Winter Meetings: Part 3

Baltazar Lopez was one of three Angels minor leaguers claimed in the Double-A phase of the Rule 5 Draft.

The big news today was … there was no big news.

It was get-away day for most GMs. Unlike a generation ago, these days the winter meetings are not one big long tradefest. GMs have their own separate meeting about a month earlier, and all thirty of them no doubt carry cell phones, so there’s no reason to wait until arriving at the hotel to have a conversation.

The only action involving the Angels was the Rule 5 Draft. As mentioned yesterday, there are actually three phases — the well-known major league phase, then the Triple-A phase, and finally the Double-A phase. Unlike the major league phase, for the minor league phases the player doesn’t have to be protected. A player chosen in the Triple-A phase draws $25,000 in compensation for his prior team; the Double-A phase nets $12,500.

The Angels lost three players in the Double-A phase, none of whom even played in the system in 2007. All three played on loan in the Mexican League.

First baseman Baltazar Lopez had an AVG/OBP/SLG of .296/.356/.471 over 63 games playing left field for Guasave. Baseball America ranked him the Angels’ #12 prospect in their 2005 Prospect Handbook, which at the time I thought was a real reach. Lopez was suspended for steroid use in April 2005.

Another casualty of the steroids investigation was right-handed pitcher Francisco Cordova. Also playing for Guasave, Cordova was 2-3 with a 4.31 in 14 games (13 starts) this year. He had a 28:30 SO:BB ratio in 56.1 IP.

The third player was right-handed pitcher Rafael Cruz Chavez. In 17 games (eight starts), he was 3-2 with a 3.88 ERA. In 67.1 IP he had a SO:BB ratio of 25:8.

I must admit that I’m a bit surprised in that I haven’t seen the usual rants demanding the Angels’ GM be fired for not getting "something" for unprojected organization players. Maybe they’re too busy ranting about Miguel Cabrera.

Meanwhile, Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times had a nice article about Brandon Wood. When his cell phone showed the number calling had a 714 area code, Woody thought he’d been traded, but it was only the reporter calling. Brandon is one of the least pretentious players I’ve ever met.

Regarding his short stint in the Mexican League, Brandon left early due to the death of his grandmother. When he returned from the funeral, Guasave had activated another foreigner and there was no room for Wood, so he was released.

The only other news of consequence was that Gary Matthews Jr. won’t be suspended for HGH use due to insufficient evidence. Former Angels Troy Glaus and Scott Schoeneweis also escaped the hangman’s noose, but Jose Guillen and Jay Gibbons received 15-day suspensions.

In closing … For those looking for Angels minor league photos, I have two Rancho Cucamonga games left and the three fall instructional league games I shot in September, then all my 2007 photos will be on-line in the Digital Photo Gallery.


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