In another head-scratcher move – a mere week after losing its most viable left-handed replacement starter in Wade LeBlanc to the New York Yankees through waivers – the Angels' office wise men have now outrighted their best AAA right-handed starter in Jarrett Grube off the 40-man roster.
Grube had managed a 3.52 ERA with solid peripherals (18 BBs, 51 Ks over 61 IP) and a respectable BAA (.225) in the cruel pitcher's terrordome of Salt Lake City and the PCL over eleven starts. Along with LeBlanc (3.69 ERA at AAA), Grube was the only starting pitcher on the Bees with an ERA under 5.90 (Santiago and Jose Alvarez included).
The Angels' organization arguably has the weakest starting pitching depth in the American League, and they have exposed two of their only veteran options to other clubs in the past week.
But never fear! As two depart, one returns. Joel Pineiro, recently ditched by the struggling Chicago Cubs after muddling through four starts with their AA affiliate (4.43 ERA in 22 1/3 innings with 4.0 K/9 and 1.6 BB/9), has been signed to a minor league contract and will start for Salt Lake tonight. He last pitched at the MLB level with the Angels in 2011, when he struggled through injuries to a 5.13 ERA.
One speculates that there are additional moves coming, as dumping Grube and LeBlanc in such short order makes very little sense absent compensatory moves to mitigate the losses. It's possible Grube makes it through waivers and returns to the PCL, but the risk seems evident enough to make this an otherwise odd move.