I have come to the conlusion that the Angels depth is a little too thin right now to swing a blockbuster trade for someone like Halladay, and it is my opinion that we can win it all without him anyway. So, I've been pouring over the list of FA pitchers to see if there are any diamonds in the rough that could keep the Angels competitive with the other perrenial post-season teams in the event of a Lackey departure.
Only one man really seems to stand out, and that is Jason Marquis. Some facts: He has pitched fewer than 190 innings only once in the past 6 seasons (167 in '08). He has had no significant injuries. He just turned 31 in August, making him only 2 months and 2 days older than Lackey. Since giving up a career high 35 HRs in '06, he has gotten his HRs-allowed down to 15 in the last two seasons, and last year was in the launching pad of Coor's Field. His '09 WHIP was a career low 1.380 as a full time starter. That's a better '09 WHIP than Saunders, Santana, and Kazmir. His lefty/righty splits are about even. Money wise, he earned under $10 mil last year. He should get a raise, but he'll cost far less than the $16/yr or whatever it is that Lackey wants.
All of the above, plus the fact that there are zero other good, young, healthy, free agent, starting pitchers, makes me believe that Tony Reagins needs to be at Marquis' neighborhood Del Taco at the same moment that Lackey is signing papers with the Spanks or Sux. (Joel Piniero had a good '09, but he's due for his next injury.) Marquis may not be a bonified ace, but the facts are we just can't get an ace this year without trading away the farm. However, if Lackey makes room for him, I believe that Weaver will step into the role of staff ace. And Marquis is as quality a #2 starter as Saunders, Santana, or Kazmir. This will allow us to continue to use guys like O'Sullivan, Palmer, and Bell in more strategic ways, and will let them develop in their proper timing, rather than relying on one of them to hold down the 5th spot. Plus, we can give the money we save to Figgy, Oliver, Vlad...
Please weigh in.