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How will the Angels fix the HUGE black hole in LF for 2017?

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Just when we thought 2015 was a bad year for our left fielders, 2016 has been the worst in franchise history

Everyone knew coming in to this season that one of our biggest needs for 2016 was a good left fielder.  The free agent market was huge, but most of those players came with equally huge salaries or having to give up a 1st round pick - neither of which Billy Eppler or Arte Moreno were prepared to do.

In the past 3 years, the Angels have used 31 different people in left field (28 unique players).  There were 9 in 2014, 12 in 2015, and 10 so far in 2016.  2014 was the last year we saw some halfway decent production from that corner spot when Josh Hamilton and Collin Cowgill saw the most games there.   Hamilton had a 1.2 WAR that year with a 112 wRC+ and a .745 OPS.  Cowgill had a 2.4 WAR, 91 wRC+, and a .651 OPS.

Since 2014, No other player has had more than a .6 WAR (most of them have been negative), and no one has had higher than a .626 OPS aside from David Murphy last year wtih a .681.

As a team, the 2016 left fielders have some of the worst stats in franchise history.  So far in 2016, left fielders have the worst AVG (.201), OBP (.267), and wRC+ (56).  The 2015 left fielders were the worst in offense rating (-40.6) and WAR (-1.5).  The 2016 team currently has a -32.8 offense rating for LF and a -1.3 WAR.

In fact, when you look at ANY team who has the WORST wRC+ in the history of baseball, the Angels are #2 in that position, second only to the 2004 Royals who only had a 46 wRC+.  You know the Royals team who had players like Dee Brown and Aaron Guiel who had the lion's share of time out in Left Field.  Oh, never heard of them?  Neither has most of the world.

So how do the Angels fix this colossal mess?

If you think any of this year's crop of left fielders is the solution, then I have a bridge to sell you.

  1. Gregorio Petit (will probably stick in infield if he stays with the team)
  2. Shane Robinson (who knows if he even makes the roster next year)
  3. Jefry Marte (he's not the answer in LF, maybe at 2B or 3B)
  4. Daniel Nava (gone)
  5. Ji-Man Choi (lol)
  6. Brendan Ryan (another lol)
  7. Nick Buss (He's almost 30 and finally getting his MLB break.  Nope)
  8. Craig Gentry (gone)
  9. Rafael Ortega (probably not, but the most potential in this crop)
  10. Todd Cunningham (lol again!)

So where does that leave us?

Minor Leagues:

Really not much there for 2017. Most of those guys are already in that list above.  The only other one who is not there is Cal Towey who hit .249/.351/.426 in Salt Lake this year.  He played half the season there after getting called up from AA.  We may even see him on the big league roster in the next week or so.  Is he the answer?  That's about as likely as Ortega being the answer.  I could see him or Ortega (they both bat left) being part of a platoon in 2017 if the team insists on another horrible idea again.

Trades:

Hah!  Who would we offer?  I'm gonna say this is unlikely unless we are trading for the likes of a Matt Joyce (which ironically we probably couldn't afford now).

Free Agents:

  • Colby Rasmus  (not having that great of a year, probably not worth the money.)
  • Angel Pagan  (he's already an Angel.  Hehe... Dude is 34 but has a .786 OPS.  Had a down year in 2015, so some question if he'll regress back to that for 2017)
  • Ian Desmond (Texas is going to want to try and keep him.  There was MVP talk for him earlier this year and he did a great job converting to the outfield.  He'd be an asset if the price was right)
  • Alejandro De Aza  (nothing to see here, move along)
  • Chris Coghlan  (whole lotta nope)
  • Michael Saunders (he's having a career year so he may regress.  Risky one)
  • Ryan Raburn (not great this year and he plays at Coors field.  Enough said)
  • Rickie Weeks  (He's still playing??)
  • Nolan Reimold (Hasn't played more than 104 games in one since since he debuted in 2009)
  • Marlon Byrd (he's having a decent year but is older than Pujols' real age.  No thanks)
  • Jeff Francoeur (ugh.  is that all?)
Free Agents (who play CF or RF):
  • Jon Jay (Padres probably won't try to resign him.  He's having a good year.  No power and not  huge speed.  Meh)
  • Rajai Davis (still good at 35.  But he's 35)
  • Austin Jackson  (hahahah.  nope.. Good luck Boras)
  • Michael Bourn  (ugh.  These free agents are frustrating)
  • Carlos Beltran (he should probably hang it up)
  • Jose Bautista (Joey bats will be looking for big money even though he ddin't earn it this year.  Someone will pay the man, but it won't be the Angels)
  • Mark Trumbo (been there done that and didn't even get a tshirt.  Plus he's going to be REALLY expensive and as many predicting, his second half has been not so great)
  • Josh Reddick  (He's ok I suppose and he's only 29)
  • Ichiro Suzuki  (I think he's like a 122 but I'd take him.  He'd be better than any left fielder we put out there in the last few years, but not sure with his age if he could play every day)
  • Peter Bourjos (also been there and done that.  Plus, he's not that good)
  • Matt Joyce  (yep that guy.  The one who has a .923 OPS in 112 game this year.  Asshole)
As you can see, the options are VERY thin.  There are a couple guys that could help us out though.  Who would you sign?  Would you stick with homegrown dudes?  Sign a big splash guy?  Get someone who's mid tier but can put up a 700 OPS?  Do we have hope for the LF spot at all???