Angels release Speier

Justin Speier, the Angels’ veteran right-handed reliever, has been handed his unconditional release to make room on the 25-man roster for Trevor Bell, the 22-year-old right-hander who makes his Major League debut on Wednesday against the Rays.

Speier, signed to a free agent contract with the Angels after the 2006 season, was 4-2 with a 5.18 ERA this season in 41 appearances. He pitched 40 innings, yielding 44 hits and 15 walks while striking out 39 batters. Opponents had a .277 batting average against him.

“It probably caught him off guard,” Angels general manager Tony Reagins said. “It’s emotional. There was nothing but professionalism in the way he took it on short notice. He has sincere passion for this organization, and the feelings are mutual.

“You always hope a player continues his career and gets an opportunity. We know he wants to continue to pitch. He’s going to take a breather.”

Speier, 35, is the son of long-time Major League shortstop Chris Speier, now a coach on manager Dusty Baker’s staff in Cincinnati.

Speier began his Major League career in 1998 after he was taken in the 55th round of the 1995 First-Year Player Draft by the Cubs. He pitched for the Marlins, Braves, Indians, Rockies and Blue Jays before joining the Angels.

He’s 35-33 in his career in 613 Major League appearances. 

“We felt from a baseball standpoint this decision at this time was the right decision to make,” Reagins said. “It’s something we’ve talked about for several days. It’s always a difficult decision when you have to go this route.

“From a baseball standpoint, it was something we felt that had to be done to allow us to do some other things.”

Bell gives the Angels two rookie starting pitchers, joining Sean O’Sullivan, with Joe Saunders on the disabled list. Middle relievers Matt Palmer and Shane Loux also are candidates to join the rotation, having had some success in that role. 


  1. washman123

    Why is it that when the Angels make a move to what they
    call somthing that had to be done its kept under rapps.
    I watched the pre game show and nothing was said about
    Spier being let go, we need PITCHING ! and now we have
    a double A pitcher starting tomarrows game. do we have
    the dumbest front office on the planet why couldn’t we
    have put him in a trade deal or put him on waivers so
    another team might pick him up and pay the rest of his
    salary. as it is now we will have to pay the rest. how
    dumb is Reagans Artie must have a bank valt full of money
    to be able to do the some of the most rediculus moves
    in recent Angel history. I will not spend another dime
    on Angel gear or buy another ticket to a game as long
    as they continue to show this complete ineptitude
    on how to run a Franchise as good as this one in to the ground.

  2. jawnn

    Washman- The move had to be made. Have you been watching the angels as I have? The young guns are coming through… Spier was expendable.
    Reagan believes in the future… As I do and I for one am proud they did not give up the future for 1.5 years of a Halladay, these prospects have more of a combined future than the Halladay.
    Oh ye have a lil faith… We’ll get another title soon enough!!!

  3. washman123

    Case in point who spends 140 million dollars for two center
    fielders , one in which you plan to use as back up, 10 mill
    for a guy to play 1 day week maybe if that. you pick up
    the option on Vladdy another 15 mill for a guy that has
    spent most of the time on the DL in wich you could see
    last year might be a possibiltiy for this season, as we have seen that is what has happend. thank god K mo has been
    fantastic, Abrau has been the same. our offense has been off the charts. Ayebar has been crazy good. but this pitching
    staff is not going to get it done. I hope I am wrong!!!!

  4. washman123

    Jawnn – my faith is dwindling. I did not hold my breath when
    the trade dealine came and whent, and nothing was done.
    for years the Angels have put these high expectations on
    there minor leaugers thet never seem to work out. if
    Brandon Wood, Shawn Rodrigez, and some of the other
    so called untouchables why are they not wearing the big
    leauge uni .our bench is the worst in baseball Quinlan, willits, Izzy. some bench.

  5. baseballangels

    I belive the revamp of pitching staff is necessary, and I have no problem with the fact that they remove Speir for young prospects. The problem is how you do it. I think it would probably be a better move if If they could put Speir on wavier to see if they can reach a deal with another team and have that team pay a portion of Speir’s salary or, even better, get some young prospects in return (Tho the chance might be very slim). Even a small portion would help especially during the economic downturn. If Bell does not perform up to their expection this case, the Angeles not only lost a veteran pitcher but also a huge chunk of Money. I my opinion, this is a weak move based on the risk and financial management perspectives.

    However, as a long-time Angels Fan, I hope they will be doing well all the way year after year.


  6. terryvan

    What you don’t realize is that Spier, most likely, did get put through waivers. At this time of the year most teams put just about everybody on their roster through waivers so they can determine the interest in a player. They can always pull the waiver back and not be obligated to let them go. Case in point the Blue Jay deal was kind of stupid when they put Rios through and then just let him go for nothing to the White Sox. They could have pulled him back and then negotiated with the Sox. Spier was expendable. He wasn’t being used much and who else were we going to knock off of the 40 man roster to get Bell on it?

  7. ewjazzed

    I’m a big baseball fan here and have been since the days of Mantle and Marris. The business of the game has changed over those years and unfortunately things like the loss of Speier always comes as a tragic loss to the hometown fan. I too am guilty of that. I’ve enjoyed watching Justin pitch not only with the Angels, but Toronto, Braves and the Indians. So yes I am a big Justin fan and not just because of watching his Dad play. I was excited upon hearing he was joining the Angels staff. However from a business standpoint, this was unfortunately the wisest of ways to pursue the targeted goals of our Angels. Like it or not. Offensively this team is HOT. Defensively, yes as good as it is, there are some weak spots…and yes it was the pitching, particularly starting pitching with 2 on the DL. The question is do you go out and put your young talent which represent the future of the franchise on the line for someone? Or do you make a move such as this. Granted we’ve got a backup CF in Gary Matthews, Jr., but what team has a need of a CF at his rate who can provide a major pitcher? Look at the realities here and stop thinking with a sense of loss. We could be gaining one terrific pitcher in Trevor Bell. Let’s face it in his 1st start in AAA he threw a 1-hitter. He’s got support from a longtime friend on the team and a coaching staff that is the envy of other major league teams. Just chill and wait to see the results…long term as well as short term. Remember a guy named Nick…he didn’t fare too well initially, but came back blazing!!! For Justin, I wish him the best because I will be following his career. Stay healthy and keep that personality strong! In time I’m sure Trevor will meet him and shake his hand saying thanks for the opportunity. That’s sportsmanship!!!


    Hey, I’m a season ticket holder for a long time here. They should have kept Speier for the playoffs! If we get there!! Also, why eat the huge contract money? Do you really think that we’ll win a game in the playoffs against the Yankees, Red Sox or White Sox with a bullpen of Loux, Jepsen, Oliver, Arredondo, Bulger, Fuentes and Thompson? I don’t think so!!! Looks like spring training to me!! FYI, Angel’s sales staff!! Stop asking us for more money every year, aka Mark Teixeira!! You didn’t bring in a big name like we paid for!! Also, were sick of paying big bucks, like in my case 7,000 plus a year for 1 playoff game.. Not this year!!!

  9. angelsgirl012

    He’s a heck of a guy though.. I wished the best for him and continue to do so. You could tell he was well loved around the clubhouse, he’s just a genial person. Best of luck to Speier!

  10. baseballangels

    Maybe it is a better idea to remove Loux instead of Speir. Loux is way less expensive, and with 7 earned runs in just 1.2 innings in O’s game, I don’t think he can be of any help in our bullpen!

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