Cleat Geeks

3-2 Count; LA Angels Strike 1

As the founder, creator and editor of @cleatgeeks I came up with a concept that allows our writers to put a nice bow on the 2017 season and start to look ahead to the 2018 season. I call it 3-2 Count, the basic concept is I sent each writer 3 questions about the 2017 season and two about the upcoming 2018 season. All of our other writers have put all the questions and answers into one article, but our Angels writer Ryan Marshall has a lot to say and therefore divided each question up into an article.

So here is the strike 1 question looking forward to the 2019 season. 1)What one position do the Angels need to address most in the off-season? Why?Image result for howie kendrick angels

The LA Angels have been cursed at second base ever since dealing Howie Kendrick for Andrew Heaney back in 2014. After a squadron of players attempted to fill the hole this year, there is still a huge question mark on who mans the spot in 2017.

Danny Espinosa started this season at second. However, his average defense and lackluster offense left much to be desired for the Halos. Cliff Pennington then tried his best, but the veterans could not handle the job, leaving it open for next season.

In House Options

Image result for kaleb cowart angels

Most notable is Kaleb Cowart. When Cowart was handed the job earlier this season, he played reasonably well. He was no All-Star, but handled the job well, batting .253 as a starter with nine extra base hits. However, his 26 games were split up by a blazing hot start, followed by a mean cold streak. He will be a candidate for the 2018 starting gig, maybe even the frontrunner, but Cowart lacked the confidence needed to be an everyday player. If he can gain that confidence back, Cowart can lock up the job.

There is also Brandon Phillips, who the Halos acquired at the beginning of the month. He has played well, even experiencing a slight power surge in his time with the Halos. However, Phillips will be a free agent this off-season. While that doesn’t eliminate the Angels from signing him, the 36-year old has expressed his desire to play closer to his hometown of Raleigh, North Carolina.

Will The Angels Make A Trade For A Second Baseman?Image result for dee gordon marlins

What about trades? Where can the Angels look in the trading market for a second basemen? One candidate that comes to mind is the Marlins’ second basemen Dee Gordon. Dee Gordon will be a likely candidate for the Angels in the line-up. The Marlins second baseman Dee Gordon finished the 2017 regular season with a .308 average, two home runs, 33 RBIs, 114 runs scored and 60 stolen bases. Dee Gordon signed a 5 year / $50,000,000 contract with the Miami Marlins, including a $1,500,000 signing bonus, $50,000,000 guaranteed, and an annual average salary of $10,000,000. In 2018, Gordon will earn a base salary of $10,500,000, while carrying a cap hit of $10,800,000 back in January of 2016. This would be my top choice for the Angels’ second base needs.

Are There Any Free Agents For The Position?

The free agent market is not overwhelming. The most interesting player on the free agent market is Neil Walker. Walker, 31, had a solid season. In 107 games, Walker is hitting .266 with 14 big flies, 49 RBI’s, and 57 runs. While it would be unfair to expect more than 120 games from Walker, he would give the Angels a consistent threat from second base.

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