Jerome Williams‘ 2013 season has been anything but smooth; he showed up overweight to spring training, he was constantly shuffled back and forth between the bullpen and the starting rotation as the rest of the Los Angeles Angels‘ starters caught the injury bug, and now he figures to make another start or two before the end of the season, thanks to Joe Blanton‘s unceremonious departure from the rotation.
Despite this adversity, Williams has pieced together a relatively smooth five game stretch in which he has gone 4-0 with a 3.90 ERA. Not too shabby for a fourth or fifth pitcher.
Though Williams has managed to help keep the Angels’ hot streak going (they are now 21-7 since Aug. 22, the best record in the Majors over that stretch), he has been wholly inconsistent this year, and his recent success notwithstanding, the Angels should send him back to the bullpen where he belongs in 2014.
Garrett Richards (5-2, 2.90 ERA in his last 11 starts) has clearly solidified the third slot behind Jered Weaver and C.J. Wilson. Those three simply aren’t enough for the Angels, however. GM Jerry Dipoto‘s focus this offseason should be on pitching and nothing but pitching. If the Halos can land an arm, whether through a trade or an overseas, free agency signing, then Jason Vargas will lock up the fifth spot. Vargas, despite having missed significant time due a spontaneous blood clot in his armpit, has fared better than Williams this year and is the only lefty in the Los Angeles rotation besides Wilson.
Missing out on a starting spot need not be the end of Williams’ involvement with the Angels. He has shown remarkable resilience through his roller coaster of a season, and he can gain some sense of stability by winning a bullpen job in spring training next year. If he can do that, then he may be a valuable player for the Angels in 2014 and beyond.