First and foremost, the Los Angeles Angels have signed ex-Tiger Al Alburquerque to a one-year, $1.1 million dollar deal. It is a Major League contract, so he will have a chance to compete for a spot in the Angels bullpen. After the trade that sent Trevor Gott to the Nationals, the Angels were in desperate need of an MLB-caliber right-handed pitcher. Alburquerque is the perfect fit, as he is currently arbitration-eligible until 2018, so depending on his performance, the Angels will have an opportunity to bring him back for another year.
From 2013-2015, Alburquerque has compiled a 3.74 ERA and an average of 67 strikeouts per year. He will definitely benefit from a change of scenery in Anaheim, and will be a good complimentary arm Mike Scioscia can deploy in any situation.
In one of his most memorable moments in the 2012 ALDS against Oakland, Alburquerque received a soft grounder and, before throwing it to first base, kissed the ball. Yeah. I repeat, he gave it a big ol’ smooch. As a result, some Oakland players felt that they were disrespected, but according to then-catcher Alex Avila, it’s just part of his style.
“He’s going to pitch his game and do whatever he can to get the outs. He’s got great stuff, so he’s got tremendous confidence. You’re going to see crazy things on the mound when he’s out there.”
Hopefully Alburquerque can bring this type of intensity to his new club, except without the kissing. Also joining Alburquerque in the MLB bullpen will be LHP Bobby LaFromboise, an out-of-options waiver claim from the Pirates.
Which brings me to my next point…
Alburquerque. LaFramboise. These two names of the Angels bullpen have made journalists frantically press the “Spell Check” button. So it got me thinking. What are other obscure last names? Specifically, which pitchers give journalists the most dread? Here is my list, and if you have any additional suggestions, make sure to comment!
10. C.J. Riefenhauser, BAL
9. Bobby LaFromboise, LAA
8. Al Alburquerque, LAA
7. Mike Foltynewicz ATL
6. Miguel Socolovich, STL
5. Noah Syndergaard, NYM
4. Evan Rutckyj, ATL
3. Jeff Samardzija, SF
The Shark will make his new home in San Francisco after a five-year, $90 million dollar contract agreement. He used to play football at Notre Dame, and can befuddle the best of them with his movement, and his last name. Just seeing the letters across his back will give you headache. It’s nonsensical.
2. Asher Wojciechowski, HOU
Don’t even try. Don’t. He started the 2015 season in the starting rotation, and then has bounced back and forth between the Majors and Triple-A. Hopefully he makes his mark in the majors, for the lone reason of hearing his name pronounced by the play-by-play broadcasters.
1. Marc Rzepczynski, OAK
After my independent attempt to search his name on Google, my search query was identifiable because of the lack of accuracy in my spelling. I would say it is nearly impossible to spell his name right on your first try. It has 11 letters, and two Z’s! That’s incredible. His teammates nicknamed him “Scrabble”, because his name looks like random Scrabble tiles glued together to make one word.
Now if only the baseball season could come faster, so I could start reporting on more substantial things.