I have a conspiracy theory about Sean Burnett. Conspiracy theories are inherently interesting, but Sean Burnett is inherently uninteresting. As such, the mileage you get out of this post may vary. I'll be honest, I'm just killing time, hoping the Angels do something big and interesting today to give something bigger and more interesting to write about.
Anyway, here is my theory: Sean Burnett isn't going to be healthy to start the 2014 season. (Cue ominous music)
Yes, I know, this is right up there with the JFK grassy knoll theory, but it is one that does have a fair amount of impact on the Angels' season. Burnett is expected to be a big part of their revamped bullpen. When people talk of the Bullpen of Perpetual Sorrow turning their fortunes around, the first thing they mention is the Joe Smith signing. The second thing they mention is getting a healthy Burnett back as he is a top lefty setup man when he is 100%. So, if he isn't 100%, that is kind of a problem.
The Halo relief corps struggled mightily last season in part because Burnett missed most of the season. He had some sort of bizarre forearm issue that he repeatedly tried to rehab. He ultimately had to have surgery on the flexor tendon in his elbow in early August. He has not thrown a baseball since. The Angels have gone on record as saying that they fully expect him to be ready for spring training, but they also say he won't begin throwing until January 1st. Given his rehab struggles after offseason elbow surgery the year before, I find it difficult to believe that the organization can be so confident.
In fact, there is a great deal of evidence to suggest they aren't confident. Like, at all. Just look at what Dipoto has done with his roster this offseason. He picked lefty reliever Robert Carson off waivers, giving him a 40-man roster spot. He signed veteran southpaw reliever Clay Rapada to a minor league contract and gave him an invite to spring training. He trade for lefty starters Tyler Skaggs and Hector Santiago, both of whom (but more likely Santiago) could wind up in the bullpen if/when they sign a more established starter for the bullpen. Then today, the Angels traded for Rule V pick Brian Moran, a left-hand specialist reliever.
That's four left-handed relievers and three 40-man roster spots Dipoto just used to have depth behind Burnett. That's in addition to already having Michael Roth, Buddy Boshers and Nick Maronde (an actual real prospect) on the roster already. They also have Andrew Taylor and Brandon Sisk and Andrew Taylor, both of whom are coming off major arm surgery, but could be ready early in the season. That's five potential in-house replacements Dipoto already had for Burnett, yet he still felt a need to add four more. Even Tony LaRussa thinks that is too many left-handed relievers to have at your disposal.
Maybe Dipoto is just stockpiling arms because that is always a smart thing to do. Lord knows that the team struggled to find relief depth last season. It also isn't as if any of these guys aren't expendable if Burnett does come all the way back. Carson, Moran and Boshers can all be kicked off the 40-man roster and nobody but their immediate families would lose any sleep. All it means to me is that I am going to doubt that the Angels will have Burnett's services in the early part of the season until I actually see him on a mound during a regular season game.
Oh, and the CIA totally had a secret meeting with the mob on the fake moon landing set at area 51 to coordinate the assassination JFK. Oswald was just a patsy and was really killed because he knew Elvis was going to fake his own death and spend his old age working as a line cook at a Cracker Barrel in Macon, Georgia. But you knew that already.