What DO the Angels Do Now?

After a dominating 2011 season, the Angels clearly did not expect Dan Haren to struggle so much this season. As he is now set to return from a short DL stint, his health and consistency are keys to the Angels’ second half. Talking about consistency and second half keys, the club also desperately needs day-in, day-out reliability from Ervin Santana. He has never been consistent throughout his career, but they certainly expected more from him, based on his every-other-year history (2006 16-8, 2008 16-7, 2010 17-10; 2007 7-14, 2009 8-8, 2011 11-12). Approaching 30 years of age, this should have been the breakout year for him.

With top of the rotation starters such as Zack Greinke, Cole Hamels, and Ryan Dempster now on the market, and with so many contenders desperate to add a starter (or two), the Angels have to be very careful not to give away more value than they receive, especially for someone like Hamels, who almost assuredly will refuse any new contract and return to the Phillies as a free agent next season.

Should the Angels give up Peter Bourjos, THE best defensive center fielder in baseball, for a starter? For the 60-day rental of a starter? For Hamels if he cannot be signed, no; for Greinke or Dempster, definitely yes. Should they give up Kendrys Morales? Absolutely not! They may feel Morales is expendable with the impending return of Vernon Wells, but that plan is fatally flawed, in that Morales when healthy is a star, and Wells is the over-priced, past-his-prime, second-rate reincarnation of Gary Mathews, Jr. Unfortunately, with his ludicrous contract, Wells is untradable.

If the Angels believe they can catch Texas in the standings and maybe even finish with the best or second best record in the league, they must pick up a reliable starter. The Rangers have their own pitching problems and will be bidding for the same pitchers as the Angels, so how different will the next 10 weeks play out if the Angels add a Greinke, or if it is Texas that gets him or one of the other top three?

It will come down to how Jerry DiPoto and the rest of the team brass feel about mortgaging the team’s bright future to try and win today, in a league now dominated by two powerhouses in Texas and New York. They cannot deplete the supporting cast around Pujols, Trout and Trumbo that could otherwise make this team dominant over the next decade.

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