Once all the experts and analysts finished having their minds asploded by the Angels signings of Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson, they all came to the same conclusion: the Angels MUST trade somebody to clear up the mutliple logjams they created in their roster. The way they tell it, it isn’t just good baseball sense to make some moves, it is almost a moral imperative.
Trumbo? Gone. Abreu? Bye-bye. Morales? So long. Santana? Pack your bags.
Honestly, I think if the “experts” had their way, Pujols would be taking on the rest of the league Bugs Bunny-style. Maybe they think that is the only way that Pujols can actually live up to his contract.
But just because all the experts are saying it doesn’t make it true. There are plenty of reasons to trade certain players, but there are also plenty of reasons not to trade them. So who stays? Who goes? Let’s take a look:
Why should he be traded? Because, if everything goes right, he has nowhere to play and he is too good to not play. Pujols has first locked up for the next decade. Kendrys Morales thus becomes the team’s primary DH. The Angels already have too many outfielders, especially if Vernon Wells rebounds. That means that Mark Trumbo either needs to learn to play third base almost overnight, or he is going to be riding the pine a lot. That is a very poor use of a young, talented, cheap player that could bring back another young, talented, cheap player that could actually fill some of the other holes the Angels have in their roster. Besides, given Jerry Dipoto’s professed affection for guys who can work counts, Trumbo’s free-swinging ways suggest he wasn’t long for Anaheim to begin with.
Why should he NOT be traded? Because everything isn’t going to go right. The most obvious issue is that Kendrys Morales may not get healthy enough to play Opening Day, much less play well. If they trade Trumbo, then the Angels are left to either call up Trout and have Wells DH or make Bobby Abreu the full-time DH again. Either way, you are guaranteeing that Wells and/or Abreu will always be in the lineup. That wasn’t a good thing in 2011 and it won’t be a good thing in 2012. After 2012, it gets worse. Hunter is probably gone in free agency, Abreu is definitely gone and there is always the chance that Kendrys Morales never plays again. Even if Wells bounces back and Trout takes over in right, that leaves the Angels without an internal option at DH for 2013 and beyond.
What should the Angels do? Unless they get a great offer for Trumbo, the sensible thing to do is hold on to him because Trumbo actually does have a role: insurance policy. Until they know that Morales will be healthy and Wells will remember how to hit and that Trumbo most definitely cannot handle third base, they owe it to their championship hopes to hold on to him, especially since it costs them virtually nothing to do so. If everything works out and they don’t need Trumbo for sure, then that’s gravy. They end up with a pretty great trade chip to shop at the trade deadline to add any pieces they need for the playoff run. Keeping him is a no-lose situation.
Why should he be traded? Mainly because his ankle might be made of surgical screws and Hubba Bubba bubble gum. The Angels don’t really need Morales now, so they can cash out on him now if they have reason to believe that he won’t ever be the same player. Surely there is somebody else out there who has a team doctor that has been huffing some ether and gives his team the medical thumbs up to roll the dice on Morales’ health. If the Angels find the right kind of sucker GM, they might actually be able to get a pretty nice return for Kendrys. They’d risk losing out on Morales returning to MVP form, but they would be hedging their bet and getting someone is guaranteed to provide some actual production in return.
Why should he NOT be traded? Again, it costs them nothing but about $3 million, and as we have learned in recent days, the Angels have a pretty deep wallet, so $3 million ain’t no thing to Arte Moreno anymore. So long as they have reason to believe he can recuperate, they might as well be the ones to give him a chance to show what he can do. The biggest reason for that is because the Halos do lack a potent bat to hit behind Pujols and provide him some protection. Kendrys, even if he never gets back to 2009 form, is their best bet for that, especially since he can swing from the left side, unlike any of their other power threats.
What should the Angels do? Hard to say without having access to his medical records. Even if I did have access, I still wouldn’t know because I’m not a doctor. But let’s assume there is no reason to believe that he at least won’t be able to get back on the field. If that is the case, they need to see what Morales can do. Like I said, they need a big bat to protect Pujols and they are going to have a hell of a time finding one. As great as their new TV deal is, they still need to show some fiscal responsibility and that most likely means they aren’t going to be spending big money to add ANOTHER slugger to the lineup. Therefore, they need to see if Morales can be that guy, which is why it was so silly to think they would non-tender him in the first place.
Why should he be traded? Because he can’t hit for power. He may not be able to hit at all anymore. I may gouge my own eyes out if I have to watch him stumble around in the outfield ever again. Plus, it wouldn’t hurt if the Angels could get out of paying him the entirety of the $9 million he is owed this season. Thanks, Tony Reagins.
Why should he NOT be traded? I can’t believe I’m saying this, but they do kind of need his left-handed stick in the lineup for the sake balance. That would make more sense if he actually had some power left, but it does have some logic behind it. It isn’t like Abreu is totally useless either. He can still work the count and take some walks, and even with Pujols, the Angels need some OBP. As frustrating as Abreu was last season, he still finished second on the team in OBP. Worst things could happen than Abreu playing part-time and batting second against right-handed pitchers.
What should the Angels do? I’m all for depth and everything, but if they can find someone to save them a few million bucks by taking Abreu off their hands, the Angels should go for it. Heck, they could probably give those savings to a left-handed free agent that can actually still hit the ball over the fence and maybe even not be a total liability in the field. I kind of doubt any such deal is out there though.
Why should he be traded? Apparently the presence of C.J. Wilson means that Santana is now a luxury. He makes a decent chunk of change over the next two season, though not an exorbitant amount, and is coming off of one of his best season. That means the Angels could save some money while also trading Ervin at a pretty high point on his value. He is the one guy on the roster that could fetch a potent bat in return while also cutting the Angels payroll at the same time. Already we have seen a Santana-Yonder Alonso trade floated in multiple outlets.
Why should he NOT be traded? The whole point of signing C.J. Wilson was to give the Halos a badass rotation. Turning around and swapping Santana for a bat or prospects flies directly in the face of that. In fact, it would leave a pretty sizable hole in the rotation since all they have in-house to take his place is Garrett Richards and Brad Mills, and that assumes Jerome Williams works out well as the fifth starter. They would basically have to go back out on the market again and find a free agent starting pitcher who clearly won’t be as good as Santana to take Ervin’s spot.
What should the Angels do? They have to keep Ervin otherwise the spending spree makes very little sense. The only scenario in which it is a good idea to trade Santana is if they move him for a real third baseman, then trade Trumbo for a good, young starting pitcher (like Wade Davis) and then maybe swap Callaspo or Izturis for relief help. That probably won’t happen though since there aren’t any high quality third basemen available on the trade market right now. Santana stays.
Why should he be traded? Maicierto Callaztris is the amalgamation of Maicer Izturis and Alberto Callaspo, since they are mostly the same player. Both players are quality infielders and give Mike Scioscia options in his infield, but with Pujols around, they might be able to afford trading one of the two away. This scenario comes into play specifically if Mark Trumbo shows that he won’t embarrass himself at third base, though one could make a case to trade one of them even without that. Budget concerns or no, utility infielders are going at insane prices in free agency right now for some bizarre reason and either one of these players would’ve earned a similarly insane contract had they been free agents this off-season.
Why should he NOT be traded? Because Mark Trumbo will almost certainly be a Chernobyl-esque disaster at third base. Breaking up the Maicerto Callaztris duo would thus expose the Angels to having the limited Callaspo or the fragile Izturis playing third on a full-time basis.
What should the Angels do? Trade one of the two, preferably Callaspo since he can’t play shortstop and back up Aybar, and then sign Wilson Betemit. This way, the Angels get to flip one of their infielders for a quality return but they can hedge their bet with Betemit, who is a poor fielder, but he can be pretty solid offensive threat from the left-handed side of the plate. Betemit can then platoon with Izturis or Trumbo, since Trumbo should be able to murder left-handed pitching. Or they could hold on to both Callaspo and Izturis and just sign Ryan Madson, because really, they might as well just blow their whole wad at this point.
I have neither the time nor the imagination to conjure up scenarios in which someone would actually trade for Vernon Wells. At least not until Tony Reagins finds another front office job.