Los Angeles Angels’ Top 5 Trade Assets
Los Angeles Angels Top Tradable Assets
The Los Angeles Angels find themselves in a strange position heading into the July 31 trade deadline. Owner Arte Moreno and GM Jerry Dipoto had hoped that all their heavy lifting was done in the offseason when they acquired perennial slugger Josh Hamilton, yet Hamilton and Albert Pujols, last year's huge free agent acquisition, have both been sorely disappointing thus far. Though Hamilton's game appears to be on the upswing during his recent 12-game hitting streak, the Angels have committed $365 million to these two players alone over the next 10 years. The result is that the Angels have under-performed while burdening themselves with untradable contracts, leaving little room for personnel improvement heading into the deadline.
In light of these roster problems, don't look for the Halos to land a big fish through a trade as they did when they acquired Zack Greinke last July. It's a shame too, because Los Angeles is in desperate need of some starting pitching, and they wouldn't turn their nose up at some solid help in the bullpen, either. With injuries to starters Jason Vargas and Tommy Hanson, the Angels are currently stuck with a four-man starting rotation, a completely unsustainable state of affairs that will have to be remedied by either those pitchers' convalescence or a small trade.
The problem is that the Angels don't have much to offer in the way of tradable assets. They have traded away virtually their entire farm system to land big fish in the past, leaving them with the lowest-ranked system in the Major Leagues according to many experts.
Even so, the trade deadline need not be entirely fruitless for the Halos if they set their sights a little lower. They may not land a big-name starter like they did last year, but they can shoot for a fifth pitcher or a solid bullpen arm. We now look at the five players the Angels might deal in order to land such an asset.
5. Andrew Romine SS/3B
Third base is a position where the Angels are not short on personnel, so they might flip Romine for a young pitching prospect. It may not be the immediate shot in the arm the Halos are looking for, but another arm would at least shore up the team's heinous farm system and give them a player who could be called up should there be any further injuries to the rotation.
4. Garrett Richards P
With Jerome Williams moving up to the rotation, Richards is virtually the only reliable long reliever the Angels currently have. There may well be a team out there who thinks Richards could be a starter some day, as he has started four games for the Halos this year with mixed results. Los Angeles just might be able to deal Richards for a fifth man to fill out its rotation, which could free up Williams to move back into long relief.
3. Brendan Harris 3B
Again, if Dipoto decides to thin the herd at third base, Harris might be on the block. The infielder's best days are probably behind him, and this might be a good way to acquire a left-handed reliever to join Scott Downs in the bullpen.
2. Albert Callaspo 3B
Now we get to the difficult question: are the Angels prepared to part with an everyday player for the sake of bolstering their rotation? Callaspo has had spurts of great play this year, such as his 12-game hitting streak in June. If the Angels can't get anything for their other third basemen, they might at least shop around Callaspo and see where the league pegs his value. They should pass on anything short of a solid reliever or a serviceable starter, however, should they be willing to trade Callaspo.
1. J.B. Shuck OF
His youth, solid play, and minimal salary ($500,000) all make Shuck the Angels' most coveted asset that they would consider shopping. Even though Shuck would command the highest value of any of the Angels' assets, the Halos would have to consider the roster implications of letting Shuck go. For example, Peter Bourjos has been injured for most of this season, which is how Shuck has gotten significant playing time in the first place. If Shuck were to leave, the Halos would have to promote the unproven Brad Hawpe to a greater role in the outfield, or else move Mark Trumbo back into left field. You can bet Scioscia wants to avoid moving Trumbo if at all possible, since this would mean forcing the hobbled Pujols to play first base every day. Once again, there are no great options for the Angels, just tough options.