The Los Angeles Angels and the rest of Major League Baseball are just over a third of the way through their season. With a number of current Halos struggling offensively, we take a look at who the Angels front office could send packing first.
Like every MLB teams does through the course of the season, The Los Angeles Angels have had their share of ups and downs this season. They have yet to put everything together at one time. When the season started, the starting pitching started slow but the offense and bullpen were hot out of the gate. As April drew to a close and May began, the starters started picking it up and finally making it deep into games. However, that is when the offense started to take a turn for the worse.
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As the end of May hits and we roll into June, we are starting to see glimpses here and there of all facets coming together… except one. The back half of the lineup has struggled from the get-go and they’re holding back the rest of the offense.
Four players especially have been the Achilles heel for the lineup and could find themselves unemployed by seasons end.
Chris Young- I’d be surprised to see Young make it all the way through June on the Angels roster. Young is the Angels fourth outfielder. While a back-up isn’t expected to be a player of high expectations, he is expected to be serviceable. With a slashline of .161/.277/.304 this season, Young is well below his career average of .236/.315/.429 in 13 years. Even with limited playing time, his best contribution to the team has been with his legs serving a pinch runner. He is also 2 for 3 on stolen base attempts. With a contract of 1 year for just $2million dollars and plenty of outfield talent stacked up in the minors, Young more than likely will find himself staying home rather than in a dugout near you before much longer.
Possible replacements for Young could be players with Major League experience like Eric Young Jr. or Ben Revere. Other possibilities could be a pair of guys we have already seen this season in Jabari Blash and Michael Hermosillo.
Luis Valbuena- Valbuena, 32, entered the year in his second of his two-year deal with the Angels making $6.5 mil and currently batting .240 on the season. Valbuena recently snapped an 0-21 streak and his bat has, at least for now, come somewhat alive. Being a left-handed batter, Valbuena gets a longer leash than if he were a right-handed batter. However, if he were to fall back down into his pit of hitting-misery, I don’t think the Angels would lose much by letting him go early.
A couple of guys who could fill in for Valbuena if the Angels did decide to release him are Kaleb Cowart and David Fletcher. Both Cowart and Fletcher can play multiple positions. Fletcher as been scorching hot with AAA affiliate Salt Lake City this season. He’s slashing .348/.395/.586. Cowart is a switch hitter and was just called up to the Angels.
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Cam Bedrosian- Bedrock was drafted 29th overall by the Angels in 2010. Bedrosian has been dreadful all season. If his 4.81 era wasn’t evidence enough, his -0.1 Wins Above Replacement (WAR) on this season should be. If it isn’t his career -0.2 WAR should be then. The Angels don’t lose much by letting Cam go. He’s only owed $1.1 million through the end of the season. However he is under club control until 2022. We have seen him be dazzling in the past and seemed on track to be the Angels next closer. However, he has become more of a liability to the team, especially in close games, rather than a guy who could shut the door for the night. Options to replace him in the bullpen could be guys like: Parker Bridwell, Jake Jewell, Eduardo Paredes, or Jeremy Rhoades.
Jim Johnson- Angels GM Billy Eppler loves to take chances with guys who have shown promise in the past. This is exactly what he did when he traded for Johnson from the Atlanta Braves. The former 2012 all-star was coming off a down 2017 where he posted a 5.56 era. Eppler was hoping a change of league and scenery would help Johnson have a comeback season. His 3.99 era says it might be just the end of the 34, almost 35 year old’s career. Angels could eat the rest of his $5 million he is owed this season and replace him with the names mentioned above.
Some honorable mentions because Twitter is clamoring for their walking papers are Ian Kinsler, who is owed 11 million and won’t be going anywhere this season. Not to mention because he is one of the Angels hottest hitters right now. Kole Calhoun, whether you believe his trip to the disabled list for a oblique strain is real or just an excuse to get some time way, Calhoun isn’t going anywhere either. Owed 19 million between this season and next, not to mention one of the best defensive right fielders in the game, Calhoun is sticking around for now.
Oliver Drake is almost certainly going to be DFA’d. The Angels are already his third team THIS SEASON. With a career era of 4.79 in 107 games and a career WAR of -0.2 (-0.4 this season) Drake’s signing came as a surprise but maybe (hopefully) he will only be used as a mop up guy when the game is too far out of reach one way or the other. He didn’t look good when he made his Halo debut either.
The Angels need help in the bottom part of the lineup and bullpen to be a legit playoff contender in arguably the MLB toughest division, the AL West. If any of the players on this list can step-up, or be traded for other pieces, the Angels will sitting pretty, ready to make their run in 2018.