How could the LA Angels improve their pitching staff?

ANAHEIM, CA - SEPTEMBER 17: Pitcher Blake Wood
ANAHEIM, CA - SEPTEMBER 17: Pitcher Blake Wood /

The LA Angels starting rotation is a big question mark for 2018. Bleacher Report predicts the Angels as 23rd best rotation in the MLB in 2018.  In 2017 the starting pitching posted a 4.60 ERA and the bullpen posted a 3.77 ERA.

If the LA Angels want to continue to show their fans that this is the big year, their next step is to find better arms to solidify their staff. The Angels currently have Pujols, Valbuena, Cron and Marte at first base. This is an area of depth that the Angels might be able to use to acquire some more pitching.

Cron, with 16 home runs last season and a career .262 AVG and Valbuena, a lefty bat with 22 home runs and a career .228 could each serve as a primary piece in a trade that could work well both for the LA Angels and one of the teams I have listed below.

I’ve come up with three teams I think would benefit most from a trade with the LA Angels: the A’s, Rangers, and the Rays.  The Rays only have Brad Miller who hit .201 last year at first right now.  The other two teams have just two players at first on their depth charts.

Of these 5 first basemen (M. Olson, R. Nunez, J. Gallo, R. Rua and B. Miller) Matt Olson of the A’s was the only one to hit over .250.

Rays Trade Options

The Rays are probably the best fit for this kind of trade as they only have the one below average first baseman (Brad Miller) and they have the staff to lose.  Miller hit just .201 while showing little power and their staff is the best of the three teams I’ve listed posting a 4.20 ERA last season (11th in the Majors).  Simply put, the Rays REALLY need a first baseman and wouldn’t be hurt too much losing a pitcher.

The Angels could go after Dan Jennings (3.45 ERA), starting pitcher Jake Odorizzi (4.14 ERA), or Andrew Kittredge.  Kittredge showed a lot of potential in his rookie year with the Rays posting a 1.76 ERA in 15 IP .  The Angels would likely be able to get a good deal from the Rays considering their big problem at first.

Athletics Trade Options

Athletics pitching was pretty similar to the Angels.  Their bullpen was statistically better than their starters posting a 4.01 ERA compared to a 4.84 ERA.  Their team ERA was 4.51 compared to the Angels’ 4.28.  Even though the A’s had their pitching woes they’re in need of a first baseman.  So they might be willing to give up a good pitcher if they were given a good deal.

Specifically, Blake Teinen, a right handed reliever flashing a 97 mph sinker would be a good addition to the Angels’ staff (2017 – 3.93 ERA).  Emilio Pagan also looks good from the A’s.  Last year during his rookie season he posted a 3.22 ERA through 50.1 innings pitched.

Rangers Trade Options

The Rangers also finished in the bottom third posting a 4.37 ERA.  That being said, they have exceptional starters with Cole Hamels, Martin Perez and Doug Fister at their 1,2 and 3.  Currently their 4 guy is Mike Minor.  He showed promise posting a 2.55 ERA last season, much higher than his career 3.93 career ERA through 7 years in the Bigs.

Since they already have very good starting pitchers already they might be willing to take a risk on a new guy in their farm system in exchange for a good first baseman.  Currently they have Joey Gallo at first who had 41 home runs while only hitting .209 in 2017.  They could be looking for another guy to rotate between 1st and DH with Joey Gallo and Shin-Soo Choo.

Next: How will Angels fill at their roster in 2018?

The table is set for the Angels.  With the team they have now they have a good shot of making it to the playoffs.  With a few more good moves I believe they can go from a playoff team to a good World Series candidate.  They have the bats, especially after adding Kinsler and Ohtani.  Now they need to focus on pitching.  Like the saying goes, offence will win you games, defence will win you championships.