Category Archives: Los Angeles Angels

Tigers trade Kinsler to the Angels

The Detroit Tigers continued their rebuild on Wednesday as they traded veteran 2nd baseman Ian Kinsler to the Los Angeles Angels in exchange for outfielder Troy Montgomery and right-handed pitcher Wilkel Hernandez.

 

Tigers grade:

This trade makes some sense for the Tigers as they clearly aren’t going to be in a position to compete next season as they are just beginning what could be a lengthy rebuild. That is why it was good that they traded away Ian Kinsler since he is nearing the end of his career and he will now have a chance to compete for a playoff spot elsewhere. This move makes sense for the Tigers mainly because it allows them to cut $11 million from their payroll by having the Angels take up his entire 2018 salary. That isn’t a lot of money to pay a player like Kinsler, but the Tigers need to cut costs wherever they can especially with an aging veteran player that won’t help them much. Meanwhile, I’m not quite excited about the prospects that Detroit is receiving in this deal. Outfielder Troy Montgomery was the 20th ranked prospect in the Angels farm system according to mlb.com. However, the Angels don’t have a very good minor league system which means that Montgomery isn’t a very quality prospect. Montgomery doesn’t provide much power or offensive ability as he only had 8 home runs last season in 100 minor league games. He does have decent speed as he has 28 stolen bases in 2 minor league seasons and doesn’t have a very impressive batting average as he hit only .271 last season. Montgomery is a good fielder, but he needs to improve his offensive ability if he wants to reach the MLB anytime soon. The other prospect that Detroit received is right-handed pitcher Wilkel Hernandez who was the 24th ranked prospect in the Angels minor league system. Hernandez is only an 18-year old who was an international free agent signing by the Angels in 2016. He has some upside, but he is still a very raw prospect that will take many years for the Tigers to develop. However, he has pitched well mainly as a starting pitcher in rookie ball as he is 6-1 with a 2.28 ERA in 17 games pitched. Maybe the Tigers could have acquired more for Kinsler, but now they can continue their rebuild and give another young player an opportunity to play 2nd base.

Grade: C+

 

Angels grade:

I really like this trade for the Angels as it gives them an all-star caliber player at a position that they have struggled at recently. Kinsler’s production declined last season as he hit only .236 for Detroit, but he still has solid power as he hit 22 home runs in 2017. Kinsler is a very good defensive 2nd baseman as proven by his gold glove award in 2016, yet he is a significant upgrade offensively over what the Angels had at the position last season. Kinsler is likely just a temporary solution at 2nd base since he is 35 years old and he is entering the final year of his contract. However, Kinsler should help the Angels improve in 2018 and that might be enough to push them into the playoffs.

Grade: B+

ian kinsler

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Season Outlook: Los Angeles Angels

Projected 2017 Starting Lineup:

  1. Yunel Escobar – 3rd baseman
  2. Kole Calhoun – Right Fielder
  3. Mike Trout – Center Fielder
  4. Albert Pujols –¬†Designated Hitter
  5. Luis Valbuena – 1st baseman
  6. Cameron Maybin – Left Fielder
  7. Danny Espinosa – 2nd baseman
  8. Andrelton Simmons – Shortstop
  9. Martin Maldonado – Catcher

Projected 2017 Starting Rotation:

  1. Garrett Richards
  2. Matt Shoemaker
  3. Tyler Skaggs
  4. Ricky Nolasco
  5. Jesse Chavez

Season Outlook:

Despite having the best player in baseball with center fielder Mike Trout, the Angels are still probably not going to be a contender in 2017. We all know that Trout will carry the offense for the most part, but it will be Albert Pujols and Kole Calhoun that are key to their offensive success. Pujols is still one of the best players in baseball when healthy and he proved that last season when he hit 31 home runs. He is getting old, but if he can stay healthy then expect him to continue his outstanding career. Calhoun also will probably be a key contributor for the Angels offense as he hit 18 home runs for them in 2017. Los Angeles did improve their lineup with the additions of Danny Espinosa at 2nd base and Cameron Maybin in left field. The Angels offense should be good with Trout and Pujols leading the way, yet they’ll need more from the other position players in order to succeed. Meanwhile, the Angels pitching staff is filled with major uncertainty heading into 2017. Garrett Richards is the team’s best starting pitcher, but there is a question as to whether he will stay healthy or if he’ll be the same pitcher in 2017 after his elbow injury last season. Matt Shoemaker and Tyler Skaggs both have good potential, but they will need to be more consistent for the Angels pitching staff to be good next season. Ricky Nolasco and Jesse Chavez aren’t really good options even at the back of their rotation. The Angels need Richards to stay healthy for the pitching rotation to be successful. However, there will be more pressure on Shoemaker and Skaggs to be much more consistent as well. The Angels have a good setup man in the bullpen with Cam Bedrosian, but other than him they don’t have much else in the bullpen. Huston Street will be the team’s closer despite having a 6.45 ERA in limited action last season. Overall, I think the Angels lineup will be pretty good next season, but it is the pitching rotation that will need to step up in 2017.

Prediction: 4th place in the AL West

mike-trout

Biggest need remaining for every AL West team

Houston Astros РBiggest need: 1st baseman

The Houston Astros don’t have a big need, but if there is one position that appears to be a little bit of a concern then it would be 1st base. Yulieski Gurriel will be the team’s starting 1st baseman in 2017, but he has limited MLB experience which makes me wonder how he will fare with the everyday job at 1st base next season. Gurriel hit .262 with 3 home runs for Houston last season, but the Astros should add at least some depth to the 1st base position. It might not work out with Gurriel as the everyday 1st baseman and the Astros should find another 1st baseman that can fill in if Gurriel doesn’t do well. There are many options left in free agency and they would be smart to add some depth to 1st base.

Los Angeles Angels – Biggest need: Catcher

The Los Angeles Angels didn’t get much production out of the catcher position with Geovany Soto and Jett Bandy. Now, both Bandy and Soto have departed this offseason which means there will be a new starting catcher for the Angels in 2017. Carlos Perez will see more playing time as a backup catcher next season. However, Martin Maldonado was acquired from the Brewers this offseason in order to be the new starting catcher. Maldonado has some power as he hit 8 home runs last season, but he needs to be a more consistent hitter as he only had a .202 average. It’s tough to find solid catchers these days, but the Angels could really use one because the combination of Maldonado and Perez doesn’t look too promising.

Oakland Athletics – Biggest need: Centerfielder

Oakland has some big needs to fill before next season, but the biggest need that they have is in center field. Jake Smolinski is projected to be the starting centerfielder for the Athletics in 2017, but he has never been very good even as a backup outfielder. Smolinski can hit some home runs as he hit 7 last season, but a .242 average is a little concerning. I don’t see Oakland going out and signing a quality centerfielder. However, there are still a few out there if they choose to go that route and it would probably improve their lineup.

Seattle Mariners – Biggest need: Left Fielder

The Mariners outfield isn’t looking too good for next season as they have three starting outfielders that aren’t very solid players. However, left field appears to be a major weakness for Seattle heading into next season. Ben Gamel is projected to be the starter in left field for the Mariners in 2017, but the issue is his lack of experience. Gamel only has 48 career at-bats and he only has a .188 average to show for it. There are still some quality left fielders in free agency and the Mariners should sign one to compete with Gamel for the starting job.

Texas Rangers – Biggest need: 1st baseman

Texas lost starting 1st baseman Mitch Moreland in free agency and it has created a major vacancy at the position heading into next season. Right now Ryan Rua would be the starting 1st baseman for Texas and he has only played 44 games at the position in his career. Don’t be shocked if the Rangers make a move to sign a quality 1st baseman and it has been rumored that they will reach a deal with Mike Napoli. Either way, the Rangers should add an everyday 1st baseman soon, although their options are starting to run out.

Angels sign Revere to a 1-year deal

The Los Angeles Angels added to their outfield depth as they signed veteran centerfielder Ben Revere to a 1-year/$4 million contract. Revere had an awful season with the Nationals last season as he hit .217 with 2 home runs. However, Revere has some value still as a backup outfielder as he has tremendous speed and he can get on base often. The Angels already have their starting outfield with Mike Trout, Kole Calhoun, and Cameron Maybin. Revere probably won’t see a large role with the Angels, but he could be useful at the top of the lineup if one of the starting outfielders needs a day off. Also, Revere could be used late in games as a pinch runner that has an ability to steal bases consistently. Revere is a career .285 hitter, so I believe that last year’s horrible batting average was likely a fluke for Revere. He will likely use 2017 with the Angels to build up his value again and maybe he can get a bigger role for the 2018 season as he is currently only 28 years old. The Angels clearly needed some outfield depth for 2017, so I like this signing for the team. Revere obviously won’t compete for a starting outfield spot. However, he still has good speed and he can get on base often if called upon as a replacement.

Grade: B-

ben-revere

Maldonado traded to the Angels

The Los Angeles Angels added to their depth at the catcher position as they acquired Martin Maldonado and right-handed pitcher Drew Gagnon from the Milwaukee Brewers in exchange for catcher Jett Bandy.

Angels evaluation:

The Angels are getting a veteran catcher with Martin Maldonado who they hope can compete for the starting catcher job in 2017. Maldonado has been in the majors for 6 seasons, yet he has never played more than 79 games in a season as he has been a backup with Milwaukee. Maldonado isn’t a great defensive catcher as he had 7 errors in 69 games last season, although he has thrown out 35% of baserunners in his career. Maldonado isn’t really known for his offense as he is a career .217 hitter. However, he does have some good power for a catcher as proven by his 8 home runs in 76 games for the Brewers last season. It will be interesting to see if Maldonado will get the full-time catching role with the Angels or if they will have him split time with Carlos Perez. Jett Bandy was probably a better option to start at catcher than Maldonado which makes it strange that they would trade Bandy away. Maldonado only brings a little bit of offensive ability and he can throw out baserunners, but he is still probably a below average starting catcher. Meanwhile, the Angels also acquired right-handed pitcher Drew Gagnon in this trade. Gagnon was a 3rd round pick in 2011 by the Brewers, so he obviously is a talented pitcher. However, he has put up terrible stats in the minor leagues as he is 30-38 with a 4.64 ERA in his career. Los Angeles will have a lot of work to do with Gagnon and it will start by developing some more pitch control. Gagnon was supposed to reach the MLB level by now, although it will likely take a couple of years for the Angels to develop him if they ever are able to. I’m not sure that I really like this trade for the Angels. They are getting a veteran catcher that has been a backup for most of his career and yet they are getting rid of a younger catcher that was better last year. Bandy was probably a better option at catcher for the Angels than Maldonado and it doesn’t make much sense why they would make this deal as it doesn’t really help their team.

Grade: C

Brewers evaluation:

The Milwaukee Brewers are looking to get younger and more talented this offseason as they rebuild their roster for the future. This trade will certainly help as Maldonado is a 30 year old catcher that had only been a backup for the Brewers most his time there. Jett Bandy is only 26 years old and he is probably a better catcher than Maldonado is. Bandy had his first full season in the MLB last season for the Angels and he played relatively well. Bandy hit .234 with 8 home runs in 70 games played and he has been tremendous defensively as he has thrown out about 40% of baserunners. Bandy should be able to compete for the starting catcher job with the Brewers and he’s probably an upgrade over Maldonado. It is unfortunate that the Brewers had to trade away former 3rd round pick Drew Gagnon since the team wasn’t able to develop him. However, it was the right move for Milwaukee since Gagnon wasn’t developing effectively in their minor league system. Overall, the Brewers probably weren’t going to use Maldonado much next season anyway and it makes sense to get a younger catcher by acquiring Jett Bandy.

Grade: B

martin-maldonado

AL West Preview and Predictions

Houston Astros – 2015 Record: 86-76

Notable offseason additions:

SP Doug Fister(From Washington) and RP Ken Giles(From Philadelphia)

Notable offseason subtractions:

RP Chad Qualls(To Colorado), SP Scott Kazmir(To Los Angeles Dodgers), 1B Chris Carter(To Milwaukee), SS Jed Lowrie(To Oakland), and RP Oliver Perez(To Washington)

Analysis: The rebuilding process is officially over for the Astros as they made the playoffs last season. They really didn’t make any moves this offseason to improve on that though. Houston has a stacked lineup with Carlos Correa, Jose Altuve, and George Springer and those guys are young and they will be productive players for a long time. They will certainly carry the Astros offense and perhaps the team overall. The Astros also have a pretty good rotation led by Dallas Keuchel and Collin McHugh. Houston also now has an improved bullpen after trading for young closer Ken Giles this offseason. Luke Gregerson and Tony Sipp will also be good late-inning options for the Astros. Expect this team to be very good for awhile because they are still very young and very talented in many aspects of their team.

Prediction: 1st place in the AL West

Los Angeles Angels – 2015 Record: 85-77

Notable offseason additions:

OF Craig Gentry(From Oakland), SS Yunel Escobar(From Washington), and SS Andrelton Simmons(From Atlanta)

Notable offseason subtractions:

SS Erick Aybar(To Atlanta), SP Mat Latos(To Chicago White Sox), 3B David Freese(To Pittsburgh), and C Chris Iannetta(To Seattle)

Analysis: The Angels came really close to the playoffs last season and they didn’t do too much to improve their team this offseason. Sure, they still have superstar players Mike Trout and Albert Pujols to carry the offense, but besides them they don’t have basically anybody else to produce consistently on offense. Expect Trout to have an MVP-type year and if Pujols can stay healthy then he should put up monster numbers as well. I really like the Angels starting rotation led by number 1 starter Garrett Richards. It is always good when you have Jered Weaver as the 4th starter in your rotation like the Angels do. I think Huston Street is a really good closer, but I’m not a fan of their bullpen overall. 8th inning guy Joe Smith isn’t a very good option as he had a 3.58 ERA. We know what the Angels will get from Trout, Pujols, and Richards. However, they will need to find someone else especially on offense to be able to compete in the AL West.

Prediction: 4th place in the AL West

Oakland Athletics – 2015 Record: 68-94

Notable offseason additions:

SS Jed Lowrie(From Houston), SP Rich Hill(From Boston), SP Henderson Alvarez(From Miami), OF Khris Davis(From Milwaukee), RP Ryan Madson(From Kansas City), and 1B Yonder Alonso(From San Diego)

Notable offseason subtractions:

2B Brett Lawrie(To Chicago White Sox), OF Craig Gentry(To Los Angeles Angels), SP Drew Pomeranz(To San Diego)

Analysis: The Athletics are the type of team that can go from a terrible team to a playoff team the next year. I’m definitely not saying that’s going to happen this year, but the Athletics are always confusing because of the strange signings and trades that they make every offseason. I’m not quite sure how good Oakland’s offense will be and who will lead the charge because they really don’t have a consistent offensive producer. Billy Butler and newly acquired outfielder Khris Davis will have to be consistent and carry the load on offense. Also, Sonny Gray has become one of the best pitchers in the MLB as he had 14 wins and a 2.73 ERA last season. He is the clear number 1 starter for the Athletics, but the issue is that they have a mess of a rotation behind him. Newly signed Rich Hill will be the number 2 guy and he has a 4.54 career ERA at age 36. The Athletics bullpen should be the strength of the team with Ryan Madson, John Axford, and Sean Doolittle as the late inning options, yet the issue for Oakland is if the starters will be able to get to those guys successfully. I’m unsure which direction the Athletics are heading, but besides Sonny Gray there really isn’t much talent on this roster and it’s hard to see them competing in 2016.

Prediction: 5th place in the AL West

Seattle Mariners – 2015 Record: 76-86

Notable offseason additions:

SP Wade Miley(From Boston), RP Steve Cishek(From St. Louis), OF Norichika Aoki(From San Francisco), RP Joaquin Benoit(From San Diego), 1B Adam Lind(From Milwaukee), C Chris Iannetta(From Los Angeles Angels), and SP Nathan Karns(From Tampa Bay)

Notable offseason subtractions:

OF Mark Trumbo(To Baltimore), SS Brad Miller(To Tampa Bay), 1B Logan Morrison(To Tampa Bay), RP Tom Wilhelmsen(To Texas)

Analysis: Perhaps no team was busier than the Seattle Mariners this offseason as they look to improve upon a disappointing 2015 season. The Main key for the Mariners in 2016 will be getting 2nd basemen Robinson Cano back to superstar form. Cano struggled last season, but in spring training he has looked a lot better. Nelson Cruz basically carried Seattle’s offense by himself last season and he is expected to be the main guy to do so again this season. Kyle Seager and Adam Lind should also provide a lot of power in the middle of the lineup as well. The Mariners rotation figures to be very good as they are still led by Felix Hernandez, but they also added quality depth this offseason with Wade Miley and Nathan Karns. Seattle also tried to improve their bullpen with the additions of Joaquin Benoit, Joel Peralta, and Steve Cishek. However, I’m not sold that those guys will be consistent in the late innings. I expect the Mariners offense to be very good this season especially if Cano can become the player that he used to be and the starting pitching is good enough to basically stop any offense.

Prediction: 3rd place in the AL West

Texas Rangers – 2015 Record: 88-74

Notable offseason additions:

RP Tom Wilhelmsen(From Seattle) and SS Ian Desmond(From Washington)

Notable offseason subtractions:

SP Yovani Gallardo(To Baltimore) and 1B Mike Napoli(To Cleveland)

Analysis: The Rangers lineup was what carried the team last season and expect it to be the same way this year. Prince Fielder, Adrian Beltre, Mitch Moreland, and Shin-Soo Choo all should carry the load as long as they can stay healthy. Add in the power of newly acquired left fielder Ian Desmond and this offense should be one of the best in the league. Meanwhile, the Rangers struggled with their starting pitching mostly because of the large amounts of injuries that they had. Cole Hamels should be a good number 1 starter for Texas and as long as the other guys in the rotation stay healthy then their pitching should be much improved. The bullpen is looking like a weakness for Texas as Jake Diekman and Sam Dyson aren’t very consistent late inning options. Shawn Tolleson should be a decent closer, but having a weak bullpen could negatively impact Texas. As long as the key position players for Texas can stay healthy then this team should be very good and if some starting pitcher besides Cole Hamels can step up then this team could be the top team in the AL West.

Prediction: 2nd place in the AL West

jose altuve

Angels sign Pennington to 2-year deal

Cliff Pennington has a new team as he agreed to a 2-year/$4 million contract with the Los Angeles Angels on Tuesday. Pennington definitely won’t be a starter for the Angels, but he will surely be valuable as a veteran infielder that can fill in at multiple positions. He will likely be the backup at shortstop to the newly acquired Andrelton Simmons. Pennington will never wow you with his offensive production as he is only a career hitter and he has never hit more than 8 home runs in a season. However, he is a tremendous utility player since he has proven that he can fill-in at shortstop as well as 2nd base. This isn’t a deal that really makes a huge difference for the Angels, but he is decent as a role player.

Grade: C

cliff pennington