With apologies to Trevor Bell and Sean O’Sullivan, the Angels clearly need to keep digging for another starting pitcher to add to the mix. Even though the trade deadline has passed, acquisitions can still happen via the waiver system but it won’t be easy, especially since the Rangers have the ability to put in a claim on any player they think the Angels might want, thus blocking the Halos from even getting to discuss a deal. Still, the Angels have the deep pockets to chase down pitchers that other teams will be afraid to claim for fear of another Alexis Rios situation where they end up eating the entirety of a bad contract. So let’s take a quick glance around the league at some starting pitchers that the Angels still have a legitimate chance of acquiring:
- Aaron Harang: Harang’s hefty contract ($14+ million owed next season) has already scared away just about everyone and he has thus cleared waivers already, making him available for trade to any team at anytime, which makes him an attractive option if only because it is so much easier to work a deal. His power arm would play well in the American League, in theory, but certainly doesn’t explain why he is having his second straight subpar season in the National League. There is no doubt that the Angels would take a chance on him if they could get the Reds to eat a large portion of his salary, but that may not be likely given Cincy’s budgetary constraints.
- Bronson Arroyo: Like Harang, Arroyo has already cleared waivers because he is owed almost as much money as Harang and is even worse. He would be much cheaper for the Angels to acquire though if they were truly desperate.
- Justin Duchscherer: This guy no doubt would’ve been dealt at the trade deadline had he not been on the disabled list all season long. Duchscherer was fantastic last season, but has missed the entire season due to elbow surgery. He should make his season debut soon, just in time for Billy Beane to showcase him and pick up a few prospects in return for this impending free agent. If he gets a clean bill of health, the Angels should jump all over Duch since he has a strong track record of success in the AL West and can also perform well out of the bullpen if need be.
- Gil Meche: Fresh off the DL in the middle of a disappointing season, Meche should sail right through waivers thanks to him being right in the middle of a five-year $55 million contract that the Royals would probably love to dump on some other club. However, Meche was actually pretty good the previous two seasons and the Angels’ lone shot at acquiring a major rotation upgrade.
- Zach Duke: The Pirates seem to be selling off every single one of their players, so why not Zach Duke as well? He is about to hit arbitration for the first time, so the frugal Pirates might rather trade him now than have to deal with paying him whatever arbitration reward he is due following an All-Star season. He’ll be tough to sneak through waivers since he is young and relatively cheap, but if he makes it to the Angels they should pounce immediately.
Clearly the potential pickings are slim for the Angels, so there won’t be any tirade on my end if Tony Reagins can’t swing a deal this time. But there is always a chance some high end talent magically slips through waivers, so keep a close eye on the waiver wire over the next few days as anyone who has not yet been placed on waivers should be doing so soon.