With their focus on pitching this offseason, the Los Angeles Angels signed free agent pitcher Mark Mulder on Wednesday to a minor league deal that also includes an invitation to spring training for a chance at a spot on their major league roster.
The 36 year old last pitched in the majors in the 2008 regular season for the St. Louis Cardinals, where he only appeared in only three games with one start and 1.2 innings pitched due a left shoulder which derailed the rest of his season. After the 2008 season, the Cardinals chose not to exercise his $11 million option, which made him a free agent. He would remain unsigned for the entire 2009 season and would retire in 2010.
Since 2011, Mulder had been an ESPN analyst on “Baseball Tonight.” He had recently started his comeback attempt in November of 2013, where he auditioned for several MLB clubs that included the San Francisco Giants, Arizona Diamondbacks and the Angels.
In his nine-year career, the two-time All-Star holds a 103-60 record with a 4.18 ERA, 834 strikeouts and 1.34 WHIP in 1314.o innings pitched. He had played his first five seasons with the Oakland Athletics, where he was a part of solid pitching rotation that featured Barry Zito and Tim Hudson. During his tenure with the A’s he led the AL in win in 2001 with 21, led the AL in shutouts in 2001 (four) and 2003 (two), and earned both of his All-Star game selections (2003, 2004).
Mulder would get traded to the Cardinals after the 2004 season, where he would spend his last four seasons of his career, in which he would deal with reoccurring injuries that only allowed him to pitch one full season with the team in 2005. Although he was limited by his injuries, Mulder would win his first World Series championship in 2006.
The addition of Mulder to the Halos’ roster is a low risk with high reward move for the organization. If, for any reason, Mulder is not able to make the major league roster in spring training, the Halos can cut the 36-year-old lefty with no major monetary concerns, as he is only signed to a minor league deal. But if he does indeed make the roster in spring training, he has a chance to resurrect his career, and also help improve the Angel’ pitching staff that was ranked among the worst in the league statistically in several important pitching categories.
This is a smart move by the Halos, because if Mulder does show he can be a viable pitcher in spring training, he could be possibility the fourth or fifth starter in the projected rotation alongside Jered Weaver, C.J. Wilson, Tyler Skaggs and Hector Santiago.