Key adjustment for Angels reliever may have turned him into key trade deadline chip

A relatively simple change to his delivery!
San Diego Padres v Los Angeles Angels
San Diego Padres v Los Angeles Angels / Brandon Sloter/GettyImages

With the Los Angeles Angels looking more and more like firm trade deadline sellers with each passing day, there is a lot of attention on which players the Angels should keep and which should get traded. Most of that attention has been on Tyler Anderson and Taylor Ward, both of whom are certainly going to be hot commodities given how good they are and the extra years of team control they possess.

However, the easiest guys for the Angels (or any team) to deal are those on expiring contracts. They generally aren't costly, as rentals will only be under contract for a couple months and teams really prefer to hold onto their prospects these days. One such expiring Angels contract that is only now starting to get some trade deadline buzz is reliever Carlos Estevez.

One reason for Estevez's late entry into the trade deadline derby was that he didn't look at all that desirable as an option until a recent adjustment to his delivery turned his season around.

Angels' Carlos Estevez has pitched his way into being a prime trade deadline target

Before making an adjustment involving his wrist at the moment he released his pitches, Estevez was a big part of the Angels bullpen's early-season struggles. Through the first month-ish of the 2024 season (including the end of March here), Estevez had posted a 6.23 ERA in nine appearances and looked like he might play his way out of the closer spot.

After the adjustment, Estevez has looked like a completely different pitcher with a 1.65 ERA since the start of May with just three walks while still striking out better than a batter an inning. But any measure, that is big time production out of the bullpen that LA sorely needed.

With Estevez set to be a free agent after the season and the Angels pretty clearly not going anywhere this year, moving him has quickly become a trade deadline priority. Given that Estevez throws hard, his slider grades out well, and he fills the strike zone, LA won't have any trouble finding suitors for him. Unfortunately for Angels fans, this is a pretty clear case where Estevez playing well has made it even less likely that the team will keep him.

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