Finally, the Angels make a statement that should be loud and clear to their beleaguered bullpen. The Halos demoted Jose Arredondo to Triple-A Salt Lake and called up Kevin Jepsen.
The message should now be loud and clear to the rest of the Angel relievers that ineffectiveness will no longer be tolerated. Arredondo had been acting as the Angels’ primary set-up man with Scot Shields out, but has been totally unreliable with an ERA of 5.55 and a WHIP of 1.64. While Arredondo has hardly been the sole culprit in the Angels’ Bullpen of Doom, demoting him makes the most sense as he is the only reliever of note with minor league options left.
The move is not without risk though. Replacing Arredondo is Kevin Jepsen who has been absolutely dreadful at Triple-A after getting demoted himself earlier this season, but he is getting recalled really due to a lack of other options. That sends a bit of a mixed message about earning one’s roster spot, but I suspect that he won’t be long for the majors as Halo managment should have another trick up their sleeve.
Also, replacing Arredondo with Jepsen creates even more relief depth problems. With how bad Jepsen has been in the minors, he likely will only be used in mop-up duty. That will force Jason Bulger and Darren Oliver into the set-up role with Matt Palmer and Rich Thompson now the new middle relievers after barely being used at all recently. That is the very definition of a battlefield promotion and not something that bodes well for the Angels ability to protect a lead.
Worse than that though is the affect this will have on Arredondo. To fans there is no denying that he needs to work out his control issues in the minors rather than in the majors costing the Angels potential wins, he may not necessarily agree. The biggest knock on Arredondo in the minors wasn’t his stuff or control, but his emotional maturity. More than once Arredondo got disciplined by the organization for emotional outbursts, so there is a real chance that this demotion could ignite that powder keg all over again. Hopefully Jose will understand that this is in everyone’s best interests since he needs to get right again as the Angels desperately need him to recapture his 2008 form in a hurry.
As for the relievers who survived this initial cull, they are all now on notice. If Arredondo can be demoted then they all certainly are one bad appearance away from getting handed their walking papers too.