While the LA Angels have focused mostly on pitching this offseason, the team is now rumored to be interested in former Pittsburgh Pirates infielder Josh Harrison.
Per Jon Heyman, the LA Angels are among five teams who are reportedly in discussions with the two-time All Star. While Harrison is more valuable to an National League team given his ability to play second base, third base, and all over the outfield, the Angels have put a significant value on versatility since Billy Eppler took over.
The Angels and Rays are the only two American League teams mentioned in Heyman’s report, as the Dodgers, Giants, and Phillies are the National League teams hoping to acquire his services. While no front-runner was mentioned, Harrison would be a valuable asset on any squad.
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He has been remarkably consistent in his career, and while his batting average has never been staggering, he has been an all-around type of hitter while playing great defense at multiple positions. He is, arguably, also the best runner in the MLB when it comes to getting out of a pickle.
While Harrison is an exceptional player, the report does come as somewhat of a surprise. Billy Eppler has spent the offseason praising the young infielders in the Angels’ system, most notably third baseman Taylor Ward and Swiss Army knife David Fletcher.
With Zack Cozart also in the mix, one of those three will be out of the mix. However, if Harrison signs, it is likely Ward and Fletcher begin the 2019 season as bench options, with Ward even possibly starting in Triple-A Salt Lake.
Harrison, at 31-years old, is likely looking for a one or two-year deal, which fits in perfectly to what the Angels are working on this offseason. They know they are not far away from the postseason, but keeping their wallets open for the next offseason, where players such as Garrett Cole, Madison Bumgarner, and Nolan Arenado are set to hit the market.
Harrison can undoubtedly help out this Angels team in 2019, whether as an infielder or outfielder. While they don’t have a ton of money left to spend without going over the luxury tax, Harrison may just be a cheap enough option to fill out their 2019 free agency class.