The Los Angeles Angels announced that Jered Weaver is headed to the disabled list with a fractured left elbow, which could keep him sidelined for up to six weeks. We asked our experts to examine the impact of that injury.
1. On a scale of 1-10 (10 being completely freaked out), how concerned should the Angels be?
Jayson Stark (@jaysonst), ESPN.com: This is an 8 for me. The people I've talked to about the Angels this year already thought this was a rotation with only one known quantity. Now that known quantity is out for a month and a half. So even if C.J. Wilson pitches as well as he did over the first couple of months of last season, this doesn't look like a make-the-postseason rotation to me without Weaver. I was beginning to wonder if it did even with him.
David Schoenfield (@dschoenfield), SweetSpot: I'm giving this a 5. It's a freak injury and not to his pitching arm. When he returns, he should be fine. Of course, what is fine? He gave up a lot of home runs down the stretch last year and his velocity was down in his two games, so there were potential red flags with Weaver anyway.
Jerry Crasnick (@jcrasnick), ESPN.com: I'd say a 5. I'm never a big proponent of freaking out in April, and it is Weaver's non-throwing elbow, after all. The Angels already had reason to be concerned when Weaver had a so-so spring training and then averaged 85.5 mph on the radar gun in his first two outings. I'm still trying to figure out if the rehab time on the DL will work to his benefit or detriment for the remainder of this season.
2. Does Weaver's injury change your AL West prediction?
Stark: I picked the Angels, and I was already starting to second-guess myself. So I guess I'm now officially off the bandwagon. I love the lineup. But do they have enough pitching to survive this? Do they have enough depth, period? I'm not so sure they do. It's too hard to get to October by outscoring people, especially in that division.
Schoenfield: No. I had the A's winning the West and the Angels winning the wild card. The bigger issue may actually be Josh Hamilton. What does it say that Albert Pujols has already been intentionally walked three times to get to Hamilton? Until he stops swinging at everything, I'm more concerned with Hamilton than Weaver missing a handful of starts.
Crasnick: I won't bail on my prediction of the Angels to win the AL West just yet, but I have to admit I lacked conviction because of the back end of their rotation and their shaky bullpen. If Bob Melvin and those scrappy A's keep plugging away, they're going to wear down my resistance soon enough.
3. Should the Angels make a move to add a pitcher?
Stark: In a few months? Absolutely. But now? There's nobody to trade for. It's April 9. And we have to remember we're only talking about having to find somebody to make maybe seven starts. So they're just going to have to run Garrett Richards (who had a really good spring) or Jerome Williams out there and hope they score a lot those days. And every day, for that matter.
Schoenfield: I would, yes. Richards is better out of the bullpen, where the Angels need help anyway, and Jerome Williams is Jerome Williams. Aaron Harang is available and is a nice fit for Angel Stadium, and he's likely a small upgrade over Joe Blanton when Weaver returns.
Crasnick: Right now the plan calls for Richards or Williams to assume Weaver's spot in the rotation. Now that Kyle Lohse has signed with the Brewers, I don't think Jerry Dipoto's other options are much more appealing. Would the Angels be better off trying to pry Chris Capuano or Ted Lilly loose from the Dodgers or resurrect Roy Oswalt? I can't imagine Ned Colletti is going to be doing the Angels any big favors in their time of need.