The Angels Suck at Pitching

Anahiem Angels GM Jerry DiPoto. “I don’t think it matters.” – Jerry DiPoto on pitching, probably.

The Angels posted a 116 OPS+ as a team last year. That’s the best in baseball. They were 4th in runs scored, 3rd in wOBA, and 2nd in wRC+. The 2012 Angels could hit. They also posted an ERA+ of 94, tied for 10th worst in baseball with the New York Mets. Their pitchers were worth only 10 wins above replacement. The 2012 Angels could not pitch. If Jerry DiPoto were invited to a black-tie affair, he’d wear brown shoes.

The Angels needs for 2013 were pretty clear. In November I wrote, ” It should be fascinating to see how creative Jerry Dipoto and company get with this move.” I guess it was that. First, they signed a terrible starter. Then, they traded for a young starter that gets worse by the year and can’t get healthy.

Today, they completed the trifecta of ineptitude, shipping off Kendrys Morales for the terrible stellar Jason Vargas. That the Angels traded Morales is not surprising. He’s 29 and trying to find a position in the field for two DHs isn’t easy. So why not move one for pitching? That he could yield only Jason Vargas is somewhat more scuffling.

Jason Vargas isn’t good. He’s not even average. His career ERA+ is 90. He’s gone above 100 only once. ERA+ is adjusted for parks, but he’s not even “Seattle good.” His strikeouts are non-existent. Even the finest season of his career (2010) proved worth just 2.4 wins. But hey, he was 50th in walks surrendered last season. If you asked Jason Vargas to pitch his way out of a paper bag… Paper bags everywhere would rejoice. If signing Jason Vargas is the type of move that puts a team over the top, I would like to re-examine the definition of “the top.”

One through five, the Angles rotation is scary. Jered Weaver has a mullet and a bad goatee. C.J. Wilson is a douchebag, and also, married. Tommy Hanson is a ginger. Joe Blanton posted an ERA+ of 76 last season… and his career ERA+ is still higher than Vargas’. So yes, scary in the most awful way.

As for the Mariners, they make off pretty good here. They are desperately in need of offense (4th worst OPS+ in baseball in 2012), and all Morales does is hit. That’s not a slangy, hip compliment like when people say, “All Edgar Martinez does is hit.” That is quite literally the only thing Kendrys Morales can do. Well, that’s not true. He can also injure himself at home plate whilst celebrating. His career 119 OPS+ and .210 ISO should add some necessary thump to a thump-less team. He’s really around a replacement level player, but a 2.1 oWAR would’ve made him one of the four best hitters on the Seattle roster last year. Even if he’s just average, they gave up a meandering starting pitcher, which clears room for the entrance of super prospect Danny Hultzen.

Jerry DiPoto survived thyroid cancer in 1994. He also doesn’t know a damn thing about pitching.