One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Or in the case of non-tender candidates one team’s roster casualty fits nicely onto another team’s roster. This off season features the largest class of arbitration eligible players I can remember. As such, it also features a lot of non-tender candidates that would fit perfectly onto the Angels roster.
Teams have until November 18th to tender a player a contract or let him go. If a team has decided they will likely not offer that player a contract, the team is likely to look for trade partners before the tender deadline. Returns in these types of trades are generally pretty light as the buyer knows the seller is about to lose the player for nothing. Why trade for him? To guarantee you get him instead of bidding against other teams in free agency.
Either by swinging a trade or pursuing as a free agent, here are the players on the bubble I’d target:
Joey Wendle – I was upset when the Angels didn’t land Wendle last year and the lack of infield depth immediately proved my anger was justified. All Wendle did was put up 2.5 WAR across 101 games playing second, short, and third. By comparison, Tyler Wade put up -0.7 WAR in 67 games and Jack Mayfield put up a 42 OPS+ across 23 games. Wendle immediately adds a critically needed MLB caliber player to mix with Fletcher, Rengifo, and Rendon without much prospect cost and with a salary of only about $5.4 million.
Half the Milwaukee Brewers. In seriousness, the Brew Crew has 18 arbitration eligible players to go along with a limited budget. One of those players would look great in Angels red:
Hunter Renfroe – the Angels need an outfielder, some offense, and likely want to avoid long term deals. A projected $11.2 million for a guy who just put up 2.5 WAR while being 26% better than league average offensively is a very fair deal. The fact he can cover first base against a lefty is a bonus. A Ward, Trout, Renfroe outfield might lack a little defense but would bring some serious thunder. I doubt he’s outright non-tendered, but if he is on the trading block he’d be my priority.
Looking at that list of Brewers, Brent Suter would be a nice stabilizer in the bullpen. One year at a projected $3.1 million for a veteran who has closing experience and can mentor what I hope is a wave of Trash Pandas starting to matriculate to the MLB level is nice and keeps the club out of bidding on other free agents.
Raimel Tapia – Left field was atrocious for the Angels last year. Tapia won’t make anyone forget about GA at the plate but does own a nice .275/.320/.397 career slash line against righties for his career while playing a very average left field. This would be a net 1 WAR difference at about a $5.75 million salary and push Adell and Moniak to compete for a bench spot.
Jacob Stallings – by his standards the 32 year old catcher just had a horrible year. Either he’s old and toast or he just had a bad year. For one year and $3.2 million I’d probably take a shot on him. Best case him and Stassi justify stalling O’Hoppe’s service clock. Worst case we call O’Hoppe up early in the year. In all likelihood between the three of them we make it through a year without starting a waiver claim for the first time in forever.
Kyle Farmer – I wanted Farmer last off season and again he would have been our best regular infielder for the year. Capable of playing second, short, and third, he put up a 91 wRC+ in 2022 and 1.5 WAR. More of a glove than a bat he’s the typical utility infielder. This move wouldn’t really raise the ceiling but it would establish legitimate depth on the diamond and keep Soto and Neto developing in AAA.
Ali Sanchez – A catcher currently in the Pirates system with a nice .262 batting average and .323 OBP in the minors. He’s only 25 and has options remaining and more upside than any Halos backstop other than O’Hoppe.
None of these moves would single handedly push the Angels to contenders but all would raise the floor. In Renfroe’s case, he’d also raise the ceiling. Adding that bat to the Trout, Ohtani, Ward mix would be great.
In the case of the infielders, none are as shiny as the free agent shortstops. But if our worst case scenario is a guy with a good glove and a 90 OPS+, that’s leagues better than what we’ve had.
Normally I’d justify these moves as a big market team acting like a big market team. However, with the team for sale and announcing they are keeping Ohtani and his $30 million deal on the books for next year, these are ways of taking our biggest needs and filling them without making long term commitments or giving up our best prospects.
Even paying Wendle $5.4 million would mean the trio of Fletcher, Rengifo, and Wendle costs less than $13 million. That’s a third of what the top shortstops expect to make. Renfroe, Wendle, and Tapia combined would be about what Thor and Archie Bradley cost last year. That would also allow Ward or Renfroe to cover first against a lefty which would really deepen the lineup.
The Angels need depth across the roster. Moves like this can help build it without gutting a thin farm system or doling out big contracts. What the Angels can’t afford is another year with no depth where an injury hole is filled by a waiver claim. And, hopefully, having a guy like Wendle on hand means each infielder gets a day or two off each week and limits injuries.
What do you think? Who did I miss? Let me know?
Hey guys, just checking in.
Hey! Wendle got declined! Time to dream mediumish.
Only his option. They can still offer Wendle arbitration.
$6.3 million option declined so he gets $75,000.
His projected arbitration number is $5.4 million, meaning if the Marlins keep him they are looking at saving $825k this way.
This means they clearly don’t value him at $6.3 million. I wonder if they value him at $5.4 million.
Equally, need a legitimate LF and 1B that can hit with from both sides of the plate w/contact. No way should the Angels sail into next year with Walsh. One and done AS, best to dump him while he is not that far removed from the mid-summer 2021 classic.
I’m looking at guys like Trey Mancini and Christian Vasquez right now. Each could cover first against a lefty while providing coverage at LF and C, respectively.
the order of needs to me – prioritization of investment 2023 focus
im definitely on the fence on Walsh – lots of concerns here but it would be some cost to upgrade.
I’d say middle infield is the key. Ideally a shortstop. I’d prefer a guy who pushes one of Fletcher or Rengifo to the utility spot. That’s my primary goal, and one I doubt happens.
Angels need another starting pitcher plus a LF. They can get by at SS without spending much money there. They also need more relief help.
‘getting by’ is what they tried to pull off at SS in 2022 and i don’t want to see that again.
Makes perfect sense. Team desperately needs offense. Team is short on money. Team has a 1B who plays really good defense and hit well til TOS issues. He is also cheap. But he sucks against lefties. He just had TOS surgery and is on track for March.
Don’t keep this guy and sign a cheap platoon partner. Instead sign Jose Abreu for a ton of money and when he sucks complain bitterly.
you spelled Mo Vaughn wrong
If “Sale Season Dumpster Diving” actually meant we get Wendle and Renfroe I’d be pretty stoked. I’m not super worried about OF defense. We can get a CF that can’t hit for the situations where defense is super key and infield defense is way more important over all. Besides, it’s not like Trout, Renfroe and Ward is even close to as bad as an outfield with Schwarber and Castellanos in it.
I’d like Sanchez and Farmer too, though Jorge Alfaro could help us too, even Cam Gallagher if we want a defensive #2. I think Farmer will hit better with some line up protection.
I’d also take a flyer on Josh James finally managing to throw 100+ innings, Franmil Reyes managing to make contact every few at bats, Alec Mills and Caleb Smith waking up from their nightmares, same with Brian Anderson and Dominic Smith. I like Luis Cessa for our pen depth.
Plenty of meat on the bones if we want a couple OK depth pieces that don’t move the needle and blah blah blah.
I can’t believe Carter Keiboom and Victor Robles have fizzled the way they did and I am trying to find a way to blame Arte for it as we speak.
I thought Hunter Renfroe was playing for the Raiders.
Seriously , though, I can see the value of this type of signing of guys who have a year left on their deals and are cost controlled. This is a viable way of filling out the roster for 2023. And Ali Sanchez seems like a low risk signing with upside – particularly if they could get rid of Stassi’s contract.
I don’t know Ali Sanchez. Is he better than Quero (who is admittedly farther away)? Is he close enough to get rid of Stassi?
Quero is in A ball right now. Sanchez has some MLB time and plenty of AAA time.
Stassi is coming off a horrid year and is in the last year of his contract. We get a guy like Sanchez to back him up now and then O’Hoppe later, ideally keeping us from dumpster diving for catching every year.
I’m 100% for them. There’s nothing better than dumpster diving (I do not say this perjoratively) to improve roster depth in a hurry, though the caveat is that the team needs to be good at diagnosing problems and fixing/hiding them. We hadn’t been very good at getting value out of reclamation projects for a while.
….and we all know Arte loves cheap garbage
that’s the GM’s job with the leftovers.
Arte loves his bright shiny objects.
Here’s your budget…..I blew most of it on Pujols.
Here’s your budget…..I blew most of it on Hambone.
Here’s your budget….I blew most of it on Rendon.