The Angels started their fire sale on Friday night, trading fan-favorite Tommy La Stella in what could be the first of several trade deadline moves.
With the trade deadline is quickly approaching, the Angels made a move which shows other teams that they are sellers this season as they trade Tommy La Stella to the Oakland Athletics for Franklin Barreto. While Angels fans may be upset about losing La Stella as he was a fan favorite, they get a guy that can make a huge impact for the team.
This trade for Franklin Barreto makes sense for the Angels as they get another middle infielder who has club control for at least four years, while Tommy La Stella will only be on the Athletics for about a month given the season is already a little more than halfway completed.
We all know what the Athletics are getting with Tommy La Stella. An All-Star last season, we saw an offensive explosion from him in the first half he finished with a slash line of .300/.353/.495. He also had 16 home runs with 44 RBIs, showing he was more than deserving of the All-Star nod. Unfortunately he was injured just before the 1st half of the season ended and didn’t produce the same kind of numbers in the second half.
As for the Angels, Franklin Barreto is a infielder that can play shortstop and second base for some time and has club control until at least 2025 before he hits free agency. While his current season numbers aren’t too good to look at, the lack of playing time he had in Oakland may have been a factor in that.
Barreto was one of the center pieces in the trade that sent him from the Toronto Blue Jays to the Oakland Athletics in exchange for third basemen Josh Donaldson. In pre-2018 when he was considered a prospect, he ranked #66 by MLB.com, he was also ranked #63 by Baseball Prospectus, so most of the scouting reports had him right around the same. His numbers in the minor leagues last season were .295/.374/.552 so there is something promising there if those numbers can translate to the Major Leagues.
With a fresh start and possibly more playing time, the Angels are hoping he can turn it around as he hasn’t really produced well at the major league level. Currently, the Angels only have two players that can man second base, with super utility player David Fletcher and Luis Rengifo both under contract for 2021 and beyond. So Barreto will definitely get to see more playing time with the Angels as they could have Rengifo and Barreto both platooning at the position as David Fletcher’s ability to play all over the field won’t impact him as much.
As the Angels made it clear that they would be sellers, it seems they are taking a risk in acquiring Barreto due to his recent struggles at the Major league level. However, Angels general manager Billy Eppler has been known to take risks before which have been pretty much a coin toss at this point in his tenure with the team.
Of course, time will tell if Barreto’s skills can translate into something the Angels can use on an everyday basis, however, his club control shouldn’t be overlooked as he could reach those expectations with the right development.