Everyone wanted Tony Reagins to make a trade at the deadline a few weeks ago, only to have Reagins do what he does best- disappoint. Now that the Angels are on the verge of falling out of the AL West race, Tony has one last chance to make a “better late than never” move to try and bolster a Halo roster that has shown some real flaws in the last two weeks. Of course, making a move in August isn’t easy and is seldom ever for an impact player, so Reagins will have to bust his ass to find a worthwhile move, but there are a few players out there that the Angels could bring in to help pull them back from the brink.
Better make a deal now, Tony, you might not get another chance.
Ramon Hernandez, C - The Reds have fallen well out of the NL Central race since the trade deadline, so they might finally be willing to move Hernandez, easily the best available catcher on the market. If Scioscia isn’t willing to free Hank Conger to improve the pitiful offense they are getting from their backstops, maybe he’ll be open to acquiring a proven veteran who could do the same? This would be a real coup for the Angels, but I doubt it has much of a chance at happening since Hernandez is highly unlikely to get past the Giants on the waiver wire if the Reds are even willing to let him go rather than just hold on to him in hope of getting compensation picks for him in free agency.
Chris Capuano, SP - He has reportedly cleared waivers already, so he is definitely on the market. Capuano is hardly an impact player, but he is a cheap arm the Angels could plug into the gaping hole in their rotation. He also has the added benefit of being a southpaw, something the Angel rotation lacks.
Chad Qualls, RP - The Padre reliever everyone wants is Heath Bell, but if he didn’t get traded last month, there is no reason for San Diego to trade him now. Consider Qualls the consolation prize. He doesn’t miss a lot of bats and is actually having a pretty lousy second half, but he is a veteran with closing experience, so you know Scioscia will love him. I don’t know if he is an improvement over Fernando Rodney, but at least Qualls would give the Angels another right-handed option in the bullpen.
Joel Peralta/Kyle Farnsworth, RP - Does it matter which of these relievers the Angels acquire? No, not really. Both are guys who are talented veterans but also inconsistent enigmas who are having good seasons this year, but could easily fall apart the second they enter into a real pressure situation. Tampa has no reason to hang on to either of them (other than hoping Farnsworth becomes a Type A free agent and returns draft picks, though I doubt anyone would sign him if it meant giving up a first-round pick), but both guys are cheap enough that they might not make it through waivers. Farnsworth has a better chance than Peralta does. Secretly, I hope neither guy makes it to the Angels because I am terrified of the Halos dealing with Tampa again after the Kazmir debacle.
Bruce Chen, SP - Another lefty starter who has cleared waivers. Much like Capuano, Chen is no prize, but he is probably good enough to hold down the fifth starter spot for the rest of the year.
Rich Harden, SP - The A’s nearly dealt him at the deadline, so he is definitely available. His price should also be a lot lower now that he has had one trade canceled already. He may not stay healthy beyond next week, but he is probably the only starter on the market with the potential to get hot and become an actual asset in the rotation (or maybe in the bullpen) rather than just be an inning-eater.
Jason Vargas, SP – What is with all the marginally talented but inexpensive southpaw starters clearing waivers? Vargas is a soft-tosser, but he has posted solid numbers this year and last. He may not find much success once he leaves the spacious confines of Safeco Field, but he does carry the added value of being under team control through 2013, so the Angels wouldn’t be giving up a prospect just for six weeks of a rental player, though it does mean they might have to give up a prospect of some substance.
Grant Balfour, RP – Balfour is under contract through 2012, but the A’s are never afraid to make a deal on a a guy they have locked up, even within the division. I had hoped the Angels would’ve acquired him at the non-waiver trade deadline, but maybe they can pull it off now? He may not have brand name recognition, but Balfour is a quality power arm that the Angels could immediately pair with Downs in the setup role for not only the rest of this season, but next year as well, which would be a vintage Reagins move. They just need to be willing to swallow the rest of the nearly $1 million Balfour is owed this season or willing to overpay a bit with prospects to convince Oakland to pick up the tab instead.