LA Angels: Is Tommy La Stella A Trade Chip Or Key Reserve?
The LA Angels signing of Anthony Rendon was a move that needed to be made, but it does put one of the team’s breakout stars from 2019 in a weird spot.
While the Anthony Rendon signing puts the LA Angels at a greater chance to win the AL West, it was, in some sense, a luxury move. The Angels had David Fletcher and Tommy La Stella to play third base and second base. Now, La Stella moves back to the old role his held in Chicago as a super-utility player…or does he?
Obviously I’m still an advocate for the 7-year, $245 million given to Rendon. It kickstarted what should be a new era in Anaheim. It creates a new situation for the Angels infield though, and I mean that in a good way. The team no longer has to rely on Tommy La Stella playing at the same All Star level he did in 2019 prior to his injury.
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The case for trading La Stella is this: they have an elite infield now with Rendon, Andrelton Simmons, David Fletcher, and Albert Pujols. Off the bench, they have Luis Rengifo and Matt Thaiss as two young guys who could potentially fill bigger roles in 2020. They’re both multi-positional as well, and could seemingly be the only two backups needed in the Anaheim infield.
Vice versa, that would mean the Angels – who are hoping to contend – would be depending on those two young stars to take big leaps in development this offseason. While Thiass looks great playing in the Dominican Winter League per Billy Eppler, La Stella is a much more proven commodity in the MLB.
La Stella is also on an expiring deal. Trading him, even if he was an All Star last year, wouldn’t net as great of a return as a package of cost-controlled young players. So if the goal is to get the best starting pitching available in trades, the aforementioned youngsters would probably net the Angels a better return. Luis Rengifo especially has a very interesting case and could be the Angels best major league trade chip as of now.
I think the best bang for the Angels’ buck would be to keep La Stella as their primary reserve. If Jo Adell doesn’t break camp on the 26-man roster, La Stella could even be an Opening Day starter with David Fletcher in right field.
However he is utilized by though, it would be more valuable for the Angels if it’s under Joe Maddon, not on another team after dealing him for pitching help.