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What happens to the Angels rotation now?

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Going into 2016, most were more concerned about our offense than our pitching. Once upon a time, we 8 had capable starters on our roster, and now there are only 3.

Lance Iversen-USA TODAY Sports

Garrett Richards going down with a torn UCL is just the latest blow to a very fragile rotation.  To many, that rotation is now pretty much shattered.  Even the official Angels depth chart lists only 4 pitchers, and one of them is Richards.

So that leaves us with Weaver, Santiago, and Tropeano?  You can't pitch with 3 starters - everyone knows that.  What happened to all 8 pitchers?  Let's take a look:

  1. Garrett Richards - likely having TJ surgery (probably out through end of 2017)
  2. Andrew Heaney - torn UCL (trying to rehab it - may be out for season)  (unconfirmed)
  3. Hector Santiago - This is our new Ace!
  4. Jered Weaver - let's hope he can hold his 82MPH fastball together all year
  5. Nick Tropeano - there is no doubt this rookie is here to stay all season now
  6. CJ Wilson - Might come back in late June?
  7. Matt Shoemaker - He and his 9+ ERA were recently sent down to the minors.
  8. Tyler Skaggs - recently shut down from starts in AAA with biceps tendonitis
Outside of Shoemaker, who few fans are ready to see get called back up, the nearest help we have doesn't come for at least 3-4 weeks, and more likely 6+ weeks.  Weven with a Shoemaker call up, the pitching staff would sit at 4.  Skaggs still needs a few more starts in AAA before he gets called up.  I guess the good news is that Skaggs is in no danger of reaching his post TJ-surgery pitch limit this year, and Weaver and his 82MPH fastball are probably not going to had TJ surgery any time soon.  Silver linings right?

Currently, without Richards or Heaney (and including Shoemaker), Angels starting pitchers have a 5.08ERA and 1.56WHIP.  If you take out Shoemaker (who is almost certainly going to get called back up), you still have a combined starter ERA of 4.14 and a 1.48WHIP.

Yes my friends, things have gotten bad.  Rumor has it the rally monkey has taken it really hard:

What other options to the Angels have?

Minor league depth

This should give people a good laugh. Most teams, when they have trouble like this, look to their farm system.  Okay fine.  Let's do that:
  • Nate Smith - he's been pitching great in AAA this year, but didn't have a great spring.  Hopefully he's found his stuff, because a call up for him almost seems like a done deal now.
  • Kyle Kendrick - another righty that is doing "ok" in Salt Lake.  He's given up 12ER in 18.2 innings, but you know, veteran grit and all that so with a cheap owner (do we have one of those), he may get the call up as well
  • Zach Nuding, Yunesky Maya, and Chris Jones - I wouldn't count on help from them any time soon.  They have given up 57ER in 61IP with 28 walks.
If you want to reach down into AA, there are a couple guys there that might work (Alex Blackford, Kyle McGowin), but might is a big word and that probably won't happen.

Trade

The problem with a trade is that we don't have a very deep farm system that would be appealing to most teams.  Plus, the trade deadline isn't until Aug 1, and most teams aren't going to make trades in May (though it could happen).  The trade route is not going to help the Angels unless you think trading Mike Trout is the answer.

Free Agents

These cost money.  Arte is cheap.  The pickins are slim, and possibly unlikely unless Arte pulls his head of his ass.
  • Tim Lincecum is throwing today, and the Angels better have someone there.  He's got potential.  At the very least he would at least be better than Shoemaker, right?
  • Kyle Lohse is also throwing for teams today.  Lohse is 37 and has a career ERA of 4.33.  His best years are probably behind him and 2015 did him no favors.  But maybe if the price is right?
  • John Danks was released by the White Sox, but his season hasn't been much better than Shoemaker.  Do we need another one of those?
  • Tommy Milone has never been that graeat ofa pitcher, but he IS a lefty and the Twin don't want him no more.
  • Mark Buehrle, Aaron Harang, and Scott Baker are all still free agents.
The ONLY option the Angels have in the immediate future without a trade or free agent signing is to call up two from AAA.  We only have 3 pitchers on our MLB roster right now and that is a problem.  Captain obvious huh?

Some potential diamond in the rough free agents might be had in the list above if Arte is willing to spend some money.  In addition, given the fact that Heaney and Richards may be out until the end of next season and Weaver and Richards may not re-sign, you can bet Billy Eppler is also looking toward 2017 and beyond as he builds the pitching staff back up for 2016.

Wilson and Skaggs - where are you??? Your return can't come soon enough!

And top Eppler:  Sorry for your lack of sleep this weekend.  Being a GM is fun huh?