The LA Angels were once again victims of poor play from their second basemen this year. Looking forward, what can the Halos do to avoid this problem in 2018?
The LA Angels have been cursed at second base ever since dealing Howie Kendrick for Andrew Heaney back in 2014. After a squadron of players attempted to fill the hole this year, there is still a huge question mark on who mans the spot in 2017.
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Danny Espinosa started the season at second. However, his average defense and lackluster offense left much to be desired for the Halos. Cliff Pennington then tried his best, but the veterans could not handle the job, leaving it open for next season.
There are in-house options. Most notable is Kaleb Cowart. When Cowart was handed the job earlier this season, he played reasonably well. He was no All-Star, but handled the job well, batting .253 as a starter with nine extra base hits. However, his 26 games were split up by a blazing hot start, followed by a mean cold streak. He will be a candidate for the 2018 starting gig, maybe even the frontrunner, but Cowart lacked the confidence needed to be an everyday player. If he can gain that confidence back, Cowart can lock up the job.
There is also Brandon Phillips, who the Halos acquired at the beginning of the month. He has played well, even experiencing a slight power surge in his time with the Halos. However, Phillips will be a free agent this offseason. While that doesn’t eliminate the Angels from signing him, the 36-year old has expressed his desire to play closer to his hometown of Raleigh, North Carolina.
That leaves free agents and possible trade targets for the Halos. The free agent market is not overwhelming. The most interesting player on the free agent market is Neil Walker. Walker, 31, had a solid season. In 107 games, Walker is hitting .266 with 14 big flies, 49 RBI’s, and 57 runs. While it would be unfair to expect more than 120 games from Walker, he would give the Angels a consistent threat from second base.
The Angels still have four games left in the 2017 season, but it is never too early to look at the possibilities within the 2017 offseason. Hopefully, whatever moves they make, the Halos are able to use them in a playoff run.