By Bob Garcia IV @bgarcia90 on March 12, 2014
The 2014 season for the Los Angeles Angels is one that can be labeled as a redemption year given their struggles last season. The Halos will be looking to shake off yet another disappointing year as they have improved the team this past offseason. So with their eyes set on competing for an AL West title, here is what the Angels' 25-man roster will be come Opening Day.
Entering his ninth year in the majors, the 31-year-old will be looking to lead the charge for the Halos' pitching staff that was in the bottom of the league in several important pitching categories. In 2013, Weaver had a down year compared to his standards as the ace of the staff. So with a fresh start this upcoming season, Weaver will continue to be one of the elite pitchers in the league.
In his third year with the Angels, Wilson is hoping to carry over last season's success ( 17-7 record, 3.39 ERA) into this upcoming season. The 33-year-old has been a workhorse for the Halos as he has thrown over 200 innings in each of first two campaigns with team. As the No. 2 starter, Wilson will continue to hold his own as he is set to pitch another solid season for Los Angeles.
The 25-year-old is hoping to use a solid spring training to solidify his spot in the Angels' starting rotation for this upcoming season. With an influx of new pitchers joining the team this past offseason, Richards has a great chance of becoming the Halos' No. 3 starter. So with that said, the 2014 season has plenty of implications for Richards as he has a chance to become a full-time starting pitcher for the first time in his career.
The Angels acquired the 22-year-old this offseason in a three-team trade that sent outfielder Mark Trumbo to the Diamondbacks in an attempt to improve the team's pitching staff. Skaggs is work a progress but has demonstrated that the talent is there to develop. So in his first season with the Halos, expect the right-hander to experience his ups and downs but show some promising progress in his maturation as a pitcher.
Like Skaggs, Santiago was also acquired as part of the three-team trade this past offseason that sent Mark Trumbo to the Diamondbacks. The 26-year-old lefty last season got some experience as a starter as he made 23 starts with the Chicago White Sox. Santiago will need to put that experience to use this upcoming season as the Halos will need him to help solidify their back end of the starting rotation.
De La Rosa had an impressive first full season in the majors last year as he was the Halos' most reliable arm in the bullpen. The 31-year-old will look to build off of it this upcoming season by continuing to be a go-to arm in the bullpen should the Angels need him to get through a jam. Although he has suffered a minor setback this spring training, that should not derail him from having another solid season with Los Angeles.
The 28-year-old was another offseason acquisition as he was a part of the deal where the Angels landed David Freese. Salas has had a rough last couple of seasons, but a change of scenery could do the four-year veteran some good as he is looking recapture his 2011 form (2.28 ERA, 75 strikeouts, 24 saves in 75.0 innings pitched) in a Halos' uniform. He already appears to be getting comfortable this spring training (O ER in 4.0 innings pitched).
After his first season in an Angels' uniform was cut by season-ending elbow surgery, Burnett is looking to rebound strong in the 2014 season. Prior to the injury, the 31-year-old was starting was pitching well (0.93 ERA in 9.2 innings pitched) and was a solid setup man for the Washington Nationals for the last couple of seasons. He is currently progressing along in his recovery, which will help shape out to be a solid 2014 campaign for Burnett.
After struggling the last two seasons, it was appearing that Lyon was over the hill. As a non-roster invitee to this year's spring training, the 34-year-old veteran has shown he's still got it as he has retired 12 of the 13 batters he has faced in four appearances with no runs allowed. If Lyon can keep up his high level of play this spring training, an Opening Day roster spot will definitely be in the cards for him.
In need of pitching help this offseason, the Angels signed the right-handed reliever to a three-year contract in hopes that he could become the team's setup man. The past three seasons, Smith has had an ERA under 3.00 and recorded at least 16 holds in each year. So with a revamped bullpen for this upcoming season, the 28-year-old will be playing a key role.
Last season as the Angels’ full-time closer, Frieri had his ups and downs but was able to convert 37 out of 41 save opportunities with a 3.80 ERA in 68.2 innings pitched. So heading into the 2014 season, the 28-year-old has eyes set on improving off of last year and helping solidify the Halos’ back end of the bullpen that was one of their areas of weakness.
Heading into his third season in the majors, the Angels should expect much of the same from the 22-year-old phenom as he will once again be in the conversation for AL MVP. Trout is hoping that this upcoming season he can also lead the Halos to their first postseason appearance since 2009. So with added motivation, Trout’s level of production should mirror or possibly be better than last year.
After struggling in his first year with the Angels in 2013, Hamilton is hoping that a strong start to this upcoming season can snowball into a productive year like the one he experienced in 2012 (.285 BA, 43 home runs, and 128 RBIs) that earned him his lucrative contract. Although he is currently dealing with a calf injury, the 32-year-old has eyes set on having a solid 2014 season.
As he enters his first full season with the Angels, Calhoun has a prime opportunity make a name for himself on the ball club. The 26-year-old is expected to start in left field and be the team’s lead-off hitter. If things play out right this year, Calhoun could become an invaluable piece to the Halos’ success in 2014.
After missing the last two months of the 2013 season due to season-ending foot surgery, Pujols appears to be motivated to produce his typical 30-home run and 100-RBI type year in 2014. The former three-time NL MVP has not quite lived up to the lofty expectations of his 10-year, 4 million contract, but with a fresh start this upcoming season he still has a chance to do so.
Entering his ninth season in the majors with the Angels, Kendrick is in line for another productive season at second base. The 30-year-old has been a consistent player for the Halos throughout his career and will likely continue that trend into the 2014 season. After hearing his name being circulated in trade rumors last year, Kendrick can use that as extra motivation on the field this season.
The 30-year-old has been a staple at shortstop for the Angels over the past eight years, and he will continue to be so this upcoming season. Aybar had his most RBIs (54) and doubles (33) since the 2011 season, and he will likely improve off of that in a highly motivated Halos' lineup in 2014
The former World Series MVP was acquired by the Angels this past offseason in hopes that he could fill a huge need at third base. Last season, Freese was off to solid start (Ex. 20-game hitting streak), but leg and back injuries limited his level of play on the field. So with a fresh start in 2014, the 30-year-old is looking to regain his form and prove he is the Halos' long-term answer at the hot corner.
The oft-injured Angels' catcher is ready to prove that he has left his injury problems behind as he is now in a competition for playing time with backup Hank Conger. It is an encouraging sign that Iannetta is hitting the ball well this spring training (.455 BA, one home run and four RBIs), which he hopes can translate in success at the plate in the 2014 season.
In need a power hitter to replace Mark Trumbo's bat in the lineup, the Angels signed Ibanez this past offseason. The ageless wonder hit 29 home runs in 2013 at the ripe age of 41 years old. The Halos hope the savvy veteran can keep defying the odds and continue to be a presence at the plate for his new team this upcoming season.
The 26-year-old is hoping this upcoming season will be the year he leapfrogs Chris Iannetta as full-time catcher for the Angels. Conger has split time behind the plate with Iannetta over the past couple of seasons, but last year he say his playing time increase as he appeared in 92 games. So with that said, Conger may be in line for more playing time.
In his first full major league season in 2013, Shuck was had a solid year by hitting .290 with two home runs and 39 RBIs. He may have not done much with his bat in terms of production, but in the outfield he showcased his excellent defensive skills (i.e. Robbing Jose Bastista's home run). Shuck will not likely receive a lot of playing time in 2014, but he is a good backup to have on the team.
Last season, the 27-year-old played in 50 games for the Angels where he hit .211 with four home runs and 16 RBIs. So with his roster spot not guaranteed, Cowgill is making his case for one by having a solid spring training (.292 BA, two home runs, five RBIs). With a set outfield in front of him, the three-year veteran will likely receive platoon type playing time.
The 26-year-old was acquired by the Angels at last year's trade deadline, and he has a chance to play in a significant role as the team's backup infielder. This spring training, Green has hit the ball well as he is batting .360 through nine games played. So as the Halos' primary backup in the infield, Green will receive plenty of playing time throughout the season.
Despite his rapid decline in production over the past three seasons, Pena can still be a contributor off the bench as a designated hitter or backup first baseman. The 35-year-old is still a power threat at the plate and is also a solid defensive player. He can fit in smoothly as a backup to Albert Pujols and spell him at first base from time to time during the season.
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