By Ricky Ramos - Angelswin.com Columnist
The Angels need pitching. SAY WHAAAAT?!?!?! Wait, let me rephrase that. The Angels need Johan Santana.
We witnessed the Angels front office this week completely drop the ball on trying to land that ever elusive big bat. If the rumored package of Howie Kendrick, Ervin Santana, Nick Adenhart, and Jeff Mathis is what was needed to land Miguel Cabrera, then they should have got this deal done instead of getting their panties in a bunch over the Marlins possibly reneging two previous deals. And in no way should E. Santana be the deal breaker keeping you from landing one of the elite young hitters in the game.
Yes, it would have been a lot of talent to give up for one player, but this one player is worth it. While Kendrick is a tough player to let go of, they did already have his replacement ready in Chone Figgins, and the other players are not even starters on the current team. The deal made sense on so many levels and would have given them a middle of the order comparable to that of the Redsox. Instead the fan base is left disappointed, with photoshopped pictures of Cabrera in an Angels uniform on their hardrives only reminding them of what could have been.
So what is next? The Angels will find that the big bat market has thinned out considerably, and that they are limited at what positions they can upgrade. There is absolutely no room in the outfield right now, to upgrade third base it would have to be for someone talented enough that they would deal Figgins or Kendrick for, and first base is an option but that would mean giving up a very young, talented, and cheap Casey Kotchman. The only real everyday position that could possible be considered a hole right now is shortstop, and Miguel Tejada is certainly a possibility there. But landing Tejada will more than likely cost Brandon Wood, and long term it would be a mistake to do that trade.
If the Angels can’t improve the offense, then they need to bring in an elite level pitcher to offset their lack of power and keep pace with the other contenders. Which brings us back to J. Santana. Here is arguably the best pitcher in the game and he is on the trade block. Getting him would make the Angels very dangerous, as well as keep him from going to a possible playoff opponent.
Imagine a seven game playoff series in which J. Santana pitches three times, and John Lackey pitches twice. That duo would rival the 2001 Arizona Diamondbacks duo of Curt Schilling and Randy Johnson. The Angels definitely have the talent to outbid other teams for Santana, the question is do they have the balls to pull the trigger on a deal.