According to this tweet from ESPN’s Jim Bowden, the Los Angeles Angels are the front-runner for starting pitcher Roy Oswalt, who is once again becoming a hot topic in rumor mills. We all thought Oswalt would come cheap, but that thought hasn’t materialized and his asking price has been too high for most suitors. He will most likely sign during mid-season, but it seems like the Angels are a likely destination point.
The problem is that the Angels shouldn’t be going after a veteran pitcher like Oswalt, because it doesn’t make sense for a team with four top starters. They have Jered Weaver, Dan Haren, C.J. Wilson, and Ervin Santana in their rotation, and it is wasteful to sign a No. 3 starter and deploy him as a No. 5 starter. The thought is nice, but that’s far too luxurious and the Angels should save their resources for the trade deadline. You never know with injuries these days, and it’s better to pass up on luxury for now.
The two pitchers gunning for the No. 5 spot are Jerome Williams and Garrett Richards. Right now, Williams looks like a 0.5-1 WAR pitcher who is a decent No. 5 starter, while Richards is a replacement-level player and a liability. If the Angels can somehow end up signing Roy Oswalt early and giving him a friendly deal, then they should definitely show why they are regarded as the front-runners and sign him. If his price tag is too high, then it simply isn’t worth it.
Last season, Roy Oswalt was worth 2.5 WAR, which was (get this) the worst year of his career. Insane. He pitched 139 innings with a 3.44 FIP, but he struck out under seven batters per nine innings; a surprisingly low total. He can certainly be valuable for the Angels and is a 3 WAR starter, but he’s also a risky pitcher and doesn’t fill a need for this team. If I’m the Angels, I save my money and keep Jerome Williams in at the No. 5 spot.