Friday’s start for Matt Shoemaker may have been a pleasant surprise, as the young man delivered five innings of shutout baseball for the Los Angeles Angels.
Manager Mike Scioscia‘s decision to opt for Shoemaker in a pinch (Jered Weaver experienced tightness in his forearm and couldn’t make the start), however, was a clear slap in the face to Joe Blanton and Tommy Hanson, both of whom had been staples of the Angels rotation before poor performance led to their demotions.
Just to give you an idea of how far he’s fallen, Blanton went from being part of a World Series-winning rotation in Philadelpha to signing with the Angels for three years and $22 million. He was then exiled to the bullpen, and haven’t appeared in a game since September 3. Can you say bust?
While Los Angeles is short on starting pitching, they simply can’t count on Blanton to do the job they brought him to do. He has gone 2-14 with a 6.04 ERA, which is unacceptable for any major league starter. His demotion to the bullpen hasn’t exactly helped his case either: he posted a whopping 10.13 ERA since assuming his reliever role, providing relief only to opposing offenses.
Refusing to admit mistakes can be deadly for a franchise in any sport. While bad contracts in baseball may not be quite the albatross they are in the NFL with its unbreakable salary cap, The Angels already have too many weighty deals on their books to suffer another one like Blanton’s. If the rumors are true and the snub on Friday means Blanton will be waived this offseason, the Angels will be doing themselves a favor.