The Los Angeles Angels are in an awkward position as to whether they should be trying to improve the team as we approach the deadline, or if they should be selling and trading Shohei Ohtani in the process.
At 4.5 games out currently, a lot of what the Halos will do will depend on where the team stands. Either way, it's clear they should be all in on 2023 or they should sell to try and win in 2024 and beyond.
If the Angels are buyers, pitching will be the team's number one priority. Both the rotation and the bullpen needs improvements. In Mark Feinsand's list of the 17 most likely players to be dealt within the next week, the Angels are linked to two of them. Both are pitchers. One makes some sense, the other does not.
LA Angels rumored trade destination for two trade candidates
The two pitchers Feinsand links to the Angels are Brad Hand and Lance Lynn. Hand would provide some much-needed bullpen help for this team while Lynn's situation is a bit more complicated. Hand makes some sense, Lynn does not.
This season, Brad Hand has a 4.54 ERA in 37 appearances and 33.2 innings pitched for the Rockies. It's important to note that Hand's ERA at Coors Field is 5.40 while he has a modest 3.71 on the road. Coors Field is a nightmare for pitchers, and Hand is still clearly a fine arm pitching away from that environment. Just look at what Carlos Estevez has done in his first full year away from Coors.
Hand has expeirence pitching in virtually any role in a bullpen from closer to middle reliever. He's a southpaw has held left-handed hitters to a .499 OPS this season. Unfortunately, right-handed hitters have a .998 OPS against him this season, making him hard to use with the three batter rule.
As a veteran arm who's owed just $500,000 the rest of the way and would cost nothing to acquire, Hand would be a fine get. He wouldn't be close to my number one target, but as a secondary piece I could be on board.
The other arm linked to the Angels was Lance Lynn, and my only question is why? The right-hander has a 6.18 ERA in his 20 starts and 115 innings pitched. I get that his metrics suggest he's had some bad luck, but let's not ignore the fact that he's already allowed 28 home runs this season (2.2 HR/9) and that his walk-rate has jumped from 3.4% last season to 8.4% this season.
Lynn has had some good moments this season like his 16 strikeout game against the Mariners and his seven scoreless innings against the Blue Jays earlier this month, but overall, he's been quite bad. He's given up 13 runs in 10 innings this season against the Angels thanks in large part to six home runs given up in his two starts made against them.
His numbers aren't good, his 36-year-old age doesn't inspire much confidence that he'll suddenly flip a switch either, and the most baffling part is the Angels are a team listed on his ten-team no-trade list according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (subscription required). Lynn can still approve a trade to the Angels if he wants to, but I'd assume the Angels are on there for a reason.
Hand, while not being close to my preference, wouldn't be a bad addition. Lynn on the other hand, doesn't make much sense for a variety of reasons.