With the Angels sending damaged goods LHP Christian Friedrich back to the Rockies last week, thus freeing up a spot on the 40 man roster, it was thought by some of the Halos faithful that a move could be on the horizon to round things out. Best case scenario, it'd be for one of the remaining free agent OFs who could make an impact in the Angels' lineup(e.g Austin Jackson, Dexter Fowler), but a threeway trade, like what almost went down yesterday, was probably far from anybody's minds.
Here was the deal, first reported by Jon Heyman: The Blue Jays would get OF Jay Bruce from the Reds, the Angels get OF Michael Saunders from the Blue Jays, and the Reds get prospects from the Angels and Blue Jays(turns out, you can have a farm ranked last and made fun of to high heaven, but still have pieces that other teams want. I'm not complaining.)
Of course, this is what WOULD HAVE happened, had the medical evaluation of an unknown Toronto minor league player involved in the trade been up to snuff. Apparently, this thing cocked and ready for the GMs to pull the trigger officially, but late last night the deal lost momentum and it was all because of a bad physical.
What would the Angels have received in the form of Michael Saunders?
Saunders has had a rough road in the MLB the past few years, and could turn out to be a great steal for the Angels...if he can stay healthy. He was toiling away in Seattle, put up ok numbers, but never broke out of the confines of Safeco, and had some assorted injuries keep him off the field at various times. Still, there was some talent there, and the Blue Jays saw that, as they traded J.A. Happ away and brought Saunders into Toronto in the winter of 2014. Then, disaster struck. A few days before 2015 camp started, Saunders tripped on a sprinkler head while shagging fly balls, tearing the heck out of his meniscus and requiring surgery. He was slated to be out til about All Star Break, but came back around late April. However, he was only back on the field for a few weeks before a bone bruise would end his season with him barely getting a whiff of leather(only 36 PA in 2015).
He's back for vengeance, though(again). He's apparently ready to rock and roll, and a healthy Michael Saunders could have possibly been an upgrade over Daniel Nava in the Angels' much-bemoaned LF platoon. It all depended on his health, though, but Billy Eppler almost got him for who knows what. Eppler, by the way, had his eye on Saunders back when he was an assistant for the Yankees...just like he had his eye on Andrelton Simmons when he was working for New York.
What would the Angels have given up for Saunders? Guess we'll never know...Scout.com's Taylor Blake Ward talked to scouts last night and said Jake Jewell was a name that popped up a lot(although he wasn't confirming or denying that Jewell was the actual trade piece involved). The takeaway is this: Billy Eppler is still making moves, and when he wants someone, he is going to do his damnedest to get them. And he almost got a usable 2016 piece for one of the guys from the Angels' last-ranked farm system.
That is IF Saunders stayed healthy. But you know who IS healthy? Daniel Nava and Craig Gentry. So once again, we're off of hot stove alert, and back to our LF platoon reality. Nothing to see here, move along.