Now that the season is officially over for the Angels, we might as well gouge at the wound a little bit and go over who is most likely on the trading block. And I’m just going to start with five players that I think are 100% “Go’s” for opposing GM’s.
1. Hank Conger- With Chris Iannetta signing his three year extension yesterday, Hammerin’ Hank’s days are numbered as an Angel, probably more so than any one else in the organization. A Catcher who is serviceable behind the plate, and will most likely end up being an Iannetta type with the stick will be a good catch for a team looking for a young cost controlled catcher.
One problem for Hank: injuries. He missed significant time this year for elbow soreness, and has missed time each year for an arm related injury.
One plus for Hank: He’s a switch hitter with projectable power who doesn’t strike out often and has had a good to above average walk rate the past three years.
Totally awesome: He has a Dragon Tail, need I say more.
What could he fetch: Relief help that is either Big League ready, or already in the big leagues. Maybe even a back of the rotation starter. Even if he were put in the right package I don’t think he could bring the team much more than that. His stock has taken some severe hits the last couple of years.
2. Vernon Wells – This is probably more of a pipe dream than anything, but the Angels need to unload Wells along with at least half of his contract if they want to make a serious run at Zack Greinke and keep Torii Hunter around. Some team could be interested if the price is right since Wells is a known entity and a good clubhouse guy, if you’re into that sort of thing.
One plus for Vernon: He does have power. It’s not the power that he displayed in Toronto early in his career, but it is there.
Totally awesome: He does a pretty mean Captain Morgan’s pose.
What could he fetch: Vernon is most likely a candidate for a bad contract swap. Again, think Zito. If Jerry Dipoto can unload him and most of his salary, without taking on any extra salary for the player in return, then the whole thing is an absolute win. I don’t expect this to happen, but if it does, Dipoto’s popularity among fans will skyrocket.
3. Mark Trumbo – Now, just hold on a minute before you grab your pitchforks and torches and hear me out. I want Trumbo to stay, but you saw that second half as well as I did. He reached to the 30 HR, 90 RBI plateau on the strength of his first half, but disappeared after July. And you have to believe that Dipoto was none too pleased with his hacktastic approach down the stretch.
One problem for Mark: 2011 slash line: .254/.291/.477. 2012 slash line: .268/.317/.491. All those gains we thought he made, he didn’t make.
One plus for Mark: The power. He has prodigious power which makes me reluctant to want to see him go to another team just to turn around and Mike Napoli the hell out of us.
Totally awesome: His snarl, he scares me when he gets mad.
What he could fetch: Find a sucker, I mean, the right GM, and Trumbo could net a mid rotation starter or a top notch reliever, maybe two of them, possibly a small prospect haul. His power is that legit. Find a smart GM, and Trumbo becomes considerably less valuable. A couple of middle relievers or middling prospects, at best.
4. Jordan Walden – I know what you are going to say, “our bullpen is thin as it is. Why would you trade away a power arm with a top notch slider when he’s on?” And that is exactly why. When Jordan is on, innings last 10 pitches with two hitters going down on strikes. When he is off, oh dear.
One problem for Jordan : Besides his control, I’ve hated his motion for years. That arm is going to explode probably sooner than later. That, and his control.
One plus for Jordan: His slider is an absolute swing and miss pitch, simply devastating.
Totally awesome: Probably the only player on the 25 man roster who is more scary than Mark Trumbo when he is not smiling.
What he could fetch: I personally am not high on Jordan Walden, making it very hard for me to believe that any GM is high on Jordan Walden, but that’s just me. If Jerry can sell a GM on Jordan’s well above average velocity and swing and miss slider despite his Major League production, he could work as the center of a package deal for a late inning arm plus a prospect kind of deal.
4. Peter Bourjos – First, this is only acceptable if Torii Hunter is not re-signed. Pete can’t match Torii’s bat, but his defense is historically good. With that being said, Pete was at the top of every GM’s wishlist when it came to proposing deals with the Angels last winter. It would be 100% negligent for Jerry to not seriously consider moving Bourjos for the right pieces.
One problem for Peter: His ability to simply get on base. He is wasting his greatest asset, speed, by not doing whatever it takes to reach first base safely.
One plus for Peter: His defense. We can talk speed all day long, but it only gets put on display when he is roaming the outfield, being, well, better than Mike Trout defensively.
Totally awesome: He rocks the high socks, every…..single…..day. And that, is too cool.
What he could fetch: I’m bullish on Bourjos. I think he could net a a small prospect package which would include one of that teams number 5-10 ranked prospects, as well as two more prospects with projectable upside. His defense is that good. Also, mind you, he is no slouch with the bat. He has hit at every single level, and wasn’t exactly terrible in 2011 posting a 4.8 bWAR. Any GM would bite at picking up Bourjos, and Dipoto is smart enough to get the right pieces in return.
If I were Jerry Dipoto, I was shopping Conger two weeks ago, and I am already talking to anyone who will listen on the other four. It’s hard to imagine that a team with this much talent needing to be retooled, but our bullpen has been atrocious for the last three seasons, and there isn’t much help coming from the farm system. That, and, with Greinke and Hunter being main priorities for contracts, don’t expect there to be too much wiggle room in the salary to bring in bullpen help off the free agent market. If Jerry only wants to deal one player per trade, a couple of these guys could net up to six players in the right deals.
For the sake of our blood pressure and climbing heart rates during late innings, someone must be sacrificed. Either that, or it is very possible that I could overdose on Tums next season. Please don’t let that happen JeDi, please.