Even if the Los Angeles Angels re-sign Zack Greinke, they'd have to fill at least one rotation spot after trading Ervin Santana and declining Dan Haren's option. On Friday, the Angels solved that problem, by acquiring Tommy Hanson from the Atlanta Braves in exchange for Jordan Walden.
Hanson was widely considered one of the league's top young pitchers a few years back, but has been plagued by shoulder injuries -- the absolute worst type of injury for a pitcher to have. Hanson posted a 2.6 fWAR in 2009 in just 127 and 2/3 innings, and posted a career-best fWAR of 4.4 in 2010.
It's been a bit downhill for Hanson since. Though his K/9 improved (9.83) in 2011, he spent time on the disabled list, and only pitched 130 innings. In 2012, Hanson threw 174 and 2/3 innings, with an ERA of 4.48, FIP of 4.57 and an fWAR of 1.0 -- and a K/9 that dropped all the way down to 8.3.
As Adam J. Morris put it over at Lone Star Ball, if Hanson is what he's been the last two years, he's simply a back-end starter with a little bit of potential.
If, however, Hanson can regain his health and get back to where he was in 2009 and 2010, then the Angels just made an excellent trade, and have positioned themselves to have one of the best rotations in the league -- especially if they can manage to re-sign Greinke.
Even if Hanson doesn't regain his form, it's an excellent trade for Los Angeles, and a risk certainly worth taking, since all they're wagering is Walden.