Have the Los Angeles Angels done enough this off-season?

Jul 25, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Astros first baseman Luis Valbuena (18) hits a single against the New York Yankees in the second inning at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 25, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Astros first baseman Luis Valbuena (18) hits a single against the New York Yankees in the second inning at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports /

With Los Angeles Angels Spring Training Camp ready to start up in two days the question I pose is have they done enough to compete for a playoff spot this off-season.  The Angels have filled several holes, is there any more that can be done.

While the Los Angeles Angels off-season moves have not been ones that will make you go ‘WOW! They got him’    However, most of general manager Billy Eppler’s moves this winter have been good ones, but could Eppler have done more.  Let’s look at what the Angels have done in  so far this off-season.

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Filling the void in left field

The first move that Billy Eppler made was to acquire outfielder Cameron Maybin from the Detroit Tigers for Triple-A pitching prospect Victor Alcantara.  This was a great move as we gave up very little to get a quality left fielder that we have been desperately needing over the past couple of seasons.

Although Maybin’s numbers are nothing to write home about, he is a major improvement from all of the players the Angels have used over the past two seasons.  Last year Maybin had a very strong season for the the Tigers hitting .315 with four homers and driving in 43 runs in 94 games.  Maybin also stole 15 bases and a .383 OBP.

For his career Maybin has hit .259 with 46 home runs and 252 RBI’s.  He has also stolen 131 bases and has an OBP of .322.  Defensively Maybin is also very strong and has made the Angels outfield defense even better. This was a very good move that will help the Angels greatly and he could even be a potential lead-off candidate for the team as well.  Grade A-

Some outfield insurance

Late in the winter the Angels added some outfield depth by signing free agent outfielder Ben Revere to a one-year contract.  Revere is a left-handed speed demon with a career .285 average. Revere is not a power hitter hitting only six career homers and he has driven in 178 runs in his career.  Revere has a .320 career OBP and has stolen 190 bases in his career.

Revere will be a good back-up and potential late-inning pinch runner.  He can also be a left-handed bat off the bench and a player you can use against a tough right-handed pitcher. So all in all this move was also a very good one for the Angels to further strengthen the outfield and the bench. Grade B+.

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The Crown Jewel is a Local Boy

The Angels have survived the past two seasons with Johnny Giavotella at second base.  While Giavotella did an admirable job over the past two seasons coming up with many clutch hits, but his defense was always an issue.  When he slumped at the plate lmidway through last season the Angels decided to release Giavotella and thus opening up a hole at second base for the Angels.

So Eppler looks to a team who helped provide a stellar third baseman last season in Yunel Escobar. That team was the Washington Nationals.  This year the Angels worked out a deal to trade minor league pitchers Kyle McGowin and Austin Adams to Washington for second baseman Danny Espinosa who is a product of Long Beach State.

Espinosa hit 24 home runs and drove in 72 runs hitting .209 last year for the Nationals.  He is know for being an above-average defender and he is till relatively young at age 29.  Espinosa is only under contract for next season so the Angels will have to decide whether or not to keep past this year.  In his career Espinosa has hit .229 with 92 homers with 285 RBI’s and 60 stolen bases.

How will this move work out? Only time will tell, but it is definitely an upgrade and should pay dividends in 2017. GRADE: A-

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Providing depth at the corners

A late January move that could pay big dividends for the Angels was the signing of 1B/3B Luis Valbuena to a two-year 15 million dollar contract. This move flew under the radar, but it could be one of the best this off-season. Valbuena provides depth at both first and third base and is a left-handed bat with some pop that the Angels had desperately been seeking.

Valbuena has shown decent power over the last five seasons hitting double-digit home runs in each of the last five years. This includes a career high of 25 bombs for the Houston Astros in 2016. Last season Valbuena hit 13 homers with 40 RBI’s while batting .260 and this was in only 90 games.

For his career Valbuena is .232 hitter with 82 homers and 369 RBI’s in nine major league seasons. Hopefully he will continue to show that pop in Anaheim the next two seasons and can give the Angels that left-handed bat they have needing. GRADE B+

The Best of the Rest

Eppler made a few other moves that we can look at acquiring catcher Martin Maldonado from the Milwaukee Brewers for rookie catcher Jett Bandy, Maldonado has thrown out 54% of would-be base stealers in his career, but is not much offensively.

Maldonado hit .202 last season with 8 homers and drove in 21 runs.  For his career he has a .217 average with 28 homers and 111 RBI’s.  Bandy was an up and coming prospect who I was a little surprised was traded, but Eppler obviously felt he needed a stronger defender as a back-up catcher to Carlos Perez.  GRADE: C+

The Angels also signed free agent pitcher Jesse Chavez who was a free agent.  Chavez will compete for the fifth starter spot and/or long man in the bullpen.  Chavez has good stuff, but has had trouble putting it all together.

Chavez has pitched for seven teams in nine years and has moderate success at times.  Chavez record is 26-40 with a 4.54 ERA and he has struck out 536 batters in 602 innings pitched and has 13 saves.  Last season he pitched for both the Toronto Blue Jays and the Los Angeles Dodgers going 2-2 with a 4.43 ERA and he picked up three saves.

As a 5th starter Chavez could be marginal at best, however Chavez could be a good long-relief man for the Angels.  We will see where fits in and how well he pitches this season.  GRADE – C.

The Angels also acquired minor-leaguer Brook Pounders who could compete for a roster spot with a good Spring.  The Angels also picked up a couple of non-roster veterans with Bud Norris who could also compete for a starting spot in the Angels rotation.  Yusmeiro Petit, a reliever who can also start.  Both Norris and Petit have had some stellar years in the majors, but have been plagued by inconsistency.  GRADE: Incomplete 

Next: Angels in the Outfield

Hopefully most of these moves that Billy Eppler has made will work out.  We will see.