This is a signing that might have split Halo fans into halves. In my own household, there were some of us (guilty) who fantasized of the Angels being the reported mystery team in on Machado, while the others cringed at the idea of someone with Manny’s attitude and sportsmanship joining the Angels.
However, Machado signing with the Angels would prevent a lot of confusion, while also allowing versatile players to come off the bench. He would have to sign with the understanding that he would move back to third base, as Andrelton Simmons is the best defensive shortstop (and maybe overall shortstop) in baseball.
With Machado at third base, Zack Cozart would likely be the everyday second baseman, while David Fletcher would move to the bench. Earlier this month, I wrote a piece about how Fletcher could be the perfect utility man for the Angels, and the signing of Machado would allow that.
It would also give the Angels a proven hitter who could drive in runs to hit behind Mike Trout, which is a huge need for the Angels. Ohtani leading off, followed by Trout, and Machado hitting third would make the Angels offense a threat in the American League West for years to come.
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The biggest name in free agency in perhaps the last five years, Harper is amongst the league’s best players and arguably the best right fielder in baseball. While he has been inconsistent throughout his career, he has shown he can play at an MVP level, and his left-handed bat could provide a huge boost in the Angels lineup.
Harper would immediately slot into the #3 spot in the lineup, right behind Mike Trout and in front of Shohei Ohtani once healthy. That three-man stretch would be the best in baseball by a long shot. This would also make the Angels’ lineup much more steady throughout the bottom of the order as well, with Justin Upton, Albert Pujols, and Andrelton Simmons leading group.
This would also allow the Angels a lot of potential trades in the future. They could immediately shop Kole Calhoun for pitching depth, which the Angels have learned is extremely valuable over the past few years.
After this season, with top prospect Jo Adell ready to arrive at any time, they could move on from Justin Upton’s contract as well, which would garner a solid return. Those two moves would just about make up for the money spent on Harper, at least in the first half of the contract.
The Angels, despite being seemingly strapped for cash for the rest of eternity, do have payroll flexibility in the future. While most fans worried signing a big name such as Harper would make signing Trout to an extension impossible, not signing a long-term star might be a reason Trout walks in 2020.