Tommy Hanson: Why Trade Makes Sense for the Angels

Ryan DavenportContributor INovember 30, 2012

ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 27:  Tommy Hanson #48 of the Atlanta Braves pitches to the Miami Marlins Turner Field on September 27, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Angels pulled off a stunning trade on Friday, acquiring starting pitcher Tommy Hanson from the Atlanta Braves in return for relief pitcher Jordan Walden. 

Just one day after R.J. White of CBS Sports reported that the Angels were "telling teams that Walden was very available," Los Angeles got great value in the return it is receiving for the right-hander. 

That's because, while Walden was once the Angels' go-to closer, injuries derailed his 2012 season, and he was mostly used as a middle-inning reliever last season. 

Now, the Angels have managed to flip him in exchange for a legitimate option for their starting rotation, as Hanson is coming off a season in which he recorded a career-high 13 wins for the Braves. 

Hanson, the Braves' starter on Opening Day last April, hasn't even begun to scratch the surface of his potential. At 26, he's still got a lot of room to grow as a pitcher. 

For the Angels, bringing in Hanson was smart for a couple of reasons. 

First of all, if the Angels don't come out on top in the Zack Greinke sweepstakes, that will make two starting pitchers the team has lost since the end of last season, as Dan Haren and Ervin Santana will both be wearing new uniforms this spring. 

No, Hanson isn't Greinke, but he's certainly a serviceable insurance policy should Greinke sign elsewhere. 

Furthermore, if Hanson materializes into the player that some, such as Baseball America, once projected him to be a year ago, the Angels will have added a stud to their starting rotation. 

In fact, prior to being injured last season in early August, Hanson was dynamite for the Braves and held a 12-5 record at the end of July. 

He fizzled out as the season went on, but assuming he's over the shoulder and back problems that have plagued him recently, there's no reason he can't blossom into the ace of the Angels' pitching staff.