Hey, this could be a fun experiment, right? Let’s rank our Angels by trade value right before the start of the offseason. Because if there’s anything we’ve learned from this front office, it’s that they are willing to take on risk in trades to win games at the big league level.
Note: This list only includes players that are on the Angels roster.
1. Mike Trout
Best player in the league on an affordable contract. Greatest player of this generation. It would take a good team dismantling itself just to make Eppler think about it, which isn’t happening anytime soon. So no worries, Angels fans, he’s not being traded any time soon.
2. Andrelton Simmons
He’s very cheap relative to his production and controllable for four more seasons. A joy to watch and an evolving hitter, Andrelton has the best baseball instincts I’ve ever seen on a baseball diamond. He’s adept at making contact and putting the ball in play, which is a dying skill in this era...making other GMs want him even more.
3. Kole Calhoun
Calhoun aimed on getting on base more this season and did just that, boosting his walk percentage while lowering his strikeout percentage. He’s a perennial Gold Glove candidate in right field and hit 18 HR’s this year despite playing with a core muscle injury for a significant amount of time. He has three years of team control, but they won’t come cheap considering he was a Super Two last year. For one of the most underrated players in the game, though, he’s well worth the price.
4. Matt Shoemaker
Shoemaker put together a terrific 2016 en route to winning the Angels Pitcher of the Year award and being the ace of the rotation. Despite low run support Shoey turned in a 3.88 ERA (and a 3.52 FIP), which is more reflective of his April struggles than his May, June, and August successes. Though he is past his “prime”, he has rediscovered how to pitch, has low major league innings on his arm, and is still controllable for the next five years. Even though his head injury put an abrupt end to a good season, he still has high value as a durable, pre-arbitration #3 pitcher.
5. C.J. Cron
Cron improved his plate discipline, contact, and power to slash .278/.325/.467. Though he got injured several times during the season, he still improved his power numbers while increasing his walk rate, something which he hadn’t proven he could do before. Cron looks like a solid first baseman. Despite his mediocre defense and injury risk, he is controllable for at least four more seasons and figures to improve, making him a valuable commodity around the league.
6. Cam Bedrosian
Bedrosian is this high because he performed extremely well this year and is under team control for at least five more seasons. He pitched to a 1.12 ERA and a 2.13 FIP with an incredible breaking ball. He does have his injury concerns, having Tommy John surgery in the past and a blood clot injury knocking him out this season.
But given the haul for relievers in recent memory - the best comparison is the Ken Giles deal, which netted the Phillies a solid starter (Vincent Velasquez), a former #1 pick (Mark Appel), and multiple future SP prospects (Thomas Eshelman, Harold Arauz) - I wouldn’t be surprised if the Angels dealt Bedrosian this winter should they receive a Giles-like return. I love Cam and I’m glad he’s figured it out, but would I turn down multiple starters with significant team control? Not at all.
7. Garrett Richards
He’s coming back next season! A UCL tear prematurely ended his 2016, but thanks to the miracles of modern medicine (stem cell surgery) he’ll be in the rotation. He says he feels good, but how could anyone know? Richards has major valid injury concerns which lowers his trade value. Even though he’s been a top of the line pitcher in past years, general managers would only pull the trigger if they were buying low on him. He is controllable for this season and next. He won’t be traded, so let’s hope he bounces back for us.
8. Tyler Skaggs
Skaggs showed promise in his return from TJ surgery, compiling a 4.17 ERA in 10 starts. Despite his injuries, he has shown promise and is still in his pre-arbitration years, making him cheap and controllable. At present, he looks like a middle of the rotation starter if his arm holds up the entire year. Oh, and he has time on his side: he’ll enter his age-25 season next year.
9. Ricky Nolasco
Nolasco’s improvements since becoming an Angel have been well documented. He pitched well, having a 3.21 ERA as an Angel. He probably won’t be that good over an entire season, but he will definitely be a middle of the rotation starter, providing quality and quantity innings for the team. He’s under contract next year for $8M (the cap hit is still $12M, though) and he has a 2018 team option for $13M. When he was acquired, it was a foregone conclusion that the Angels would decline this.
If Nolasco has a capable season next year, the Angels could pick up the option and look to trade him for prospects - or trade him at the 2017 deadline.
10. Andrew Heaney
Man, the injury bug strikes again...Heaney pitched very well in his first season but an injury to his pitching ligament sidelined him this year and will sideline him for most of 2017. The good news is that Heaney is young and will rebound from injury. The bad news is that each player is affected differently by a major injury, and there’s major risk that GM’s must factor in before making a trade.
11. Yunel Escobar
His inside-out contact approach to hitting and doubles power plays well at Angel Stadium. He is terrific at drawing walks but he is a bad baserunner and often looks more like a little league third baseman than a major league one. He’s got a $7M option that will surely be picked up, but his tenure with the Angels could be over if Marte plays himself into the lineup.
12. Jefry Marte
It’s unclear whether his power rates and isolated power is sustainable, but Marte played very well in the second half. He’s a candidate for increased playing time, and he’s under team control for the next six years! We could be seeing a lot more Marte Partays, eh?
13. Alex Meyer
It’s unclear whether Meyer will remain in the rotation, but one thing is sure: he has an electric arm. He carries major risk and a general manager would need a pitching coach to work with him on his delivery to unlock his potential. He’s also under control for six more years and pitched respectably this year, so he does have trade value.
14. Nick Tropeano
Tropeano will be coming off a TJ surgery. Unlike Heaney, he has less talent and ability to execute on the mound, evidenced by his high pitch counts and low innings pitched per start this year. Though he still has time on his side, he is likely to be a back of the rotation starter.
15. Jett Bandy/Carlos Perez
A fierce defensive catching duo! Perez had a bad year on the offensive end, but he’s bound to bounce back from the Mendoza line. Bandy can’t seem to draw a walk and expands the zone often. Regardless, they are under club control and are terrific defensive options for interested teams.
16. All those relievers and utility players
Jose Alvarez is the solid, low-profile reliever that nobody seems to talk about. Deolis Guerra and JC Ramirez both looked really good and really bad for stretches of the season, and quite frankly I’m not entirely sure what to make of it.
Cliff Pennington is nothing more than a defensive replacement at this point, Gregorio Petit is only serviceable for a 1-2 week stretch, and Cowart is a darn good utility infielder! A far cry from what we would have liked to have, but it’s still better than Brandon Wood...too soon?
17. Huston Street/Albert Pujols
Welp. These guys have negative trade value because we’d have to pay a chunk of their salary just to get rid of them. Want to get a good prospect or two? Pay their entire salary. Yikes! Let’s all
hope pray Street can bounce back from his nightmare 2016 season and Albert can stay healthy and produce for the rest of his Angels career. Because, you know, endorsements...
I wouldn’t be surprised to see Escobar being traded, but I don’t think there will be anything crazy like the Simmons trade last offseason. But, knowing the opportunistic Eppler, nothing can surprise me anymore.