Hector Santiago is doing his part to turn this quiet Halos trade deadline into hot stove inferno. It seems there are many teams out there that are looking for some starting pitching, left-handed a bonus, and the Angels find themselves in the catbird seat. Santiago’s name being tossed about is nothing new, but with the non-waiver deadline date rapidly approaching, and word getting out that he has a few teams inquiring, I’m going to take the possibility of him being dealt a tad more seriously.
From various writers today, we’ve learned there is legitimate interest from teams like the Pirates and the Marlins, or even the Mariners; there’s also some speculation of other teams that might be good fits, given their positional needs and status as Buyers (Mets, Orioles and Mariners have been tossed out).
Santiago is under control through next season at a nice price of $5 million, and along with the value comes his performances, which can range from meh to lights out. If there’s a team out there making a push this season, and they need an arm, you could do way, way worse.
But what would a Santiago trade look like?
If I’m Billy Eppler, and I’m seeing all of these particular Santiago suitors, I’m going to focus on putting some young prospect talent into the disastrous Halos farm system. Getting even more specific, I’m looking at some infield help or pitching.
Here are a few guys that pop out to me, and while they also may be total pipe dreams, this is where I’d at least START the talks:
Okay, so maybe trading Hector Santiago for last year’s 32nd pick overall is a little crazy, and Eppler would get hung up on before he could even finish his pitch. But the surface level stuff is all there. The Pirates need MLB-ready pitching, and the Angels need to start thinking about third base in the future. Scouts love Hayes, touting top-of-the-order potential with his bat, and a great glove, on top of that.
If you factor in his recent back injury and trip to the DL, maybe it’s enough to get his perceived value down closer to that of Santiago’s. On the flip side, the Pirates aren’t exactly beating down the playoff doors right now, so their urgency may not be there.
Another Pirates player, this time a guy that’s way closer to MLB-ready. He’s got good defense, solid hitter and some speed on the base paths, too. He’s not quite the splash that Ke’Bryan Hayes would be, but he’s still around the #10 prospect in a pretty good Pirates farm system, so there’s some talent there worth exploring. Is he worth Santiago? Never hurts to ask!
The Royals are said to be hunting for arms to help their chances this year, and they could be one of the teams scouting Santiago in tonight’s game in Kansas City. Mills is a nice AAA arm who could be ready for the rotation as soon as next year. That’s the type of return you’d want from Santiago, I think, and this young righty has a nice fastball and even better location to work it with. Even better, he’s already had Tommy John surgery, so we can skip that part where we get excited about him, only to have him on the shelf a for a season or two.
The Marlins seem to be interested in Santiago, but for the purposes of daydreaming about Santiago trades, they don’t excite me as much as the aforementioned players/teams. That’s strictly because Miami has almost as weak of a farm system as the Angels do, but there’s still some worthy pieces...and honestly, they probably make the most sense.
Lilek was a second round pick last year, and is known for a fastball in the 94-95 range with an MLB-caliber breaking ball to go along with it. He’s still a ways out, not as close to the bigs as someone like Alec Mills, but the intrigue is there and this is probably more doable than the other trades I’ve proposed. He could give the team an injection of young, lefty pitching talent in the next season or two....something they don’t really have at the moment.
Now, this is just me spitballing here, you know? Kickin’ around the ol’ peanut, thinking of which teams are in the hunt for what Santiago offers, and what they could give in return. The one thing that throws a wrench into such prognosticating is this:
angels r getting calls on santiago and shoemaker, as you'd expect. they're listening if it helps immediately or near future— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) July 25, 2016
This speaks to Eppler and Co.’s vision to try and compete this year...the “It’s not in our DNA to rebuild” motif, that we heard of a few weeks back. Sometimes the best trades are really, really far down the road until you can see their value, but the Angels may be dead set on getting players that will help right now or next year, in which case I don’t expect their haul for someone like Santiago to be all that great. And at that point, why even trade him? They’re going to need arms next year AKA the near future.
For now, it seems the Angels are secretly still deciding if they want to punt next year or not. I suggest they figure that stuff out before doing any dealing. But the clock’s ticking, and until that deadline passes, we can have some fun/frustrating times trying to guess which way Eppler is going to go.
So, if you’re Billy Eppler and some of these teams mentioned here are calling about Hector, who comes to mind?