Ladies and gentlemen it is time for The Monkey to unveil his grand plan for the Angels as we approach the trade deadline. A plan so great in scale and so clever in construction that-
What’s that now?
He did already?
Two trades before July 6th?
That’s just not fair.
It seems that Jerry Dipoto went and spoiled all the fun already. The Angels needed to do something about their closer situation and did that something by swapping Ernesto Frieri for Jason Grilli. The Angels also needed a southpaw reliever and found one by acquiring Joe Thatcher. They needed some stability in the back of the rotation and additional depth from there and found both by magically getting Matt Shoemaker and Hector Santiago to prove themselves capable of holding down rotation spots. If the Halos were to stand pat from here on out, nobody would fault them. Sure, they could patch a spot here and there, but the team is winning and their biggest flaws have at least been shrunken, if not closed up altogether.
Well, nuts to that. I still want to write this dang post. Dipoto says he might be done but for one more bullpen arm, but I have designs slightly more ambitious. The first of which is to go for a home run.
*As always with these type of columns, I do my best to come up with trade packages that work for both teams but obviously don’t know the other teams as well, so forgive me if you are a fan of the other team and it is an offer that doesn’t make sense for them.
Offer Hector Santiago, C.J. Cron, Hank Conger, Cam Bedrosian and Taylor Lindsey for David Price and Matt Joyce
I know, I know. I’ve said 100 times that the Angels don’t have the prospects it would take to get David Price, but I think it is at least worth making an offer. While they may not have prospects, they do have big league players that could help the Rays. Conger is exactly the kind of catcher the Rays would seem to covet. C.J. Cron has really boosted his stock with his play, so selling high on him makes a lot of sense and he’d really help the Tampa lineup and the Angels would get Joyce in return to help fill Cron’s void in Anaheim. Bedrosian gives them a high-end relief prospect and Taylor Lindsey (or Alex Yarbrough if they’d prefer him) would give them an heir apparent to Ben Zobrist. The catch in the deal is Hector Santiago. The idea is to give Tampa controllable big league starter to help them as they try to contend next year. Tyler Skaggs would be more appealing, but the Angels are going to need some cheap labor going forward, especially with Price in the fold. For that reason, I think Tampa DECLINES the deal (even if it was Skaggs instead of Santiago), but hey, at least I tried, right?
Trade Nate Smith, Mark Sappington, Fernando Salas, Kaleb Cowart and Grant Green for Joaquin Benoit and Ian Kennedy
The Benoit acquisition has been painfully obvious for weeks now. Some might covet Huston Street, but Benoit is probably better and comes with the added bonus of being signed through 2015. Really, he’s perfect for the Angels because he has no real platoon splits, a proven track record in the AL and will be perfectly fine if he has to stay in a setup role, but can also hack it if he gets promoted to closer. In real life, not just my imaginary world here, it seems like there is a very good chance that the Halos will land him.
The more unexpected part here is the Ian Kennedy acquisition. Going into this exercise I was thinking the Angels rotation was fine. Let Santiago and Shoemaker fight it out for the fifth spot and be done with it. However, the more I think about it, and the more the Mariners keep winning, the more I realize a rotation upgrade is needed. Injury is always a concern as Jered Weaver‘s stiff back just reminded us, but I am also a little concerned that Tyler Skaggs might burn out from the heavy workload down the stretch. Kennedy would give the Halos the luxury of moving Skaggs into a fifth starter role and not having to worry about the Shoemaker-Santiago choice. Plus, rotation depth is never a bad thing and this would give them rotation depth through 2015 since Kennedy has one arbitration year left.
The added bonus is that this deal gives the Angels what I think is best for Scioscia’s bullpen management style which is, well, not smart. The only way to deal with that it so give him so many talented arms that he can’t screw it up. So with this the Angels would have Benoit added to the late inning mix but also Hector Santiago. With Kennedy in the rotation they can finally convert Santiago to relief without fear of not having a viable starter in waiting should injury strike (that would now fall to Shoemaker). Santiago would give them a second lefty and one that can be used against righties as well rather than as a LOOGY like Thatcher. Santiago might even prove to be highly effective and someone who could fall into the closer mix.
As for who the Angels give up, the heart of the deal is pitching. Nate Smith is an under-the-radar arm that has been gathering some heat. Sappington is having a terrible season, but he still has a big arm that should hold appeal. Fernando Salas is being move more out of necessity since he’d be out of a roster spot and is out of options. Plus it gives the Padres a viable big leaguer on the roster to help them remain semi-competitive. The biggest piece is probably Grant Green, who I know some are not going to like giving up. Let’s be honest though, there is no use for him in Anaheim. I like him as a utility guy, but there is no reason, aside from injury, to get lots of playing time. In San Diego though he would. He can play the outfield, moonlight at first base, maybe take over at shortstop or third base if Chase Headley gets traded. Either way, he’s a guy who can hit and the Padres don’t have a lot of those. That leaves just Kaleb Cowart, once the big prospect in the Angels’ system, but he looks like he might be on the verge of official bust-dom. Using him in this deal might be the best they are ever going to do with him at this point as the Friars could be willing to take a chance on being the franchise that fixes him.
The real wildcard here is the Padres front office. They looked primed for a fire sale and then went and signed Seth Smith to a contract extension. In such a case, they may not be willing to trade Kennedy or even Benoit. Or maybe they’d want to give up one and not both. Or maybe they do want to do a total tear down and big league players like Salas and Green won’t appeal to them.
Acquire Mike Carp from Boston for Carmine Giardina
With Grant Green gone, there is now an opening on the bench. Heck, even with Green around there may as well have been since they weren’t using him anyway. What they really need is a lefty bat with some pop. That way they can spell C.J. Cron against tough righties and pinch-hit for him or David Freese in the late innings against those same tough righties. Enter Mike Carp. He has that bit of pop and can play first base and the outfield. He’s strictly a bench player but has something of a track record of success. He’s 28 and verging on a non-tender after the season, so Boston will probably be willing to give him up for peanuts. Carmine Giardina is pretty much that.
So there you have it, my grand plan. It has almost no chance of coming to life, but it is what I would do. It may also explain why I am just a blogger and not employed in a MLB front office.