MILWAUKEE -- This is a big stretch for Jerome Williams, the 31-year-old right-hander who's trying to make the Angels' upcoming tender decision a difficult one.
As a third-year arbitration-eligible player, Williams is naturally owed a raise from his 2013 salary of $2 million. That means that if the club decides not to tender Williams a contract in December, the Angels would save about $3 million in payroll commitments for 2014.
This is Williams' goal the rest of the way: "Finish the year strong, hopefully show people -- not only this team, but anybody -- that I can pitch and I can be a part of a rotation."
Lately, he's been moving in the right direction.
On Saturday, Williams pitched six innings of three-run ball to put his ERA at 2.93 over his last 15 1/3 innings, immediately following a nine-start stretch in which he compiled an 8.34 ERA. The Angels are weighing tender decisions for Williams and Tommy Hanson, who's trying to get right in the Minor Leagues and could make about $4.5 million in 2014.
Williams can be valuable to the Angels because of his tireless arm and his flexibility to pitch in relief and spot start. But he has to pitch more consistently. And for that to happen, it all comes down to keeping his effective sinker down in the strike zone.
"That's my main pitch," said Williams, 5-10 with a 4.68 ERA in 32 games (20 starts) this season. "That's what I have to get over for strikes, and then I can work off that."
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.