The hot stove is beginning to warm as the GM Meetings are underway and rumors are getting tossed around. The team you won’t be hearing a lot about is the Los Angeles Angels. GM Jerry Dipoto took care of business before he even showed up at the meetings, getting a backend rotation arm in Nick Tropeano and left-handed reliever Cesar Ramos. That is pretty much all that needs to be done to a team bringing back every key piece of its 98-win team from a year ago, in my opinion.
You may have heard Jeff Passan, of Yahoo! Sports mention that the Angels are going over the luxury tax and are looking into pitchers like Max Scherzer. They may be looking, but I don’t see them buying. They have all the pitching depth they need and the one name that will be back in 2015 is Garrett Richards. He is the difference maker in a playoff series. Mike Scioscia and his staff didn’t have him to go to and had to go to a struggling C.J. Wilson who made his season even worse with his playoff start.
Richards found himself in 2014, making 26 starts with a 2.61 ERA. If he didn’t go down with an injury in late August the Angels possibly could have beaten the Royals in the divisional series. He lengthens the rotation and gives Scioscia another option to go too. Without him you saw the Angels struggle in the playoffs and rightfully so, Richards was arguably the best pitcher the Halos had in 2014.
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So, no I don’t believe that the Angels need to break the bank on pitching. It will be hard to replicate his 2014 season, but I don’t see him dropping off the earth and not being able to throw strikes. He will be just fine once he is completely healthy and back on a mound. I don’t see the Angels rushing him back because of guys like Cory Rasmus and Hector Santiago that can hold down the fort until Richards is 100 percent ready to go.
In 2015, the Angels rotation is going to look something like this. Jered Weaver, Garrett Richards, Matt Shoemaker, C.J. Wilson and either Rasmus, Santiago or Nick Tropeano. If you ask me that is a good staff, with an even better bullpen. The Baltimore Orioles won the American League East with a lackluster starting rotation and shutdown bullpen. The names the Angels have in the bullpen will be more than good enough to finish games. C.J. Wilson should have a bounce back season, Jered Weaver will throw close to 200 innings, and Matt Shoemaker will have a good year, but don’t expect a repeat of 2014. Even with Shoemaker and Richards expecting a regression, the bullpen got better and that is what will matter.
The Angels have enough depth in the rotation and there is no need to go after any high profile arm. In doing so the Angels will be over the luxury tax and that is something that the Angels have talked about not doing. Richards will add the depth the Halos need come playoff time in 2015. He will be the difference maker.