The Angels made one enormous splash this winter, a shocking move that took most of the baseball world by surprise, but that's not the move that has General Manager Jerry Dipoto most excited about the team's chances of taking the next step to get back to the postseason though.
While Dipoto was thrilled to land superstar Josh Hamilton, the five additions to the pitching staff, specifically the two to the bullpen, are where the difference could lie for the 2013 Angels as pitchers and catchers report for spring training today.
"The depth of the bullpen is the area I believe of the most significant improvement," Dipoto said. "It was an area of weakness for us last year. We tried to make adjustments. That's an area I feel we got a lot better."
How much better? That depends on Ryan Madson, which means he's the single most important player to watch in Arizona.
A native of Moreno Valley who grew up as an Angels fan, Madson came home to revive his career after missing the 2012 season because of Tommy John surgery. Madson's surgery was in April, and the normal rehab time is 12 months, so it'll be close to see if he can be ready for opening day.
"We have a conservative game plan that will get him out against live hitters in the middle of March, which will allow us to assess if he can start opening day or be a late arrival," Dipoto said. "We don't have a hard date. We are perfectly satisfied with where he is."
Improved bullpen huge key to Angels hopes
Orange County Register | Feb 11