Richards, who has been sidelined with an irritated nerve in his right biceps, is also improving, though it's unclear if he'll be ready in time to pitch again this season. Even if he doesn't, Richards is under club control through the 2018 season, so it's unlikely the Angels would let him go. Richards will earn $6.85 million this season and will be due a raise this winter in his final year of arbitration, but even that figure promises to be lower than what a pitcher of his caliber would command on the open market. Though injuries have limited him to 39 1/3 innings over the last two years, I expect Richards to still be with the Angels next year.
Is a Wild Card berth a viable goal? @kidceej via Twitter
For now, yes. Given the sizeable lead the Astros have amassed in the American League West, the Angels' only real path to the playoffs would be through a Wild Card berth, and they're only three games behind the Rays for the second spot right now. Still, the Angels are currently viewed as postseason longshots, with a 13.9 percent chance of making the playoffs, according to Fangraphs. The Yankees, Rays, Rangers and Royals all have better playoff odds right now and figure to be the Halos' primary competition in the Wild Card race.
The next two and a half weeks will be crucial, but the Angels will have one major advantage over everyone else, which is that Mike Trout is set to come off the disabled list.
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Any chance the Angels trade Cameron Maybin to clear room for Mike Trout on the roster and play Ben Revere and Eric Young Jr. in left field? @nmbaseball52 via Twitter
It's a possibility, but I think the timing is a little tricky. The postseason landscape in the AL is pretty murky right now, meaning most teams will wait until the last minute to define their position at the July 31 Non-waiver Trade Deadline. Trout is scheduled to return, which means the Angels will likely be forced to make a difficult roster decision between Revere and Young before getting a full sense of Maybin's potential trade market. It'll be interesting to see what the Angels decide to do.
Any chance on seeing Nate Smith in the Majors this year? akallday22 via Twitter
Yes, once he's healthy. Smith has made only one start for Triple-A Salt Lake this season due to injury, but he's pitched well in three rehab starts in the Arizona League, tossing 9 1/3 scoreless innings with two walks and 10 strikeouts. He should be a prime candidate for a callup once he's active and a little more stretched out.