Angels Could See More Of Maronde

LOS ANGELES—A third-round pick in the 2011 draft, lefthander Nick Maronde made a fast rise through the Angels system this year. The 23-year-old started the year in high Class A, even went backward to the Rookie-level Arizona League after a lat muscle injury, but finished it with the Angels as a September callup being used as a situational reliever in crucial games by manager Mike Scioscia.

"It's been great. I didn't expect it," Maronde said of the big league time. "I couldn't believe it when I got the call. I called my parents and they didn't believe me either."

Considering the state of the Angels farm system, the path is pretty clear for Maronde to stick in the big leagues soon.

The Angels were already thin on pitching prospects when they traded two of their better minor league arms (Double-A righthanders Johnny Hellweg and Ariel Pena) to the Brewers as part of a package for Zack Greinke.

Greinke is a free agent this winter and the Angels had not had any talks with him about an extension. In addition, righthanders Dan Haren and Ervin Santana each have club options in their contracts for 2013 that are not likely to be picked up, creating the potential for three vacancies in the Angels' 2013 rotation.

Righthander Garrett Richards figures to be in that rotation with journeymen Jerome Williams, Barry Enright and Brad Mills as potential depth. With little else in the system, the road is pretty clear for Maronde to continue his quick rise next season, though general manager Jerry Dipoto said that was not the team's plan heading into the offseason.

"Nick has done a tremendous job. He's come in here and shown us that he's capable of this," Dipoto said. "His focus has been tremendous. His fastball plays. His command of the strike zone has been a breath of fresh air.

"He's going to get an opportunity in spring training to come in and show what he's capable of. But what his opportunity is in terms of the regular season is going to be predicated on what we do between now and then (in acquiring pitching)."

Angel Food

• The Angels switched their affiliation in the low Class A Midwest League. The Cedar Rapids Kernels, an Angels affiliate the past 20 years, signed a four-year deal with the Twins. The Angels signed for two years with the Burlington Bees to be their MWL affiliate beginning in 2013.

• The Angels renewed their player-development contract with Double-A Arkansas through the 2014 season. The Travelers have been the Angels' Double-A affiliate since the 2001 season.