LA Angels: Potential Trade Targets to Pursue

(Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)
(Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images) /

While the LA Angels have missed out on many of the top free agent starting pitchers, including the most recent signing in Hyun-Jin Ryu. There are still lower tier starting pitchers on the free agent market, however, the trade market may fare better considering teams know the Angels still need a frontline starter.

The LA Angels are in a somewhat desperate need for at least one starting pitcher to lead the rotation. While I wouldn’t consider the recent acquiring of Dylan Bundy or Julio Teheran to be leading the rotation or making enough quality starts to take that extra step. Here are some of the starters whose names are still out there on the trade market and possibly make sense for the Angels.

J.A. Happ

With the recent acquisition of the biggest free agent this offseason in Gerrit Cole, the Yankees may have one too many starters and Happ may be the odd man out. While his numbers weren’t too impressive last season posting a 4.91 ERA, 1.2 WAR, while going 161.1 innings.

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He can certainly provide length for the rotation and help out the bullpen, but considering that Angels stadium is a pitchers ballpark, his numbers could fair better in Anaheim. Of course, Billy Eppler has good relations with Brian Cashman, the Yankees general manager because Eppler was the assistant gm back in New York. That relationship could help the Angels acquire the starter they need, and while the Angels were also in on Cole, Cashman could help out his former apprentice.

Chris Archer

This one could be a stretch depending on how the new Pirates gm, Ben Cherington, views the direction of the team and whether he considers them contenders or sellers. While Archer’s numbers haven’t been noteworthy in recent times, he’s had success in the past in the few short years he was with the Rays under Angels current manager, Joe Maddon.

He was an All-Star in both 2015 and 2017 which shows that he could find success again and if the Angels offer the right package, they could make the Pirates consider to be sellers for the remainder of the offseason.

The Pirates seem to be in a position where they need to acquire young controllable talent and slowly build up to a sustaining team, which the Angels could offer a package of young prospects that the Pirates could entertain.

Reuniting with Joe Maddon could help Archer find what made him success in previous seasons and Angels new pitching coah, Mickey Callaway, could also help him.

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Jeff Samardzija

Now this is a move that will possibly have fans scratching their heads and some even saying no thank you right away, but at least read my reasons for this. Samardzija could be the leader of the rotation that the Angels desperately need especially if he performs better in a new environment like Angels stadium.

The biggest difficulty that I see in this is the contract terms because he will making around $18 million for next season and then will be a free agent next season. The Angels made recently made a move with the Giants that saw Will Wilson and Zack Cozart go to San Franscisco in exchange for mostly salary space and Wilson because the Giants agreed to take Cozart’s contract. The Angels should definitely make another call to the Giants to see if they can make a move for Samardzija for a quick one year rental with the chance for him to head the rotation.

Joe Maddon and Mickey Callaway can also help get the most out of him as this is the last year of his  current contract, and the Angels could package more young talent to attract the Giants to let Samardzija go.

LAA Offseason Progress Report. Next

These three moves listed are moves that the Angels need to consider if they want to look for more options in the trade market. With the moves made so far into the offseason which seem to be more about adding depth and length in the rotation, the Angels need to get a starting pitcher that they can put at the front of the rotation and lead the rest of the other starters.

These pitchers could also come at a cost the Angels may want to consider without giving up too much as the starters mentioned are all coming off of either mediocre or down years.