At a time when the Los Angeles Angels have little to no room for error, the team suffered a setback this week when it was announced lefty Jason Vargas (6-4, 3.65 ERA) would be out another 3-4 weeks after having a blood clot removed from his left armpit on Wednesday. Fortunately, Vargas sought medical attention and got the clot removed before he developed more serious complications, but his convalescence will leave the Los Angeles rotation thin at a time when the Halos need all hands on deck.
Vargas’ absence from the rotation is a blow not just because of his solid play this season (6-4, 3.65 ERA), but also because it leaves C.J. Wilson as the Halos’ lone left-handed starter. This could be problematic when the Angels face the Boston Red Sox and the Oakland Athletics, each of whom boasts a left-handed power hitter who could burn the Halos.
Taking Vargas’ place in the rotation will be Jerome Williams, who has fared well in his eight starts for the Angels this year (5-3, 3.36 ERA including relief). Williams will get the nod tonight as the Angels seek to end their woes against the Houston Astros.
Vargas’ injury is also untimely because it diminishes the chances that the Angels could shop him around for some much needed minor league prospects before the July 31 trade deadline. Though it may not be wise for the Halos to let go of any good arms at this point, their minor league system ranks dead last in the majors, a fact that does not bode well for the team’s future given the burdensome contracts currently on their books.
The Angels will need a full, team effort if they are to overcome Vargas’ injury in the coming weeks, and it starts by taking care of business tonight against a weak team.
Tony Baker is a Los Angeles Angels blogger for Rant Sports. You can follow him on Twitter at @tonloc_baker.