When I heard the rumor that the Angels are the front-runners to sign Roy Oswalt I had a burst of adrenaline. It was that or a reflux of a recent double espresso, I’m not sure. But the rush didn’t last long. For one thing, it will be months before Oswalt is ready and willing to pitch. Add to that his NL WHIP of 1.34 and 9.9 hits per 9 innings and I settled down quickly indeed.
There are different strategies with the fifth starter spot, and putting a crafty veteran perhaps on the downside of his career in that slot is one of them, but I support using that spot for developing younger talent. The Angels are not a team that needs more name recognition or a mentor for an otherwise young rotation, what they need is someone with high potential and a low price tag.
Ideally it would be someone developed by the Angels organization like Garrett Richards or John Hellweg. Or perhaps a reclamation project like Jerome Williams or Brad Mills. But the point is, regardless of how massive the cable contract is, signing the top free agent starter every year is not going to be an option. Developing good young pitching and giving those players a chance when they’re ready is a requirement for long-term success.
As to how the fifth starter slot plays out this year, your guess is a good as mine but here goes: If at all possible the Angles will go with Jerome Williams to start the season and if he can’t go Mills will likely get a shot. Garrett Richards, who will make the rotation sooner or later, will start in the minors and his presence could allow Dipoto to trade Williams or Mills for prospects or a missing major league piece as the season progresses. Or not, since they say you can never have to much pitching.