Chris Volstad signed a minor league deal with the Angels back in November, but it sounds like he won’t actually throw a pitch for the team.
Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register has confirmed that Volstad is expected to be released by the Angels so that he can sign with a team in the Korean Baseball Organization. Dan Kurtz of MyKBO.net reported earlier this week that the 27-year-old right-hander was close to signing with the Doosan Bears.
Volstad, a 2005 first round pick of the Marlins, owns a 4.94 ERA over 123 starts and seven relief appearances in the majors. He had two brief stints with the Rockies this past season, but spent the majority of the year in Triple-A.
The setup market is all set up: Joe Smith and the Angels have come to terms on a three-year contract, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com.
Yahoo! Sports’ Tim Brown reports that it’s worth $15.75 million.
Obviously, it’s a big price for a pretty anonymous guy, but Smith has a 2.97 ERA since entering the league in 2007 and has come in under that each of the last three years. He finished 6-2 with a 2.29 ERA and a 54/23 K/BB ratio in 63 innings for the Indians last season.
The big key with Smith is that he’s improved enough against left-handers these last few years that he can be left in to face them in big situations. When he first came into the league, he could only be trusted against righties. Lefties hit a modest .227/.325/.373 against him last season, and that was actually the best they’ve fared since 2010.
Smith will overtake Dane De La Rosa as the top setup man in front of Ernesto Frieri in the Anaheim bullpen. He’s an upgrade for sure, but at what cost? This is $5 million that can’t be spent to upgrade a rotation that has Garrett Richards for a third starter and some combination of Joe Blanton, Jerome Williams, Tommy Hanson, Wade LeBlanc and Chris Volstad next on the depth chart (Williams and Hanson are both non-tender candidates). The money would have been better used there. Between Frieri, De La Rosa, a much improved Michael Kohn, old standby Kevin Jepsen and other pieces like Ryan Brasier, Cory Rasmus, Juan Gutierrez and the newly acquired Fernando Salas, it seems like the Angels could have cobbled together the right-handed portion of their pen just fine.
Stockpiling rotation depth, the Angels have signed Wade LeBlanc to a minor-league contract after inking Chris Volstad to a minor-league deal last week.
LeBlanc posted a 5.40 ERA in 55 innings for the Marlins and Astros this year and the 28-year-old left-hander has a 4.51 career ERA in 417 innings spent mostly as a starter.
His numbers in the minors aren’t really any better, but much like Volstad he simply gives the Angels another option to compete for a fifth starter or long reliever job. And he might end up joining Volstad in the Triple-A rotation.