Los Angeles Angels Reach for Starting Pitching in Trade for Tommy Hanson

By Tyler Brett
Daniel Shirey – US PRESSWIRE

The Los Angeles Angels have some spots to fill in their starting rotation heading into next season. That need prompted them to make a trade with the Atlanta Braves, sending young right-handed reliever Jordan Walden to the Braves in exchange for 26-year old right-handed starter Tommy Hanson. The move is a reach, to say the least.

Since trading Ervin Santana to the Kansas City Royals and cutting Dan Haren loose, the Angels had only Jered Weaver and C.J. Wilson slated into the starting rotation for next season. The Halos are actively pursuing Zach Grienke in free agency and could still re-sign Haren, but there was a definite hole to fill in their rotation.

Walden, meanwhile, had become expendable in the bullpen. Once considered the closer of the future in Anaheim, inconsistent production dropped the hard-throwing righty out of the closer role, though he did step up for save appearances now and then. With the Angels signing Ryan Madson to be their closer in 2013 and beyond, Walden became expendable trade bait.

But is Hanson really the answer? Hanson owns a career record of 45-32 with a 3.61 ERA, 1.25 WHIP and has averaged 186 strikeouts per 162 game season. Those are respectable enough numbers, but Hanson has been on the decline in recent years. Shoulder injuries have kept him from staying on the field and his velocity has been dropping steadily.

So while the Angels did have a hole to fill in their starting rotation, sending away a young fireballer for an oft-injured, middle-of-the-road starter whose velocity is on the decline making the transition from the National League to the American League is not the answer.

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