Are the Angels auditioning Tyler Chatwood for a trade like thy did last season with Sean O'Sullivan? The pattern seems to be repeating with the demotion of Matt Palmer to AAA this week.
When the Angels announced that Joel Pineiro would be back with the club soon, the question was whether he would be replacing Matt Palmer or Tyler Chatwood in the rotation. Either player could be sent down without having to clear waivers and while Palmer's 10 hits per 9 innings was higher than Chatwood's 7.7 K/9 rate, Chatwood has been much more prone to the BB. The Angels have elected to send Palmer down to AAA and keep the 21-year old Chatwood in the big league rotation. If recent Angels history is an indication, Chatwood, who rightfully belongs in Double A for more seasoning, may be headed to another team in exchange for some much needed pop to the Angels lineup.
Last season, the Angels almost inexplicably called up promising righty prospect Sean O'Sullivan for a start. When SOS excelled against the Yankees, he was packaged with minor leaguer Will Smith and trade to Kansas City for Alberto Callaspo. While a prospect such as Chatwood is not to be discounted, he does not carry the elite label and as such, his trade value within the organization is only accelerated by time spent in the majors. Like O'Sullivan, he was developmentally on the minor league side of the cusp within the Angels organization but could be considered an affordable standout prospect for a lesser organization. A fringe number five starter for the Angels might be a number three on half the teams in baseball.
With the return of Kendrys Morales from injury still in question and Mark Trumbo an inadequate middle of the lineup threat, trading Chatwood for three quarters of a season of Paul Konerko or the equivalent might be in the cards. The audition continues on Monday when Chatwood matches up against Boston for the second time in ten days. Will his trade value plummet in a blowout with Red Sox hitters wise to his ways, or will his adjustments suddenly solidify his place in the Angels rotation and up the ante for any team seeking a young, still-developing 4-A arm.