While most minor league teams are comprised of aspiring major leaguers with a few veterans sprinkled in, the Salt Lake Bees are comprised almost entirely of men who have appeared in the big leagues and are trying to work their way back. Each man has a different reason for picking the Angels. Some felt that positional scarcity offered the best path back to the majors. Others simply enjoyed the people in the organization. Others simply wanted those close to them to share in the journey. For any number of reasons, the Angels were the right organization for players looking for another chance.
Matt Young spoke with former Bees' infielder Ed Lucas about his time in Salt Lake, and Lucas had nothing but good things to say about the Angels' organization, and Salt Lake City in general. Young was simply happy to be going somewhere where he could put last season behind him. "Detroit was a debacle to say the least. There is no way to get around it," Young said of his time with the Tigers last season, when he recorded one hit and nine strikeouts in 10 at-bats.
After being released by the Tigers, Young caught on with the Memphis Redbirds in the Cardinals' organization, where he hit .442 in 13 games. He cites his time in Memphis as one of the main reasons he is in Salt Lake today. "I think that was a big part of me getting a job," he said. "I was able to go out there and to go back to being able to be myself and do the things that I've always done throughout my career. I think that's the reason I'm here today." Lucas didn't lead him astray when he recommended the Angels as a great organization to be a part of. "It's just a good place to be. The clubhouse is great, the coaching staff, from the big leagues all the way down to A-ball, guys that I met in spring training, they're all great, good people, and they know baseball. So it's nice to be here."
Chad Cordero has been through unimaginable struggles the past few years, between shoulder surgery that sidelined him for all of the 2008 season and the death of his infant daughter in 2010. When choosing the team to make his comeback with, Cordero, being a family man, knew the Angels were the right fit. "I wasn't going to pass up that opportunity to play at home," the native Californian said. "To have that chance to pay in Angels Stadium, to play at the field that I grew up going to watch guys like Chad Curtis and Chili Davis play. It's something that will hopefully happen."
For someone who had been through the challenges that Cordero has endured, sharing the experience with those close to him was the overriding factor in choosing the Angels. "To be able to do it in front of my friends and family, in front of all the people that supported me through the hard times the past couple years, it's going to mean a lot."
Mitch Stetter has thrown more than 160 innings in the majors, and might always have a chance to pitch in the big leagues with left-handed relievers always in short supply. The Angels made it immediately clear to him that he filled a need for them. "The Angels actually called right away, they were the first team to call," the imposing southpaw said. "They said they wanted to sign right away and kind of get established left-handed relief in the big leagues, and in Triple-A and Double-A, and get the depth there that they didn't have last year. It looked like a very good opportunity for me. I'm very happy to be here."
Each man has his own unique reason for choosing the Angels to continue their career. Whether for personal or professional reasons, it all came down to finding the right fit. "I'm obviously not giving up on the big league dream," Matt Young said. "But it's one of those things where you get to a good organization with quality people, and you see the kind of guys that they signed as well. It's just a good place to be."
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.