The Los Angeles Angels have an eventful offseason ahead of them with Shohei Ohtani hitting free agency. Whether Ohtani stays or not remains to be seen, but the fact that he's available means the spotlight will be on the Angels.
What the Angels decide to do this offseason once Ohtani makes his decision is another thing that's very up in the air. If Ohtani stays, there's no doubt that they're going to try and win. If he leaves, however, the potential if this team finally committing to a rebuild is very real.
If they do commit to a rebuild, Brandon Drury should be one of the first players to go as he's on an expiring contract. In this mock trade proposed by Joel Reuter of Bleacher Report, Drury is traded to the San Francisco Giants. Shipping him away in exchange for a younger player with more control would be the first sign of a very clear rebuild.
LA Angels rading Brandon Drury is fine, but this mock trade doesn't give them enough
The trade Reuter proposed is quite simple. A one-for-one that sends Brandon Drury to a team trying to win in San Francisco in exchange for a younger middle infielder that the Angels could hypothetically keep around for a long time. The idea of that is great, but is Tyler Fitzgerald really the best they can do?
Brandon Drury is one of the top second basemen in all of baseball. His 114 WRC+ was good for seventh among qualified second basemen in the league this past season, ahead of guys like Ha-Seong Kim, Bryson Stott, and Jeff McNeil. His 26 home runs were good for fourth, ahead of guys like Ketel Marte and Gleyber Torres. Had he not missed a month he would've been even higher on that list. Drury was also a sound defender in the middle infield and adds versatility with the ability to play both corners in the infield and outfield.
If the 31-year-old does become available in a trade, many teams in the league will be trying to acquire him. Part of the reason is because of how good he is, but Drury is also extremely affordable as he's set to make just $8.5 million in 2024. All Reuter has the Angels acquiring is Tyler Fitzgerald.
The numbers Fitzgerald had last season were quite good as he slashed .292/.365/.511 with 22 home runs and 78 RBI in 121 combined games in AA and AAA. Nothing wrong with those numbers, particularly for a middle infielder, but Fitzgerald is already 26 years old and is nowhere to be found on any sort of prospect list. He's not highly touted and has just ten games of MLB experience. 26 isn't old, but it's not exactly young.
Even with Drury's contract expiring at the end of the 2024 season, the Angels should be able to acquire a player with a bit more potential. Regardless, moving Drury for a player with ten games of MLB experience means the Angels will be actually rebuilding for the first time under Arte Moreno.