Is there more to Tuesday’s moves than meets the eye. Are the Angels done yet?
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If you are an Angels fan I’m sure when you heard about the recent transactions the team has made, you didn’t quite jump out of your seat and do cartwheels. However, let’s look at these moves individually and as a collective group.
Shane Victorino for Josh Rutledge
Jul 7, 2015; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox right fielder Shane Victorino (18) runs to third base during the second inning against the Miami Marlins at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
If this was the Victorino of three years ago or more this would move would have been a huge deal. Victorino is now 34 years old and has definitely lost a step due to a series of injuries that have limited Victorino to 64 games over the past two seasons. However, Victorino can still hit and can play good defense. He fills a need for the Angels as a lead-off hitter. His career .340 On-Base Percentage (OBP) and has averaged close to 40 walks per season while carrying a .274 career batting average. However, what may be even more important for the Angels is what Victorino can do off the field and in the clubhouse. Victorino is a winner and has been on playoff teams six of the last 8 seasons. Victorino has played in three World Series winning two rings in 2008 with the Philadelphia Phillies and 2013 with the Boston Red Sox. So overall I feel this was a very nice move that should help the team many ways.
David Murphy for Eric Stamets (minor league shortstop)
The trade for David Murphy was the first of two deals done on Tuesday to provide a left-handed bat the Angels have desperately needed. Murphy is currently hitting .296 with 5 home runs and 27 RBI’s and has an OBP of .344. Although his power numbers are not very strong this season, Murphy has averaged 14 home runs a season and 60 RBI’s per year with a career OBP of .335. This season Murphy is particularly good against righties batting .297. This could result in a platoon situation with C.J. Cron at DH and Victorino in left field. Overall, this was a nice low-cost move and Murphy will be under contract for 2016 as well for $7 million dollars.
David Murphy acquired Tuesday from Cleveland provides the Angels with a left-handed bat, but he can also play good defense.Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
David DeJesus for minor league pitcher Eduar Lopez
The trade for David DeJesus was a curious one in my opinion. Just like with the David Murphy trade, DeJesus provides a left-handed bat who can play all three outfield positions. He is also good against righties with a career OPS (on base percentage +slugging percentage) of .803. DeJesus is averaging 8 home runs and 45 RBI’s per season while batting .276. What is most impressive is a career .351 OBP.
David DeJesus will provide outfield depth and also another left-handed bat who can DH as well. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
However, the question is what role will DeJesus play for the Angels. There is now a logjam in left field with Victorino, Murphy, DeJesus, Daniel Robertson, and Matt Joyce. First of all, with these three trades it looks like Matt Joyce may have played his last game for the Angels and with his .178 batting average you can’t blame the team for releasing him. Robertson can be sent to the minors if the club chooses that route. However, that still leaves three players for 1.5 spots (left field and part-time DH). It is possible that the Angels wanted to create some depth on the bench, but could it be that the Angels Bill Stoneman still has an ace up his sleeve. Could some of the players acquired be packaged in a deal with some prospects to reel in a big fish such as the Rockies Carlos Gonzalez, the Reds Jay Bruce, or the Tigers Yoenis Cespedes. The possibility would excite most Angels fans and a move for one of those big fish could push the Angels over the top and into the World Series.
However, if the Angels stand pat and don’t make any more moves, the three newly acquired players Shane Victorino, David Murphy and David DeJesus could collectively help the Angels achieve the same goal of reaching the World Series. These moves along with the trade for third baseman Conor Gillaspie, who was acquired last week to fill a void created at third base due to an injury to David Freese have all helped plug holes in the line-up that have been huge at times. What makes these moves look even better is that the Angels did not have to part with any top prospects, thus protecting the future of the team while improving the present team. Has Bill Stoneman worked his magic again and to help bolster a team built by former GM Jerry DiPoto that can go all the way? Only time will tell.
As always we encourage you to voice your opinions of these moves and comment on the Angels post-season chances. Looking forward to hearing your feedback.