Recent Angels call-up’s performance making Carlos Estevez trade more and more likely

Moving Carlos Estevez at the deadline could look like a white flag, but the Angels may have his replacement already on the roster.
Los Angeles Angels v Chicago Cubs
Los Angeles Angels v Chicago Cubs / Quinn Harris/GettyImages

For the Los Angeles Angels, the current narrative is centered around what the team will look like after the trade deadline. While there is currently some speculation as to whether or not the team will actually trade guys like Taylor Ward and Tyler Anderson who have team control beyond 2024, there is little doubt that pending free agents like Carlos Estevez are likely to get moved.

Estevez is pretty much exactly the kind of player that gets dealt around this time of year. He is a pending free agent reliever on a cheap deal that has experience pitching in high leverage situations. Being on a team that is a guaranteed seller makes it even likelier, but the Angels do have to give SOME consideration as to who is going to be coming out of the bullpen the rest of the season.

Fortunately, the solution may have already presented itself. After a rough start to his time in the big leagues in 2024, recent Angels call-up Ben Joyce is really coming into his own as a big-time reliever.

Ben Joyce's growth should make trading Carlos Estevez even easier

While Joyce had a well-earned reputation as one of the hardest throwers in all of baseball, success was far from a sure thing for him. He has had some well-documented issues commanding his prodigious stuff and there has been plenty of flamethrowers that couldn't cut it in the big leagues. However, the Angels' bullpen was in dire straits when Joyce got called up this year and after a couple rocky appearances, it appears as though he has finally figured things out.

Since June 14 (his fourth big league appearance of 2024), Joyce has not given up an earned run in eight appearances. Not one. Opposing hitters are hitting just .091 since that date and while there have been some walks, he has consistently improved in that department as time has gone on.

Beyond raw arm talent, some of Joyce's success has come because he is using a sinker to generate ground balls and give hitters a different fastball look beyond his triple-digit four-seam heat. The approach is working and while it is a small sample, Joyce looks like a guy that could anchor the Angels' bullpen for years to come assuming he can keep this up.

If there was any lingering concern on the Angels' side about trading Estevez, those worries should be behind them as they could do a lot worse than increasing Joyce's role going forward.

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