Sisk Could Fill A Need For Angels
LOS ANGELES—In blunt terms, the Angels were hoping to get something for nothing.
When the 2012 season ended, the decision was made to rebuild the
rotation without veteran righthanders Ervin Santana
and Dan Haren
of whom had expensive club options for 2013.
The Angels had no intention of exercising those options to bring either
pitcher back. But general manager Jerry Dipoto did hope to use the
cost-certainty of those options and the track records of both pitchers
to swing a deal before simply declining the options and losing Santana
and Haren for no return.
He wasn't able to make a trade for Haren, losing the veteran to free
agency. But Dipoto did deal Santana to the Royals for minor league
reliever Brandon Sisk
, 27, who steps into an area of particular need in
the Angels system: lefthanded relief.
"First of all, just as a historic minor league performer, Brandon has
been successful," Dipoto said. "He's been a little older for each level
but he's conquered each level."
Sisk's road hasn't been smooth. He missed one year at Azusa Pacific
(Calif.) with an elbow injury and was undrafted out of college. He
worked in construction for a year before spending most of the 2008
season in the now defunct independent Continental League.
The Royals signed him out of independent ball and set him on a path that
reached Triple-A in 2011. In parts of two seasons at Triple-A Omaha,
Sisk had a 2.17 ERA, 10 saves and 103 strikeouts in 99 innings.
It is that ability to miss bats despite a fastball that barely touches
90 mph and didn't jump out at scouts that made Dipoto think the
6-foot-2, 220-pound Sisk might have value in a big league bullpen.
"It's not overpowering stuff. More than anything it's deception," Dipoto
said. "His fastball sits 88-90 (mph), not a real mover. But it's a
unique plane. He hides the ball well and it's tough to pick up.
"He has a history of missing bats. His contact rate has always been low .
. . He's a three-pitch guy with a lot of guts who generally keeps the
ball down and misses bats."
The Angels are set in the bullpen with lefthanders Sean Burnett
. Behind them, though, the organization is "a little short"
on lefthanded bullpen options, Dipoto admitted. That gives Sisk a chance
to break through with the Angels. This spring, the final spot in the
bullpen should be a crowded battle among righthanders Garrett Richards
, Michael Kohn
(recovering from Tommy John surgery) and
lefthanders Nick Maronde
, Mitch Stetter
"He's never been on a 40-man roster before," Dipoto said of Sisk. "This is his chance and that's what I told him."
• The Angels' acquisitions of Jason Vargas
, Joe Blanton
and Tommy Hanson
likely pushed Richards out of the running for a spot in the major
league rotation. But Dipoto said Richards has a very good chance to open
the season in the Angels' bullpen.
• Former Angels outfielder Jeremy Moore
signed as a minor league free
agent with the Dodgers. Moore, 25, missed all of 2012 after hip surgery