Ben Bolch of the Los Angeles Times described Angels general manager Tony Reagins as “defiant” when asked if yesterday’s trade for Alberto Callaspo will equal less of an opportunity for Brandon Wood.
It doesn’t affect Brandon’s future in any way. It doesn’t. We’re not thinking down that path right now. We’re not going to make any decisions and give up on Brandon Wood. He’s been a part of this organization and he’s a good player. Hopefully, we can get him going in the right direction.
Even before the trade Wood had started just seven of the past 22 games and barring an injury or another trade there’s just no place for him in the Angels’ lineup. And as Bolch points out, Callaspo is 27 years old and under the Angels’ control through 2013, while Maicer Izturis is signed through 2012.
I’ve been critical of the Angels in the past because they avoided giving Wood an extended opportunity to play every day, but at this point even his short stints of sporadic starts add up to 420 career plate appearances and he’s simply been dreadful, hitting .181 with a .206 on-base percentage, .275 slugging percentage, and ghastly 126/11 K/BB ratio.
At this point a fresh start for Wood would probably be best for everyone involved, although the longtime top prospect’s stock has plummeted to the point that the Angels probably couldn’t even get any significant value for him in a trade.
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.
Cubs’ manager Joe Maddon hasn’t selected a fifth starter for his 2017 rotation yet, but told reporters that he could envision left-handers Brett Anderson and Mike Montgomery sharing the spot throughout the year. Neither pitcher was stretched out to the full 200-inning threshold last year, Maddon added, and suggested that the two could alternate innings out of the rotation and bullpen as needed (via MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat).
Anderson, 29, was acquired by the Cubs in January on a $3.5 million deal. He’s coming off a rough 2016, during which he underwent back surgery and missed all but 11 1/3 innings of his last season with the Dodgers. His last full, healthy year in the majors yielded a 3.69 ERA, 2.3 BB/9 and 5.8 SO/9 over 180 1/3 innings with Los Angeles in 2015.
Montgomery, meanwhile, is vying for a rotation spot after pitching almost exclusively from the bullpen during the second half of the Cubs’ 2016 run. The 27-year-old lefty put up a 2.82 ERA, 4.7 BB/9 and 8.9 SO/9 over 38 1/3 innings for Chicago last year, returning in the postseason to post a 3.14 ERA during the Cubs’ championship finish.
Maddon also mentioned the possibility of throwing a sixth starter into the mix, which would help prevent his other starters from getting overworked too early in the year. Either way, Anderson and Montgomery are expected to get a lot of looks early in spring training as rotation spots are finalized in the weeks leading up to Opening Day.