Angels Free Agency Primer: Second Base

Change seems inevitable at the keystone for the Halos. Howie Kendrick figures to be a hot commodity on the trade market while Grant Green figures to be something. Perhaps he's a quality starter. Perhaps he can barely hold down the fort for a year. Perhaps he ends up playing third base with someone else taking over at second. We gotta figure this thing out.

What they already have: Howie Kendrick (116 wRC+, 2.7 fWAR), Grant Green (104 wRC+, 0.5 fWAR)

If Arte Moreno loses his mind… then we all know that means he is going to hand a blank check to Robinson Cano. I mean, why pay Pujols a quarter of a billion dollars when you can pay Cano a third of a billion dollars? So what if it means forfeiting the 201 first round pick, pushing the team well over the luxury tax line and putting their future financial flexibility in grave danger to the point that they probably won't be able to keep Mike Trout when he becomes a free agent in four years. In other words, this is the worst thing that could happen and is therefore destined to come to pass.

If the Angels are wildly aggressive… they will trade Howie Kendrick, but you knew that already. The wildly aggressive part is that they would then trade other pieces on the roster to replace Kendrick with someone like Brandon Phillips who would provide very similar production. This way they get to keep getting quality play from second base but also get to add young starting pitching. It is probably too many moving parts and too expensive for the Angels (Phillips is still owed $50 million over four years), but if the Reds are interested in Trumbo or, more likely, Bourjos then there the makings of a decent deal there.

If the Angels want troll their own fans… they will make a deal with the devil by mortgaging their farm system to acquire actual real life troll and giant contract Ian Kinsler from the Texas Rangers.

If the Angels are savvy and conservative… they will decline to trade Kendrick, shift Grant Green over to third base and focus on trading Trumbo or Bourjos for pitching instead while going all-in on trying to sign Masahiro Tanaka. This is the only way they get to have their cake (better starting pitching) and eat it too (not weakening their lineup). This is what I'd prefer to see them do and it might even be their plan too, but it all hinges on signing Tanaka, which will be exceedingly difficult since half the teams in the league are said to be hot for him. Kendrick is just too good to readily part ways and since he is in his prime, he should be very consistent over the rest of his contract. The Angels could really use that kind of stability.

What the Angels will probably do is… trade Kendrick. Let's face it, moving Howie is a foregone conclusion. This is partly because he is arguably their best trade chip but also because it would clear necessary space under the luxury tax for the Angels to spend some money on the rest of the free agent market and still be able to extend Mike Trout. That leaves Grant Green to play second, though my sense is he'd be better off at third long-term, but the team showed zero inclination to have him audition at the hot corner when they had a chance last season. They could still shift Green to third, but that would require their being a decent alternative to put at second base and there just isn't anyone at second worth pursuing in free agency aside from Cano.

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.