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The Angels have a strong case to keep all their players, rentals included

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In the middle of an inconsistent, injury-marred season the Angels still find themselves in the mix for a wild-card spot.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim v Minnesota Twins Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

For the better part of 2017, this Angels squad has found themselves smack dab in the middle of the competition, currently sitting at a 49-51 record. With the trade deadline eight days away, that means the front office faces a conundrum: buy, sell, or both?

Here is the case for the team to not necessarily be buyers, but to not sell.

A mediocre second-tier in the AL

The wild-card picture looks like this, as of right now.

The Angels are 3.5 games out of the first wild card, which is quite doable considering they have 62 games remaining. Save for the Yankees, none of these teams are significantly more talented than the Angels and/or will add a game-changing player at the deadline.

It’s a buyer’s market

The aforementioned Martinez is the 8th best hitter by wRC+ from 2014-2017 (min. 1500 PA). Half a season of him returned Dawel Lugo, the 8th ranked DBacks prospect (per BA) in one of the weakest systems in all of MLB. On the other hand, the price paid for Jose Quintana was the 5th ranked prospect in all of MLB, Eloy Jimenez, plus others.

What does this mean for the Angels? Cameron Maybin and Yunel Escobar would return little to nothing of value, and good starting pitching would require the team to gut the farm system they have worked so diligently to accumulate.

Their relievers wouldn’t return much, either. Although Bud Norris, David Hernandez, and Yusmeiro Petit are all pitching well for the Halos, none of them have the consistent track record or the years of control that are highly coveted by other clubs. Furthermore, Maybin’s injury depresses the value he did have, on top of his recent woes at the plate.

The only thing that would be achieved in trading off most of these players would be dumping salary and acquiring low ceiling, C-grade prospects that have a menial chance of making the majors, and slightly more if packaged. What’s the point of that, really?

This team is getting healthier

Tyler Skaggs likely needs to make two more rehab starts at Salt Lake, and Andrew Heaney’s last outing was 4 innings of work. He likely needs three more starts to get his pitch count higher. Garrett Richards, for what it’s worth, has begun playing catch, though the date of his return is unpredictable, due to the nature of nerve issues. The same goes for Matt Shoemaker. If the Angels can get two of these starters healthy for the stretch run, then they’ll be in excellent shape to add to Alex Meyer, JC Ramirez, and Parker Bridwell. Jesse Chavez and/or Nolasco are both capable of providing innings in long relief, if desired.

On the relief side, Huston Street and Andrew Bailey have both been decent when on the field, and could further deepen the bullpen.

Maybin’s return will provide a much-needed boost as well, and we could see a Kaleb Cowart callup to play second base as well.

The only thing worse in baseball than being stuck in the middle is being a seller with nothing to sell. This past series with the Red Sox has saved them from that scenario, with an upcoming 3-game set versus the Indians likely deciding the team’s deadline direction.

What do you think?