This past offseason was a busy one for the Los Angeles Angels. After trading for Zack Greinke just before the 2012 trade deadline in order to bolster their pitching staff, the Halos failed to make the playoffs and then promptly declined to re-sign Greinke, along with former starters Dan Haren and Ervin Santana following the season.
Hey, you can’t sign everyone when you’re paying Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton a combined $335 million over the next 10 seasons, right?
Accordingly, a Halo rotation that was thin to start the season grew desperate once ace Jered Weaver was sent to the disabled list after his second start. The team has searched high and low for a quality starter not named Weaver or C.J. Wilson, and they may have finally found one in left-handed hurler Jason Vargas, who led the Angels to a 3-2 victory against the rival Los Angeles Dodgers Thursday night, striking out six over seven innings of work, including three crucial strikeouts in the seventh inning to clinch the win.
The victory boosted Vargas to a 5-3 record with a 3.34 ERA on the year, thereby solidifying his status as the third man in an Angel rotation that has been wanting consistency outside of Weaver and Wilson.
With Vargas’ emergence, the Halos’ front office may have to reconsider their priorities heading into the July 31 trade deadline. If the team can maintain three consistent starters, the executives may look first to shore up the dreadful bullpen that has had few bright spots this season outside of Scott Downs (2.35 ERA).
Of course, Joe Blanton‘s dismal campaign thus far (1-8, 5.94 ERA) has not helped the starting rotation, and three starters is not enough for any team serious about playoff contention, but if Vargas can maintain his current level of consistency, then the Angels may be able to scrape by until their offense begins playing up to its lofty potential.
Tony Baker is a Los Angeles Angels blogger for Rant Sports. You can follow him on Twitter at @tonloc_baker.