Inbox: Who would start if Halos play WC Game?

Beat reporter Maria Guardado answers fans' questions

Inbox: Who would start if Halos play WC Game?

Who pitches in a winner-take-all Wild Card Game?
-- @OHLChampion2014 via Twitter

Garrett Richards appears to be the Angels' preferred starting option for a potential American League Wild Card Game. After missing five months with an irritated nerve in his right biceps, Richards came off the disabled list on Tuesday and threw 52 pitches over 3 1/3 innings against the A's. The Angels could have had him come back on normal rest and pitch Sunday in Seattle. Instead, they opted to use their off-days on Thursday and Monday to shift his start to next Tuesday, which puts him in line to pitch the Oct. 3 AL Wild Card Game. Barring any setbacks, Richards should be fully stretched out by then, giving the Halos a front-line pitcher to deploy in the one-game playoff.

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If the Angels don't make the postseason, did it really cost them that much to obtain Brandon Phillips and Justin Upton?
-- @joeflorkowski via Twitter

I think the acquisition cost for both was quite palatable for the Angels. Bringing in Phillips was a pretty low-risk move, as the Halos managed to get an upgrade at second base in exchange for journeyman catcher Tony Sanchez and minimal cash considerations. The trade for Upton cost the Angels one of their best pitching prospects, 23-year-old right-hander Grayson Long, but it seemed like an appropriate price for an impact bat. If Upton doesn't opt out, the Angels will be on the hook for the remaining $88.5 million on his contract, which runs through 2021. Still, the final year of the deal would be Upton's age-33 season, so I don't think you'd expect to see a huge drop in performance toward the end.

How did the Angels persuade Phillips to come to Anaheim?
-- @amelieinparis via Twitter

Phillips admitted that the decision to leave Atlanta was difficult, as he was raised in Stone Mountain, Ga., and relished the opportunity to play for his hometown Braves. He deliberated over the proposed trade for a few hours, but he said his family ultimately convinced him to waive his no-trade clause and approve the move to the Angels.

"My family made the decision for me," Phillips said.

Where does Yunel Escobar fit into the lineup when he returns?
-- @MJSteele57 via Twitter

I think it would make sense for Escobar to go back to batting leadoff for the Angels, which would allow Phillips to drop to more of a run-producing spot, especially since he has more power than Escobar. The Phillips-Mike Trout-Upton-Albert Pujols grouping had been working well, though, so we'll see if manager Mike Scioscia will be willing to tinker with it to accommodate Escobar.

Any chance Michael Hermosillo or Jaime Barria come up in September? If not, when is their ETA?
-- @nmbaseball52 via Twitter

I don't expect Hermosillo or Barria to be brought up in September, as neither of them are on the 40-man roster and the Angels already have 36 active players. They're not far off from the Majors, though. Hermosillo and Barria both made the climb from Class A Advanced Inland Empire to Triple-A Salt Lake this season, so I think you could see them in Anaheim as early as 2018.

Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.