The Angels’ late season mini fire sale has begun. The Halos have traded oft-maligned closer Brian Fuentes to the Minnesota Twins for a player to be named later. While Fuentes has been pitching quite well lately, it isn’t likely he will be missed very much.
So long, Tito. Don’t let the door hit you where the Good Lord split you.
Though the Angels are still selling the company line of not giving up, this move most definitely represents them raising the proverbial white flag on the 2010 season. No team that thinks they can make a playoff push is going to trade away their closer right in the middle of the race, especially when said closer is one of the few relievers performing well this season.
Brian’s departure creates a gaping hole in the Angel pen. Fernando Rodney is expected to take over as closer for the rest of the season, this despite the fact that Rodney hasn’t even been very good as a set-up man, but he’s done the job before, so he gets the gig (even if Kevin Jepsen is a far superior pitcher and more deserving of the job). The good news here for Fuentes is that Fraudney and his lack of command should soon make him more hated than Tito ever was.
And judging by Brian’s departing comments, he will appreciate that very much because he did not appreciate how the fans treated him. Apparently the Angel fans are all a bunch of jerks for booing the guy who was generally sub-standard and often awful for most of his two season with the Angels. How dare they deride a player whose ineffectiveness might very well have cost the Halos a trip to the 2009 World Series (I still have nightmares about that homer he allowed to A-Rod in the ALCS). I’m sure Fuentes will be much happier in Minnesota where he will be taken out of the spotlight in middle relief for the contending Twinkies.
As for what the Angels get here, aside from some modest salary savings that they will hopefully roll over into next season’s payroll (which is actually pretty important if they want to make a run at Carl Crawford), is a “prospect with upside” (as opposed to a prospect with no upside?). For now that player remains unnamed, but his anonymity should give us a clue as to who it is. The main reason to not name the player would be that he is already on Minnesota’s 40-man roster and thus must pass through waivers himself first. Either that or the player is in the minors and on the disabled list (highly unlikely), someone who was drafted less than a year ago (like when the Angels traded Tyler Skaggs to the D’Backs as part of the Haren trade) or if the Angels simply haven’t decided on a player yet but have an agreed upon list of players to chose from with Minnesota. I’m guessing it is someone on the 40-man roster, but probably not a top prospect. After all, the Twins are only getting a few weeks of work out of Fuentes, so the price should be relatively low.
Going forward, this trade only creates more questions for the Angels. Will they pull off more trades before the end of August? Now that they clearly aren’t going to re-sign Fuentes, will they go after a new closer in 2010 or will someone already on the roster get to keep the job?