Angels, Padres Seeking Help From A Has-Been & A Never-Was

A few days ago, the Angels raised a few eyebrows when it was reported that they had signed Mark Mulder to a contract, with the hope that he would compete for a starting spot in their rotation, a rotation that as of now figures to include two guys, Hector Santiago and Tyler Skaggs, with a combined lifetime win total of eleven.

35-year-olf lefty Mulder, who last pitched in the majors in 2008 and who last won a game in 2006, looked like a Hall of Famer in the making when he won 21 in his second season with Oakland in 2001. He followed that with 19-7, 15-9 and 17-8 years, before winning another 16 for St. Louis in 2005. On May 17 of 2006, he was 5-1. He has won one game since. Over the rest of that 2006 season and all of four games over the next two seasons, his record was 1-9 with an ERA over 10.00.

He has suffered from various shoulder injuries and in 2007 had not one, but two rotator cuff surgeries. Minor rotator cuff injures that are treated with rest and physical therapy can be overcome, and pitchers who have suffered such problems will generally be able to return and do well. However, serious rotator cuff injures that require surgery usually signal the end of the line. Try and find a major

league pitcher who was able to return to pre-injury form after rotator cuff surgery.

Mulder last pitched for three minor league teams in 2008, compiling a combined 6.55 ERA over 34 innings. He formally retired in 2010. It would be a major surprise if he were able to make a comeback now, and earn a spot on a major league roster.

In 2003, the Angels made shortstop Brandon Wood the 23rd overall pick in the amateur draft. By the conclusion of the 2005 season, he was perhaps the number one prospect in minor league baseball, having hit 43 home runs while hitting .321 and driving in 116 in Class A. He then went from the California League to Double-A for the 2006 season, and responded by hitting another 25 home runs with a .276 average, and in 2007 for the Angels top minor league team in Triple-A, he hit 23 more home runs and batted .272. He went five-for-33 in a brief stint in Anaheim, and returned to AAA for the 2008 season where he responded with 31 homers and a .296 average.

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Again, however, in 2008 he failed a test run with the Angels, hitting .200 with five home runs in 55 games. The Angels also gave up on him as a potential major league shortstop, and switched him to third base. 2009 saw him again return to AAA and he had another solid offensive season while playing third. He got into 18 major league games and again did poorly, hitting .195.

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The 2010 season saw him get his shot, and he played in 81 major league games, coming to the plate 226 times while compiling one of the worst set of stats imaginable, Luis Cruz bad. He hit four home runs, drove in 14, and hit .146. The Angels soon gave up on him, but his power influenced the Pirates to give him a chance in 2011, and he responded with a .220 average over 99 games. His lifetime major league stats show 18 home runs and 64 RBI over 700 at bats, and a

.186 lifetime average. Last season he saw action with two AAA teams, hitting .226.

Why bring up Brandon Wood? Because he was just signed to a contract by the San Diego Padres, who seem to be stockpiling ex-major league infielders of dubious talent, having also signed former Brave, Brewer, and Rays’ infielder Brooks Conrad (.207 lifetime avg.) to a contract. The Padres have a solid young shortstop in Everth Cabrera and a 2012 All-Star in Chase Headley at third, plus a couple of solid back-ups in Logan Forsythe and Alexi Amarista. Why Brandon Wood?

I guess as of now, the only answer is Why Not?

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