Hey, look! That's a picture of Joe Blanton up above. Man was that guy terrible. So was Tommy Hanson. Remember when those two were supposed to help revamp the Angel rotation? Yeah, that didn't really work out. Now the Angels need to tear it all down and start over again, only this time they need to do it without a lot less money in a shallow free agent market. What could possibly go wrong?
What they already have: Jered Weaver (3.27 ERA, 3.82 FIP, 2.4 fWAR), C.J. Wilson (3.39 ERA, 3.51 FIP, 3.3 fWAR), Garrett Richards (4.16 ERA, 3.66 FIP, 1.5 fWAR), Jerome Williams (4.57 ERA, 4.60 FIP, 0.3 fWAR), Tommy Hanson (5.42 ERA, 4.65 FIP, 0.4 fWAR), Joe Blanton (BARF)
If Arte Moreno loses his mind... will give the six-year, $147 million contract he wouldn't give to Zack Greinke to Matt Garza instead just so he can screw over the Rangers, only Garza is overrated and kind of an asshole.
If the Angels are creative and aggressive... actually forget creative, they just need to be aggressive and find a way to navigate the new posting system to make sure that they are the ones that get to sign Masahiro Tanaka. 27-year old potential aces don't just hit the open (well, semi-open in this case) market every year and we all know far too well that the Angel farm system won't be growing one anytime soon. With their top two starters both 32 or older, the Halos need Tanaka if they want to avoid seeing their window to win a World Series slam shut with a vengeance after 2015 when Jered Weaver's velocity drops so low that Jamie Moyer starts referring to him as a soft-tosser. Landing Tanaka might prove to be a Herculean effort, but one that they must absolutely undertake with every fiber of their being.
As urgent as their need is to land Tanaka, it still probably isn't enough. After all, the Angels have two rotation openings not one. As we've heard a great deal about already this month, the Halos have been shopping Howie Kendrick, Mark Trumbo, Peter Bourjos and both Hank Conger and Chris Iannetta. The assumption all along has been that they'd make two separate trades with those various pieces to land starting pitching, but if Tanaka is in the fold, that isn't really necessary. That doesn't mean they should stop shopping all of those players though. Each of them on their own can fetch a nice return, but none of them are going to bring back a top 50 prospect. But if they were to be packaged together, that might get the job done. Roll Kendrick and Trumbo into an offer and that could convince the Orioles to cough up Kevin Gausman. Or maybe they could get creative and add Aybar to a Trumbo offer to get Jameson Taillon from the Pirates, who covet Trumbo. Those are longshot trades, at best, but they are the sort of bold moves the Angels should be trying to make rather than settling for the consolation prize pitching prospects from teams.