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Angels Post-Jepsen Bullpen Still a Strength

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The Angels have traded relievers for spare parts twice in the past week.

Its Morin!
Its Morin!
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Angels have traded longtime relief pitcher Kevin Jepsen for a platoon hitter less than a week after trading promising young reliever Jairo Diaz to the Rockies for a backup infielder.

What does this say about the state of the Halo bullpen and the men in the front office who are busy seemingly disassembling it?

On first glance we got rid of a pretty secure seventh inning man in Jepsen. Despite his ups and downs over the years he seemed to have really figured it all out for most of 2014. But look at the big picture of the Halo 'pen and see that we had immense depth from which to deal...

We have a solid closer in Huston Street. We have one of the most reliable eighth inning men in the sport in Joe Smith.

While Jepsen had the seventh inning "role" in 2014, the team has already stated their confidence in Mike Morin. While his splits are not fantastic against lefties, understand that the Angels picked up lefty reliever Cesar Ramos earlier this offseason and, if Scioscia can master the use of a "Lefty One Out Guy" at all, the seventh inning could be Morin/Ramos and may perform about as well as Jepsen has.

This gives the Angels the luxury of using Fernando Salas in the sixth inning. Salas had a great stretch most of the summer but a mediocre start and finish to the season have not won him many fans buying his jersey at the stadium team store.

A bullpen is usually, from closer to mop, seven guys. Five relievers have already been named. There are others at our disposal:

  • Vinnie Pestano is returning to form after the team got him for a steal in late Summer
  • Cam Bedrosian had a rocky rookie season but his pedigree gives us hope
  • Jeremy McBryde was signed to a major league contract as a minor league free agent
  • Dan Reynolds was protected from the Rule 5 Draft and will be over two years younger than the average AAA player when he starts the season in the Salt Lake Bees bullpen
  • Cory Rasmus has been rumored to be a rotation candidate but with the additions of Nick Tropeano and Andrew Heaney he is a better bet to be in the bullpen
  • Hector Santiago is the likeliest Halo swingman - long relief here and there, mopping up and then a few days later starting if something ails one of the Big Five.

The Angels also have starting pitchers Jose Alavrez and Drew Rucinski on the 40-Man roster if a spot pen appearance were needed and a mid-season roster decisions too tough to make a real move.

So Closer to Mop I see the opening day pen as: Street, Smith, Morin, Ramos, Salas, Pestano, Rasmus - wait a minute, we are STILL too deep in the pen - don't be surprised if Jerry deals from here soon again!