Angels Free Agency Primer: Outfield

If there is one area where the Angels don't need any help this off-season, it is in their overloaded outfield. OK, that's not entirely true, there is a certain incredibly well paid outfielder that could use some help in terms of actually playing up to his contract, so I'll re-qualify my own statement and say they don't need the kind of help that requires adding more personnel. The bottom line is that the Angels have an abundance of outfield talent which means at least one of said outfielders is going to be sold off this winter. As Crazy Gideon would say, they stack 'em deep and sell 'em cheap… only let's hope that Dipoto doesn't actually sell them cheap.

What they already have: Mike Trout (176 wRC+, 10.4 fWAR), Mark Trumbo (106 wRC+, 2.5 fWAR), Josh Hamilton (104 wRC+, 1.9 fWAR), Peter Bourjos (103 wRC+, 0.1.1 fWAR), J.B. Shuck (96 wRC+, 0.5 fWAR), Kole Calhoun (126 wRC+, 1.1 fWAR), Collin Cowgill (79 wRC+, 0.3 fWAR)

If Arte Moreno loses his mind… he'll order Dipoto to bring in Carlos Beltran with a five-year, $100 million contract because Beltran is a "proven winner," completely overlooking the fact that Beltran is 37 years old and struggling to stay healthy for a full season.

If the Angels are creative and aggressive… Mark Trumbo will be dangled on the trade market until some GM who is a sucker for his power decides to overpay with a top pitching prospect for the rights to Mark's sub-.300 OBP. The Angels need his power, especially if Pujols can't come back at a close approximation to his former self, but they also seem to want to put more of an onus on guys who can get on base and put the ball in play, neither of which Trumbo does well. Moving Trumbo might even allow them get the young rotation help they need without having to also trade away Howie Kendrick.

But that isn't creative enough for my liking. What is more intriguing but is much harder to pull off would be to use Trumbo as part of a package to bring back a more established talent. The Padres are said to be desperate to add an elite slugger to their lineup and Trumbo is a potential match for them. If they feel like they can't re-sign Chase Headley, they could try and work a swap of Headley to the Halos in exchange for a Trumbo-based package. Re-signing Headley might be a more costly endeavor than that Angels are actually willing to pursue though.

If the Angels want to troll me specifically… they will trade Trumbo, Bourjos and Calhoun so that they can install the vastly overrated and overappreciated J.B. Shuck as the permanent left fielder and leadoff hitter. I might never recover if that happens.

If the Angels are savvy and conservative… they will cut their losses on the injury-prone Bourjos and trade him for some relief help. Yes, they are trading him near the bottom of his value, but this injury history is getting more and more concerning and there is a school of thought that Mike Trout may not re-sign in Anaheim if he isn't going to player center every single game. But to protect their depth and to hedge against a sophomore slump from Kole Calhoun and/or more deep struggles from Josh Hamilton, they could sign a right-handed outfielder like Mike Morse or a non-tender like Nolan Reimold who could work in off the bench and also serve as Albert Pujols injury insurance.

What the Angels will probably do is… a little bit of both. My gut tells me that the Angels are going to shop both Bourjos and Trumbo heavily but ultimately wind up dealing Bourjos. They'd come to that decision less because they can get a better price for Bourjos but rather because they can't get what they want for Trumbo who I suspect they will significantly overvalue. They know that Trumbo is a fan favorite due to his status as a homegrown talent and also because chicks dig the longball. That's a really bad reason to overvalue someone but after four seasons of no playoffs that have led to an increasingly grumpy fanbase, Arte Moreno may be reluctant to approve a move that would immediately be unpopular even if they actually got their sky high asking price in return.

Frankly, it just makes sense that the team would trade Bourjos instead. At some point Mike Trout being forced to play left field could become an issue when it comes to signing him to a long-term contract extension and the tenuous health status of Albert Pujols provides a strong incentive to keep Trumbo around.

Garrett Wilson

About Garrett Wilson

Garrett Wilson is the founder and Supreme Overlord of and editor at The Outside Corner. He's an Ivy League graduate, but not from one of the impressive ones. You shouldn't make him angry. You wouldn't like him when he is angry.