Valuing the trade chips: Los Angeles Angels
Editor’s update: This article was published prior to the news of the tragic passing of Tyler Skaggs. We share the feeling of loss in the baseball community, and pass along our condolences to Tyler’s family, friends, and the Angels’ community.
Once again, the Angels are mired in mediocrity, despite having the single best player in baseball.
Obviously, Mike Trout is not tradeable. He’s in a pantheon of his own, so much so that his adjusted field value (AFV) is a ridiculous $468M. He’d be worth even more than that if dollar-per-WAR were linear, but no team would pay any player (not even the greatest one) that much. So he’ll settle for being the richest player in baseball.
Here’s a breakdown of what they do have to work with (values in $Ms):
- Skaggs: 19.0
- Simmons: 14.3
- La Stella: 2.9
- Calhoun: 2.3
- Lucroy: 2.1
- Bour: 1.0
- Garcia: 0.1
- Freeman: -0.5
- Allen: -1.5
- Cahill: -3.8
- Harvey: -5.5
- Cozart: -14.6
The Angels’ rotation has been a mess, and in fact seems to have gotten even messier with the one-year acquisitions of Matt Harvey and Trevor Cahill, both of whom we think were overpaid in the offseason and who have performed below their meager projections. Even if the Angels paid down the rest of their salaries, they wouldn’t return much more than a lottery ticket each.
Meanwhile, their two best starters, Tyler Skaggs and Andrew Heaney, have both been injury-prone, which has hurt their value. Having said that, Skaggs could be moved this year (but not probably not Heaney, as there are still too many health question marks). Skaggs has been a quality pitcher overall, and with another year of control after this one, he’s still a relatively attractive target. And given the supply and demand factors this summer, Skaggs might even go at the high end of his range. Let’s explore one such trade:
The Padres are surprisingly competitive this year, and have made it known that they’re in the market for a starting pitcher. Skaggs fits them perfectly, as he can bolster their rotation both this year and next, when their window figures to open even further. And it’s not much of a hit on their depth, as they have a multitude of pitching prospects and young outfielders. Skaggs may even be amenable to a longer-term deal there, as he’s a SoCal native.
On the Angels’ side, Allen would replace Skaggs in the rotation and give them six years of control, while Reed has a shot to be a starter (if he can figure out AA pitching) to replace Kole Calhoun, who is in his walk year.
Unfortunately, the Angels have little of tradeable value in the bullpen. Cody Allen has been a major disappointment – his contract is underwater, and it’s doubtful he’d draw much interest even if cash was thrown in.
As for position players, the pickings are slim as well. Tommy La Stella, Jonathan Lucroy and Calhoun each have a small amount of surplus value, but it’s not like you can package them together to add up to a better return. More likely, Lucroy will go to a contender who could use a veteran catcher (the Red Sox?), and because La Stella and Kalhoun both bat left-handed, they may be of interest as platoon/bench bats. Expect minor prospects in return for each of these three.
Longer-term, Angels fans can take heart that they have some strong talent on the farm coming, and by trading Skaggs they can add to that talent and look forward to a brighter future.