Diving into the depths: Los Angeles Angels

2 Comments

This is part of a 30-article series looking at each team’s depth chart headed into spring training.

Rotation
1. Jered Weaver
2. Dan Haren
3. Ervin Santana
4. Joel Pineiro
5. Scott Kazmir
6. Trevor Bell
7. Hisanori Takahashi
8. Matt Palmer
9. Tyler Chatwood
10. Anthony Ortega

The Angels have the fine top four, but I don’t expect Kazmir to bounce back and there isn’t a lot behind him. While Takahashi was signed with the idea that he’d pitch in a setup role, it’d be no surprise to see him called on as a starter early on in the season.

Bullpen
1. Fernando Rodney
2. Scott Downs
3. Hisanori Takahashi
4. Kevin Jepsen
5. Jordan Walden
6. Jason Bulger
7. Rich Thompson
8. Francisco Rodriguez
9. Michael Kohn
10. Matt Palmer
11. Trevor Bell
12. Bobby Cassevah

There are probably just four locks for the Angels pen, but the team should be hoping that Walden leapfrogs everyone and entrenches himself in the closer’s role sometime before Memorial Day. … Thompson won’t be a candidate for saves this year or any other, but he’s another right-hander with a pretty good chance of being more effective than Rodney.

Catcher
1. Jeff Mathis
2. Bobby Wilson
3. Hank Conger

First base
1. Kendry Morales
2. Mark Trumbo
3. Brandon Wood

Second base
1. Howie Kendrick
2. Maicer Izturis
3. Alberto Callaspo
4. Freddy Sandoval
5. Alexis Amarista

Third base
1. Alberto Callaspo
2. Maicer Izturis
3. Brandon Wood
4. Freddy Sandoval

Shortstop
1. Erick Aybar
2. Maicer Izturis
3. Brandon Wood
4. Andrew Romine

If Mathis gets 400 at-bats this year, he could well doom the Angels to mediocrity all by himself. Wilson is nothing special, but he’s adequate both offensively and defensively. Conger has all of the offensive upside in the group, but if it was about offense, Mike Napoli never would have been traded in the first place. … The Angels should be able to get by with Callaspo and the oft-injured Izturis at third base. I’m putting Callaspo atop the depth chart, but Izturis could well be the team’s leadoff man on Opening Day.

Left field
1. Vernon Wells
2. Bobby Abreu
3. Reggie Willits
4. Chris Pettit

Center field
1. Peter Bourjos
2. Vernon Wells
3. Reggie Willits
4. Mike Trout

Right field
1. Torii Hunter
2. Bobby Abreu
3. Chris Pettit
4. Jeremy Moore

DH
1. Bobby Abreu
2. Mark Trumbo
3. Hank Conger
4. Chris Pettit

Or the leadoff man could be Scott Podsednik, if the Angels decide to put Wells in center and send Bourjos back to Triple-A. That’d be another lateral move, though. If the Angels really think they’d be better off with that arrangement, they might as well trade Bourjos now, since Trout, baseball’s No. 1 prospect, is going to be ready in a year, if not earlier.

MLB executive: Bruce Maxwell’s kneeling may keep him from finding work, not his arrest

Rick Yeatts/Getty Images
2 Comments

In September 2017, former Athletics catcher Bruce Maxwell became the first major league player to kneel during the national anthem, joining the handfuls of NFL players who had been doing the same to protest police brutality and racial inequality. Maxwell’s effort was laudable, but he got into trouble a month later when he was arrested for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and disorderly conduct. Maxwell allegedly pointed a gun at a food delivery person.

Maxwell, 27, played sparingly for the Athletics in 2018 and then was designated for assignment at the beginning of September. He officially became a free agent on November 2 and has had trouble finding work in the month-plus since.

Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Maxwell fired his agent, Matt Sosnick on Thursday because he’s still jobless. According to an unnamed MLB executive Slusser spoke to, “It’s the kneeling thing that might keep him from getting another job, not the arrest. Owners aren’t going to want to deal with that whole anthem issue.”

That makes a lot of since since abusive players haven’t had too much trouble finding new work otherwise. Addison Russell, Jeurys Familia, and José Reyes, among others have either stayed with their teams or quickly found new work. Given the relatively weak catching market, had Maxwell only had the assault charge, there is no doubt he would have been signed to be a backup catcher somewhere.

In the NFL, Colin Kaepernick — who popularized kneeling during the anthem — has remained unsigned even though teams have opted to sign and start clearly inferior quarterbacks like Mark Sanchez, Josh McCown, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Jay Cutler, Matt Barkley, and Sam Bradford, among many others. Team owners tend to run conservative in terms of politics, so they may not like the protest to begin with, then there is the public blowback to signing such a player as those who dislike such protesting make up a slight majority in the U.S., according to various polls including one done by the Washington Post.

It’s worth noting that Maxwell has a career .240/.314/.347 triple-slash line in 412 plate appearances. We’re not talking about J.T. Realmuto or Buster Posey here. That being said, there have been 15 other catchers to have put up a lower aggregate OPS since 2016 (min. 400 PA). One of those players, Derek Norris (.600 OPS since 2016), signed a minor league contract with the Tigers just three months after being suspended by Major League Baseball for violating its domestic violence policy. Makes you think.