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Angels mailbag: What is happening with one week until the trade deadline?

What is up, Angels fans? What an interesting situation in which your favorite team has found itself. Through 100 games, the Angels are 49-51, on a 79-win pace for a full season.

Odds-making machines give them no more than a 10% chance of winning a wild-card bid to the 2017 MLB playoffs, but they are only 2 1/2 games out of a spot right now. It is difficult to justify selling when you’re one great weekend away from being in playoff position. It is also difficult to justify buying when boasting a bottom-tier farm system and an absolute lack of established, healthy starting pitchers. Inaction sounds pretty, pretty appealing right now.

The good news is the Angels do not have to decide their path yet. The bad news is only six games remain until the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.

Let’s get to some questions about the team. As always, you can submit what’s on your mind through my Twitter handle or email address, which are both listed below.

https://twitter.com/JohnHollands65/status/888502034994929664

I am going to give you two sets of statistics, one capturing what the Angels have done in all situations this season, the other what the Angels have done when there are runners in scoring position. You pick which is which.

.240 batting average, .310 on-base percentage, .383 slugging percentage

.249 batting average, .340 on-base percentage, .387 slugging percentage

You guessed it: The latter number is with runners in scoring position. The Angels have been significantly better at not making outs when they are closer to scoring runs. Is that a skill? Probably not, though in Albert Pujols’ case, there is reason to believe he significantly alters his approach enough that skill is involved.

The problem with the Angels’ offense is that they haven’t been putting that many men into scoring position. More broadly, the problem with the Angels’ offense is that they haven’t been hitting well. They have been the worst team in baseball at first base and second base this season, and one of the worst at designated hitter. Those sort of traits do not breed success. But scouts still believe first baseman Luis Valbuena will be better than he has hit, and his uptick could make a difference.

https://twitter.com/Squidwai/status/888468573840039936

As written in this space on May 1, Moustakas and the Angels are widely discussed as a potential pairing. He does seem like a realistic target, given the Angels’ budgetary space that will open up in a few months. Yu Darvish seems less realistic, because of the total outlay that will be required to win his services, but they will have enough room in their budget to make it possible.

https://twitter.com/Jarathen/status/888465196338917376

Kaleb Cowart is going to get a shot Tuesday, probably playing some second base.

https://twitter.com/dda_46/status/888464717672361984

That is an interesting question. Because the Yankees are still more likely to make the playoffs than the Angels, and because Trout will not be able to dramatically surpass Aaron Judge in sabermetric statistics unless Judge collapses, I think Judge is the safe bet to win the American League MVP. It is still possible that Trout will come from behind and win it, though. It’s more possible he’ll come from behind to make it close enough to spark controversy.

https://twitter.com/MattWeller_/status/888463948328169472

Six of those guys are hurt right now. It seems like a poor idea to guess given those parameters. But I would say that, out of those nine, Smith or Ramirez seem the least likely to open the season in the starting rotation. Smith has hardly pitched anywhere this season and has still never pitched in the majors. Ramirez has has not been bad as a starting pitcher, but his strength is still his fastball and the secondary stuff is just OK. He may yet fit best as a reliever.

This question will be better answered in two more months. Ask it then?

https://twitter.com/GlennMillig/status/888463047060213760

He is homegrown, good, and under club control through the 2021 season. He is the type of player they want to keep within the organization — and every team wants to keep in theirs. But if a contender is willing to overvalue him and give up a ton, of course they have to consider trading him. That goes for anybody, really, except Mike Trout.

https://twitter.com/DaRiddler1/status/888469087029911552

I would not expect that to happen, but I am not a general manager. More likely is that the Angels trade Bud Norris, David Hernandez, and Yusmeiro Petit, relievers who will be free agents and can fetch some prospect talent in return.

https://twitter.com/DaneMenke/status/889346288151445504

It is unlikely. The same could be said for all but a few major league teams, though.

Is it possible that Yunel could play 2B? Valbuena could play 3B with CRON at 1B. Adds some depth to the lineup (via email)

From what I understand, third baseman Yunel Escobar did not express a willingness to play second base when it was last discussed. There is also the matter of whether he can handle the range required there at his advanced age.

Also, you didn’t ask, but Mike Scioscia has said Valbuena is not an option to regularly man second.

That concludes this week’s mailbag. Next week’s will be delayed until Tuesday, so as to provide perspective on the July 31 non-waiver deadline.

pedro.moura@latimes.com

Twitter: @pedromoura


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