It’s possible the White Sox could keep him around as a bench bat and backup first baseman/left fielder, but Ishikawa seems more likely to begin the season at Triple-A.