If you are planning a trip to Salt Lake City and are a looking for a good place to eat, one could do better than to consult a travel guide. Just ask Brandon Wood. For four of the past five seasons, Wood spent significant time in Triple-A Salt Lake City as the parent-club Los Angeles Angels tried to decide what exactly to do with him.
Sure Wood hit a lot of home runs -- a combined 160 in seven minor league seasons -- but there was simply no place to play him. Wood didn't draw too many raves as a shortstop, so the team moved him to third base in 2007. Yet the Angels had Chone Figgins at third base, so Wood was stuck in Salt Lake.
Wood's name popped up each year in trade talks, but the Angels never pulled the trigger on any major moves, so Wood stayed in Salt Lake.
It's not as if Wood didn't get his chance in the majors, though. Wood was called up to Los Angeles each of the past three seasons, but he never had much success. He posted just a .192/.222/.313 line in 86 games, which got him sent back to Salt Lake.
But this year, the Angels, and Wood for that matter, see a different situation. First, and most importantly, Wood was given the chance to legitimately earn a starting job this spring now that Figgins is with Seattle. And Wood has taken advantage of that opportunity.
Recently, Angels manager Mike Scioscia named Wood the Angels' starting third baseman. The Angels are optimistic that Wood can provide some of the home run power the team lost when Vladimir Guerrero signed with Texas.
At this point, it may be incorrect to call the 25-year-old Wood a prospect. He's simply a major leaguer now trying to avoid another trip to Salt Lake City.
Wood hopes to stick around long enough to be able to offer some restaurant options in Anaheim.
Jorge Arangure Jr. is a senior writer for ESPN The Magazine.