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Angels: Buyers or Sellers this July?

With a little bit more than a month until the now only trade deadline, July 31st at 1 PM PST, the Angels are in a bit of a quandary. The Halos, who had won eight of their last eleven, found themselves on a role, getting healthy, and at 38-37 (one game over .500) before dropping three of their next four to the Toronto Blue Jays and St. Louis Cardinals and now sitting at 39-40, 4 games back of the Cleveland Indians for the second wild card spot in the American League, and having a 2.7% chance of making it to the playoffs according to FanGraphs. The question is, should the Angels buy, sell, or stay put at this years trade deadline?

With Tommy La Stella, Mike Trout, Shohei Ohtani, Justin Upton, and Andrelton Simmons, just to name a few, it makes the Angels one of the most feared lineups in all of baseball, not just on paper, but statistically as well. The Halos offensive team stats go as followed,

  • 1st in K%(17%)
  • 5th in wRC+(109)
  • 6th in OBP(.336)
  • 7th in fWAR(12.9)
  • 9th in AVG(.258), 
  • 11th in HR(113), BB%(9.4%),
  • 12th in R(395)
  • 13th in SLG(.440)

Stats as of 6/23

While the Halos have no problem scoring runs, they do tend to have some problems keeping runs off the board, especially early in games. Through the first 6 innings of a game here is how the Angels stand:

  • 15th in OBP(.324)
  • 16th in BAA(.253)
  • 23rd in xFIP
  • 25th in FIP(5.08), SLG(.469)
  • 26th in ERA(5.35), runs allowed(288)
  • 28th in HR allowed(93)
  • 30th in hard hit %(42.1%), ground ball%(37.4%)

Stats as of 6/23

With that being said, it wouldn’t surprise anybody if Billy Eppler and the Angels went out and looked for some pitching help to help bolster the rotation not just this year, but also for years to come as well. Here are a few names that the Halos might take a look at.

Matthew Boyd

The Angels and Tigers have hooked up for a few trades before (Justin Upton, Ian Kinsler, Cameron Maybin) and I could see them hooking up for another one before July 31 as well. Boyd is a free agent after the 2022 season, and the remaining years are all arbitration years as well. This season, he made $2.3 million and will more than likely see his salary go up next year as well. While Boyd isn’t the biggest name out there to some, he is probably one of the most underrated pitchers in all of baseball as he has put up three years of 2+ win seasons, including this year where he is already put up a 2.6 fWAR, and struck out 118 and just 94.2 innings pitched. In a trade like this, the Angels would more than likely have to pony up three top 10 prospects, and another high upside prospect who needs work.

Marcus Stroman

The Blue Jays are looking to sell, and the Halos are looking for pitching. Stroman is the ace of the Jays, and if he came to Anaheim would be one of the top starters in the Angel’s rotation. Stroman, who is 5-9 this year with a 3.04 ERA, 3.70 FIP, and 77 strikeouts in 100.2 innings pitched, would fit in fantastically in an Angel’s rotation. The Jays already said that they are looking to build around Vladimir Guerrero Jr., and are looking for young pieces. Stroman would come at no discount as the Angels would more than likely have to give up to top five prospects since he does not become a free agent until after the 2020 season, and you would also need to extend Stroman for a rotation with Shohei Ohtani, Marcus Stroman, and Griffin Canning for years to come.

Danny Duffy 

If the Royals are looking to get some money off the books, Danny Duffy would be the way to go. Duffy, who still has two years and $30.75 million left on his current contract, hasn’t had the flashiest of stats since the beginning of 2018, putting up just a 1.8 fWAR. 11-15 record, 4.76 ERA, 4.70 FIP, and striking out 191 in 212.2 inning. One would have to believe that any team, including the Angels, who would be willing to take on the entire contract in the trade wouldn’t have to give up more than a top 15 prospect.

Trevor Bauer 

While the Indians are still in the mix for a wild card spot or even the Central division, there have been rumors floating around that they may try to trade some of their top pitchers. With Trevor Bauer being a free agent after the 2020 season, he’s another guy that fits the mold, and that the Angels may try to trade for. Bauer, who is one of the best and most colorful pitchers in all of baseball, would cost a pretty penny that would more than likely include 2 top 5 prospects and a high upside project piece. Even though it is a high cost to pay, the Halos can afford it and could ultimately extend the UCLA product.

Madison Bumgarner

We have finally made it to our first rental piece. Madison Bumgarner is known for his aggressive antics on the mound, and historic greatness in the postseason. While MadBum is a free agent after this season, he would surely improve the Angels rotation down the stretch and into the playoffs if they were to make it. Such a piece like Bumgarner would cost less than one might think as again he is a free agent after this season, and hasn’t had the best season of his career. A top 10 prospect and a controllable reliever would probably get the job done if the Angels were to look for a rental down the road.

Max Scherzer 

Max Scherzer is a dream for most this July, and there isn’t a very good chance that he gets dealt form Washington, but his name has been floating around, and the Angels need an “ace”, so he fits the mold. Scherzer, who is a free agent after the 2021 season, is still owed two years and $30 million on the first part of his contract, and then owed seven years, and $105 million from 2022 until 2028. While this seems like a lot of money to be allocated to one player, and the Halos will be paying Mike Trout, and trying to extend Andrelton Simmons and Shohei Ohtani, eventually it could be worth it as Max Scherzer is arguably the best pitcher in all of baseball, and doesn’t look to be declining anytime soon. His value is tricky, especially if the Angels were to take on his entire contract, which would bring back no more than 2 top 5 prospects because of the money still owed.

Zack Wheeler/Tanner Roark/Jordan Lyles/Ivan Nova 

Wheeler, Roark, Lyles, and Nova would all be rentals who wouldn’t cost no more than a lower end top 30 prospect at best because they are free agents after this year.

Now if the Angels find themselves in a selling situation where they continue to lose, or if the right deal comes along some of the players listed below might get traded.

Tommy La Stella 

The fan favorite, Tommy La Stella might very well be on his way to the All Star Game alongside Mike Trout. He has had a career year in the first half of the season that includes career highs in home runs, runs, RBI, batting average, slugging percentage, wRC+, and fWAR. While his bat has been great, his versatility has been greatly appreciated as well as he has played third base, second base, and also some first base. His value is somewhat of a question in some people’s eyes, as this is the first year he has played full time and is having a fantastic start to it. La Stella is set to be a free agent after the 2020 season, but it wouldn’t surprise me if the Angels tried to extend him before that unless he gets traded.

Kole Calhoun

Kole Calhoun is another name that has been thrown out there as a possible trade piece this summer. Kole is off to a much better start than he was last year. While the defense has lacked, the offense from the left side of the plate is what most teams will be interested in. Kole could be a free agent at the end of the year if the team he is on decides not to pick up his option worth $14 million. The team might be a little more willing to part ways with their long time outfielder because of who is waiting patently in the shadows for an opening. Jo Adell is a top 5 prospect in all of baseball who seems to be very ready to produce at the major league level. If the Angels did decide to keep Calhoun, and pick up his contract, they could try him as a platoon player with Pujols at 1B, but for $14 million I’m not too sure if they would try an experiment like that.

Matt Harvey/Trevor Cahill/Jonathan Lucroy

Harvey, Cahill, and Lucroy are all free agents after this season, and while Harvey and Cahill haven’t had the seasons the Halos were hoping for, some teams might still see some value in them as a low risk low reward type of trade.

While Lucroy defensively has been somewhat of a liability, his offense and ability to control the pitching staff hasn’t been too bad. It wouldn’t surprise me if a team takes a chance on the former All Star in the back up role and the Halos might be able to get an interesting piece out of it too.

Jaime Barria

Barria is a piece that most haven’t necessarily thought about, but could be on his way out the door if the right team comes a knocking. Barria has found himself in a dance between AAA Salt Lake and the big league team. While there is a lot of value left with Barria, he has more than likely hit his ceiling and will probably find himself at the end of any rotation in baseball. The Halos also have some what of a surplus in 4/5 starters as well.

Tyler Skaggs/Andrew Heaney 

With both Skaggs and Heaney both eligible to be non-tendered this offseason, if the right team comes calling at the right price it wouldn’t surprise me if the Angels decided to let them go. The Halos could fetch a pretty nice return as well if they decide to part ways with one or both of these starters.

While I don’t believe that the Angels will be any type of selling mood come July, if the right trade comes along I do believe that they will definitely look to make the move. The same goes if they are buyers as well. If the right trade comes along and Billy Eppler thinks that it will help the team in both the short term and long term then we could definitely see some action.

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