The Angels find themselves in perhaps one of the worst positions going into the trade deadline. Do you buy, sell, or hold firm? It sure helps when your season is more clear - ie., you are the Astros who know you are playoff bound barring a disaster, or you are the Padres who know there is not a snowball’s chance in hell you make the playoffs.
Most likely, the AL West belongs to the Astros and they could conceivably run the table all the way into the post season. But what about the Wild Card? Do the Angels have a shot and should they try? You really ALWAYS want to try if you think you can make it into the post season. At the time of this writing, the Angels are 1 game back in the wild card hunt and are tied with the Orioles, Royals, Rangers, and Blue Jays. They are chasing the Twins and Rays for that second wild card spot.
Of course, a lot can happen in the coming months - and it will. But where does this put the Angels with July right around the corner?
Stay and fight
Mike Trout is coming back and will greatly help reinforce this game as early as mid July. It’s hard not to get excited about a team playing .500 ball WITHOUT the best player in baseball. What happens when he comes back? Well, sadly, it will be hard to find playing time for Eric Young Jr. whom Scioscia seems dead set on playing ONLY in the outfield. He probably won’t get regular at bats and he’s really helped keep this team afloat as of late.
Tyler Skaggs could also be back around the All Star Break and could give a big boost to the rotation. Assuming he doesn’t throw one game and land back on the DL. Jaded? Yes I am.
Garrett Richards could conceivably come back and help this team late in a playoff run but I’m not holding my breath and he hasn’t even started throwing yet.
Andrew Bailey and Huston Street could return as well, but the bullpen has been a bright spot and I’m not sure how much (if any) they would really bolster it.
Doug Fister may be joining the roster any day now, but will he help? Is he that much better than the guys currently in the rotation?
Is this enough to make a deep playoff run? Not highly likely, but stranger things have happened.
Bring in Reinforcements
This one is pretty tricky. It’s also not clear who will be available this trade season. Who do the Angels get? Second baseman? Starting pitching? Who do they give up? Conceivably, the Angels could give up a bullpen piece or two but short of throwing in some top prospects, they wouldn’t get a whole lot in return.
I would say that Eppler is pretty unlikely to find any reinforcements worth bringing in and finding any players he’s be willing to give up for them.
Sell High / Rebuild and Compete
Personally, this is the option I would like to see. I think there are some guys Eppler could try to move and get back some minor league prospects for a system desperately in need of them. He could do this without sending the team into a free fall and still win 80 games or so. Who could he move?
As much as many of us would hate to see him go, he can fill a valuable role on a playoff bound team in need of a little bullpen help. He’s a free agent after this year so comes as a rental but he could fetch a worthwhile minor league prospect with how well he is pitching. Now that Cam Bedrosian is back and Keynan Middleton is maturing, the need for Norris lessens dramatically.
Escobar isn’t having his best season (for him) and there never has seemed to be much of a market for him, but his contract is up and someone has to need a third baseman right? Just don’t tell them that he can’t throw to first. No one needs to know that. One problem here is who plays third unless you slot Valbuena in there full time.
Hahah. Kidding. We’d have to pay to make him go away. Good news is that his contract is up this year so he’s not doing the Angels OR himself any favors with his lack of performing this season.
Sort of the same boat as Bud Norris and with a contract expiring this year. I’m not sure you get much for him though as the premium is more on guys who can close - unless you sell him as a closer but the guy has 2 saves in his entire career.
Cron is arbitration eligible after this season and under team control through 2020 but the Angels don’t seem all that set on him. He’s far from a top ranked first baseman, but the control for 3 more seasons is helpful. He wouldn’t fetch any spectacular though.
Parker could even get a better piece that Norris. It helps that he’s under team control for 3 more season and isn’t just a short term rental. I would hate to see him go, but it would depend on the return.
Eric Young Jr.
How about that. EYJ has made himself a valuable trade candidate in a short about of time. However, he’s 32 years old, has only played one full big league season (2013), and probably doesn’t have much of a market.
There has to be a market for Maybin out there. Dude has been on fire and can play all three outfield positions. What team wouldn’t want a spark plug like this who can steal bases like nobody’s business as well? I know, the Angels just got a capable left fielder but his contact is up this year and EYJ has made it pretty clear that he could take over full time in left field if Maybin gets moved for a prospect.
If you are Billy Eppler, of COURSE you are listening to offers on anyone not named Mike Trout. Even Nolasco, Street, Chavez, Revere, and Pennington are fair game and free agents after this season but you don’t get a can’t miss AAA prospect for any of those dudes.
What would you do if you were the Angels GM?
This poll is closed
Sell everything not bolted down
Trade prospects for immediate help
Other (explain below)