The oft-hyped prospect Garrett Richards has finally found himself some time in the Angels rotation after spending a little over a full season trying to crack the roster. While his incredibly short time in the bigs last season was plagued with failure his recent call-up has been a much different story. While last year Richards couldn't even keep his team in the game this season the Angels have won every start Garrett has made, although some of them have been less than sharp. This year Richards has posted a sub-2.00 ERA in 27 IP, four of his appearances being starts with one being a relief appearance.
Under differing circumstances Richards would most definitely be finding himself with a full season job, it most likely wouldn't be guaranteed although the job security would increase by each start. If that were the case this year Richards would have a nice cozy seat in the #5 chair in the rotation, but the sudden and unforeseen success of Jerome Williams who was once a journeyman struggling to find a job in the majors and is now one of the better #5 pitchers in the league has made Richards stay in the majors even more unlikely. There is one thing I want to address before I continue on with the article, with Williams being kicked to the DL after suffering from sudden health problems there might be some speculation that this could lead to Williams moving to the bullpen and Richards sliding into his spot. I can tell you that this is absolutely not going to happen, it would be in incredibly poor taste for the Angels to hand Williams job over to Richards after this unfortunate occurrence. It is possible that with Williams anxiety/asthma issues he could be moved to the 'pen ONLY so he can get his feet back under him. It's no question that he is quite shaken after his episode and if Williams feels that bullpen time would benefit him health wise so he can stretch himself out back to starting than it could happen, but only if it's his call.
Richards has a few more starts to make a strong impression on the ballclub, but only so he can prove to them that he deserves a starting job for next season. I have no doubt in my mind that the Angels are going to let Santana walk after this season, only because his inconsistencies and recent struggles have proved that he cannot truly be relied on. Santana is completely capable of putting up ace-like starts, he's even capable of putting up consecutive ace-like start, yet you can never know exactly when or if he will be able to put up those starts. Lately it's been feeling like a flip of the coin for Santana, and while he's been doing quite well so far it's clear that he can relapse at given moment. Santana has always been this kind of pitcher, but he's kept it under control during most of his tenure in Anaheim. This season is an extreme magnification of his problems, and while he most likely won't get pushed to the bullpen or find his way on the trade block there's not guarantee that he'll be coming back to the Angels next season. If I had to say I'd guess that he'd be coming back to LA next season, in Dodger blue.
This opening gives Richards a clear shot at a a full season job in the majors next year, I don't think he'll be seeing any playing time well after the All-Star break. Although the way this season has been going it seems like another freak injury or sudden occurrence could give Richards more time in the rotation. Now that I mention that...it does seem a little fishy that when Richards time is seemingly coming to an end some "crazy" occurrence gives him more time in the majors. Someone could have easily tampered with Weavers weight set when he was working out causing his back tweak......
Before I go rambling off into some insane conspiracy theory and embarrass myself lets get back on track, if only for a second here. I'd like to see Richards get a little more time this season just so we can see him go up against a real potent offense, so far the best hitting team he's gone up against in the Diamondbacks. At least before he's demoted I'd like to see him go another round against the Yankees or maybe even the Texas Rangers, just so he can get one final shot to show his stuff before he jumps on a plane back to Salt Lake. I wouldn't be surprised if someone else in the rotation goes through some "mysterious" injury before that happens though, maybe Dan Haren finally hits the DL after his terribly mediocre season so far?
Someone should get some cameras up in that clubhouse. Just sayin...
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