Recently, we assessed the Los Angeles depth chart and found some Grand Canyon size holes. In particular, the back-end of the starting pitching rotation.
There have been reports that the Angels will hold onto the few trade chips they have at this point in the off-season and risk their luck signing one or two free agent pitchers with the their tight budget constraints. Then again, these are just Rumors. Good album by Fleetwood Mac, not necessarily reliable when cooking on the ole MLB hot stove.
If the Angels do bring their chips to the trading table, they really only have two viable options: Howie Kendrick and Mark Trumbo. Really, though, they only have Howie Kendrick due to second-base being one of the few places where the Angels have some organizational depth.
So who needs a second-basemen? Here are some teams in need of someone at the 4 position and possible trading candidates:
Toronto Blue Jays
Currently, the Blue Birds of the Great North have Ryan Goins and Maicier Izturis occupying second-base on their depth chart. There have also been reports that the Blue Jays are looking into light-hitting veteran infielder Jamey Carroll. With such meh-inducing names, the Blue Jays are clearly in need of a reliable second-baseman. The problem is that they might not have the starting pitching the Angels needed 10 minutes ago.
According to Baseball Prospectus, the Blue Jays top 6 prospects are all pitchers. However, with the Angels in “win now” mode, the Blue Jays won’t likely be able to offer what the Angels need in 2014 unless they are willing to part with Mark Buehrle. Even then, it’s questionable the Angels would agree to such a trade with the left-hander coming off one of his worst-seasons since 2006.
Los Angeles Dodgers
Currently, this is what MLB.com’s depth chart looks like for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Perfect! The Dodgers have showcased with their new ownership that they have a surplus of money that could fill the Colorado River if it ever runs dry. They would be likely willing to take on all of Kendrick’s contract allowing the Angels the financial flexibility that they need.
Hold on to your horses there for a second, though. Who would the Dodgers offer the Angels? Kershaw, Greinke and Ryu are out. The Dodgers also just signed Dan Haren. That leaves Josh Beckett (recovering from surgery) and Chad Billingsley (recovering from Tommy John) as the only viable candidates.
Are either of these two pitchers worth trading Howie Kendrick for? That would be a resounding “No.”
Couple one of them with pitching prospects Matt Magill or Zach Lee and the offer becomes a bit more enticing. Still, it would be an extremely high-risk trade that could easily find the Angels on the losing end of the stick. Chances are greater that the Dodgers re-sign consistent/clubhouse-guy Mark Ellis on the cheap-ish side and call it an off-season at second.
Kansas City Royals
Currently, the Royals have Emilio Bonifacio occupying second-base through the 2014 season. There’s a possibility that the Royals will stick with him going into the season. However, as the Royals exhibited last year in the James Shields move, they are trying to become a contender now and fast. Would the Royals be willing to send top pitching prospects Yordano Ventura or Danny Duffy to the Los Angeles Angels for Howie Kendrick? It’s a long-shot. Although, after GM Dayton Moore sent top outfield prospect and Rookie of the Year winner Wil Myers to the Rays last year, the possibility could exist. Don’t be surprised if Jerry Dipoto hasn’t at least made a call to KC.
Howie Kendrick in Colorado would be an excellent fit. Kendrick has solid gap power which would likely turn into (more) home run power when playing in Colorado. The problem with the Rockies being a likely trade partner is the same problem that many of these teams have: lack of pitching depth. The Rockies would love to have Kendrick playing second for them but they just don’t have the pieces to pull off the trade.
Tampa Bay Rays
Angels fans so want a David Price for Howie Kendrick trade. Let’s face the facts here though: it ain’t gonna happen. Kendrick going to the Rays makes sense…I guess. It would free up Ben Zobrist to move to the outfield and offer the Rays some backup at first-base as well (Kendrick has logged 79 games there with the Angels).
However, the Rays are in the game of keeping payroll cheap and acquiring as many good prospects that they have. That’s two strikes against the Angels: no prospects and Howie isn’t exactly cheap. And if there is any takeaway from this article, it’s that pitching is hard to come by, particularly this off-season. Don’t be surprised if David Price gets moved but don’t count on it being to Anaheim.