The Angels have agreed to terms with starting pitcher Chris Volstad, 27, on a minor league deal that includes an invitation to spring training, an early off-season move that might not bode well for the future of pitchers Jerome Williams and Tommy Hanson in Anaheim.
Volstad, a 6-foot-8, 230-pound right-hander, went 35-51 with a 4.94 earned run average in 130 games for the Florida Marlins, Chicago Cubs and Colorado Rockies from 2008-2013 and spent most of 2013 at triple-A Colorado Springs, going 7-6 with a 4.58 ERA in 127 1/3 innings.
But Volstad is a former first-round pick of the Marlins, the 16th overall selection in the 2005 draft, and if he has a bounce-back year, the Angels believe he has the kind of stuff and potential to contend for a spot in the back of the rotation or a long-relief role, jobs that Hanson and Williams filled in 2013.
Volstad could be a low-cost alternative to Hanson or Williams, who are both eligible for arbitration after having subpar seasons, Hanson going 4-3 with a 5.42 earned-run average and getting demoted to triple-A in August and Williams going 9-10 with a 4.57 ERA.
Both Hanson and Williams are projected to make $3.9 million next season, but if the Angels don’t tender them contracts, they would become free agents and come off the books of a team that is about $15 million shy of the $189-million luxury tax threshold for 2014 and is looking for some financial flexibility.
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