After ripping out fans’ hearts and souls, the Angels finally find themselves first place in something: the last place leaderboards. That’s right: if the season ended today, the Angels (10-22) would be able to choose from their pick of the litter.
In light of fans’ newfound voracious appetite for prospects, here is a look at which Angels players may be traded at the August 31st (Monday) trade deadline and the chances of that happening. The Angels, with now just 4.4% chances to make the playoffs, are certainly sellers. Who exactly will the club trade? Let’s find out.
Tommy La Stella, 2b/1b/3b
Likelihood: Very High
Traded for from the Cubs for left-handed relief prospect Conor Lillis-White post-2018, Tommy La Stella has done nothing but rake as an Angel. Blocked by otherworldly talent on the North Side, La Stella only received a season’s worth of plate appearances (587 PA’s) in four seasons there hitting at a league-average clip (96 wRC+), often in a pinch-hitting capacity. He’s revolutionized his hitting as an Angel with an isolated power mark near .200, walking as many times as he’s struck out, with the defensive ability to play a passable second base, third base, or first base.
A free agent to-be, there’s little reason to think La Stella will remain an Angel come next week when every team can use some the .800+ OPS that he provides.
Jason Castro, C
Likelihood: Very High
Also a free agent to-be, Jason Castro was signed to a one-year deal to man the Angels’ backstop ranks. While Max Stassi showed marked improvement behind the dish, Castro was no slouch in his own right. While he strikes out at a high clip (36% this year), Castro has a long history of being a solid defender and his pitch framing ranked 23rd out of 64 catchers last season. Despite the measly .204 average, Castro has hit for power and wRC+ indicates his bat is 6% above average. It shouldn’t take much to get him, and most teams can improve their catching tandem at the margins by Castro’s addition. Since the Angels are incentivized to tank by their place in the standings, they’ll be willing to deal him to the highest bidder.
Andrelton Simmons, SS
Simmons’ injuries have held him back from making a potential Hall-of-Fame bid and even from being remembered among his own fan base, surpassed by the best player in the league (I am talking, of course, about David Fletcher). It’s a shame there isn’t a Hall of Fame for just defense: Simmons would be in in a heartbeat.
His defense is still elite, but his hitting dropped off with a sub-.700 OPS mark last season. He’s back from the Injured List, which should make him appealing to teams like the Blue Jays, Reds, and Brewers. Most teams are set at shortstop, though some could get creative with positional flexibility to get the league’s best defender in generations on the field.
Simmons will be a free agent, like La Stella and Castro. However, the Angels will have the ability to offer a qualifying offer to Simmons if they’d like, which would likely come in north of $18 million. Given Simmons’ recent two seasons, it would be hard to imagine him getting a multi-year deal competitive on an AAV-basis with the QO-figure. It would make more sense for Simmons to accept the QO and use 2021 as an opportunity to rebuild his value for the following free agency.
In the event Simmons declines, the Angels would receive a first-round compensatory pick in exchange for him leaving in free agency. This outcome appears unlikely now, and the Angels will be willing to part ways (especially now that David Fletcher has stepped in without missing a beat).
Brian Goodwin, OF
The Angels’ waiver claim of Brian Goodwin has been a highly successful venture. Picked up as a fill-in for the injured Justin Upton, Goodwin has been who the Angels hoped Upton would be with a 2.4 fWAR and 21 home runs across 563 plate appearances. Unfortunately for the Angels, the league sees Goodwin’s flaws for what they are: a lofty strikeout percentage (near-30) and mixed defensive metrics cloud his value. With teams across baseball questioning Goodwin’s true talent level, the Angels are unlikely to trade the 29-year old solid-average outfielder under control through 2023.
Dylan Bundy, SP
Dylan Bundy has rocked and rolled as an Angel. We’ve covered this many times at the site, but Bundy has been one of the league’s best starters. Heck, Brent even predicted this. A lot of baseball writers did. He’s thrown more offspeed pitches instead of relying on a not-so-great fastball. He’s commanding better, he’s getting hitters out and making them look foolish for doing so. He’s durable, too.
Bundy is everything the Angels could’ve asked for in a trade acquisition (and acquired him for low cost, too). Bundy makes more sense to extend than trade. At the very least, he’s a durable starter for a team that needs durable pitching, in a league where that’s become incredibly difficult to find: that’s not something likely to be found in a potential trade return.
It should be no surprise that he’s receiving oodles of trade interest: every team can use him. That doesn’t mean they’ll pony up enough to land him.
Jo Adell/Brandon Marsh, OF
Both Adell and Marsh are well-above-average prospects who are expected to meaningfully contribute to a big-league club at some point. The Angels with Mike Trout, Goodwin, Upton, Adell, and Marsh have a bevy of capable options—and that’s before mentioning Joe Maddon’s Taylor Ward experiment. Meanwhile, the club has a dearth of pitching talent: the starting rotation’s ERA is 6.38, and that’s after including Bundy’s sterling 2.58 mark.
While it may not be likely for either to be traded at the deadline, don’t be surprised if either one finds themselves in a different uniform come winter.
Mike Trout, Father/Fish God
Likelihood: Hahahahaha, you really thought I would do this?
With only a month of baseball remaining, don’t expect the Angels to receive a haul for trading their players without team control. And with a contract that expires, Billy Eppler shouldn’t be expected to make any earth-shaking, groundbreaking moves, even as he has regularly extracted value in marginal trades to improve the roster.
Photo credit: Keith Allison, Wikimedia Commons
You nailed the first one in a timely manner, Rahul! Great work as always. I’m curious to see what happens with Dylan Bundy over the next few days.
Just now catching up. Good article!
I wonder if pairing two of Simba/Tommy/Castro would result in a better return or if we’re better off selling all three separately. Also, I’ve gotta assume we’ll listen on our RPs
Well, there goes La Stella. I’d assume Castro and Simmons are separate due to various team needs.
2021 will be interesting in that to have a normal season camps need to open before mid February. In order for camps to open there would have to have a vaccine, about 330 million does or so, easy right? That would mean it’s been tested, proven, approved, manufactured, and distributed. l don’t believe for one minute that will be possible, pharmaceuticals don’t work that fast no matter what anybody says. So l foresee a shortened season of about 115 to 129 games and stadiums not filling up until July 15th. Simba and Noodles need moving now but the youngsters will bring more later on.
Yep, anyone thinking next season is going to be normal should prepare themselves for disappointment. My work and most other places around DC are planning for the current lockdown limbo to last until at least sometime into the spring. I don’t think we’re gonna see major venues of any kind open to capacity for a little while even after that.
MLB and the other sports have some experience now that they can use to prepare. I wouldn’t be surprised if, in addition to possibly being shorter, we see the exact same three geographic bubbles for a good chunk of the 2021 season. In fact, that might be the smartest thing for them to plan on. Then open up to traditional league-wide matchups starting in month four or something like that if conditions allow.
This also assumes any vaccine will penetrate deeply enough into the population to defeat the virus. I don’t think any of us have to try that hard to imagine a scenario where, like, 25% of the population refuses to get innoculated well into the summer and beyond, right? Statistically there will be some Aubrey Huff type in an MLB clubhouse who will be part of that group too, adding more fun to Manfred’s traveling circus.
Would you if you were doing longer range planning for the team, slot Mikey in at position 3? We know he is injury proneso why not take the banging he takes in center out of the equation?With the kids patrolling out there we save cap room and automatically have a 1b that we don’t have to trade for or sign as a free agent.
Simba will not be offered QO as they could of signed him a lot cheaper ebit for a longer term. Not resigning him does open up 14 million in cap space. After 2021 there will be more money opening up with Albert and his long suffering contract weighing down the teams flexibility.But then what, this team can’t see beyond their nose it’s is difficult to believe there is a plan. With pitching being so valuable would the team try for a different shortstop such as Lindor or Story among others? Both are awesome fielders and that would allow 2 things. One puts Fletch at 2b and two adds a fourth offensive bat.
More likely Galvis or Inglesias.
Unless you mean “passable” in the sense that the ball gets past him, I might quibble with this description of La Stella’s second base work.
That’s fair. He hasn’t been nearly this bad in previous seasons, but…yeah, it has not been pretty this season.
Depressed market most likely but some bullpen arms would be nice to add to the system. Maybe a guy in AA with 2 good pitches but not the third required to be a starter. I can see La Stella bringing back a more MLB ready type reliever.
if we believe Eppler is not competent enough to judge talent, and that he’s not given enough leeway by Arte (or enough money) then it’s hard to see what good trades or draft picks might do.
Payroll drop and/or longer control.
I think Heaney should be placed on this list. He’s sorta in the same category as Bundy – a little over a year of control left. He, however, is likely not an extension candidate.
I think Heaney should be traded back to the Dodgers since his record with them was much better than it ever was with the Angels
Trade Simmons, extend Bundy PLEASE.
I hope the FO doesn’t disturb the delicate losing chemical imbalance we have, and also think the Pittsburgh Depps should opt out now.
Whoever is mentioned as a possible pitching candidate will immediately strain his forearm, so I’ll refrain.
Other than that, don’t trade Bundy. Don’t bring up any other “coveted” minor leaguers either, lest their halo tarnish.
So if no one gets traded it is your fault?