In a move to bolster their pitching staff, the Los Angeles Angels, on Tuesday, traded outfielder Mark Trumbo as part of a three-team trade with the Arizona Diamondbacks and Chicago White Sox that acquired two young pitchers with one of them being Hector Santiago.
Santiago is a 25-year-old left-handed pitcher, who has spent the last two seasons in the Majors with the White Sox. In his two years in the league, he has alternated roles. In his rookie season in 2012, he appeared in 42 games out of the bullpen pitching 70.1 innings with a 4-1 record, 3.33 ERA, 79 strikeouts, four holds and four saves.
In the 2013 regular season, Santiago made the transition from the bullpen over to the starting rotation as he started in 23 of the 34 games he appeared in with a 4-9 record, 3.56 ERA, 137 strikeouts in 149.0 innings pitched. The Halos made the trade for Santiago based on the hopes that the young lefty could help solidify the rotation with the departure of Jason Vargas, who signed a four-year, $32 million deal with the Kansas City Royals this offseason, and Tommy Hanson, who is now a free agent.
Santiago last season showed flashes of promise such as his solid two-month period from July to August. Although he went winless in his five starts in July, he pitched at least five innings in each start with by going seven innings twice allowing just three runs over both appearances. For the entire month of July, he threw 32.1 innings with a 2.78 ERA, 34 strikeouts and allowed just 10 runs over that stretch.
In his six starts in August, he had a 3.74 ERA with 25 strikeouts, and pitched at least five innings in five of the games. Although he showed promise there is also cause for some concern with control issues as he was 18th in the league last season in walks with 72. But despite he accuracy problems, Santiago brings another left-handed pitcher to the Angels’ starting rotation alongside C.J. Wilson.
By the Halos making the trade to move Trumbo, a proven power hitter, to acquire a young and unproven pitcher in Santiago, it shows the Angels’ faith in the left hander to become a good consistent pitcher that will help solidify their starting rotation. Nonetheless it’s a step in the right direction to improve the Angels’ pitching staff that last season had seventh highest ERA (4.23), tied for fifth highest opponent’s batting average (.261), and allowed the fourth most hits (1475).
Ultimately, what the move signifies is that the Angels are making an effort to improve their pitching staff, in particular their starting rotation, and Santiago has the potential to become one of the pieces that will help that cause.