In this tumultuous season where the Angels have performed at levels ranging from terrible to good, I've come to terms with the fact that this team is destined for mediocrity this season. Even in a performance surge where the wins just keep coming, the teams above them are doing the same. For perspective the Angels were 10 games back in the West near the end of June prior to winning 10 of 13. They remain in the same place in the standings in early July. At this point even winning doesn't seem to pay dividends.
Earlier this year when the Angels turned in a terrible April followed up by a lousy May I was advocating trading anyone on the roster with a pulse. I've come to term that's not going to happen. It's probably not in the best interests of the team anyway, and it looks like we're headed for a decent July and likely a near .500 record or slightly above by the trading deadline.
That doesn't mean the Angels are going to the playoffs, nor should they be buyers. But they shouldn't necessarily be sellers either. What they probably should do is trade pieces that are valuable to others that they can afford to get rid of, and hopefully fill another long term need in return.
Throughout the roster there are a variety of overpaid veterans who aren't going anywhere, and also some under-achievers who still provide more value on the roster than elsewhere, primarily on the pitching staff. Obviously Mike Trout stays here, but where then can the Angels afford to make a move to get what is most needed: Quality Pitching.
Mark Trumbo should be traded.
I didn't share this view at the beginning of the season because I figured he was the only person hitting in the lineup and he is dirt cheap. But really that's not looking big picture.
He's the player on the roster that makes the most sense to get rid of. He obviously has some upside for us. He hits lots of Home Runs. But along with his small salary the value add ends there.
His OPS hovers around .800 and sometimes below. He still doesn't draw many walks, despite his patience improving slightly this season. He's prone to horrible slumps. He can't play defense. He's also blocked at his natural position, and despite his spry youth is still outclassed by the lumbering Pujols with the glove. Watching him play outfield is a scary proposition.
He's a perfect trade candidate. Mammoth Power. Former All-Star. Easy on the Wallet.
He should be moved for bullpen help and another arm or two in the minors. Yeah the offense will take a hit, but it's probably not as bad as we might think on paper and if we get a decent reliever who we have under control past this year (think a Frieri) it's well worth doing. Conger needs a place to hit anyway. We call up Hester to backup the catching corps when both Conger and Ianetta fill the lineup.
Sure we could probably flip Scott Downs for a couple younger guys too and that's also not a bad idea. Not because we don't want a reliever (I'm advocating trading Trumbo for one after all) but because Downs is likely leaving after this season anyway. Trading the rental candidates is a no-brainer. But trading a young guy with big power takes a lot more guts. If you look at his numbers and realize how one-dimensional he is, especially on a team with Albert Pujols playing his position, it seems like the best trade plan going forward.