Nov
12

Possible Trade Partner: Los Angeles Angels

By

(Otto Greule Jr/Getty)

The Angels and Yankees have developed a long-distance rivalry over the last decade or so, and as a result they’ve only made two trades with each other since 1996: Jeff Kennard for Jose Molina (2007) and Bret Prinz for Wil Nieves (2005). That’s it, two swaps involving spare arms and backup catchers. The Halos have since appointed a new GM however, plus they haven’t made the playoff since losing the 2009 ALCS to the Yankees, so perhaps they’re a little more open to the idea of trading with a rival for the sake of improving the club.

Los Angeles Anaheim spent big bucks on Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson last year but fell into the trap of being top heavy. They had little depth, especially on the pitching side, meaning they had few alternatives when Ervin Santana stunk and while Jered Weaver, Dan Haren, and Scott Downs were on the DL. The end result was a third place finish and another offseason spent trying to figure out how to compete with the Rangers (and now the Athletics as well). The Angels have a few pieces who could help the Yankees, so perhaps the two sides could get together for the rare deal.

Alberto Callaspo & Andrew Romine
The Yankees are said to be seeking a utility infielder this winter, specifically someone who can play shortstop and third base a combined 100 times next year while representing an upgrade over Jayson Nix. It sounds simple enough, but that will be one very tough position to fill. The “super-sub” player who can play a different position everyday and actual hit doesn’t really exist. It’s a¬†romanticization of what people used to think Chone Figgins and Mark DeRosa were.

(Thearon W. Henderson/Getty)

Anyway, the Angels do have some infield depth despite the defection of Maicer Izturis. The 29-year-old Callaspo has taken over as the Angels mostly full-time third baseman in recent years but has plenty of experience at the other infield spots. He’s just a .266/.338/.358 (96 wRC+) hitter over the last three seasons, but he’s also a switch-hitter who can at least hold his own on both sides of the plate (108 wRC+ vs. LHP and 92 vs. RHP). Callaspo’s strength is his command of the strike zone (9.8 BB%) and freakish ability to get the bat on the ball (90.9% contact rate). He’s walked (126) more than he’s struck out (120) over the last three years, and only nine hitters have swung and missed less often since 2010. One of them is not Ichiro Suzuki (90.2%), just for perspective.

The problem with Callaspo — more than the utter lack of power (.096 ISO) and speed (17-for-24 in steal attempts since 2010) — is that he hasn’t played shortstop at all since 2009 and regularly since basically ever. He’s a career second and third baseman who could probably fill in at short in case of emergency, kinda like Nix. He’s also had several run-ins with the law in the past, which might not satisfy the whole “good makeup and character” requirement. Callaspo projects to earn $4.2M in his final trip through arbitration this winter, so he’s not exactly cheap either.

The Angels also have the 26-year-old Romine (Austin’s older brother) on the infield depth chart, but he’s far less established that Callaspo. Romine owns a 49 wRC+ in 51 career big league plate appearances and a .283/.350/.367 (86 wRC+) in over 800 career Triple-A plate appearances. He’s a left-handed hitter and a true shortstop (his defense is his best tool by far) with experience elsewhere on the infield. With all due respect, I think I’d rather see the Yankees try to make Eduardo Nunez into a utility guy again rather than play the elder Romine as much as they seem to looking to play their utility infielder.

Kole Calhoun
I wrote about Calhoun in-depth prior to the trade deadline, so I’ll point you to that and give you the short version here: he’s a left-handed hitting corner outfielder who can hold his own against southpaws, spot start at first base, and offer both patience and some power. He’s also gotten slapped with the “gamer” tag because he’s short, white, runs really hard, and hasn’t gotten a big contract yet. The Angels are still being hung by the Vernon Wells noose and will likely use him as the fourth outfielder behind Mark Trumbo, Mike Trout, and Peter Bourjos this year, meaning Calhoun will probably spend another year in Triple-A waiting for someone ahead of him on the depth chart to get hurt. The Yankees are looking at life after Nick Swisher right now, and the 25-year-old Calhoun offers pretty much everything they’re looking for in Swisher’s replacement, at least on paper.

* * *

The Angels were reportedly seeking a quality left-handed reliever prior to the trade deadline and are said to be focusing on pitching in general this winter, meaning both starters and relievers. The Yankees don’t have much starting pitching to offer at the moment, at least not until Hiroki Kuroda and Andy Pettitte are re-signed/viable replacements are acquired, but they do have some left-handed relief depth. Boone Logan, who is coming off a career-high workload (55.1 innings and 80 appearances) and is due to be a free agent after 2013, is theoretically made expendable by Clay Rapada, the recently-claimed Josh Spence, and the soon-to-be healthy Cesar Cabral.

Obviously it’s very unlikely that one year of Logan can fetch the Yankees any of the players above, but at least he’s a piece who might entice Angels GM Jerry Dipoto. A conversation starter, something like that. I have no reason to suspect the Angels would have interest in acquiring Alex Rodriguez even if the Yankees ate a big chunk of his contract, so I’m not even going to discuss the possibility. Finding the right prospects or young big leaguers to package with Logan in a trade would be the key for New York, who could theoretically plug their utility infielder and right field holes in one fell swoop. It takes two to tango, of course.

Categories : Hot Stove League
  • Joe Savoia

    Are the Yankees really going to try and sign Eric Chavez again?

    • Steve (different one)

      Seriously, that worked out terribly last year.

      • awesomeo

        Can’t tell if serious…?

        He is very valuable for what his role on the team is/was.

        • Laz

          Yep, don’t know what the problem is. Most teams would be thrilled to have a .281/.348/.396 player off the bench. He can’t hit lefties much anymore, but still you don’t get AS type players to sit on the bench, he one of best bench hitters in league.

  • Mike HC

    “A conversation starter, something like that.”

    Logan is more likely a conversation ender.

  • JoeyA

    I wonder if the GM who signs Logan after 2013 will bitch about the NYY abusing him by pitching him too much

    • Steve (different one)

      Even with Logan’s big workload this year, he still made 15% fewer appearances than Feliciano in 2010…

      That said, I agree that that was not one of Cashman’s finer moments.

  • Mark L.

    Thinking as far as frequent trade partners, I think that Cashman definitely has his favorites. The Pirates are an obvious pick, but it seems like the Mariners and Astros have been high on his list. A real wildcard is whether or not Cashman’s personal friendship with Kevin Towers will actually result in any trade chemistry.

    • Chip

      The problem is, Towers probably knows exactly who the Yankees like and don’t like in their own system. I would think this gives him a hand up in negotiations

    • Mike R

      The Pirates have a x- BJay that would look good in r-field by the name of Travis Snyder.
      Would only take some relief pitching to obtain.

    • Ted Nelson

      I think that’s more a function of sample size and luck than anything. Before last year popular opinion assumed Cashman would never deal with the Ms again after they pulled out of the Lee deal. It was ridiculous, but I think it illustrates how pointless guessing what teams a GM prefers to deal with is.

  • Chip

    Is Calhoun really better than C-Dick? I would imagine Dickerson has a bit more speed and probably a little less pop but at least has a track record of being a averageish hitter in the big leagues and an above average defender. Plus, he’s free!

    • Robinson Tilapia

      He could always be 2013′s Sam Pearce or Cody Huffman.

      • Hoss

        I guess that being called C-Dick is better than being called Emily.

    • Jersey Joe

      If Calhoun was a RHB I think he would make a lot of sense in a right field platoon with Dickerson just because of the mix of tools they bring to the table. Sigh…

    • Herby

      No understanding why the Yankees hate him so much…he should be given a shot rather than all the garbage they’re looking to move in there. He really must’ve pissed someone off in the organization at some point.

  • Mike Myers

    ” have no reason to suspect the Angels would have interest in acquiring Alex Rodriguez even if the Yankees ate a big chunk of his contract”

    V Wells – Owed 42 Mil over the next 2 years.

    If the yankees traded Arod for him then dumped another 25 mil on top to sweeten the deal….maybe? We would fill right corner and free funds in a few years. They would get….ah crap it will never happen

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

      Vernon Wells has hit .222/.258/.409 in 791 PA over the last two years. Trade A-Rod for him and they’ll need a find a new 3B as well as a new OF.

      • awesomeo

        At least A-rod is an above average 3rd basemen still. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Wells go out like Jason bay just did… He’s not even a starter.

        • Laz

          I think arod would be worth more than $40M over 5 years as he suggests. Maybe not alot, but trade him and who will be playing 3B. They would either sign Youkilis, or have to trade several prospects to get a new 3B.

  • Greg

    why would the Angels want to give up their starting 3B? Who would play there instead now that they’ve given up Itzuris? Nobody in the farm system to my knowledge. And what would the Yankees have to offer – Nova? Phelps? Warren?

  • Cesar “Stairs” Cabral

    You trade me to the angels i will punch you in the vagina

  • Hoss

    Astros might be good trading partners. I would not mind having Justin Maxwell back as an OF possibility.

    • Hoss

      Also, Jed Lowrie could be a super infield sub.

      • Robinson Tilapia

        Lowrie could be an option. I just wonder if, in that role, there’s someone out there who wouldn’t cost actual players who can approximate what he would provide.

        Isn’t he an injury concern as well? Haven’t followed him closely since he was traded.

        The Maxwell ship sailed for me.

      • Jersey Joe

        I like the idea, but what would the Astros asking price be?

        Taking injuries into account and how much the Astros are going to ask, I’m not confident this deal will get done.

        • Mark L.

          I do like the Lowrie idea. Can play a passable SS and 3B, switch-hitter, still relatively young and cheap. The Astros have so many holes, maybe a deal of CoJo, Cervelli, and Warren for Lowrie and Wilton Lopez.

          • http://www.nesn.com/2011/01/2011-red-sox-will-challenge-1927-yankees-for-title-of-greatest-team-in-major-league-history.html wilk

            so we trade them, let’s see… nothing. and they trade us one of their best position players

          • Laz

            So they trade us a very good reliever, and a decent ss bat for 2 fringe prospects and a backup catcher. Good deal.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

      If you saw him play you would. He’s Andruw Jones with more strikeouts and fewer homers.

      • Hoss

        Yep, he does K a ton.

        • Jersey Joe

          It would also suck to have to end up giving the ‘Stros any meaningful prospects when you got him for nothing and let him go for nothing.

          • Hoss

            “Nothing from nothing leaves nothing.”

      • Robinson Tilapia

        If you squint, ladies, he kinda sorta looks like ARod.

  • voIII

    I don’t think upgrading a utility infielder should be that high a priority. The Yankees have plenty of that type player in the upper levels of their farm system. They may need a Catcher if RM departs so I would not trade Romine. Outfield, DH and a few bullpen arms is what they need, assumming they resign Koruda and Pettite of course. They need guys who work the count and get on base. You cannot fill a lineup with .250 hitters and win in the playoffs.

    • Jersey Joe

      Having a .250 hitter does not matter if they get on base. Low BA does not mean they don’t work the count.

      • gageagainstthemachine

        Couldn’t one also argue that a bunch of low BA guys in the lineup couldn’t get a hit to score the rest of the low BA guys that happen to work the count and get on base. Seems like high OBP + low BA = RISP failing to score runs. And I do seem to remember there being a pretty high level of that failure last year. Work the count all you want and get on base, someone still has to be able to get a hit to make it worth anything, right?

        • Need Pitching & Hitting

          High OBP + middling average + great power = more runs than middling OBP + high average + middling power.

          Having high OBP means more opportunities with RISP, so they can get a way with a somewhat lower average.
          High power means they don’t have to wait for RISP to score runs.

          Ideally they’d be good in all three categories and diversify the offense a bit more, but they had enough offense to win. The offense just didn’t show up.

    • Ted Nelson

      “You cannot fill a lineup with .250 hitters and win in the playoffs.”

      Don’t even know where to start…

  • Steve S

    Romine and Calhoun for Logan and Warren.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      Yanks hang up immediately, I think.

      • Chip

        Yeah, the Angels would have to add a little bit to that

  • http://www.twitter.com/_swarlesbarkley Drew

    Not a huge fan of anyone that Angels have to offer, aside from you know that kid named Salmon…Or was it Trout. Yeah I heard he was alright. Yankees should go after him as an under the radar move.

  • nsalem

    I think the regular season version of Nick Swisher will be sorely missed.

    • McLovin

      And we will all gladly miss the postseason one :)

    • Jersey Joe

      Really can’t imagine Swish getting over 3 years. I can’t imagine Swisher at 35 having value as an OF, even if he still has the OBP.

      • Robinson Tilapia

        Disagree. Someone will gladly pay for his age 35, and even 36, season if they think he’ll produce at the front end of the contract.

        I don’t think the market for him is what Boras was bragging it will be. I do believe there will be a market for him.

        Realistically, what do people think the over/under on 4/60 for him from someone will be?

        • awesomeo

          I could see something like 5/60.

        • Ted Nelson

          I would take the over.

      • Herby

        I can see a team like Seattle going for him…the goofy enthusiasm, ability to play outfield and first and the offense for a young team would fit well for them.