The Angels gave Joe Blanton a two-year, $15 million contract this offseason, but that could only save his rotation spot for so long. The team announced that Blanton will shift to the bullpen with right-hander Garrett Richards taking his rotation spot.
Blanton, 32, has posted a 5.66 ERA (67 OPS+) and a 1.60 WHIP in 116 innings spread across 20 starts. He leads the league in several dubious categories, including losses (13), hits allowed (157), home runs allowed (24), and earned runs (73). There was no way the Halos could continue to run Blanton out there every five days.
The 25-year-old Richards has a 4.66 ERA (82 ERA+) with a 1.32 WHIP and 2.53 K/BB in 67 2/3 innings spread across four starts and 30 relief appearances this season. In 16 big league starts over the last three seasons, Richards has gone 4-5 with a 4.92 ERA.
Richards threw 60 pitches across 3.2 innings on July 12, the only time he's thrown more than 40 pitches in an outing over the last month. The Angels probably shouldn't expect him to give them a full 100+ pitch start right away. At this point though, 70-80 pitches from Richards and 20-30 pitches from a middle reliever is better than anything they could get from Blanton.