This past weekend, the Los Angeles Angels received a bit of bad news, as Ervin Santana was diagnosed with a sprained ligament in his throwing elbow and will be forced to open the season on the disabled list.
Santana, who just signed a four-year, $30-million extension earlier this winter, was projected as the Halos’ number-two starter. However, the injury is expected to sideline him until mid-May.
With Santana and Kelvim Escobar both on the DL to start the season, one things is now clear. The Angels must make a move.
With two of their starters sidelined, young and inexperienced right-handers Dustin Moseley and Nick Adenhart will be taking the hill for the Halos. And to be quite frank, I don’t trust either of these guys. In 61 major league appearances and over 150 innings, Moseley has not impressed too many people. His ERA of 5.52 is pretty high and his WHIP of 1.55 doesn’t exactly blow the doors off either.
But while Moseley has had his fair share of struggles, his counterpart Nick Adenhart hasn’t faired much better either. Despite all that hype that he has garnered as a pitching prospect, Adenhart has been underwhelming at best during his short stint in the majors. Last season, he posted an astronomically high ERA of 9.00 and WHIP of 2.58 in just three big league starts. During those appearances, he averaged just four innings an outing. While it would be unfair to condemn a player as a result of just three starts, it would be equally unfair to label him a future star without him proving anything at the major league level.
But what should the Angels do now? There seems to be two schools of thought in the minds of most of my fellow Angel fans. One, is to pursue a big name pitcher such as Jake Peavy in a trade.
This offseason, the Padres clearly had Peavy on the trading block, and he nearly ended up a member of the Chicago Cubs. So it wouldn’t be inconceivable that San Diego would be willing to trade him now. However, if the Angels were to acquire Peavy, than it would likely cost them several of their top prospects. A few months ago, MLB.com’s Lyle Spencer hinted that it would take at a package of at least Brandon Wood, Nick Adenhart and Kevin Jepsen, to acquire Peavy. With the conservative philosophy of the Angels’ front office, I don’t see them making that big of a trade just to replace a pitcher, who will miss about a month or two.
The other idea, which I see as far more likely, is the team signing a veteran pitcher to a one-year, incentive-laden contract. Believe it or not, there are still some quality pitchers left on the market. Two of the best available free agents available are veteran right-handers Pedro Martinez and former Angel Paul Byrd.
To be honest, I’m a little hesitant to sign Byrd, who posted a rather high 4.60 ERA last season. Would he really be much better than Moseley or Adenhart? I’m not so sure.
However, I am quite intrigued by the idea of signing former Boston Red Sox and New York Met Pedro Martinez, who recently threw three shutout innings for the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic on Saturday. The past three seasons in New York have been a struggle for Martinez, as he has battled through numerous injuries. But, when healthy, there is no question, that Pedro is one of baseball’s better pitchers. Just a few years back in 2005, he posted an impressive 15 win season with the Mets, while also recording an impressive 2.82 ERA. I don’t think it would be a stretch to suggest that if healthy, Pedro could certainly revert back to his pristine 2004 or 2005 forms in some capacity.
Even if Santana and Escobar return to the rotation, creating a logjam of six pitchers, it’s possible that Pedro could be used as a relief pitcher. Currently, the Dominican Republic National team is using him out of the bullpen so it wouldn’t be outlandish to suggest that he could be used in a similar capacity with the Angels.
With baseball currently in the midst of a bear market, the Angels could be getting themselves a real bargain and much needed pitching help for April by signing Pedro to a one year deal.
Do it Arte!