The Los Angeles Angels are currently in the cellar of the American League West with a 45-55 record. It’s clear that this year is a wash, despite the team’s recent hot streak. The team needs to rebuild, and it must do so through trades.
The Angels have one of the weakest farm systems in the league, so they don’t have much internal talent to call up the way the Chicago Cubs or Houston Astros do. Without any assets to trade there is no way the Angels will be buyers. They will likely either stand pat or become sellers.
With the August 1 trade deadline quickly approaching this Monday, the Angels — who were not planning on being big sellers — are suddenly taking calls surrounding several players.
In such a thin market for starting pitching, they should be able to bring in a big haul for Shoemaker, who is having his best season since he placed second in the A.L. Rookie of the year voting in 2014. He’s put up a respectable 3.99 ERA and has a strikeout rate of 9.2 per nine innings. He would be one of the better pitchers on the market IF the Angels try to trade him.
Shoemaker is not only good, he’s cheap — he’s making $530,000 in 2016. While he is arbitration eligible, he won’t be a free agent until 2021. That makes a lot of teams interested, but it also gives the Angels a reason to keep him as a veteran presence as they start to rebuild.
It seems unlikely he’ll be traded unless a team comes up with a perfect offer. Apparently the team wants a player, or players, who will impact the team immediately or in the very “near future.”
Hector Santiago is another name being thrown around this week in Anaheim. The left-handed starter is having the worst year of his six-year career; however, the 28-year-old was an All-Star last season. Moreover, while he is putting up the worst numbers of his career, they aren’t terrible. His ERA is under 5.00 and he had a positive WAR of 0.9. It could be a lot worse, and for a lot of pitchers it is.
The other plus for teams looking for a starter is that Santiago is making just $5 million this season. Although he is eligible for arbitration, he wouldn’t be a rental — he won’t be a free agent until 2018. Teams who are reportedly interested include the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Miami Marlins. The Marlins have conducted the most recent talks with the Angels regarding Santiago.
A couple Angel relievers are also popular trade targets for contending teams: set-up man veteran Joe Smith and closer Huston Street. At 32, Smith is currently having the worst season in his 10-year big league career. He joined the Angels in 2014 and had the best year of his career, posting a 1.81 ERA over 74 1/3 innings pitched. He’s capable of being much better than the 4.08 ERA he’s put up this season. The New York Mets are supposedly interested in trading for Smith.
Similarly, Street, who was once one of the best closers in the game, is having the worst season of his career with an ERA of 4.71 compared to his career ERA of 2.91. Part of this could be due to his stint on the disabled list this year with an oblique strain. He’s healthy now, however.
Street has 364 career saves in 385 save opportunities, meaning he’s converted saves at a rate of 95 percent. He was the A.L. Rookie of the Year with the Oakland Athletics in 2005; has been an All-Star; and saved 40 games last season.
The San Francisco Giants are interested in Street, but the Angels would likely have to eat a big part of Street’s contract. He’s signed through 2017 with a team option for 2018. He’ll make $9 million next season and is still owed $2.8 million for the remainder of this season. Still, he’d be a good match for the Giants, who desperately need bullpen help and could afford him.
The most wanted players on the Angels at this year’s trade deadline are all pitchers, which could actually cause the Angels to stand pat. They have had so many injuries to their starting staff that they will likely need Shoemaker and Santiago to finish out the season. The relievers aren’t as crucial, but losing both a closer and his set-up man may be too much for the bullpen to take.
Still, you never know. If the Angels are offered what they are looking for – a very good player who can impact the team now or in the near future – they may make a trade. However, it feels as though they will stick with their current roster.
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