Having two superstars on your roster is an undeniable Good And Fun Thing. It’s awesome watching Mike Trout and Anthony Rendon play on the same field and in the same lineup together. However, Trout will turn 30 during the 2021 season (whenever it starts), and Rendon will turn 31, which gives the Angels a reasonably tight window in which to operate. The window is open, to be clear, but that window is being pulled down by a little kid who is fortunately not strong enough yet to close it.
Working with only $26 million doesn’t really reflect the urgency I feel the Angels front office and ownership should have, but it may more accurately mirror the reality that Arte Moreno places on his staff. But Arte Moreno is Arte Moreno, and we’re stuck with him until the joyous day he sells the team. The budget outlined in this project really allows for only one bold move, and that’s where this write-up will start.
Trade Brandon Marsh and Jaime Barria for Joey Gallo ($4.7) and Lance Lynn ($8.0)
The Angels have needed pitching for as long as I’ve said “I’m going to start my diet on Monday.” I have not lost weight in years, and the Angels have not had reliable pitching in almost as long. They filled a hole at the top of the rotation last year by re-working Dylan Bundy’s repertoire, but pinning your playoff rotation on the hopes that a 60 game sample is a new true talent level is probably unwise.
Enter Lance Lynn. The Rangers may have made a mistake by not trading a 33-year-old starting pitcher with one year left on his deal at the deadline in 2020, but their loss can be the Angels’ gain. Lynn led the majors in innings pitched last year, and has started at least 29 games in each of the previous seven seasons. At 6’5” and 280 pounds, he’s the true definition of a workhorse. ZiPS projects him to have a 4 fWAR season in 2021, and if that came to fruition, he’d be the first Angels pitcher to eclipse 4 fWAR since Garrett Richards in 2014 (although Dylan Bundy was on pace to break that last year).
Along with Lance Lynn comes Joey Gallo. Jo Adell, a 21-year-old kid with about 300 plate appearances above A-ball, should not worry anybody yet. It is okay to live in a world where you are optimistic about Jo Adell’s long-term future, and yet realize the Angels may need somebody to play right field right now. Gallo has two years of team control left, and I’m going to use the most team-friendly figure on MLBTR’s arbitration projections to make this deal work. Gallo needs no introduction, as he is a bonafide middle of the order thumper with two 40 homer seasons and another one where he hit 44% better than league average. The dude is a stud, just turned 27 years old, and could look nice in between Rendon and Upton. He could play right field in 2021 and then move to left field in 2022 if Upton were to shift to first base following Pujols’ departure.
To make room for Lynn and Gallo, the Angels are sending out Brandon Marsh and Jaime Barria. This trade technically works in the baseballtradevalues.com simulated world, but it does feel a bit light to me living in the actual world. Marsh seems to be universally regarded as a top 40 overall prospect in the game, so acquiring six years of his bright future is worth a lot. Yet, I don’t think quite enough to land Gallo by himself, let alone along with Lynn. Perhaps adding five years of a serviceable back-end, innings-eating starter in Barria could help bridge this perceived gap. If that’s still not enough, I’d be fine sending basically anybody not named Detmers, Adell, Adams, or Jackson in the deal. But for two years of Gallo and one year of Lynn, I don’t think it’d require much more than Marsh and Barria.
Sign Jurickson Profar ($4.5)
Another big hole will be the one left at shortstop by Andrelton Simmons. Luckily, David Fletcher wears an Angels uniform and can slide over and play a more than serviceable shortstop (career 2 DRS, although defensive metric caveats apply). Signing Jurickson Profar (Craig Edwards of FanGraphs has him at $4.5 million) helps fill the void at second that Fletcher would be vacating. Profar has been a league-average hitter and versatile defender ever since becoming a big league regular in 2018 (101 wRC+ while playing over 100 innings at 5 different positions), and that kind of versatility is something that Joe Maddon seems to be excellent at utilizing. A switch hitter without major discernable splits (yet) and one that can play a different position every day while still allowing for Rengifo/Barreto/Ward to get at-bats somewhere, is a type of player the Angels should look to target.
Sign James Paxton ($10)
Paxton has a reputation of being injury-prone, and that’s probably fair at this point. He ended his 2020 season after throwing only five starts and twenty innings for the Yankees. The four years prior to that one, however, Paxton made an average of 25 starts per season with a FIP in the low 3s, and cementing himself as one of the best pitchers in the American League. Hitting free agency after an injury-shortened season is hardly an optimal scenario for Paxton, but the Angels can offer him an immediate spot in the rotation and he can offer the Angels some upside otherwise unseen on the market in this price range (MLB Trade Rumors has Paxton available for $10 million). Paxton to the Angels seems like a good match, and slotting him behind Lynn and Bundy seems like it could start to form some semblance of a good playoff rotation.
Sign Michael Wacha ($2)
Having James Paxton and Shohei Ohtani and two of your potential starting pitchers means that you have to acquire depth. Patrick Sandoval, Packy Naughton, and Reid Detmers provide the Angels with some internal options. Taking a flier on Michael Wacha would serve as another option for the Angels, and one I think is worthwhile. Wacha had a terrible year last year by the traditional numbers, 6.62 ERA and a 5.25 FIP, which is what will happen when you give up nine homers in 34 innings and see your groundball rate plummet. Yet, Wacha actually experienced a velocity increase, a strikeout rate spike, and a career-low walk rate. Getting back to his groundball tendencies along with these improvements could make for a mid-career resurgence. Wacha signed a one year, three million dollar deal with the Mets a year ago, and then had an awful year, so I think he could be a cheap, low-risk rebound guy. He could be used to start while the Angels wait for clarity about Ohtani’s pitching prospects, and would probably be the first starter the Angels would use as a depth piece if/when someone were to get injured. If Ohtani can pitch, Wacha can be used as a multi-inning guy out of the bullpen with Taylor Ward being optioned.
Sign Alex Wood ($4)
With the signing of Paxton and now Alex Wood, I’m really banking on things breaking right health-wise for my Angels offseason plan. I would not use Alex Wood as a starting pitcher on the 2021 Angels, unless injuries dictated me to do so. I would use Alex Wood as a Josh Hader-like weapon out of the bullpen where he could come into a tight game, face 7 batters, and hopefully be the bridge to Mike Mayers. Not unlike Wacha, the Dodgers signed him to a one year, $4 million dollar deal last winter and then Wood was injured—so I think giving him a clear role as a Drew Pomeranz/Drew Smyly lefty out of the pen who could start if need-be could be a worthwhile endeavor. I am sure he’s looking for a starting rotation spot this offseason, but perhaps both Pomeranz and Smyly getting paid lucratively during the last two winters might make him reconsider. Plus, with the Angels luck in the rotation, it could actually be him filling in for an injured pitcher, instead of it being the other way around.
Trade Jahmai Jones, Jose Suarez, and Trent Deveaux for Tanner Scott and Pedro Severino ($1.4)
Jahmai Jones has long been a favorite Angels prospect of mine, both for his abilities and universally renowned makeup. With the signing of Profar and the existence of both Barreto and Rengifo, I have unfortunately come to the conclusion that it would be better for him to flourish elsewhere. He’ll go accompanied by Jose Suarez, who may need a change of scenery at this point, and the very young international outfielder Trent Deveaux. They’ll go to the rebuilding Baltimore, who could hopefully turn him into Jones into the everyday player he deserves to be, and Suarez into a legit major leaguer. In comes Tanner Scott, whose groundball and strikeout tendencies could help solidify the back end of the Angels bullpen. Anybody who plays Out of the Park baseball knows that Tanner Scott is basically left-handed Dennis Eckersley, so I am banking on those virtual projections coming to life. Angels also come away with “catcher” Pedro Severino, who has a serious chance to be non-tendered this winter as the Adley Rutschman era comes closer, but could serve as an offensive complement to Stassi’s defensive prowess.
Non-tender Robles, Andriese, Anderson, Ramirez (-$8.4)
To make these moves fit within the $26 million Robles, Andriese, Anderson, and Ramirez all have to be non-tendered, which is risky! Pinning your entire bullpen’s strategy on Alex Wood’s health and Tanner Scott’s control is just asking for trouble, but the Angels should theoretically have the offense to overcome any bullpen woes. Take a drink if you’ve heard those words before (help me, I’m drunk.) I believe, according to this, non-tendering these guys saves me about $8.4 million dollars.
- SS David Fletcher
- CF Mike Trout
- 3B Anthony Rendon
- RF Joey Gallo
- LF Justin Upton
- DH Shohei Ohtani
- 2B Jurickson Profar
- 1B Albert Pujols
- C Max Stassi
- Dylan Bundy
- Lance Lynn
- James Paxton
- Andrew Heaney
- Griffin Canning
- Shohei Ohtani
- Alex Wood
- Mike Mayers
- Tanner Scott
- Keynan Middleton
- Michael Wacha
- Ty Buttrey
- Felix Pena
- INF Luis Rengifo
- UTIL Franklin Barreto
- OF Taylor Ward
- 1B Jared Walsh
- C Pedro Severino
Interesting (and very risky) ideas. If they can be signed inexpensively enough (as proposed above), each of Wacha, Wood, and Paxton is a useful gamble, but all three? Maybe we get lucky, there aren’t many quality starter types on the market, and the upside is high
While Lynn and Gallo would be excellent additions, I just don’t think Rangers would make that trade. The trade calculator seems to overvalue young players by a lot to begin with. I don’t think Rangers would be too keen to trade within division especially if it involves someone like Gallo.
I agree that it is too light for it to probably get done. The only thing I can say to salvage it from the Texas perspective is this: they seem to be trying to rebuild on the fly. Most of their good young players (Palumbo, Tejeda, Taveras, Solak, Foscue, Huff, Jung) are either in the bigs or drafted in order to get there fast. Marsh and Barria would fit that bill.
I think the Rangers turned down Campusano for *just* Lynn at the trade deadline last year, so, while Marsh is a better prospect, I wouldn’t expect them to throw in Gallo for the hell of it either. Throwing in Detmers or Adams seems like too much for one year of Lynn and two (expensive) years of Gallo, but who knows.
Jurickson Profar might be even more of a gamble than the pitching acquisitions, but I understand. That’s why he’s less expensive than Simba or Semien.
Great stuff! I really, really like that rotation if Paxton gives you 125-150 innings in a full season. I also love the idea of buying low-ish on Joey Gallo.
Upton/Gallo/Puljos…that is not very well constructed. We should get away from the swing and miss, slow footed rally killers. Reminds me what we currently have, I much prefer a better hitter to come back. Winker/Gray/squat for Marsh/Barria/Knowles/J. Jones.
Is Gallo slow? He plays CF some. I’m not in love with the guy by any stretch, but he’d probably lead the team in HR and a line up with Trout, Rendon, Upton (if healthy), Ohtani and Gallo would certainly mash the ball a lot.
Yeah, acquiesce, he is not slow but Gallo is a guy who can be pitched to as evidence of his high strike out rate and very low career average. A LH version of Rob Deer. Sure, can hit a bomb. Same as Albert and same as Justin but what else? I’m just so done with Upton and Puljos. I see crafty arms just cutting through those guys. My point is to find some players who will be a tough out and put some pressure on the opposition. Rendon, Trout and Fletch are awesome at that. If we could land a couple more guys like this.
Good on Paxson and Wood. I do really like the post here and basically offering up any prospects to get better. I’m on-board.
Thanks! Fans hate strikeouts and I am in that same boat. Nothing worse than watching three guys walk up there and whiff. I just think Gallo offsets his Ks enough with his power and defense.
Pujols, for all his warts, still maintains an elite K rate….he might be a rally killer but it is not for his lack of contact. I like Winker too but he is one year further from free agency than Gallo is and I’m not sure why Cincinnati would trade him. Clear motivation with Texas.
Interestingly enough, over the past two seasons, the Angels have been one of teams LEAST prone to the K. Whatever we’re currently doing, it isn’t working.
Everyone so far everyone likes this. I would rather lose Adell than Marsh. Keeping Albert at 1b over Walsh? I do like the pitching staff except for the keeping of Heaney. Max needs a replacement for the first half of the season possibly and as l am not crazy about the plan and as a whole I have nothing better as of yet. Good work though as you gave us some new ideas.
Not convinced about losing Adell over Marsh. He shouldn’t have been in MLB last year, and in a normal year he wouldn’t have. Not sure I want a completely surreal 60 game season coloring my judgement. Then again, he did suck, big time.
Jim you are right that I am basing my opinion on a 60 game season and that ie a small sample. But I saw no natural instincts for playing the game. By the time a kid who starts playing the game say at the latest of 7 or 8 he starts to develop instincts that by the time he hits HS he has better judgement than Adell. His hitting stance and swing I sure are his own as no one teaches wiggling the bat like a back sratswer as a timing mechanism. For a kid of 21 he is no where developed enough to as you said be up in the major leagues. Marsh is in a different boat in that he shows much more instinct. Marsh is even faster than Adell but as yet has less power than Adell. Adell maybe rated higher but my money is on Marsh.
Another small sample size but I’ve seen Adell in Spring Training and he looked very comfortable in center field. He got great reads, took confident first steps, and was always standing under the ball in a balanced position. I think he really needs more work in right and his struggles there matriculated into his entire game.
That swing, though, way too many moving parts for my liking.
Sigh…. yes, OK. Your Lyle Spencer like eyes have discovered what all of the scouts who gooped themselves between 2016 and 2019 couldn’t see in Adell, he has no instincts, has worsey judgement than a HS player and is a total lump compared to other 21 year olds. Plus he just doesn’t have many mitaclorians in his blood and his aura is all orange and shit. You’d think that a guy who types about eyeballing young men playing baseball as often as you do would have seen that 2020 Adell was totally overmatched and it ate his entire game last year. He totally flopped and collapsed, pretty much from his first game, his head was on totally backwards and he couldn’t even tie his shoes right much less play MLB baseball. 2020 Adell was a completely different player from even the kid I saw in Tempe his first big league ST, he reminded of a kid at a musical performance who has totally vapor locked in the middle of a song.
He’s 21. He got thrown to the wolves and they ate him. Hopefully the Angels FO and some players have been picking him up and getting him ready to give it another go. He needs to work on RF. He has always had some swing and miss, probably always will, and he had a ton in 2020 but I have also seen guys with far worse swings succeed after they adjust to their competition. He is still the guy who was the #2 over all prospect. If only there was a place, maybe a smaller city like Salt Lake, where we could have a team where players that aren’t quite ready yet can go and work out their remaining kinks before they try their game at the MLB level. That would be cool. If he spends three or four months in such a place he will likely learn RF and if he mashes AAA pitching for a while he will probably look different at the plate his next go round too.
PS, I friggin love Marsh even more though. Still there’s no need to go all “Uncle High School Expert” on Adell at this point. If he flops he flops but 2020 proved almost nothing as regards his career potential. If he still can’t hit at 24 I’ll be ready to write him off.
Glad you doubled back on Adell. I think he is going to be Torii Hunter-good when he matures. What we saw last season should not have been seen. In a normal season, Adell would have been in AAA learning to play RF (very few reps there before on MiLB, mostly in CF) and working on his pitch selection. He basically went from feasting on AA pitchers to being dominated by pro arms, without the interim experience in SLC. That long swing of his will be a thing of beauty when he gets to make contact more consistently, but he has no margin for error in the meantime.
If Eppler was still GM I’d say there is zero chance he trades Adell, but Minassian may well see an opportunity and not have the paternal twinge Eppler would have felt trading away his prize pupil. If Adell is the key to obtaining Snell or Gray in a trade, then I am all ears to see what the terms would be.
It’s typical Halos Heaven/CTPG bullshit. The #2 prospect in baseball has 30 shit games after being dumped into an MLB right field from “baseball summer camp” in the middle of a pandemic with zero Spring Training after spending a season at AA and he’s a washed up bust with no skills or instinct. Even more typical is the “my magic eyes have seen it, he’s just not a good ballplayer” pucky. Who knows, he may be a bust, but he sure isn’t right now. If he’s still in AAA for most of 2022 then I’ll worry, but I won’t have to use my Baseball Gandalf powers to discern he’s a bust.
I just hate suddenly dumping on a good kid and a super good prospect so that we can play like we are smarter than we really are. It’s not cool. It’s along the same logic as the idea that a guy who extended our franchise icon with a record contract, presided over our longest winning period, bought us out of being a Disney sideshow, paid for a top 3rd baseman last year, always has a payroll ranked right along our attendance ranking or higher and bought our stadium and land, ensuring we will get a new stadium (which he will build) and that the team doesn’t move to Las Vegas…. is a cheap egomaniac. It’s petty thinking and usually the one doing it is the one motivated by ego. It sucks and it’s probably why the Angels suck. We get the team we deserve. A lot of us have had the team we deserve.
I’m actually bullish on a bunch of our prospects, not just Marsh and Adell, and most of our MLB roster. The only glaring issue is that the FA pitching market is always going to suck and we need a ton of pitching prospects, but if Perry can address that then I am actually looking forward to the next decade for the Angels. Hopefully we are a powerhouse whenever a new stadium/renovation gets finished.
I like Walsh and think he would obviously be the larger part of the first base platoon with Pujols. I just don’t have it in me to bench him. I loved him too much growing up to watch him sit behind a 27 year old AAAA guy during the first game of his last big league season. I’m giving the opening day nod to Pujols and then letting Walsh play against most RHP, which would basically make him an everyday player.
My favorite so far. It feels more realistic, fewer moving parts, fewer things that could go wrong. Nice work!
Hey thanks! I’ll send you that $10 i promised you for the nice words.
I love bullpen guys who can go multiple innings and think they are incredibly valuable in the age of pitch counts and 2 turns through the lineup. Your plan has two of them in Wacha and Wood.
There’s a whole lot of hoping and praying for health here. If all works out, the Angels are good. If all get hurt we suck horribly. Most likely something in between happens and the Angels are OK.
Yes, there’s risk. You could make the argument that the Angels are good enough as is to just assemble a bunch of average guys everywhere and they’d be okay. I’m shooting for upside here (after all, it’s not my money!), and it’s hard to shoot for upside with only $26 mil if you don’t take risks. Wood could be great, or he could get hurt again and then you’d be relying on Luke Bard, which is extremely not great.
I like all these ideas. Sure, in reality we may need to trade a couple more prospects in that Rangers deal, but the plan is still solid. Nothing too exciting, but that’s the way it is right now. This plans about as good as any we are going to see. With Gallo we would surly be, if Ohtani/Upton don’t suck, a slugging line up. We’d probably feast on teams with bad pitching and suffer a little against strong staffs but still be above average as a team. I only worry that that bullpen’s not enough after Alex Wood gets hurt again, and I like Wood.
Yes. Hopefully the offense and newfound starting pitching would be strong enough to overcome some bullpen troubles. I think the Angels actually had a decent-ish bullpen last year when you account for the fact they threw the seventh most innings. Hopefully some decent starting pitching would put them in a better position to succeed more regularly.