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Jered Weaver and the Angel Response (Updated)

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Weaver is going to the 15-day DL, but he will be lost to the Angels for 4 to 6 weeks.

The interesting thing is that there are arguments that run both ways over how this injury will affect the Angels.

Buster Olney talked about it today on his podcast, noting that the Angels possess little starting pitching depth. His replacement will be Garrett Richards, who has not produced at anywhere near Weaver’s level.

Now, what is problematic about simply assuming that Richards will necessarily provide less production than Weaver is that Weaver has shown diminished velocity, and he has been rather ineffective so far in 2013. In fact, in a way, given his reduced velocity and lack of effectiveness, Weaver’s injury may–may–save the Angels from having a Roy Halladay-like situation on their hands in the way the Phillies do. (I mean, how much time can the Phillies afford to give Halladay to right himself? To call his performance thus far sub-replacement level is a kindness in that it elides its actual awfulness.)

On Monday Dave Cameron called the dip in Weaver’s fastball velocity a “giant red flag.”

On Tuesday Cameron argued that the relationship between Weaver’s fastball velocity and his effectiveness might mean that the loss of Weaver may not mean much in the long run since putting a substandard Weaver out there on the mound might not have produced significantly–note the word “significantly” here–better results than using Richards in his place. While bearing in mind that Weaver’s projected performance remains slightly better than Richard’s, Cameron concluded “it won’t matter that much.”

While I am sympathetic to Cameron’s analysis, and I think it saves the Angels from having to run him out to mound, grit their teeth, and pray for him to be effective in the same way the Phillies are going to have to do with Halladay, I also am sympathetic to the perspective arguing that the loss of Weaver may well expose the Angels’ weaknesses. And it will probably really ramp up the pressure on Josh Hamilton, who needs to produce lest he be labelled a free agent bust.

Look, the Angels have spent a ton of money in the past two off-seasons signing former MVPs on the free agent market, and the expectations surrounding them are huge. While they had a better record than the AL Champion Tigers last season, they still finished behind both the A’s and the Rangers. And their rotation did not get better. All of this means their offense has to be as spectacular as advertised, and their bullpen needs to be solid as well, and it needs to do so over more innings than it worked last year in order to compensate for a weakened rotation.

In other words, a lot of moving parts now need to move in concert for the Angels for the next few weeks.

UPDATE–A profile of Garrett Richards and his pitches. It’s not too encouraging for a starting pitcher.

Written by jjvedamuthu

April 10, 2013 at 12:01