The Los Angeles Angels are not exactly having a spectacular week, and no, we are not talking about their 13-15 start to the season. On Friday, the Angels announced that pitcher Garrett Richards, the staff’s ace, has been diagnosed with a high-grade UCL tear in his throwing elbow. The news was first reported by ESPN. The injury will reportedly require Tommy John Surgery and anywhere between a 10-12 month recovery period. Richards is expected to receive a second opinion sometime later in the week.
Reports: Angels ace Richards needs TJ surgery https://t.co/l6lRYWWAso
— ESPNLosAngeles (@ESPNLosAngeles) May 6, 2016
In other bad news for the Angels, the staff’s No. 2 pitcher at the beginning of the season, Andrew Heaney, also suffered an elbow injury in early April that will reportedly require a prolonged DL stint. Similarly to Richards, Heaney also suffered a damaged UCL in his throwing elbow on April 6th following his first start of the season against the Chicago Cubs. Heaney has had multiple setbacks during his DL stint, which includes having felt tightness in his elbow while playing catch. Further medical evaluation has shown that Heaney’s injury is more serious than the initial diagnosis (strained forearm) and if Heaney is unable to recover quicker, he could be forced to undergo season-ending Tommy John Surgery. Along with Heaney and Richards, the Angels have also lost C.J. Wilson (shoulder, 60-day DL), who is reportedly going to try and make a return sometime in June, while fellow starter Tyler Skaggs is still in the process of recovering from 2014 elbow surgery.
With the Angels pitching staff seemingly crumbling, LA’s second baseball team could very well have some rough times ahead of them. And, what would foreshadowing rough times be without blockbuster trade rumors surfacing on Twitter?
— CBS Sports MLB (@CBSSportsMLB) May 6, 2016
Along with all of the injuries to their starting pitching staff, the Angels are also dealing with Twitter rumors that the team wants to trade star outfielder Mike Trout. Angels GM Billy Eppler has already publicly denied that the franchise has any intentions of trading Trout, but before we let Eppler and the Angels off the hook for possibly contemplating whether or not to trade the best player in all of baseball, let’s think on the contrary for a second. If, keyword: IF, the Angels were to trade Mike Trout, they would be asking for an almost impossible price. We’re talking multiple star players, highly touted prospects, and first-round draft picks. The Angels are in no man’s land with their pitching staff right now, and one star player such as a Mike Trout can only do so much to keep them in the race for the AL-West, especially in a division where every team around the LAA is getting better by the minute (Mariners, Astros, Rangers all currently excelling or have excelled in the past two seasons). So, while the Angels have stated publicly that they have no intentions of trading Mike Trout, it’s not too hard to understand why these trade rumors surfaced in the first place due to the team’s immediate need for a pitching staff. But, the asking price for Trout is seemingly too much for any team to go after and thus making these trade rumors very hard to believe even before Eppler’s comments on Friday.
The Angels have made some pretty bad free agency signings and trades in recent memory (Josh Hamilton, Gary Matthews Jr, Bartolo Colon), but trading Mike Trout would likely be the worst move that this franchise could ever make. Yes, they are in desperate need of a pitching staff right now and may be in line for a big rebuild. But, in order to put a team on the field that is even semi-watchable, you need to have somebody who the fans want to come out and see. It’s not Albert Pujols, it’s not Yunel Escobar or Cole Calhoun, it’s Mike Trout. Keep him on your roster, let him be your franchise’s star and try to build a team around him. As for their pitching staff, the Angels better hope that they can get a speedy recovery from Andrew Heaney and C.J. Wilson and that Hector Santiago can step up big time for this club. Garrett Richards’ situation is looking pretty grim and Tyler Skaggs still seems to be far away from a return, so it is pivotal that the Angels are able to get some of their big lefty horses to return soon.