Originally posted on The GM's Perspective  |  Last updated 8/6/13
Mike Scioscia is widely regarded as one of the best managers in the game. His team plays a National League style, never hesitating to lay down a bunt when needed. The last few years the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim have been in uncharted waters. They spent big bucks on the best power hitters in the game; Albert Pujols, Josh Hamilton and they haven't delivered. C.J. Wilson, their other big purchase from the Winter Meetings two years ago, hasn't quite lived up to a contract like a number one starter should. With the excitement of all this star power, the pitching that has always been an anchor has begun to let them down. Since Scioscia took over in 2000, the pitching staff is consistently ranked in the top 5 of the American League, only six times were they ranked sixth or higher. Half-way through 2013 they rank in the bottom third. If anyone watched the Angels/Blue Jays game this past Sunday, six Angel relievers couldn't hold a two run lead, eventually losing to the Blue Jays 5-4. That's why the Angels signing Jason Urquidez from the Lancaster Barnstormers of the Independent Atlantic League and Dontrelle Willis from the Long Island Ducks of the Atlantic League could benefit them in the long run. Lancaster Online reported Urquidez will report to the Angels' Triple A affiliate in Salt Lake. Urquidez was drafted in the 17th round of the 2005 MLB June Amateur Draft from Arizona State University. He has eight years of professional experience and over 265 appearances. Despite a 30-17 career record and a very respectable 3.54 ERA, he's never advanced past Triple A. That might change this year. With the Barnstormers, Urquidez is putting up outrageous numbers. In 39 games and 36 innings, he has surrendered only 19 hits, struck out 48, walked seven, and given up one earned run for a 0.25 ERA. Make him the Angels closer right now! Dontrelle Willis, the guy with the brightest smile in the game, has once again made it back to affiliated ball after spending all of 2013 with the Long Island Ducks. Willis has been dealing with control problems since 2007, and hasn't appeared in a big league game since he was with the Cincinnati Reds in 2011 going 1-6 with an ERA of 5.00. Willis has been bouncing around the minors for the past six years, spending time with the Detroit Tigers, San Francisco Giants, Reds, and Baltimore Orioles organizations. In all that time he never spent more than 28 innings at any stop. For someone dealing with the inability to throw strikes, they need a considerable amount of time in one spot to get comfortable with their surroundings, and to work on their mechanics. Look at Ricky Romero. He hasn't had near the struggles as Willis, but has spent the entire year, aside from one start in Single A Dunedin, at Triple A Buffalo. After 79 innings he's still battling his demons, and hasn't been recalled by the big club. With the playoffs almost entirely out of reach for the Blue Jays, there's no use promoting him unless his absolutely ready. Willis is having a great year with the Ducks. According to the Atlantic League, he is leading the ATL with a 2.57 ERA, and is tied for second in the league with three shutouts. With nearly 90 innings under his belt, the Angels are most definitely taking a shot by signing Willis. It's uncertain how he's going to perform, but he's proven that he is willing to do whatever it takes to get back to the show, and a stint in the Independent Leagues is just a stop along the way. According to Sports Illustrated, Willis will also report to the Angels' Triple A affiliate, Salt Lake. *Statistics courtesy Baseball Reference* Devon is the Founder and Executive Director of The GM's Perspective. He is a former professional baseball player with the River City Rascals & Gateway Grizzlies. Currently, Devon is a Manager at a financial institution in Northern Ontario Canada, and can be reached at devon@thegmsperspective.com. You can follow The GM's Perspective on Twitter and Facebook. His full bio can be seen here.  
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