In the final hours before Monday's 1 p.m. PDT deadline to make nonwaiver trades, the Angels are not pursuing potential deals for players who will be free agents at year's end, so-called rentals. They will not be buyers. But they could execute a trade that will break with traditional selling roles.
At the biggest junction in this season, the Angels are 51-55. Ordinarily, such a record would lead a team to sell off all its desirable players on expiring contracts in exchange for prospects. But even after Sunday's collapse in Toronto, the Angels remain six games out of playoff position, because of a mediocre class of American League clubs. Teams in similar standing sometimes opt to send away prospects for rentals.
Angels general manager Billy Eppler said Saturday he is not considering trades of the latter format, but he did not want to rule out anything else.
The Angels will host Philadelphia for three games beginning Tuesday. Separate from standard advance scouting work, the Angels had a professional scout watching the Phillies over the weekend. The Angels are known to be interested in Phillies second baseman Cesar Hernandez, who is under club control for two more years after that.
Deals involving Hernandez and similar players could come together now or in the offseason. There's little rush, really, unlike most other trades at this time of year.
An example of what the Angels could do: At last year's deadline, the Angels' biggest trade involved left-hander Hector Santiago, who remained under club control through this year. They parted with him and a relief prospect for right-handers Ricky Nolasco and Alex Meyer, who have made 20 more starts for the Angels this year than Santiago has made for Minnesota. It was sort of a sell; it was sort of a buy.
This year, the Angel most likely to be traded is veteran Bud Norris, the club's unofficial closer who has given up walk-off grand slams in two of his last three appearances. They have also engaged in conversations about fellow relievers David Hernandez and Yusmeiro Petit. All three men are pitching on minor league contracts and making minimal money relative to the big league standard. All three will be free agents at year's end.
"I'm not thinking about it too much," Norris said Saturday. "I want to stay in this uniform, but whatever's meant to be will be."
Had left fielder Cameron Maybin not sprained his knee two weeks ago, he would have attracted interest. Kansas City on Sunday traded its 13th-ranked prospect and another minor leaguer for Chicago White Sox left fielder Melky Cabrera. Maybin makes less money than Cabrera and compares favorably to him.
After Monday's day off, the Angels' starting rotation will stay on schedule for the upcoming series against the Phillies. Right-handers Nolasco, JC Ramirez and Parker Bridwell will start, in that order. … On the disabled list since Monday because of an inflamed shoulder, Meyer has not yet resumed throwing.