The Angels, so far this season, have been underwhelming. And while much of the blame can be placed with the tepid offense, the bullpen has been shockingly unreliable. The bullpen, this year, is making these salaries:
Brian Fuentes: $9,000,000
Fernando Rodney: $5,500,000
Scot Shields: $5,350,000
Kevin Jepsen: $415,000
Jason Bulger: $418,000
Brian Stokes: $435,000
Trevor Bell: $400,000
Bobby Cassevah: $400,000
That's $21,918,000 committed to a bullpen which has been decidedly below league average this year. Fuentes and Shields, in particular, have combined for some of the worst relief appearances in recent memory, neither having a 2010 season where they should be getting paid for their services. Fuentes has been worth an astonishing NEGATIVE 1.9 million dollars thus far, and Shields should have paid the Angels 1.1 million dollars for his 11.1 innings this season. Two guys, combining for over 14 million dollars in salary, are providing less value than your typical AAA relief pitcher.
The real problem, though, is that there's no real options to fix the problem. You can't just throw away $14,000,000 because the players aren't (nor have they ever been) worth their salaries. And apparently, the farm system can't provide even semi-reliable arms, with Stokes showing off a -0.3 WAR this season, and Bell is sitting on a goose egg for his WAR, which, frankly, is better than most of his peers.
Again, I'm calling for front office leadership changes. Reagins has consistently shown an inability to adequately assess talent, and his problems are made worse by Scioscia's unwillingness to move around arms in his bullpen to suit their strengths. The Angels need to stop with oversized contracts to mediocre players and concentrate on utilizing trades and the farm system to acquire low-priced talent in the next two years. Otherwise, it's going to look a whole lot like the early '90's.