With the signing of outfielder Josh Hamilton, relievers Sean Burnett and Ryan Madson and Starting Pitcher Joe Blanton, and the trade for starting pitchers Tommy Hanson and Jason Vargas, do the Angels have enough, not just to take the American League West but to win the World Series?
Lets take a closer look at the starting pitching talent that the Angels added this off season...
With #2 starter Dan Haren taking his innings and strikeouts to Washington (Non-Tendered Free Agent) and #4 starter Ervin Santana traded to Kansas City for a minor league reliever, the Angels pitching staff was in need of a face lift. To replace Haren and Santana, the Angels traded for talented but often injured Braves starter Tommy Hanson and signed former Philly and Dodger Joe Blanton. Lets dive into the 3 year averages for these 4 pitchers.
AGE IP ERA WHIP K's W GS
Ervin Santana 30 178 4.08 1.263 160 12 32
Dan Haren 32 216 3.74 1.182 183 13 33
197 3.91 1.222 171 12 32
AGE IP ERA WHIP K's W GS
Joe Blanton 31 136 4.76 1.346 111 6 22
Tommy Hanson 26 169 3.78 1.265 158 11 29
152 4.27 1.305 134.5 8.5 25.5
So looking at the comparisons above, the numbers that stand out to me are the loss of innings pitched which go hand in hand with the number of games started.
Now, the Angels did add another starter via a trade with the Mariners that brought them starting pitcher Jason Vargas who has been a solid #2 starter for the Mariners over the past few seasons, but we will talk about him in a minute.
Back to the above 4 starters. Ervin Santana is coming off of a season that saw his ERA skyrocket as he just could not get on track all season. Haren had some back issues, and though he ended the season on a good note he was due $13 million for 2013 and the Angels just decided to buy out his contract. I am ok with the decision to let these two aging pitchers go and I like the Tommy Hanson trade.
A once highly touted prospect for the Braves, came up to the big leagues and showed everyone why he was so coveted going 11-4 with a 2.89 ERA. But shoulder problems have limited him the last few years. He is only 26 and hopefully he can bounce back. I would be ok with Hanson pitching to his 3 year average ERA and WHIP if he can get his innings up to 180.
Joe Blanton on the other hand has not shown me anything in his 9 year career. He has a lifetime 4.37 ERA and ended last season with a 4.71 ERA and an even worse 4.99 ERA after his late season trade to the Dodgers.
I mentioned above that the Angels acquired Jason Vargas from the Mariners. Vargas, the #2 starter for the Mariners was 14-11 with a 3.85 ERA last season for the last place Mariners. Vargas is a good innings eater as he averaged over 200+ innings over the last 3 years. My biggest concern with this acquisition is his home and away splits. In spacious Safeco Field, Vargas had a 2.74 ERA, but on the road he had an abysmal 4.78 ERA. Meaning we should expect something closer to 4.50 for 2013.
The starting pitching staff is not deep. Staff ace, Jared Weaver's strikeouts were down last season, a small cause for concern, CJ Wilson is coming off of off season elbow surgery (cleanup), Hanson, Vargas, and Blanton with crafty veteran Jerome Williams down in the bullpen for long relief and 2nd year youngster Garrett Richards.
This is where I see Kyle Lohse coming in and being the bigger boost that this pitching staff needs. Yes, he is represented by Scott Boris. Yes, he is 34, and yes he is looking for top dollar on no less than a 3 year contract. Give it to him! Hand him a check for Anibal Sanchez money ($16mil/season) and get the stadium ready for the World Series. The last 2 seasons Lohse has averaged 15 wins, 3.125 ERA and big game experience.
The Angels have locked up Jared Weaver, CJ Wilson, Albert Pujols, Josh Hamilton, Mike Trout (arbitration years), and a bullpen full of fireballers, what is 3 more years for a guy that can be a part of the cog that keeps this team in contention for AT LEAST the next 3 years? Open the wallet one more time this year Artie and bring Kyle and the championship home in 2013.