The Los Angeles Angels have played a week of games thus far and have had more successes than failures. The team is scoring runs at a pretty high level and has seen some solid performances out of their pitchers. Well, most of them.
The Angels signed Carlos Estevez this past offseason to a two-year $13.5 million deal. Phil Nevin hasn't announced it, but Estevez at the very least was thought of by many to be the front-runner to close games.
Estevez has really struggled this spring through his first two outings. It's early, and there's time to improve, but he'll have to do a lot away from the team as he's set to pitch for the Dominican Republic in the WBC. His chances to impress Phil Nevin up close are coming to an end before he departs if they're not totally gone.
Carlos Estevez is losing his job as Angels closer with a weak spring
Spring Training doesn't matter too much when it comes to deciding roles, or at least it shouldn't. However, when a pitcher looks THIS bad, something has to give.
Estevez has made two appearances, obviously a tiny sample, but both have been disastrous. In his first outing against the Giants, Estevez faced four batters. He allowed a hit, walked two, and recorded one out. He was pulled due to a high pitch count and all three runs ended up scoring.
His second outing was yesterday against the Dodgers. He faced five batters. Walked the first three, struck out the fourth, and then walked the fifth. Estevez has allowed five runs and has walked six batters while recording two outs.
I'm not incredibly concerned over his control issues because in the past they've never been close to this bad. He's walked 3.5/9 in his career which isn't low, but isn't anything too insane either. For what it's worth, Phil Nevin said he was not concerned either when asked as he's adjusting to throwing up in the zone, something he didn't do as much in Colorado.
Estevez should be just fine for the Angels, but a weak start to his spring combined with the fact that he'll be away from the team for a while could mean a demotion to a slightly lesser role. Again, Estevez as the closer wasn't confirmed, but it was something everyone thought was going to happen.