Grading The Los Angeles Angels’ Trades
The Los Angeles Angels made more news for the trades they didn’t make at the trade deadline than the ones they did. GM Jerry Dipoto approached July 31 with two very clear team needs:
First , he needed pitching, pitching, pitching! This is the the area where the Halos needed to come through the most, and they whiffed. Rumors swirled around shortstop Erick Aybar (in whom the St. Louis Cardinals showed a great deal of interest) and second baseman Howie Kendrick, but Los Angeles was ultimately unable to land Ian Kennedy or a similarly skilled starting pitcher.
This means they Halos will have to take their chances once again in the offseason, where they run the risk of making another C.J. Wilson-type mega-offer that could turn out to be a bust. Not what the fans were hoping for.
Secondly, they needed prospects. The Angels are widely considered to have the worst minor league system in baseball, less than a decade after their farm squad was among the league’s best. To their credit, Dipoto and owner Arte Moreno made some progress on this front.
First was the trade that sent Scott Downs to Atlanta for prospect Cory Rasmus. This was a quick way to get younger, but it ultimately didn’t accomplish much for the Angels as Downs was by far their best reliever.
Then, the Halos sent third baseman Alberto Callaspo to the Oakland Athletics in exchange for infield prospect Grant Green. The more I think about this move, the more I like it for the Angels, especially since Callaspo’s replacement, Chris Nelson, will likely provide similar offensive production (his career average is .277) while not committing the costly fielding errors that became far too frequent for Callaspo this season.
Ultimately, we won’t be able to fully judge Los Angeles’ maneuverings until this offseason. If they can land a pitcher for a decent price, then they will have done all they can. If not, well, that’s a different story.
The most important thing to watch next season will be how Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton respond to their terrible performances this year. If they can bounce back and stay healthy, look out. If not, then heads will roll.
Tony Baker is a Los Angeles Angels writer for Rant Sports. You can follow him on Twitter at @tonloc_baker.