We are in the midst of the final few days before the MLB non-waiver trade deadline hits July 31. Lots of clubs still find themselves stuck in between being buyers and sellers, clogging up the market in the process. One team that has managed to stay beneath the fray has been the Los Angeles Angels. The Angels have already made a number of small but effective moves this week.
While keeping the ledger full with roster moves in terms of call-ups, disabled-list stints, etc., Los Angeles has also been busy dealing, per the team’s official website.
Just one day after the team placed third baseman David Freese on the DL, it traded for Conor Gillaspie, giving up cash in return. Two days after activating Gillaspie, L.A. acquired corner outfielder Shane Victorino for minor league veteran Josh Rutledge. The very next day, the Angels made moves for two more corner outfielders, David DeJesus and David Murphy, while also placing Matt Joyce on the seven-day DL.
None of the moves were game-changers. However, collectively, all the acquisitions do a nice job of giving manager Mike Scioscia and company some adequate options to play left field and rotate in other spots to sub the starters.
The team would be in trouble if it was going to rely on Victorino to be the everyday left fielder the rest of the summer and into the playoffs. However, platooning Victorino (career .876 OPS versus lefties) with Murphy (career .801 OPS versus righties) could give the Angels one acceptable outfielder in total. And that’s a good result for what the team gave up to acquire these pieces.
Los Angeles isn’t necessarily done on the trade front either. Here is the latest buzz surrounding the team.
Alden Gonzalez, Angels beat writer for MLB.com, wrote, “The Angels [are] still in the market for another bullpen arm, something similar to the [Jason] Grilli acquisition of last June.” Gonzalez feels confident they will acquire someone in that middle-relief vein to help the back-end guys out a bit.
Cesar Ramos is the only player in the entire bullpen who has made at least three appearances and has an ERA below 2.80. With many of the options being less than stellar and Vinnie Pestano having been sent down due to poor performance, the team could use another quality relief arm.
Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press tweeted that the Angels were interested in Detroit outfielder Yoenis Cespedes but couldn’t justify waiting until the Tigers made their decision on whether they would be buyers or sellers. Depending on the timing, that could have been the final straw that caused L.A. to instead turn to the small-pieces approach in the outfield.
And of course, Detroit settled on its decision Wednesday afternoon, announcing that its big names, David Price and Cespedes, would indeed be available in trades, according to ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark. It appears this saga may have simply moved too slowly for L.A. to benefit.
Jeff Fletcher of the O.C. Register notes Jered Weaver is scheduled to make a rehab start Thursday. This will be his first action since going on the disabled list more than a month ago. If Weaver returns to full health, it will give the team six legitimate starting pitchers. It remains to be seen if the team has given up on acquiring a big-name bat by the deadline, but having an extra starter is a strength few teams can deal from.
If this is all for L.A. on the trade front, the players the Angels have acquired aren’t flashy or fun. They could be effective though in solving the team’s main problem, which is generating offense from the left field and DH positions. Adding another piece in the pen would be nice as well as this club attempts to conquer the Houston Astros and the rest of the AL West through the dog days of summer.
As long as Mike Trout is fine, the rest is just gravy anyway!
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