10 Reasons Why the Angels Didn't Need a Trade
I still think that the Angels will come to regret their failure to accomplish anything at the trade deadline, but after a weekend of a number of readers and tweeps talking me off the ledge, I am softening my stance just a tiny bit. To aid in that effort, let us now engage in a little cognitive dissonance to see if I can't fully convince myself to believe that Tony Reagins didn't drop the ball. So, here are ten reasons why the Halos will be just fine without making a trade:
- Kevin Jepsen's Slider of Death. Since mistakenly discovering a killer slide a few weeks ago, Jepsen has been almost unhittable. He's striking out over a batter an inning and has proven effective in recent set-up opportunities. Most people think the Angels badly need a right-handed power arm in the pen, but they might already have it in Jepsen.
- Arredondo could be back. Dondo could be like Jepsen the Sequel. Sent down for ineffectiveness, Jose could be a big part of the bullpen as originally planned once he finds his command again. He is reportedly getting close to his 2008 form down in Salt Lake. Getting him back would be just like making a trade for an established reliever. Remember, it wasn't so long ago that people thought he should take over as the Angel closer.
- The bullpen is already better. As maligned as the bullpen is, they really have been pitching much better lately. Since June 1st, the relievers have posted a 3.89 ERA and have a record of 14-3 over that span. So, this pen is not only keeping runners from scoring but doing it in crucial situations so that the Halo bats can dig their way out of whatever hole the starting pitching is creating.
- Weaver cut his hair. Early on in the year Jered Weaver was looking like a Cy Young contender but lost command of his fastball. However after taking a page out of Vladi's book and lopping off his locks, Weave looked sharp once again and could be back to ace form in time for the playoffs.
- You only need three quality starters in the playoffs. Getting Halladay would've assured the Halos of having three top notch starters for the post-season, but they might still end up with one anyway. All it takes is for either Ervin Santana or Joe Saunders to get back to their 2008 form or for Sean O'Sullivan (who recently threw a Triple-A no-hitter) to continue his emergence. There is no guarantee that any of the three will start pitching consistently well, but the odds are certainly in the Angels' favor.
- This team can REALLY hit. This isn't your daddy's Angel line-up anymore. The Halos can score in a variety of ways rather than being totally reliant on small ball and situational hitting. They have power throughout the line-up and, when fully healthy, there isn't an easy out among them. Good pitching can usually beat good hitting, but the Angels have a relentless and diverse attack that has stood up well against the top pitchers in the AL so far this year.
- Patience is a virtue. The biggest reason that the Halo offense has fizzled in past playoffs isn't that they couldn't hit for power but more so that they couldn't get on base. This current incarnation of the Angels is entirely different. They may not draw a ton of walks, but they can finally bleed a count and make a pitcher work which is a very handy trait to have when you face elite pitchers in the post-season. The sooner they can get to the bullpen, the sooner their frenzied offensive attack can be unleashed.
- Momentum. The post-season is months away, but the Angels could have all the momentum come October. If we learned anything from the 2002 Angels, it is that a team on a hot streak can take down more talented teams. If this Angels club can keep their current surge alive until October they have a chance to be both the hottest AND most talented roster in the playoffs.
- A little competition never hurt. Many fans, myself included, feel quite strongly that the Angels went into the 2008 post-season flat because they ran away with the AL West so early in the year. By the time the ALDS started, the Angels hadn't played a truly meaningful or pressure-filled game in several weeks. Unless the Rangers go into a nosedive, the Angels should be able to keep their competitive spirit alive right up until October.
- Comeback kids. Just like the 2002 Angels, there seems to be no holding this Angel team back. There is no lead they can't overcome and that kind of resiliency will go a long, long way. Last year, the Angels seemed dead in the water the instant they fell behind. This year, falling behind is almost like the catalyst for their hitters. I'm convinced that they have started spotting their opponents leads just to make things interesting for themselves.