The Angels on Thursday added catcher Jett Bandy and right-handed pitcher Danny Reynolds to their 40-man roster, a move that will protect both prospects from being selected in the Rule 5 draft in December.
To clear room for Bandy and Reynolds, pitcher Michael Roth and catcher Jackson Williams were both designated for assignment.
Bandy hit .250 with 13 homers and 40 runs batted in at double-A Arkansas this past season, but with Hank Conger being traded to the Houston Astros, Bandy is expected to compete for the Angels’ backup catching job next spring.
Reynolds, a reliever, spent most of the 2014 season at Arkansas, where he went 3-2 with a 3.60 earned run average in 30 games, striking out 41 and walking 15 in 40 innings. He also pitched to a 1.80 ERA in 11 games for Class-A Inland Empire and made one appearance for triple-A Salt Lake.
The most notable prospect left unprotected for the Rule 5 draft is third baseman Kaleb Cowart, a 2010 first-round pick who has struggled for two straight years at double-A, hitting .221 with six homers and 42 RBIs in 2013 and .223 with six homers and 54 RBIs in 2014.
But that doesn’t mean the Angels have given up on the 22-year-old Cowart. A team that selects Cowart in the Rule 5 draft would have to keep him on their major league roster for the entire season, and that seems highly unlikely considering Cowart’s struggles.
There has also been some discussion of moving Cowart to the mound — he was a highly touted and hard-throwing pitcher at Cook High School in Adel, Ga. — but Angels General Manager Jerry Dipoto said the organization plans to give Cowart at least one more season at third base before considering such a move.
“He’s still young, and he can throw, he has power, he’s a very good defensive player and he works his tail off,” Dipoto said. “There are so many reasons to invest your time in Kaleb. To me, it’s just not time to pull the plug on the bat, because if it clicks for him and he gets back to where he was three years ago, then you really have something.”