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Friday, August 12, 2005

Musical Players As Jeff Mathis Joins Angels

I won't bother trying to summarize it, so I'll just quote the Travs press release:
Dr Pepper/Seven-Up Ballpark, Frisco, Texas - The Angels announced last night the movement of four players involving the Arkansas Travelers. C Brent Del Chiaro was called to Class AAA Salt Lake after former Trav Jeff Mathis received his first call up to the majors. C Tim Duff was assigned to the Travs’ roster from Class A Cedar Rapids today. Also joining the Travs’ is reliever RHP Jason Olson who had been pitching for the Dodgers’ Class AA Jacksonville squad. To make room for Olson, RHP Kevin Lynch was sent back to rookie-level Orem.

Mathis, a 2004 Texas League All Star, was hitting .282-15-57 in 94 games at Salt Lake when the Angels called him up. He is the fifth member of the 2004 Arkansas Travelers to receive a call to the big club.

Del Chiaro had hit .152-3-11 in 44 games with the Travs and had been used mostly as a backup catcher and part time designated hitter.

Olson, 27, was released by the Dodgers after pitching in 36 games out of the Jacksonville bullpen. He posted a record of 1-3 with 5 saves and a 5.86 ERA to go along with 39 walks and 62 strikeouts in 66 innings. A 17th round pick of the Dodgers in 2000, Olson missed the 2003 and 2004 seasons with arm injuries.

Duff, 23, a free agent signed by the Angels in May 2004 out of the University of Tampa, reports to the Travs today from Cedar Rapids. He played 13 games with the Kernels and batted .170-0-0. Duff opened the season at Rancho Cucamonga where he played 22 games and batted .190-2-4.

Lynch, 22, appeared in 2 games out of the Travs’ bullpen posting no decisions and 5 runs allowed in 4 innings.
No word on who's being DL'd/sent back down, but one guess as to who might just have been DFA'd, and his initials are Josh Paul.

Update: Looks like Josh Paul has been placed on the DL, probably due to injured playing time.

Update 2: Washburn has been activated; Rotoworld says Chris Bootcheck has been optioned to AAA Salt Lake.

Wow. Theories, anyone? Seems a little cruel to Paul, unless Mathis is replacing Donnelly....

I can't see a big impact on 2005, but the best news about this is that it increases the likelihood Bengie won't be re-signed next year.
Optimists might be inclined to conclude, "Finley". But there I go again, and without the benefit of knee surgery.
Oh, and Benjie not being re-signed is a good thing? He's one of the few Angels earning his keep this year offensively.
rob -- One of the things about multi-year contracts is that they pay for *future* all-around performance, not just last year's offense. Bengie's defense sucks, he's the worst baserunner in Major League Baseball, and he'll be 32 next year (going on 50) without a contract to diet for.

Meanwhile, we have a Grade A prospect who's probably a better defender already, and a backup who can really pick it. Both are cheap.

I thought you frowned on expensive contracts for overrated middle-of-the-fielders keeping talented kids down on the farm....
Speaking of the 40-man roster, I'd sure sleep easier at night if Wood & Kendrick were on it....
No question the problem with Benjie will be his future value. All I'm saying is that the club better have better offense to replace him.
And about Kendrick, agreed, but re-reading the Rule 5 draft rules, there's just about no way Wood needs to be there.
Yeah, one of my biggest fears looking ahead to the offseason is that Stoneman will decide that Bengie's relatively (and surprisingly) high batting average in 2005 merits a contract extension.

Paying for 4 years (or even 2 years) of Bengie's continuing decline would not be pretty, and I am pretty sure his BA is a fluke. It's not like he finally has learned to hit the ball on the ground and beat out infield hits. So, what could explain it?

But even more, I remain baffled as to why Scioscia feels compelled to carry two backup catchers. And if Mathis is going to be used as much as Paul, what is the point of calling him up? Why not call up a pitcher, given the strains the bullpen has shown lately?

In the opportunities-lost section, let's add the unwillingness to pursue Robert Fick in the last offseason. If Scioscia really wants a third catcher, Stoneman needs to get him soneone who can hit and play other positions. Once we had Shawn Wooten for such a role. Fick would have been a reasonable option, and a certain other manager who is an ex-catcher seems to have been confortable with Fick as a starting catcher when the regular went down.
Re: Rule V -- Ahhh, good. I didn't realize that the recently pubescent were temporarily exempt. I hope that Howie doesn't qualify yet, and that the day he does he's protected.

As for offense -- Yeah, upgrades will be crucial next year. DMac will need to yank himself up to productivity, or else things might get bleak.

What's the 2006 lineup, as of now? I'd root for:

C: Mathis
1B: Kotchman
2B: Kennedy
SS: Your favorite player
3B: D-Mac
LF: Figgins
CF: Erstad
RF: Vladdy
DH: Anderson

Yeesh.... That's putting a lot of pressure on the rookies to hit for power.... Or maybe you can find some bashing corner outfielder for a 1-year contract, and let Figgins play super-sub....
matt -- my guess is Mathis is a reserve for the balance of the year and will get some playing time. No point in bringing up prospects to sit and rot on the bench. I don't know whether he will be on the 25-man next year. My guess as to the 2006 roster you'll see in practice is something like

CF: Figgins
1B: Erstad
RF: Vlad
LF: Anderson
3B: McPherson
DH: Kotchman
SS: Cabrera
C: J Molina
2B: Kennedy

What I would do:

2B: Kennedy
1B: Kotchman (at least until he starts hitting for power, this contingent on a solid ST doing something like this)
RF: Vlad
LF: Anderson
SS: Cabrera
C: Mathis (unless he proves he's hopeless offensively, which could be the case)
CF: Figgins

Other options could materialize; whether Finley survives the offseason in an Angels uni remains to be seen, but my judgement is that he won't get cut. The Angels shouldn't play him much, though.
Crap, I'm an idiot, that last rev was eight hitters. Try it with nine:

2B: Kennedy
1B: Kotchman (at least until he starts hitting for power, this contingent on a solid ST doing something like this)
RF: Vlad
LF: Anderson
SS: Cabrera
DH: Erstad
C: Mathis (unless he proves he's hopeless offensively, which could be the case)
CF: Figgins

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