San Diego Padres Are The LA Angels Of The South With Six Ex-Angels In Camp

Feb 27, 2017; Tempe, AZ, USA; San Diego Padres shortstop Erick Aybar (8) and Los Angeles Angels center fielder Mike Trout (27) talk in the fourth inning during a spring training game at Tempe Diablo Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 27, 2017; Tempe, AZ, USA; San Diego Padres shortstop Erick Aybar (8) and Los Angeles Angels center fielder Mike Trout (27) talk in the fourth inning during a spring training game at Tempe Diablo Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports /

When the LA Angels took the field yesterday in Tempe they got  a blast from the past staring back at them as their opponent, the San Diego Padres, had two players in their starting line-up who had played for the Angels in years past.

In total the Padres have six former LA Angels on their Spring Training roster.  Four of which are non-roster invitees which means their chances of making the Padres opening day roster are a lot less likely as they are not under a major league contract.

Former Angel veteran shortstop Erick Aybar and outfielder Collin Cowgill played in the game yesterday with Aybar going one for three with a single and Cowgill went 0 for 3 playing in center field for the Padres.

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In addition to Aybar and Cowgill, the Padres also have outfielders Nick Buss and Rafael Ortega in camp who both played for a short time with the Angels last season.  Ortega was the better of the two providing one of the best defensive plays of the year by an outfielder not named Trout.  Ortega did a headlong dive to rob the Dodgers Carl Crawford of extra bases in the clinching game of the Freeway Series a 7-4 Angels victory.

Of the players who played in left field for the Angels last season Ortega and Jefry Marte showed the most potential, but Ortega’s lack of offense was his demise as he hit only .232 with one homer and 16 RBI’s with eight stolen bases.  Buss was even worse hitting .198 going 16 for 81 with one homer and eight RBI’s and he stole two bases.

Cowgill last played for the Angels in 2015 batting .188 with 13 hits in 69 at-bats homering once and driving in two runs. Last year he played even less for the Indians, who the Angels traded him to late in the 2015 season. In 2016 Cowgill, a university of Kentucky graduate went one for twelve with one single.

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Aybar probably has the best chance to make the Padres team since he is versatile  and can play outfield as well as shortstop and second base.  Aybar had a rough year in 2016 after being traded with pitching prospect Sean Newcomb to the Atlanta Braves for current Angels shortstop Andrelton Simmons.

Aybar played in 97 games hitting .242 with two homers and 26 RBI’s and a paltry .293 OBP. It was so bad that the Braves traded him to Detroit where Aybar played in 29 games hitting .250 with one homer and eight RBI’s with a much more respectable .343 OBP.

The Padres are looking for a veteran leader and Aybar along with fellow former Angel pitcher Jered Weaver could fill those shoes nicely.  Weaver of course has long been a leader on the Angels and when he was not offered a contract renewal this winter he decided to join the Padres in early February signing a one-year three million dollar contract with incentives to pitch for San Diego.

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The Padres are hoping for Weaver to bounce back from two sub-par seasons and anchor a rotation that is a mish-mosh of veterans and youth.  The final former Angel Jhoulys Chacin is also vying for a spot in the Padres rotation this Spring as he signed a one-year deal back in December with San Diego.

Weaver was 12-12 with a 5.06 ERA with the Angels last season winning his 150th game (second-most in Angels history behind Chuck Finley) just a week before he pitched his final game with the Angels against Oakland on September 26th.

Chacin filled in admirably last season for the Angels after they acquired him from Atlanta in early May.  Chacin had an up and down year  with the Angels going 5-6 with a 4.68 ERA with 29 appearances and 17 starts.  Some games Chacin was lights out like on May 30th against the Tigers when he pitched a complete game against the Detroit Tigers allowing only four hits and one run while striking out 10 batters.

Chacin’s final game with the Angels was also a stellar one as he pitched seven innings of shutout ball against Houston striking out seven batters on the season’s final day. However, the Angels decided to let Chacin walk as well ad he signed a one-year deal worth 1.75 million dollars plus incentives. We will see how Chacin does this season with San Diego.  I think the Angels should have re-signed him, but hopefully Angels manager Billy Eppler knows what he is doing..

Unfortunately, for Angel fans who would like to see some of these former Angel players, including Weaver  in action, the only way they can do so will be to go Arizona on March 10th or 23rd when the Angels play the Padres.

Other than that you will either have to travel to Dodger Stadium or San Diego to see the Padres play as the Angels do not have any interleague games with the Padres this season.

Next: World Champion Cubs come calling today

Good luck to Padres and the LA Angels of the South this season you’re missed!!!