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Trade Talk: Los Angeles Angels (... of Anaheim)

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Buyers or Sellers

It’s somewhat unusual these days to see the trade deadline looming and the Angels not making any moves, but in all likelihood that’s what’s going to happen this season. Los Angeles is mired in mediocrity while Texas and Oakland appear to be running away with the division.

Of course Arte Moreno (a more likeable imitation of a Steinbrenner) could continue to funnel money in an attempt to right the ship immediately, but not only does that seem like a lost cause this year, but he has to keep something in the bank to hand over a huge contract to Mike Trout in the next few years.

What They Need

The biggest problem on the Angels right now is their pitching. They rank near the bottom of the league in ERA and BAA (especially among starters) – alongside the Twins. So there’s probably not much help we could provide there. In all likelihood they’ll probably just wait for Tommy Hanson and Jason Vargas to come off the DL instead of looking for outside rotation help.

The Angels have a pretty strong bullpen anchored by 2nd year closer Ernesto Frieri, who has converted 24 of 26 save opportunities this year. They also have Kevin Jepsen and Scott Downs as righty and lefty set-up guys and another lefty – Sean Burnett – set to come off the DL soon.

In terms of offense the Angels are doing ok and have pretty established players at most positions. Catcher has been a bit of an offensive void for them though, and Alberto Callaspo doesn’t appear to be a long term fixture at 3B.

They recently DFA’d the infamous Brendan Harris (!!!) and called up prospect Tommy Field to back-up around the infield.

What Might Work

Joe Mauer? Probably not. But Ryan Doumit could be of interest to them behind the plate. Perhaps Trevor Plouffe could draw some interest for 3B, but that could be a long-shot as the Angel’s consensus #1 prospect is Kaleb Cowart, a third baseman currently at AA.

It’s doubtful that they’d have any real significant interest in bullpen arms, as their bigger problem has been anyone in the rotation not named CJ Wilson or Jered Weaver. In terms of starting pitchers, the Angels would more likely want a long-term rotation option and not just another stop-gap (they have one already in Joe Blanton) – which probably takes Pelfrey and Correia out of the mix. Maybe Diamond or Deduno?

Maybe Jamey Carroll would make a better utility infielder/spot starter for them but that seems like a bit of a reach.

Sleeper Targets

Alex Yarbrough – 2B – A+ – 21 years old

Yarbrough was drafted by the Angels in the 4th round in 2011. He played for them last year at Cedar Rapids and put up a .287/.320/.410 line, and after graduating to High A for them this year has produced to a .315/.339/.480 clip.

Eric Stamets – SS – A+ – 21 years old

Stamets was taken in the 6th round of the 2012 draft. Paired up with Yarbrough last year at Cedar Rapids, Stamets put up .274/.323/.347 and while in High A with him this year he’s posting a similar .286/.344/.369. He’s got a bit of speed and hardly any power, but Baseball America tabbed him as the best infield arm in the Angels system this year.

A.J. Schugel – RHP – AAA – 24 years old

Schugel is currently having a horrible season in the Pacific Coast League, his first year in AAA, but in 2011 he had a good year for Cedar Rapids before a late-season promotion to High A, and last year he held his own in AA. Perhaps this year is an aberration or the Twins see something they could fix in him.

Dream Target

C.J. Cron – 1B/DH – AA –23 years old

Cron is a power-hitting 1B prospect who recently played in the Futures game with two of our own top prospects. He’s not particularly dazzling with his glove and in that case he could eventually end up filling a DH role. But the power potential is tantalizing, and currently he’s blocked by Pujols and Trumbo at 1B, so the Angels would probably love to get something for him. Cron should be a part of any big deals that the Angels make this year, and with 1B as a big question mark for the Twins right now he could be a surefire target.
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