Two weeks ago, Jerry Dipoto was perfectly fine with his rotation. No need to even be looking for a starter on the trade market, said Dipoto. Yep, everything is fine. Move along, folks. Nothing to see here. Return to your homes.
Fast forward to today and OH MY GOD THE ANGELS REALLY NEED A STARTER. The sky is falling and the rotation is in great peril. Tyler Skaggs is out until 2016. C.J. Wilson might be irreparably broken. The clock could strike midnight on Matt Shoemaker at any moment. Hector Santiago is Hector Santiago and no one knows when the bottom might fall out on him again. The team is perilously close to having to head into the final stretch of the season with Wade LeBlanc or Randy Wolf prominently involved.
That simply won’t do. Alas, Jerry Dipoto waited until after the non-waiver deadline to suddenly get concerned about the obviously thin rotation. That doesn’t leave him with a lot of options, but he isn’t totally without recourse. All he has to do is find a starting pitcher that is an obvious upgrade over Shoemaker and Santiago, can get to the Angels on waivers and be had without giving up a top prospects because, you know, the Angels don’t have any of those.
No problem, right? Well, the Halos should at least give it a try before things get truly dire. The pickings will be slim but there are a few arms that they could target.
*Editor’s Note: it isn’t entirely clear who has and hasn’t cleared waivers already, so please keep in mind that some of these players might have already been pulled back and are thus not eligible to be traded
Kyle Kendrick - If the Angels just want a warm body, Kendrick could be their man. I mean, he barely has a pulse as Kendrick has been one of the worst pitchers in baseball the last two years, but he should be someone cheap they can stash as a long man in the bullpen in the event that someone gets hurt. He has at least had some recent success in the majors which is more than Wolf and LeBlanc can claim.
Jorge De La Rosa - A savvy veteran rental might be just what the Angels need and De La Rosa fits that description to a tee. He isn’t going to be difference maker, but he is someone who has found success while pitching in Colorado, so he could really take off if he were freed from that baseball hell. It almost makes too much sense. Too bad Rockies management never makes sense and has taken a staunch stance against trading their “good guy” veterans. If the Rockies suddenly come to their senses (don’t hold your breath), De La Rosa would be the kind of reliable arm the Angels should be highly interested in.
Jon Niese - Niese has actually already cleared waivers, which is great. It is also shocking because Niese has a very team-friendly contract. That is actually a big problem for the Angels because it means that the Mets aren’t going to be motivated to get out from under his contract and want good prospects for Niese instead. The nerve of those Mets! That’s pretty much the exact kind of package the Angels can’t offer.
Scott Feldman - Feldman has a worse ERA than Santiago or Shoemaker, but he has an actual track record of consistent performance. His numbers certainly won’t be hurt by escaping Houston and with $18 million owed to him after this season, he could get through waivers. That $18 million probably isn’t enough of a problem for the Astros though. They are barely paying anyone, so they aren’t going to scrap Feldman just to save a few bucks. They want prospects. Good prospects. The Halos might be able to meet their price, but that isn’t really the type of trade they are looking to make at this point.
Bartolo Colon - Colon is having a somewhat down year for the Mets, but he’s is getting FIP’d a little bit. What should really be intriguing about Colon is that he has the recent track record of success in the AL West. There is also the benefit of having him under contract for 2015, so the Angels could lean on him until Tyler Skaggs gets healthy. Of course, there are complications. The Mets may not want to move him if they have designs on contending next year, but they may also want to clear his contract off the books. Then there is the past PED usage, which might be a non-starter in Anaheim, especially since only a few years ago C.J. Wilson specifically called out Colon as a cheater. The Angels have really focused on chemistry this year, so adding Colon might be something they’d rather avoid. Or maybe he will just shake his belly and all will be forgotten. It could go either way.
Mat Latos - Latos’ name has been bandied about as a target in August since there is a general assumption that the Reds will have to deal one of their starters before next season. Everyone is assuming that Latos will be the odd man out. The problem is that the Reds are not fully out of the playoff hunt. They just keep hanging on the fringe of the Wild Card race, making it hard for them to justify moving Latos. Still, they are one four-game losing streak from being out of contention. Then the second issue of actually getting Latos to Anaheim without one of the teams with a worse record claiming him first. In other words, this isn’t going to happen.
Ian Kennedy - Kennedy would be perfect for the Angels. Dipoto has tried twice to get him, so he obviously likes him. The problem is that Dipoto has tried twice to get him and failed. Maybe the third time would be the charm, but it came out quite clearly during the Huston Street negotiations that the Angels and Padres mutually decided that they were not a match for each other when it comes to Ian Kennedy.