The LA Angels missed out on the Gerrit Cole sweepstakes, and if they truly want to land a top-tier pitcher, the trade market may be the best place to do so.
And in any deal the LA Angels try to craft to land a starting pitcher, Luis Rengifo should be a headliner in the package. There is a mix of reasons that this would be best, and we’ll dive into them here.
First off, Rengifo is a very encouraging young player. A switch-hitting 22-year old who can play shortstop, second base, and third base in a pinch is extremely valuable to MLB teams nowadays. The fact that he has five years of team control makes him even more desirable in trade talks.
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While his offensive numbers in his first year weren’t impressive as a whole, he showed flashes throughout the season. As most rookies do, Rengifo got off to a hot start in the big leagues only to struggle down the line.
A side note, the Angels arguably need Rengifo less than most of their young players. Their infield depth is exceptional, and with their reported attempts to sign Anthony Rendon, there won’t be many opportunities to get Rengifo consistent playing time.
This is not atypical, as once pitchers get some scouting reports they learn how to attack a hitter better. Rengifo has a beautiful contact swing and showed he can be an extra-base hit machine as he goes further into his career. 30 doubles, 5-8 triples, and even 10-12 home runs could become a normal season for Rengifo down the line.
So what is he worth exactly? Well, let’s take a look at this potential Angels’ trade target.
Rengifo aside, I genuinely love the idea of the Angels buying low on Corey Kluber. Last season was a wash due to injuries, but in the years prior Kluber had four of the best years of his career. He is a great target for the Angels and is likely their best chance to land a #1 starter this winter.
Luis Rengifo would be a rock solid start to a package for Corey Kluber. Pairing a controllable position player like Rengifo along with a young starting pitcher like Patrick Sandoval might push the needle a decent amount for a team with such tight salary relief. They won’t need paydays for years and years, and Cleveland’s track record of getting the best out of their pitchers makes Sandoval an intriguing option for them.
Alone, Rengifo could very likely get a one-year mid-rotation rental. However, packaging him with one of the young starters the Halos have (which they’re taking calls on per Jeff Fletcher of the OCR), could get the LA Angels a starting pitcher who raises their ceiling significantly.