How much more pitching do the Angels need?
The Los Angeles Angels wouldn't be creating a major trend in the MLB—like bringing back the sweet days of elastic waistbands on the uniform—if they decided to add more starting pitching as spring training nears.
The fact is, regardless of the Angels' content or discontent with the current rotation choices, desiring a surplus of MLB-ready hurlers on a team's roster is becoming just as American as apple pie, hot dogs and the Chevrolet that often accompany the sport—or Prince Fielder.
Although I wouldn't usually incorporate any sort of Chicago Cubs’ tutelage into anything not involving a Funny or Die skit, Cubs' manager Dale Sveum did reiterate the concept, which sounds a lot like hoarding, to MLB.com's Adam Berry:
I don't think you ever have enough depth. Everybody is always looking for pitching, and you can't have enough of it, no matter how it all turns out. But the more pitching you're going to get, the better off you're going to be.
And we all know the Angels want to be better off, perhaps even more so with the added pressure of a $160 million payroll.
But do they really need to add more starting pitching? After all, general manager Jerry Dipoto sounds assured in the club's current set of starters.
And the club has made it clear they aren't going to spend any more money this offseason (h/t MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez via Twitter).
Sure, Angels' scouts recently spent time in Arizona, surveying 35-year-old Kip Wells and the possible contributions of ex-Seattle Mariners' starter Ryan Rowland-Smith, according to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com (via Twitter). But they amount to nothing more than competition between the other six or seven vying for a spot in the rotation.
So a smart move for Dipoto and owner Arte Moreno, assuming they are looking to add rotation depth, may come from another option: Trades.
Sounds good. Right?
It could be an interesting path that leaves the organization faced with a glaring issue: it doesn't have a lot of viable or reasonable options to offer other teams. Period.
Now, for the sake of a dynamic comment chain, I could feed you stretched and imaginative scenarios that would have this player going here, that player making sense for Mark Trumbo and a slew of unknowns here or why trading Vernon Wells for John Lackey is a great idea.
But none of it makes enough sense for me to scribble acquisitions that belong in the clouds. And I believe most fans have the cranial battery to understand the difference between realities—and the Disneyland that Angels Stadium sits so near.
But the needs of each team, respectively, don't match up with what the Angels could—or should—offer.
Perhaps If the New York Mets continue to balk at the idea of signing Michael Bourn, then another (better?) option would be Peter Bourjos. Should the Angels be willing to give up their young outfielder, in return for, say, Matt Harvey, they could possibly add depth while adding youth.
But I doubt the Angels, or the Mets for that matter, would be willing to part ways with such young, talented prospects, especially for the Angels, who don’t have the luxury of losing young talent.
Their farm system is at an all-time low, depleted from the past several years of building for domination and the quick rise of certain prospects. It has left GM Dipoto without a ton of trade chips to gamble or retool with (h/t MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez).
And when a team's prospect list has dwindled—like the Angels' crop—the smart move is to keep whatever players will help rebuild a solid foundation for the future.
So players like Kaleb Cowart, Kole Calhoun. C.J. Cron and even Garrett Richards (for now) should remain under team control—unless a deal for a sure-thing starter becomes available.
But I don't think there are too many of those currently floating around the MLB.
Then there is Vernon Wells—as usual. Angels' fans have been calling for him to be traded for quite some time, but I don't think he is going anywhere at this point.
Arte Moreno will not want to eat a large portion of the $42 million left on Wells' contract if he was traded, according to Danny Knobler of CBS Sports.com, and I doubt other teams would feel differently about that amount of cash.
So who could stand a possible trade item from the Angels and exactly for what pitchers?
Do the Angels really need to add more rotation depth?
The real—and probably boring—answer is no one.
For now, the team will need to rely on the depth it currently possesses. Should there really be a need once the season grind picks up, the organization can ponder whatever mid-season options arise.
Until then, the Angels will have to buck the trend, stay confident in the roster (and camp invites) they have, and focus more on being the first team to win the new five-team AL West—elastic waistbands or not.