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On Friday news broke that the Los Angeles Angels are looking to trade an infielder this winter in order to bring back pitching. The two infielders mentioned were David Freese and Howie Kendrick, but one of them separately will most likely bring back a bullpen arm. The Angels will still need to look at the free agent market for a starting pitcher, if the money allows them to do so and one option could be Brandon McCarthy. In order to bring in McCarthy the Angels will have to work the payroll just right in a trade to avoid going over the luxury tax.
Howie Kendrick is owed $9.5MM next season so if that is able to come off the books in a trade and the Angels get back a $4MM contract on a bullpen arm, McCarthy could be a viable choice. Going into the winter, the Angels are reported to have around $10MM to spend to stay under the luxury tax. McCarthy made $10MM with the Yankees for two-thirds of a season, but he should be able to be brought in for around $7MM or so a year in my opinion.
McCarthy has bounced around and has been apart of five teams in nine MLB seasons. The latest was a split season between the Arizona Diamondbacks and New York Yankees this past season. The season was night and day production wise.
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He spent the first three months in Arizona and had a hard time getting outs. He pitched in 18 games, all starts, and had an ERA of 5.01. He allowed 131 hits in 109 and one-third innings, and saw 15 of his pitches leave the ballpark as a home run. Opponents hit .298/.330/.469 against him, so he was really in trouble most of the time.
Things got better once he went to New York. He still allowed a lot of long balls, 10, in a Yankees uniform, but pitching in the American League will do that to you. This time around his walks were down, and so were the opponents averages. Opponents went from hitting .298 to .257 in the second half of the season. He also got a little bit luckier on balls in play. With Arizona opponents had a .347 average on balls in play, that went down to .308 in the second half with New York.
That good second half leads me to believe that he can be a viable option in the backend of the Angels rotation. The Angels rotation has the most questions going into the winter and McCarthy could help solidify it. He will also benefit from having a better offensive team. Combined in 2014 on days he pitched, his team scored more than four runs, seven times. If he does end up an Angel, the highest scoring team in 2014, he will benefit greatly. He can solidify this rotation with one move and the Angels won’t have to give up anyone to get him.