Hello Halos Heaven community. This will be my inceptual fan post, and I can’t think of a better way to start it than by procrastinating on my homework and explaining how I think the off-season will play out for my favorite sport team. I will stick within the parameters set forth in the previous postings. I will be working within a budget of 28.5 MM. All trades are to be as realistic and fair as possible. Despite my best efforts, I am sure some will not view the trades as realistic. If there are any other suggestions, you know where to make your voices heard. I would ask that you be gentle, but seeing as how this is the internet, feel free to go to town in the comment section. I will look forward to reading all of your thoughts. Without further ado…
Disney90’s Offseason Priorities:
1. Starting Pitching
JC Ramirez - ~ $1.9
Matt Shoemaker- ~ $4.3
Total: ~ $6.2 MM saved
Starting Pitcher: Sonny Gray (NYY)
2019 Arbitration Salary (Estimated): $9.1 MM
Much digital ink has been spilled covering the pros and cons of a Sonny Gray trade. I will not elaborate much further. Basically, he pitched poorly at home but much better away and the Yankees want to cut their losses and free up the financial space for something new and shiny.
Home: ERA: 6.98, HR: 11, IP: 59.1, BB: 35, SO: 45, AVG: .318, WHIP: 1.90, GO/AO: 1.31
Away: ERA: 3.17, HR: 3, IP: 71.0, BB: 22, SO: 78, AVG: .226, WHIP: 1.15, GO/AO: 1.52
Many teams are hoping to acquire Gray at a discount, but the Angels have not been reported as one of the suitors. However, I believe Gray’s salary, youth, history, and lack of long-term commitment should not be overlooked.
Jesus Castillo + Trent Deveaux for Sonny Gray (NYY)
Starting Pitcher: Julio Teheran (ATL)
2019 Salary: $11 MM
One of the reported desires by the front office early this ear was a need for pitchers who can consistently make starts and throw some quality innings. Enter Julio Teheran. Although he has an inconsistent track record of success, what has been known is his ability to consistently make his starts. Since he became a full time started in 2013, he has made no less than 30 starts or thrown for no less than 175.2 innings (the latter number coming this past year). He is also only 27(!) and has one year and $11 MM left on his contract with a team option for $12 MM and a $1 MM buyout. However, he is a bit of a pariah in Atlanta due to the inconsistencies in performance. He falters one year only to rebound the next and was shelled in 2017 at home. However, he seemed to have righted the ship a bit in 2018. The Braves have hinted at a willingness to move him to plug other needs. Enter the Angels by offering a salary swap as well as a RP who will surely make headlines in Atlanta.
Cam Bedrosian + Kole Calhoun for Julio Teheran + Jasseel De La Cruz (ATL)
~1.5 MM saved.
Cam’s father, Steve, pitched for many years in Atlanta. Cam is also from Georgia so this seems like a fun idea on several levels. As far as Kole is concerned, he had by far his worst year, but still managed to put up a 0.7 WAR and play superb defense in RF. He has never had a WAR less than 2.0 since becoming a full-time player and would fill the RF needs of the Braves without them committing too many years or dollars to a FA such as Brantley or Cutch. De La Cruz is an upside SP in the braves system who can throw 95-96 MPH but lacks consistency and command potential is there for a SP or RP. Plus, he has a 70-grade name.
Clear some payroll. Get a RP: Travis Lakins (BOS)
2019 Salary: League Min approx. 0.555 MM
In order to make the necessary additions later, I need to clear some payroll. I approach Boston with a package of Zach Cozart to act as their 2nd baseman/SS coverage and Blake Parker. Boston is in the market for a middle infielder and RP. Coming off their World Series win, they will likely not become misers. However, they will likely understand the need to revamp their line-up with some cost-effective moves.
Blake Parker + Zack Cozart + 2.67 MM for Durbin Feltman + Travis Lakins (BOS)
~13 MM saved
This is the trade with which I had the most difficult time. It is certainly within the ballpark, but the inclusion of Feltman may be too much on Bostons part. However, by paying down 2.67 MM this year (and next year as well), the Red Sox will be taking on 13 MM for a buy-low MI and capable set-up RP for the next year. The Angels clear some payroll and get Lakins (who had a 2.32 ERA and 3.16 SO/W ratio in 54.1 IP between AA and AAA. He projects as a middle to back of-the-bullpen arm. Feltman appears to have the higher ceiling according to MLB.com. A 2018 3rd round pick, Feltman pitched to a 1.93 ERA and 7.2 SO/W ration in 23.1 IP. He ended the season in high A ball.
Parker accumulated a 2.90 ER, 10.5K/9, 2.4 BB/9 and 22 saves in 133.2 IP over the last two years. That kind of production should garner some interest and bring back at least one well regarded prospect. However, his inclusion is necessary to move Cozart’s remaining salary. Much has been written about Cozart’s down year (which was closer to his career numbers, but I digress). If I were Billy, I would be looking for ways to move out from under as much of his contract as possible. As far as 3rd base is concerned, there are other options waiting in the minors, yes, but I will address the hole at 3rd in the next section.
Third Baseman: Jedd Gyorko (STL)
2019 Salary: $8 MM
The Cardinal have a plethora of infielders, but they are said to be looking for an upgrade at 3rd to allow Carpenter to remain at 1st. Their search involves some big names including Donaldson and Machado (Note: As I was writing this, Donaldson signed with the Braves, so if they miss out on Machado or another significant IF then Gyorko may not be moved). Gyoko doesn’t elicit excitement, but he is a very capable 3rd basemen who also saw time at 2nd, SS, 1st, and even pitched 1 inning. He finished last season with a 2.0 WAR and his OBP over the last two years averages out to about 0.343. Eppler has stated that he wants to increase the overall OBP of the team and Gyorko is a step above Cozart and our other in-house options. He is also slated to make $13 MM ($5 M covered by the Padres) so STL may want the extra payroll space to offer up to a bigger name FA. He also has a club option for 2020 for $13 MM with a $1 MM buyout. The Cardinals are looking for RP and, ideally, a LHRP. I considered Alvarez, but I had already traded away two of our more heavily utilized RP and didn’t feel comfortable trading him. Therefore, I propose the following:
Joe Gatto + Hector Yan for Jedd Gyorko (STL)
Gatto has not gotten it together as a SP, but, as MLB.com explains his sinker-curve could look good coming out of the BP. Plus his ground-ball tendencies would work well in the hitter-friendly confines of Busch Stadium. It is likely that Gyorko has enjoyed his time playing at home with the Cardinals as his overall numbers have improved after moving from the confines of Petco Park in San Diego. However, he would be a serviceable-good stopgap in order to evaluate our other inhouse IF candidates or hold out until next years crop of FA when Arenado, Rendon, and Bogarts are all available.
MLB FA signings:
Yasmani Grandal- 4/60 MM
Besides Briceno, the Angels are rather weak at the catcher position. They do not have any high-end catching prospects on the way, there are not any overly desirable names in next years market, and the price for Realmuto is going to be extravagant. Grandal brings some of the best pitching framing skills from last season and overall is a capable defender able to play most games. Post season performance may have hampered his earnings a bit, but not my much. Besides, we need to get to the post season o see if he gets the yips when the pressure is on. Although not a contact hitter, the switch-hitting catcher he has posted at least 20 HR a season and can get on base at an above average clip – not just above average for catchers mind you. Although he come with a qualifying offer attached, I think it is worth it to stabilize the catching position for the next 4 years. Teaming him up with Briceno should make for quite the tandem. Here are some numbers to think about:
Grandal (2018) vs. RHP: .252/.351/.492/.844, 20 HR in 333 AB.
Briceno (2018) vs. LHP: .288/.351/.577/.928, 5 HR in 52 AB.
Cameron Maybin - 1/3
Familiar face and pure depth move to act as the 4th OF and ½ of the future platoon in RF. Yes, I said platoon which is basically a swear words around here. But, with Kole gone and me running out of money, I had to make do. For his part, Maybin can still run the bases well, steal if needed, and play some solid defense in all 3 OF spots. He isn’t one for OBP, but he will be cheap and can still bring back WAR:Dollar value.
Jon Jay - 1/2
The other half of the platoon in RF. Jay is plain oatmeal. You won’t get excited about it, but it’s good for you, and can play the outfield… wait. Jay does not have any one spectacular skill, but he will continue to get work because of his ability to make contact with the ball and get on base. That’s all we need from him and for $2 MM, his career slash of .285/.352/.729 (or anything close to that) will be welcome.
Derek Dietrich- 2/9
Somewhat surprisingly the Marlins designated Dietrich instead of paying him his anticipated $4.8 MM salary. Even more surprising was that no one claimed him (including the real Billy Eppler). This means his market is probably not as robust as once thought as he doesn’t play any one position very well. That said, a left-handed batter capable of moving all around the IF and into left if needed carries value. That’s why I will be signing him to a 2-year deal to buy out his arbitration years with $4 MM this year and $5 MM the next.
Kelvin Herrera - 3/21
As you may have considered, we have emptied out BP without really adding much to it. Well, it’s not really Eppler’ style to spend big on relievers. I think that will be the case this year as well, except for one player. Eppler tried to get Herrera from the Royals mid-season but was beaten out by the Nats. Now, Herrera is coming off surgery on his foot, his hard-hit contact rate increased this year, and is considered to sign a 1-year deal to try and get back into the FA market. He is young enough so it’s a fair plan. However, He was poised to bring in one of the largest contracts for a RP not named Kimbral this winter. It’s certainly possible he will take a 1-year $8 MM contract as per MLTR, but I’m hoping he takes guaranteed money and I get value from a true, in-prime potential closer despite the potential risks.
Mike Trout – 13/455 overrides current deal (3 opt outs after 4, 6, 9 years)
C’mon. I had to do something exciting with this posting. If I am Billy Eppler, I am focused on making sure Trout understands we are committed to winning and that we are entirely ready to give him the largest contract in MLB history. I did not want to include opt outs, but I think this is the only way an extension would get done. Ideally Trout will be an Angels for the rest of his career, but I’m sure he and his agent will want to leave the door open if he feels the Angels are no longer competitive. I would talk on and on about how best to get his name and brand out in the public more (if that is what he wants), build (another) ball park for his hometown, and buy him his own weather station. Whatever it takes Mike!
~ 32 MM on FA spending
~ 2.6 MM on trades
= 145 (payroll) + 34.6 (net costs FA/Trades) – 6.2 MM (released) = 28.4 MM total
= 173.4 MM roster
2019 Rotation (no order):
Depth: (Peña, Tropeano, Canning, Suarez, Sandoval)
Bullpen: Buttrey, Robles, Alvarez, Anderson, Cole, Ramirez, Lakins, Herrera
Bench: Briceño, Jay/Maybin, Dietrich
As outlined, I have stayed within the confines of the $28.5 MM budget and did not sacrifice any notable prospects to fill out the ranks. I also did not hamper us with overly burdensome contracts that could constrain us in the future. As constructed, I do not think this is a World Series or bust club. But I do think with the infusion of SP who can actually pitch a full season, along with reinforcements on the minors, we can make a Wild Card run. I look forward to hearing your thoughts.
Notes: I tried to figure out ways to keep Shoemaker and considered using him in the trade for Gyoko to balance salary, but I did not think the Cardinals would go for a deal such as that. I also toyed around with using our prospect depth to swing a trade for Realmuto or even Fulmer. For the latter, I considered Marsh, Thaiss/Jones, Aquino, and Pena. However, If I were Detroit, I would feel there are better options out there. Plus, I didn’t want to give up both Thaiss and Jones or include Barria in a deal as trying to fill the rotation with the budget constraints simply did not add up.