For at least one night, Angel fans were "treated" to a return appearance of the Bullpen of Perpetual Sorrow. This is the same bullpen that almost single-handedly undermined the entire Halo season back in April by blowing every lead in sight. The epic relief meltdown in Texas last night could well be an aberration, but with Scott Downs injured and Kevin Jepsen suddenly back in all of our lives, there is some legitimate concern that the Bullpen of Perpetual Sorrow intends to make this an extended stay.
The Angels punted on the opportunity to add relief help before the trade deadline and the odds of landing and impact reliever via a waiver trade seem unlikely, so, in a preemptive strike, it is time to get creative with some potential solutions to the looming bullpen catastrophe.
Option #1 - Convert to Santana-ism
For seemingly his entire career, there has been a faction of Angel fans that felt Ervin Santana would be better suited to pitching out of the bullpen since he is pretty much a two-pitch pitcher. The Angels have never really entertained that idea, but they could do well to start now. They've already gone the route of putting a befuddling 15-out governor on Santana's starts, so shifting him to even shorter outings doesn't seem like a big leap of logic. In fact, if he really does need to work through mechanical issues, it might be in his best interests to take on a role where he can pitch three or four times in a given week. The short outing might also be good for strengthening his oft-waning mental focus. If everything falls right, Santana can work through his issues and vault himself into a prominent late-inning role.
Option #2 - Get Rich-ards quick
Much like Santana, there are some who think Richards is better off in relief. With his nasty slider and a fastball that could likely sit at 98 MPH as a reliever, that is an easy argument to make. It also seems like it is Mike Scioscia's preference to not have Richards in the rotation if he can help it. With it getting so late in the season, management should also be less concerned about keeping Richards stretched out should he have to return to the rotation. If the Angels are really desperate for a power reliever, the hard-throwing Richards is far and away their best internal option.
Option #3 - I can't think of a clever pun for Geltz
Those that follow the Angels minor league boxscores closely know that Steven Geltz was putting up video game numbers in Double-A Arkansas this season before being promoted to Salt Lake. His numbers there have been more pedestrian, but that happens to a lot of guys when they go to the Pacific Coast League. There is a very real possibility that Geltz is nowhere near ready for the majors, but the cupboard is otherwise bare when it comes to relief prospects in the Angel farm system. Calling up Geltz would be something of a desperation move, but as you have likely already surmised, the Angels don't have a lot of other options.
Option #4 - Where there's a Wilson there's a way
Let me preface this by saying I do not endorse this suggestion in any way shape or form. You know that C.J. Wilson guy? Yeah, the one that is a really good starter? Yeah him. Well, you may not remember this, but a as recently as a few years ago, he was a pretty kickass closer. He's also left-handed. That makes him pretty much the perfect match for what this Angels bullpen needs. There is also no way this happens. The Angels have a vastly bigger need for high quality starting pitching, so there is a zero percent chance they would even consider shifting Wilson back to relief. It would be the pitching equivalent of selling off your Ferrari to cover a $100 debt. Really, I only brought it up because we are thinking outside the box and this is about as outside the box as I can think that doesn't involve kidnapping Aroldis Chapman.
If you don't love any of these options, you are not alone. This is where a lack of organizational depth really hurts the Angels. Their only real choice is to just ride out this rough patch and hope that Scott Downs and, to a lesser extent, Jordan Walden return from the DL as soon as possible and pitching at the highest level possible.
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