It’s both fun and funny to look at the progression of Angels history. Mostly sad, but if you squint and pretend it is another team, and not the team that you so desperately love, it becomes a little more palatable. This is a team that always needs the extra outfielder, or perhaps is just one infielder short, and they always need better starting pitching.
It starts in 2014, when the Angels decided to bring in Raúl Ibañez to play left field. It was hilarious, great, and an unmitigated disaster. Pretty much as soon he started, fans were calling for him to be DFA’d. He ended up playing in 57 games that year, getting 190 PA before the Angels decided it was too much. His slash line? .157/.258/.265. His OPS+ was 52.
Then we had Matt Joyce in 2015, who, in addition to crashing into Trout in the outfield, had a maddeningly good 2016 season after the Angels released him. He looked hopeless at the plate and still played 93 games in 2015. His slash line? .174/.272/.292. His OPS+ was 60.
Heck, back then we were even complaining about a BACKUP infielder getting playing time. Taylor Featherston, who looked pretty bad with a bat. His slash line? .162/.212/.247 in 169 PA. His OPS+ was 30.
Danny Espinosa was brought in to shore up the second base position. He had a good glove, but he went homer or bust at the plate, and more often than not, it was a bust. He lasted 77 games and 254 PA. His slash line? .162/.237/.276. His OPS+ was 39.
We equate them all in our heads because they were, generally speaking, just black holes in the lineup. Whenever they were at the plate, we would groan. It was an automatic out.
Peter Bourjos? His OPS+ was -40.
Zack Cozart? His OPS+ is -12.
Back when Jered Weaver was being un-Jered Weaver-like and the Angels were looking for starters, they traded for Ricky Nolasco.
On Halos Heaven, the trade was met with much confusion, and there was a lot of bargaining going on. On Twinkie Town, they were rejoicing! They couldn’t believe that anyone had taken Nolasco off their hands. Nolasco actually finished off 2016 with a 3.21 ERA over 73 innings, and going into 2017, he anchored the ToD rotation (he started Opening Day).
Here are some of the articles and comments that Halos Heaven wrote about Nolasco that year.
Nolasco plodded that year to a 4.92 ERA. His ERA+ was 86. He threw 181 innings in 33 starters, an average of just under 5.5 innings per start.
We bemoaned the Nolasco starts, just as we are doing right now. For comparison?
Trevor Cahill currently has a 6.43 ERA. His ERA+ is 69. He is averaging 4.9 innings per start.
Matt Harvey currently has a 7.50 ERA. His ERA+ is 59. He is averaging 4.8 innings per start.
Tyler Skaggs currently has a 5.01 ERA. His ERA+ is 88. He is averaging 5.1 innings per start.
We need Ricky Nolasco. He might be our only hope.