A trio of free-agent sluggers, any one of whom could transform the
But the Angels, who have a pressing need for an upgrade in left field, don’t appear any closer to acquiring any of the three than they were the day after the
A month later, there is no indication Moreno has changed his mind.
"We talk about players who are still available in free agency or who might be available in trades," General Manager Billy Eppler said of his communication with Moreno. "We have our conversations, and that's it. We're discussing all of our options all of the time."
Asked whether the Angels are in the mix for Cespedes, Upton or Davis, a first baseman who has outfield experience, Eppler said, "I'm not going to say."
Davis, who hit .262 with an
Upton, who has a career .352 on-base percentage and has averaged 26 homers and 81 RBIs for five seasons, and Cespedes, who hit .287 with 17 homers and 44 RBIs in 59 games for the New York Mets after being traded from Detroit last July, are both seeking multiyear deals of at least $20 million a year.
It would stand to reason that the closer the players get to spring training, the more likely their prices would drop, but not enough to fall into the Angels' lap. The team is about $5 million within the luxury tax threshold, and Moreno has not shown a willingness to exceed it.
Colorado’s signing of
But the Angels, according to a person familiar with their thinking, have not had substantive trade conversations with the Rockies about their outfielders.
The Angels, who were eliminated from playoff contention on the last day of the season in October, produced a major league-worst .592 on-base-plus-slugging percentage, nine homers and 51 RBIs from the left-field position last season.
If the season started today, they would have a left-field platoon of
But they also have the game's best all-around player in center fielder Mike Trout, who hit .299 with 41 homers and 90 RBIs last season, a slugging first baseman in Albert Pujols (40 homers, 95 RBIs) and a right-field force in Kole Calhoun (26 homers, 83 RBIs).
Their new shortstop, Andrelton Simmons, acquired from Atlanta in November, might be the best all-around defensive player in baseball. Their new third baseman,
Eppler has said throughout the winter that he will always look to improve the club, but if this is the team the Angels take to spring training, would he be satisfied with it?
"Of course," he said. "There are a lot of pieces on this team that were there last year until Game 162 scratching, clawing and fighting to keep themselves in it and were on the doorstep of a playoff appearance. Bringing a large part of that population back … yeah, of course I feel comfortable with that group."