(Photo: Kim Klemen, USA Today Sports)
The Angels completed two more trades today, sending minor league shortstop Eric Stamets to the Indians for outfielder/designated hitter David Murphy and getting outfielder David DeJesus for minor league pitcher Eduar "The Missing 'D' is for David" Lopez. What should we think? I WILL TELL YOU.
1. David Murphy is an above average hitter. He'll take a walk every now and again, he'll hit a homerun somewhat less often, but not so infrequently that you'll gape in surprise when he does it, and he hits right-handers fairly well (.801 OPS for his career, .774 this season). He had one down year two seasons ago, but he was average last year and his OPS+ is 115 this season, playing as the left-handed hitter in a platoon. His wRC+, for those who prefer it, is 119 this season. Not too shabby. Those numbers are both 104 for his career, by the way.
David DeJesus is basically a one-year older version of Murphy as a hitter. He had been an above average hitter until this season, when he's been just a tad below. He's got some pop and some patience and will get you a decent at bat with a right-hander on the mound. His OPS+ is 96 for the season with a 100 wRC+. Those numbers are both 106 for his career.
ZiPS likes both of these guys to put up about league average hitting the rest of the way.
2. The Angels previous left fielders and designated hitters were not league average hitters. I would go further into this with statistics, but all that will incite is cringing and weeping. CJ Cron will probably be relegated to DHing against lefties, with the occasional spot start at first base. Matt Joyce will probably be relegated to watching baseball on television.
3. David Murphy is no longer a good outfielder. He used to be decent out there, but sometime in the past year and a half, he has turned into an inanimate carbon rod with a glove. Hopefully he was acquired to DH only because if not...well, in rod we trust.
The other David is still decent out in the field. He'll certainly be better than Matt Joyce in that he can A) catch the ball and B) generally avoid murdering our other fielders. Fangraphs and Baseball Reference both think he's been a tad above average in left field this season, so he shouldn't need a defensive replacement.
4. The prospects we gave up are not projected to be game-changers. I can't speak with too much authority on them, but I have it on good authority (Turk's Teeth) that neither is someone we can't afford to lose. Eric Stamets' ceiling was as a defensive utility player. Eduar Lopez is probably a bullpen guy who might eventually make it as a middle reliever, but with a slight chance to be more. Neither made any prospect lists that I'm aware of, which in the Angels' thin system is saying something. Stoneman didn't give up much here.
5. Did I mention that these guys are better than the guys we've been trotting out there? They are.
These are more non-exciting, but not useless moves. Alex Ochoa+, let's call them. Stonemangelo's Davids. Combined with the acquisition of Shane Victorino, we have cornered the market on outfielders who were once kinda good and might still be and shouldn't be bad enough to make you viscerally angry. Both of these guys will solidify the Angels' lineup down the stretch and hopefully in the postseason, although neither approaches the Big Splashes that the Royals and Blue Jays have been making. Given the Angels' prospect pool, we might need to be satisfied with that.
Let's hope these guys help the Angels trample their foes like mud in the streets and make them lose all heart. May they give us great victories!