With one week to go until opening day there is no battle for the Angels bullpen. Last Friday, Matt Lindstrom was released and Cam Bedrosian was sent down to the minor leagues. The relievers left in camp who are on the forty man roster are the relievers that will be introduced to the crowd as the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on Opening Day.
CLOSER: Huston Street
He of 41 Saves last season is suddenly not quite the golden boy. The local media squawked that he was acting as his own agent in negotiating a contract extension with the front office and that it would get done by the end of Spring. Now the team is balking - or pressuring an unsure negotiator in a game of high stakes chicken. Regardless, Street should have another sublime season on the mound and will cement his position as the best closer in Anaheim since Frankie K-Rod.
SETUP MAN: Joe Smith
As unsung a hero as his anonymous name would imply, opponents will see another season of the sidearmer from hell and Angels fans will see the best setup man for their club since Scot Shields.
HOLD IT #1: Mike Morin
This is the position held by Kevin Jepsen on and off for the past few seasons. Jeppers was traded for Matt Joyce and that leaves the Angels with Morin, who rose from anonymity to taking a lead role in a good pen down the 98-Win stretch in 2014.
HOLD IT #2: Vinnie Pestano
A late add to the team last year, look for Pestano to supplant any notion of Salas being a superior option. Look for him to shoulder 70 or more innings out of the pen in tight spots and look great while doing it.
LEFTY HOLD IT: Cesar Ramos
He will write his own ticket. As a veteran, look for Scioscia to give him plenty of chances to shine against lefty-heavy lineups late in games. How he fares will determine the role that the Big Catorce assigns him.
IN THE MIX: Fernando Salas
Sixth inning and behind by a run - that is as high leverage as I want to see this guy face.
LONG MAN - MOP UP: Jose Alvarez
Jose should be starting games in Salt Lake City but he can throw four or five innings to mop-up after disastrous starts every week or two.
Look for Hector Santiago to loom large in how long Alvarez stays up - and Santiago's place in the bullpen will be impacted by one thing and one thing alone - how Hector hangs in the rotation. If Hector is serviceable or better in the #4/5 spot, look for Alvarez to man the mop here at least for a few moths. If Santiago waivers starting games, expect him to be replaced by Drew Rucinski and for Alvarez to go to AAA to get stretched out as a starter.
DISABLED LIST: Cory Rasmus
Out until at least May with an injury to his deep torso muscles, look for a healthy Rasmus to supplant any of Morin, Pestano, Ramos or Salas who might not be cutting it.
WAITING IN THE WINGS:
• Danny Reynolds - Probably the first callup from Salt Lake if there is an injury in the pen. He will turn 24 this year and has been a stable, middle innings reliever for the team.
• Cam Bedrosian - Still needs to work out those butterflies down in AAA to become the power pitcher we know he should be.
• Jeremy McBryde - Signed to a one million dollar contract, this power arm is still waiting to make his major league debut. He could have slipped in but a terrible Spring Training performance sees him in Salt Lake where he will likely share closer duties with Bedrock.