The LA Angels traded away Howie Kendrick to the Dodgers in the winter of 2014 for Andrew Heaney the decision seemed to be a good one. The Angels were getting a good young pitcher in Heaney and trading away an aging veteran with a soon to bee expiring contract.
However this move has not worked out quite like the LA Angels had planned. Heaney has shown some signs of being an ace, but he has also dealt with some injuries. While Kendrick had a few productive years after leaving Anaheim, his replacements have been an enigma over the past four years with the Angels going through three second baseman in those four years.
Johnny Giavotella was Kendrick’s immediate replacement and for a season he did ok, but he ended up being released halfway through the 2016 season. In 2017 the Angels made a trade with Washington getting Danny Espinosa and he ended up lasting only half a season. In 2018 veteran Ian Kinsler was supposed to be the answer at second base, but he never quite panned out either and was traded at the deadline to the AL Champion Boston Red Sox.
When Kinsler was traded the Angels used prospect David Fletcher for most of the rest of the season and he performed admirably, but is he the answer for next season is the question at hand. The Angels have a few options for next season. Fletcher is the top in-house option. They could also do a platoon with Kaleb Cowart and Fletcher.
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Another option is moving Zack Cozart to second and giving the third base job to Taylor Ward and letting Fletcher be a utility man. WIth their performance in the second half of last season these options may not seem like very good ones to many Angel fans however the sample size was small. Ward and Fletcher could come into their own next season and prove to be key pieces in the Angels success.
The other options could be going the free agency or trade route. With what is out on the free agent market this could be a viable option at either postion. Some of the top free agents at both positions are DJ LeMahieu, Brian Dozier and Daniel Murphy at second baseman. The third baseman is not quite as deep in the free agent market with only Josh Donaldson being a viable option. On the trade side the Angels could choose to trade away some young talent to get a strong player at one of these to spots.
With all of this said this one of many question marks Angels GM Billy Eppler will have this off-season. How the Angels take care of this issue and other hols this season will determine how competitive they are in 2019, We will just have to wait and see.