New York Mets starter Matt Harvey pitches against the Chicago Cubs on Friday. (Jonathan Daniel / Getty…)
As if the pitching-thin Angels need another reminder of what might have been, there it is, on the cover of this week's Sports Illustrated, New York Mets ace Matt Harvey, the one who got away.
The Angels picked Harvey in the third round in 2007 knowing it would take first-round money to sign him out of high school, but when owner Arte Moreno authorized an offer of only $1 million — half of what Harvey wanted — the right-hander went to the University of North Carolina.
Harvey signed for $2.6 million with the Mets in 2010 and, armed with a 97-mph fastball and devastating curve, has emerged as a Cy Young Award candidate this season, going 5-0 with a 1.55 earned-run average in his first nine starts.
Think Harvey, 24, would look good in the Angels' rotation today? So would former Angels prospect Patrick Corbin, who was sent to Arizona in the 2010 Dan Haren deal and is now 6-0 with a 1.52 ERA for the Diamondbacks.
In fact, you could form a superb rotation, solid bullpen and formidable lineup with players the Angels traded away or let go as free agents in recent years.
Behind Harvey and Corbin would be the Dodgers' Zack Greinke (2-0, 1.62 ERA), Kansas City's Ervin Santana (3-2, 2.79 ERA) and Washington's Haren (4-4, 4.76 ERA). Joe Saunders, Scott Kazmir, Tyler Chatwood and Ryan Vogelsong would provide rotation depth.
The bullpen would feature Tampa Bay's Fernando Rodney (1.40 ERA, 55 saves in 1 1/4 seasons) and Joel Peralta (0-2, 1.96 ERA), Baltimore's Darren O'Day (2-0, 1.42 ERA), Toronto's Darren Oliver (2-1, 2.81 ERA), the Chicago Cubs' Kevin Gregg (0.00 ERA, six saves) and Atlanta's Jordan Walden (1-1, 4.85 ERA).
The lineup would be led by outfielders Vernon Wells (.295, 10 homers, 23 runs batted in for the New York Yankees) and Torii Hunter (.318, 20 RBIs for Detroit), designated hitter Mike Napoli (.256, seven homers, 34 RBIs for Boston) and shortstop Jean Segura, who was part of last summer's Greinke deal and is hitting .353 with seven homers, 18 RBIs and 14 stolen bases for Milwaukee.
San Diego's Alexi Amarista (.247) could play center, Seattle's Kendrys Morales (18 RBIs) could play first base, and utility men Maicer Izturis (Toronto) and Sean Rodriguez (Tampa Bay) could play second and third.
All that's missing is a catcher.
Well, there's always Jeff Mathis.
On the eve of Friday's four-inning, 60-pitch simulated game, ace Jered Weaver, out since April 8 because of a broken left elbow, couldn't sleep. Really.
"That's how excited I was," Weaver said. "This is my love. When you aren't able to do it for five weeks, you get extra excited."
Weaver felt no pain in his left elbow. He probably will need at least two minor league starts to jump to 80 and then 100 pitches before being activated.
Reliever Sean Burnett (forearm irritation) will pitch for Class-A Inland Empire on Saturday and could be activated Tuesday. Reliever Kevin Jepsen (shoulder strain) will begin a minor league stint early next week.