Originally posted on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 7/7/12

The Los Angeles Angels are in the thick of the AL West and AL Wildcard races. That’s the good news. The bad news is the pitching staff is staggering. Ervin Santana has struggled mightily and 5th starter Garrett Richards was optioned to Triple A on July 6th. To make matters worse, Dan Haren just landed on the DL for the first time in his career. This puts the Angels in a tight spot with their rotation. In order to stay in the hunt, they are likely going to have deal for a starting pitcher. Good news for the halos, there are plenty of options to choose from.

The Angels starting rotation

Jered Weaver: 9-1, 2.13 ERA, 68 Ks in 88.2 innings
CJ Wilson: 9-4, 2.33 ERA, 84 Ks in 104.1 innings
Ervin Santana: 4-9, 5.75 ERA, 73 Ks in 103.1 innings
Dan Haren: 6-8, 4.86 ERA, 86 Ks in 103.2 innings
*Eric Hurley: was called up from Triple A to replace Garrett Richards

Cole Hamels and Zack Greinke are the cream of the trade market crop. Both will be free agents at the end of the season and both would be great additions to the Angels staff. Greinke is coveted by many teams including the Braves, Cardinals, Orioles, and Rangers. A Greinke trade seems to be a foregone conclusion, the only question is where will he land. The Cole Hamels situation is a little unclear. There appears to be a chance that the Phillies will resign him and frankly I can’t fathom why they wouldn’t. If he becomes available, the Angels could conceivably trade for him and sign him to a new deal. The problem is at $151 million, the Angels payroll is already bulging.

The next tier of available starting pitchers includes the Cubs duo of Matt Garza and Ryan Dempster, as well as Wandy Rodriguez, and Francisco Liriano. Digging a little deeper and coming at a cheaper price would be guys like Joe Blanton, Joe Saunders and Jason Vargas.

Thanks to the emergence of Mike Trout and Mark Trumbo, the Angels have some valuable trading chips in players like Kendrys Morales and Peter Bourjos. In order to keep pace with the Texas Rangers, they might have to make a move. The irony is the Rangers are likely looking at the same type of move.

* Injured starting pitcher Jerome Williams, who has been on the disabled list since June 20, went six innings, giving up three runs on five hits on Friday night in a rehab start at Triple-A Salt Lake. Williams is 6-5 with a 4.46 ERA and 56 Ks in 82.2 innings this season.

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