The goal for the Los Angeles Angels heading into trade deadline day was very simple in my estimation. Improve the bullpen. They did so but paid a steep price.
The Angels have acquired Dominic Leone in a trade with the New York Mets in exchange for Jeremiah Jackson. Leone signed a one-year deal with the Mets after opting out of his minor league deal and has a 4.40 ERA in 31 appearances on the season.
LA Angels acquire Dominic Leone in trade deadline buzzer beater
After acquiring Reynaldo Lopez in the Lucas Giolito deal, it felt unlikely that the Angels were going to splurge for another big name to pitch late in games. Guys like Josh Hader and David Bednar weren't moved, so the reliever market wasn't anything crazy anyway.
The Angels land Leone, a guy who can simply add much-needed depth to this bullpen that has injuries with guys like Sam Bachman, Chris Devenski, and Ben Joyce all out.
Leone's ERA might be high, but he also got off to a brutal start to his season. His ERA was at 5.66 at the end of June, and has gone all the way down by over a run since. In his last 12 appearances he's pitched to a 1.80 ERA, allowing two runs in ten innings pitched. Leone has good stuff and has struck out 26% of the batters he faced this season, but has also given up seven home runs in 30.2 innings pitched which is a ton.
The Angels gave up Jeremiah Jackson, their ninth-ranked prospect according to MLB Pipeline, but that list hasn't been updated since before Opening Day. He's the 18th-ranked prospect on Baseball America's list, and is unranked on FanGraphs. Jackson was a second round pick in the 2018 Draft selected by Mets GM Billy Eppler, so to see Eppler want him back isn't too much of a surprise.
I like Jackson, and he's improved offensively, posting a .768 OPS in AA Rocket City this season with 15 home runs and 21 stolen bases. Jackson is a versatile player, with the ability to play in the middle infield and the outfield, and with an improved bat it wouldn't be a surprise to see the 23-year-old in the majors sometime in the not-too-distant future.
Still, this is about 2023, and Leone does make the Angels better. He adds much-needed depth in a depleted bullpen, and should be an upgrade.