Cleat Geeks

3-2 Count; LA Angels Strike 2

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. Here is the strike 1 article.

So here is the strike 2 question looking forward to the 2019 season. 2) Sticking with the theme of the article. Give me 3 untouchables the Angels need to build around and 2 players you would trade away to strengthen the team? Why?Image result for justin upton 2017

The LA Angels have a tough choice to make this off-season and in future off-seasons to come. The Angels recently made a move to bring back OF Justin Upton on a 5-Year $106 Million Dollar deal to stay with the Angels. So, this means the Angels seem to be going for it for the next 4-5 years, but why? Albert Pujols is aging and not the same feared hitter as he used to be. The Angels pitching staff has young arms that can never be healthy. The Angels have a superstar in Mike Trout, but are running out of time with him whether you like it or not as an Angels fan. So is it possible that the Angels can trade their best players or build around them? Here is an example last year that any kind of trade can happen.

Chris Sale is one of the best pitchers in baseball, and Yoan Moncada might have been baseball’s top prospect. (MLB.com’s own MLB Pipeline has him listed right there at No. 1.) To have those two men traded for each other — not to mention Michael Kopech, the No. 67 prospect in the game who happens to throw as hard as 105 mph — is the sort of deal from which it takes a couple of days to recover. If those guys can be traded, anyone can get traded.

 

But is that true? Are there any untouchables anymore? As we navigate the upcoming already-crazy Winter Meetings, let’s take a look at the LA Angels team and see if we can pinpoint 3 untouchable players the Angels can build around and 2 that can be traded away to strengthen the team, with a wild card player at the end.

 

Image result for alderton simmons

Alderton Simmons

Andrew Heaney

Albert Pujols

 

Alderton Simmons was the MVP in 2017 for the Angels this season. Simmons had his best year with a 7.1 WAR, hitting .278. With 14 home runs, 68 RBIs, a .331 on-base, and possibly winning the gold glove this year. Simmons contract runs out after the 2020 season. The Angels need to keep Simmons. My second player on the list is Andrew Heaney. This is a guy that has so much up-side that I think once this player is healthy; he can be an ace for a long time. Heaney only started 5 games last season at the end of the season but will be looking to bounce back 100% healthy for the start of the 2018 season. Albert Pujols is the last one simply because the Angels have no choice with the money being paid to him. He is not a fan favorite after talking with Angel fans at a game this past season. It seems like all the fans are waiting for that contract to end and the Angels have no choice but to build around him.

Now, the 2 players the Angels should trade to make the team better-

Kole Calhoun

Tyler Skaggs

 

Kole Calhoun had a disappointing season for the Angels this year with a 2.1 WAR with a .244 AVG with 19 home runs, 71 RBIs and a 333. OPS. I believe the Angels make the wild-card game if this guy produced this year. He was not off to a great start in the beginning of the season and just was not consistent enough. With two more years on his deal and with some value still there, the Angels should trade him for a package to either get another starting pitcher, quality reliever, or another outfielder that can play RF. Tyler Skaggs is in the same boat as SP Andrew Heaney, a pitcher that is young, injury prone, and with a big up-side. Skaggs is someone I can see the Angels getting more than enough back like a quality starter that can pitch every day or a position player. An idea could be to package both of these players for a package like a Julio Teheran and Nick Markakis from the Atlanta Braves.

 

The Wild-Card player that the Angels can trade to make the team better or build around-

Mike Trout

This is an easy one and I know Angels’ fans will question why, why Mike Trout? Trout is not only the best player on the Angels and in baseball. So, do the Angels go for it and spend the money to build a contender with Trout or blow it up? Mike Trout has the most value any player can have. If the Angels traded Mike Trout, he would bring back almost like a 7-8 player package deal. The Cubs, Yankees, or Phillies would be the teams to look at if I was the Angels and I needed to trade Trout. The Cubs have young and experienced players to package in a deal. The Yankees have the number one farm system going into this off-season and the Phillies are right behind the Yankees with just a good enough farm system. This will be the topic of conversation for the next four years before Trout becomes a free-agent. The Angels can go the other way and build around their best player, spend the money for players to play alongside Trout and stack the line-up around him.

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