LA Angels: Halos can improve by deadline without trading

Mike Trout, LA Angels. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports
Mike Trout, LA Angels. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports /

The LA Angels are in an interesting spot as we approach trade season.

When Mike Trout went down due to his calf injury, many expected the season to be over. Fast forward to the closing days of the first half, though, and the Halos are right in the thick of the playoff race. The idea that the Halos will be selling at the deadline isn’t looking as likely anymore.

Entering the Mariners series, the Angels stood at 44-42. That meant they were just 4.5 games out of the playoffs. It’s encouraging, but still not the best record. Therefore, nothing’s set in stone yet regarding whether the Angels will be buyers or sellers.

One thing is for sure, though, and that’s that the Angels will be improving by the end of July regardless. They’ll be improving even without any trades.

The LA Angels will be a dangerous team as soon as their outfield gets healthy.

Trout is expected to be back for the LA Angels by July 18th, and Justin Upton could be back any day now.

The truth is, Upton was playing like his prime self again before he went down. On May 23rd, Joe Maddon made the gutsy decision to bat Upton in the leadoff spot. That decision proved to be an absolute genius move from the three-time Manager of the Year.

Upton has batted .326/.420/.600 since the switch, and he’s clubbed six home runs in the 25 games. He’s also knocked in 15 RBI. Doing that from anywhere in the lineup is tough, but it’s especially tough to bring in that many runs from the first spot in the lineup.

As for Trout, he was only having the best year of his career.

On defense, he hasn’t made an error since 2019. On offense, the three-time AL MVP set career-highs in batting average (.333), on-base percentage (.466), and OPS (1.090) in the 36 games he’s played in 2021.

His eight home runs had him on pace for 36 this year, and was on pace to score 103 runs.

His fWAR is currently second on the team at 2.3, despite only playing in 36 games.

He’s been so dominant this season that he even was named a starting outfielder for the AL All-Star team.

Upton’s been out since June 23rd. We’re 8-5 since then. Imagine how good we’ll be when he gets back.

Now, also imagine how good we’ll be when our franchise player also gets back on top of that.

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We don’t even need to make blockbuster deals at the deadline to improve our team. We’ll naturally get better as we heal up.