Three reliever trade targets that could save the Angels

Now that I’ve got your attention…I’m not sure anything is saving the Angels this year. The team is playing the Texas Rangers tonight, and since we’ve already seen them a few times, I thought it would be a little bit tiring to write them up again. Instead, I decided to play midseason Perry Minasian and see if I couldn’t shake up these Angels with some reliever acquisitions.

The Premise

First of all, I’m going to explain my logic. I think it’s well-known around these parts that the Angels don’t exactly have the most talented bullpen. As of this morning, the Angels rank third-worst in baseball with a compiled -0.7 fWAR and fifth-worst with a 4.96 ERA. The reasoning behind the needed upgrades is clear.

Furthermore, the rotation isn’t exactly in the best shape, either. But for a few reasons, I don’t believe the Angels will upgrade the rotation midseason. As Brent explained very clearly, the Angels pitchers (but mainly starters) have had an unlucky season so far. Some of it may come down to regression, others (the parts attributed to a defense that does not seem to be getting better at all) may remain. The fact of the matter is, barring injury, the Angels are likely to roll with Shohei Ohtani-Dylan Bundy-Andrew Heaney-Griffin Canning-José Quintana-Alex Cobb and internal options to fill holes. It’s not the greatest set in the world, and it’s Maddonly inconsistent, but it’s competent enough to see us through the season and see if we can’t make a miracle run.

Finally, you should feel free to disagree with the entire article! The Angels are probably not in a position where they should be trading future assets for relievers with a few years of control (or possibly, just this year). Fangraphs lists the team with just a 7.9% chance of making the playoffs, and other sources are even more bearish. The goal of this article is for me to see, IF the Angels wanted to make moves to improve the bullpen, how they would go about doing so.

Without further ado, let’s get into the trade targets. I used our old friend Baseball Trade Values to see if the proposed trades were a match or not.

Yimi García, Miami Marlins

Yimi García is a 30-year-old right-handed reliever who is currently serving as the closer for the Miami Marlins. He broke out in 2015 with the Dodgers but immediately required Tommy John surgery following that season. It took him a while to get back to his rookie season levels, but by 2019, he had achieved it. Since 2019, including this season, García has pitched 97.0 innings with a 2.69 ERA and a 0.89 WHIP. He allows a lot of hard contact, and he may be getting a little lucky this year, but the results have been there.

Screenshot from Baseball Savant

García is making $1.9 million this year and will be a free agent after the season, so he is affordable and (relatively) cheap to acquire. The downside is that if the Angels immediately crash out and get stuck in the cellar for four months, they basically just wasted assets on a quality pitcher. (They could always move him again at the Trade Deadline, I suppose.) I thought a fair deal for both sides was OF David Calabrese, who was drafted by the Angels in the third round of the 2020 draft. He is the team’s 11th-ranked prospect according to MLB dot com.

Screenshot from Baseball Trade Values

Michael Fulmer, Detroit Tigers

Michael Fulmer is a 28-year-old former AL Rookie of the Year. He’s been a starter for the majority of his career, but since he returned from Tommy John surgery after missing the 2019 season, manager AJ Hinch decided to try him in the bullpen, and his stuff is playing. He won’t strike out many guys when compared to other fireballers, but he’ll limit the walks (doesn’t that sound like a relief?), and he’s good at suppressing the home run ball.

Screenshot from Baseball Savant

Fulmer is making $3.1 million this year and has one more year of arbitration in 2022, but I wonder how the move from the rotation to the bullpen will affect those numbers. In this fake deal, I give up SS Arol Vera and RHP/OF William Holmes, our 9th and 14th-highest ranked prospects per MLB dot com.

Screenshot from Baseball Trade Values

Richard Rodríguez, Pittsburgh Pirates

Although the Angels currently employ Chris Rodriguez, there’s no reason the team can’t add another one, as the quota of Rodriguii has been high in the past, leading to a great deal of Angel success. Compared to the trend of backwards pitching now prevalent through the league, Richard Rodríguez simply decided to…throw his fastball more often, and it’s working magnificently. Beyond the Box Score summarizes the changes he has made and the success he has had. To put it simply, in 19.0 innings in 2021, he’s allowed one earned run, and only six hits and one walk. That’s a WHIP of 0.37! His peripherals, well…let’s just say you won’t find many like this with the Angels.

Screenshot from Baseball Savant

Hitters know the fastball is coming and still can’t hit it! Rodríguez is under control through the end of the 2023 season, but they (perhaps like the Angels should be) are rebuilding, and I firmly believe they will move him at the Trade Deadline. Perhaps the simulator is underselling Rodríguez’s value a little, but I managed to get through a trade giving up LHP José Suárez, OF D’Shawn Knowles, and RHP Oliver Ortega.

Screenshot from Baseball Trade Values

Conclusion

All in all, at this point in the season it seems unlikely that the Angels will make the playoffs. If GM Perry Minasian wants to spice things up in the bullpen (like he has shown willingness to do with Hunter Strickland), these are some avenues he can pursue. Ultimately, to make the playoffs the Angels will need more than just one or two bullpen arms, but it is fun thinking that an awesome arm can “save” the team, isn’t it?

(Title Image a screenshot of Richard Rodríguez from a video on Baseball Savant)

31 Comments
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MarineLayer
Trusted Member
3 months ago

There’s an old joke that goes if you don’t know who the mark is at a poker table, it’s you. Do you know that Minisian? You get played by everybody over and over again. Although I guess the joke is really on Moreno and anyone who is an Angels fan. OTOH, Perry, actually gets paid for being a loser.

Last edited 3 months ago by MarineLayer
FungoAle
Super Member
4 months ago

The problem here is that with Rodriguez and Garcia, they are at their peak value and more difficult to pry away. A good GM with his subordinates needs to be on the lookout for arms which are underperforming but have underlying skills for a breakout. They’re out there. Example: we should have been all over the Brewers involving Corbin Burnes when we was horrid in 2019 and looked totally lost.

Last edited 4 months ago by FungoAle
Jeff Joiner
Editor
Super Member
4 months ago

I’m good with Rodriguez. We should be looking towards 2022 already. Three years of him is a huge addition for a team whose farm figures to produce little of value for relievers for a while.

GrandpaBaseball
Super Member
4 months ago

Trading last year of a contract Vet makes sense as does bringing back minor leaguers that have promise. Other teams such as Padres, White Sox, Rays, Giants, Marlins have been doing this for years. We are the ones collecting vets that are 30+ in age and are injured most often. Even if you have to trade Upton and pay his salary considerations and add to the deal with one or two young players “just do it”. No one for years has pushed the rebuild button hard, but it is time.

GrandpaBaseball
Super Member
4 months ago

You have some good ideas there, but I would prefer receiving prospects for our veterans. I also agree that it is time to think about trades also.

GrandpaBaseball
Super Member
4 months ago
Reply to  H.T. Ennis

The best thing for Mike is if we do a rebuild now and 2-3-4 years down the road he gets to the playoffs. All the pussyfootin’ we have been doing for so long just keeps sinking us. The though behind the rebuild is it will lower payroll, keep the team competitive in a few years and allow Perry to build a team that he see’s fit.

Jeff Joiner
Editor
Super Member
4 months ago

That’s been true for the last 5 years or so. Had we sold off Shoey, Simba and a few others instead of constantly trading away guys we’d be in a much better place.

Turk's Teeth
Editor
Trusted Member
4 months ago

From the Marlins standpoint, I’d probably keep Garcia. They have a legit chance of winning the division this year. They’re only one game behind the Mets, who are decimated by injuries at the moment, and they retain a good farm system that is pitching heavy at the top.

Every NL East team has a shot this year. Miami shouldn’t sell if they’re still afloat come the All Star Game.

Turk's Teeth
Editor
Trusted Member
4 months ago
Reply to  H.T. Ennis

I like the Marlins as a potential trade partner, though. But for the type of exchange that the Angels rarely attempt: one focused on prospect pitching acquisition over a long time horizon.

The Marlins have a good rotation, and pitching depth for days in the minors. What has not emerged yet for them is a true outfield power threat. If the Angels could pull off a swap of a resurgent Adell for a rotation piece like Max Meyer and either an overachiever like Cody Poteet or a question mark (due to injury) like Edward Cabrera, then you have to think about that.

GrandpaBaseball
Super Member
4 months ago
Reply to  Turk's Teeth

Think about it? For one second only. I’d drop the hammer on that trade right now. Adell reminds me of a Joey Gallo or Adam Dunn.

Turk's Teeth
Editor
Trusted Member
4 months ago

“Trade accepted.”

Adell: 49.5
Meyer + Cabrera: 45.3

Last edited 4 months ago by Turk's Teeth
Turk's Teeth
Editor
Trusted Member
4 months ago
Reply to  H.T. Ennis

I legit like it for both clubs. Starling Marte is in the last year of his contract, and JJ Bleday probably needs another year or two of seasoning (he’s hitting .159 with 1 HR in AA.)

Otoh, Jesus Sanchez, who had an MLB debut as rough as Adell’s last season, may be finally having the breakout season Miami was looking for in AAA. He’s a left-handed complement to Adell.

The two of Sanchez-Adell could be a killer middle of the order combo for Miami next year, and could potentially contribute to a pennant run this year. Meanwhile, the Angels add potential #2/#3 guys to a needy rotation, and at worst, get a shutdown closer in the downside case if Meyer falls short of developing his changeup.

Twebur
Super Member
4 months ago
Reply to  Turk's Teeth

Let’s say they trade Adell for pitching. You have expressed concerns about Marsh’s health / durability issues. Do you have a strong opinion on that? He played last night, most recent injury may not be serious.
Should they consider trading Marsh instead, receive less but keep a more durable Adell. How does Jordan compare to Adell and Marsh in trade value and potential. Maybe trade him. Wouldn’t be surprised if we need BOTH a new RF and LF by 2022, this year, next month, today. Two good young cost controlled outfielders might be wise.

Turk's Teeth
Editor
Trusted Member
4 months ago
Reply to  Twebur

There’s nothing more affordable, given recent offseason market dynamics, than free agent corner outfielders. We see markets every year where guys like Michael Brantley sign to two year contracts for $16m per or Kyle Schwarber signs to a one-year deal for much less. The Angels don’t have to sign overlong OF contracts for 20M+ AAV – they just do it reflexively, with predictable results.

This is a team that has been starved for starting pitching for a decade. It can ill-afford to optimize to returns from its corner OF offense, especially when it’s overweight in sluggers already between Trout, Ohtani, Walsh and Rendon.

You can’t get me to worry about corner OF offense. 🙂 The Oakland A’s are leading the AL West with Stephen Piscotty in RF. The Rays are leading the AL East with Manuel Margot in RF. We could get similar production from Scott Schebler or Brian Goodwin. It’s just the source of the team’s underperformance. They’ve lost more value in bad OF defense than bad OF offense at this point.

Turk's Teeth
Editor
Trusted Member
4 months ago
Reply to  Turk's Teeth

*just not the source

Cowboy26
Super Member
4 months ago
Reply to  Twebur

Correction. He Dh’d last night . Marsh hasn’t played the outfield since last Friday

Jeff Joiner
Editor
Super Member
4 months ago
Reply to  Turk's Teeth

Marlins and Tigers are in the same boat. One of Adell, Marsh, Adams needs to go to one of those two for a young arm.

FungoAle
Super Member
4 months ago
Reply to  Turk's Teeth

I think the Marlins have graduated from trading pieces for prospects. They are now trying to compete. 2-3 years ago was the bonanza time.

steelgolf
Super Member
4 months ago

The arms in the bullpen are spent because Maddon keeps pulling the pitchers early and cycling through 4 to 5 arms a game. Just don’t know if trading arms for arms is really going to get them anywhere. When Maddon has them for a month they will only have noodley appendages left.

h27kim
Trusted Member
4 months ago
Reply to  steelgolf

That’s at least in part because starters aren’t very durable: there hadn’t been many occasions when I’d have been comfortable letting starters in longer than Maddon.

Charles Sutton
Editor
Trusted Member
4 months ago

I like the attempt at positive thinking. You’re right. Perry trading for Strickland this month is the sort of thing that sets him apart from Billy Eppler. Unfortunately, the coaching staff seems to be using him wrong.

Last edited 4 months ago by Charles Sutton
angelslogic
Super Member
4 months ago
Reply to  Charles Sutton

I hope future trades are an upgrade from Strickland. He’s a home run waiting to happen.

Cowboy26
Super Member
4 months ago
Reply to  angelslogic

What is the proper usage for Hunter Strickland? Designated Plunker? Bullpen pitcher most likely to spell position players form pitching in blowouts?

because so far just his appearance into the game has been improper usage.

2002heaven
Trusted Member
4 months ago

2021 Angels…….DNR ( Do Not Resuscitate )!
Trade Bundy, Heaney, and Iglesias before we can’t give them away in 20 days from now.

2002heaven
Trusted Member
4 months ago
Reply to  H.T. Ennis

Probably should just sink or swim with what little we have at AAA ( Adell, Marsh, Barria ). We have to be sellers not buyers. Upton we’re just stuck with him and, actually Arte should just pay him off and eat his contract and that opens up a spot for Marsh or Adell. Somebody will pick him up as long as we’re still paying for him. Mike Mayers is toast too in 2021 nobody will trade for him now, he’s another pumpkin who we held on to past 12AM. 😥  😫 

2002heaven
Trusted Member
4 months ago
Reply to  H.T. Ennis

Addendum……trade Raisel Iglesias too unless he too implodes before July.
We have some fire sale pieces this time who can net us some decent prospects.