The Los Angeles Angels have been one of the more active teams on the market so far, making three moves already including two trades.
With the Winter Meetings approaching, more moves might be coming for the Angels. Without much more money for Perry Minasian to work with, he might have to be creative in the trade market to fill the holes that are still prevalent on this Angels roster. The Angels could really use an upgrade at shortstop, some added depth, another starter, and bullpen arms.
Here are realistic trade candidates from the 29 other teams that the Angels can consider acquiring.
AL West trade targets
Houston Astros trade target: Phil Maton
Trading with division rivals is very challenging, so the players from the AL West won't be anything crazy. The Astros have a loaded bullpen already and Phil Maton could be expendable. He's in the final year of team control before being a free agent in the 2023 offseason.
Maton appeared in 67 games for the Astros this season and had a 3.84 ERA in 65.2 innings pitched. He ranked in the 97th percentile in average exit velocity and the 98th percentile in hard-hit rate according to baseball savant. He'd be a decent middle relief option for the Halos and comes cheap at a $3.6 million dollar projected salary.
Oakland Athletics trade target: A.J. Puk
A.J. Puk could be a guy Oakland trades this offseason to try and maximize his value. He's a 27-year-old southpaw who excelled coming out of the bullpen in 2022. He went 4-3 with a 3.12 ERA in 62 appearances and 66.1 innings pitched.
He wouldn't come cheap as he's under team control through the 2026 season, but with Oakland having nothing to play for, now could be the time for them to sell high. Puk would be the power arm this bullpen lacks.
Seattle Mariners trade target: Chris Flexen
Chris Flexen could be a guy the Angels trade for to round out their rotation. He's in the final year of his deal and is at a position of strength for the Mariners. They have a full rotation already so he's likely on the block.
Flexen went 8-9 with a 3.73 ERA in 33 appearances (22 starts) this past season for Seattle. He had a 4.02 ERA as a starter which is very solid for a back-end guy and a 1.73 ERA as a reliever. If the Angels opt to go to a five-man rotation or add Flexen and another starter, he can be used as both a starter and a reliever.
He came to Seattle in the 2021 season after spending the 2020 season in Korea. He's been a solid starter since coming to the Mariners and it likely wouldn't take much to acquire him.
Texas Rangers trade target: Jose Leclerc
After dealing with arm issues for a couple of years, Jose Leclerc appeared in 39 games for the Rangers this past season and performed admirably. He had a 2.83 ERA in 47.2 innings pitched. His walks were high (4.0/9) but so were high strikeouts (10.2/9). He's always been an electric arm who walks a lot of batters.
He's set to make $6 million dollars this season and has a $6.25 million dollar club option for 2024. If the Rangers do go out and sign someone like Jacob deGrom or Carlos Rodon maybe they'll want to cut some payroll. Cutting bait with a reliever who has availability concerns could be a direction they go in. If so, the Angels should pounce. He appeared to be the Jose Leclerc of old when healthy this season.