With the MLB trade deadline now passed, did the Angels miss out on an an opportunity for an overpay return?
The trade deadline has come and gone and all in all, the Angels made a few trades, but really didn’t make any big splashes. They pulled off trades moving Tommy La Stella to Oakland, Jason Castro to the Padres, and a last-second Brian Goodwin deal to the Reds that was reported after the 4 pm trade deadline.
Judging from the deadline, it looks like the Angels are going to try to plan for next year in the offseason. However, did the Angels miss out on the team’s potential opportunities to overpay at the deadline?
To be honest, the Angels were just in a weird spot at this year’s trade deadline. They justifiably had every reason to sell but didn’t really have any of the pieces to sell. It’s not like they were going to get rid of guys like Mike Trout or Anthony Rendon and their offense is good enough that if they keep the core together and get pitching, they could make real noise in 2021. I still think they may have missed a couple of opportunities though.
Dylan Bundy is having a good season and was the player who was talked about being moved the most. While Bundy had a bust–like career start in Baltimore, he found himself and showed the world what he could be after the move to Anaheim. A 4-2 record with a sub-3 ERA screams overpay to a team that is in contention.
While Bundy is no Mike Clevinger, it seemed like the haul the Indians got in return would have forced the rest of the pitcher needy teams to perhaps push hard for a guy like Bundy as well. Alas, the Angels seemed to signal early in the day that they intended to hold on to Bundy for 2021.
David Fletcher, I am not so conflicted about here but he is worth mentioning. While I think they could have got a massive haul for Fletcher, they needed to keep him. He’s not even a free agent until 2025 and has shown he can contribute to the Angels. Nevertheless, teams were said to be interested in the everything man of the Halos.
For the sake of this argument, what would a team have really given up for a guy like Fletcher? I’d like to think that Angels General Manager, Billy Eppler, would have listened if it was a huge haul but who really knows. I think it’s good that he’s staying put but wish to know what could’ve come over in a deal for him.
Andrelton Simmons would have been a great trade piece this deadline if not for the injuries that cost him half of a shortened season. The 30-year-old shortstop is hitting .286 through 46 plate appearances this season and that’s just not a big enough sample size to trade for a guy on the last year of his contract who may not be fully healthy. This will always be the “what-if” to me. If Simmons was healthy and Fletcher proving he could be an elite shortstop, they could’ve really had someone step up for a guy like Simmons.
The hardest part of all of this is that the Angels really did all they could. It’s obvious that pitching is keeping them from accomplishing anything and the free-agent market this offseason will have a few options to pick from to help out there. Optimistically speaking, the Angels get to keep Bundy and hope he stays the course he’s on, and they have Fletcher to pair with Ohtani, Trout, and Rendon for the foreseeable future. Pessimistically, they could’ve missed out on a huge overpay for bolstering their farm system with guys that will be ready in a year or two like the Mariners did.
I’m not going to sit here and tell you the Angels won or lost at the trade deadline because honestly, I’m not sure. If Fletcher keeps performing and Bundy keeps pitching the way he has been, I think they ultimately won by not subtracting. The Clevinger trade made me believe teams were really willing to overpay this year, especially with so many teams having an opportunity at the playoffs.
The worst part about the trade deadline though, we will never know who called Eppler, or vice-versa, and what deals were talked about and never done.