Buy or sell? GM Perry Minasian evaluating Angels’ options before trade deadline
Every time the Angels seem to have figured it out, their season has changed.
After a strong opening couple weeks, they slumped for the next month and a half. They began June well against a soft spot in the schedule, but on Friday lost their fourth in a row and seventh out of the last 10.
Things could be worse than their 36-39 record, given the injuries to Mike Trout, Anthony Rendon and others. Their situation could be better too, still 11 games out of the AL West lead and 8½ back in the wild-card race despite Shohei Ohtani’s historic two-way performance.
It’s why, when first-year general manager Perry Minasian leaned against the top railing of his team’s dugout at Tropicana Field before Friday’s game, he wasn’t ready to say exactly how the Angels would approach the July 30 trade deadline.
His team is still in that gray area between buying or selling. There’s no telling which direction their campaign might turn next.
“Obviously there’s still significant time left,” Minasian said. “We’re always looking to improve the team. I’ve said that since Day 1. We’ve had multiple different conversations with different clubs. Timing, there’s no way to know. Some things happen quick, some things take time. As far as activity, we’ve talked to multiple clubs on different scenarios and we will continue to do that.”
If the Angels can’t climb back into the playoff picture over the next month, they’ll have several options — they have a dozen players who will be free agents in the offseason, including pitchers Alex Cobb, Andrew Heaney, Dylan Bundy and Raisel Iglesias — that it might make sense to trade.
Shohei Ohtani had a home run, triple and double, and Phil Gosselin hit to go-ahead home run as the Angels snapped a five-game losing streak
But if they do mount another turnaround, it could tempt Minasian to look for reinforcements for this year and beyond.
“There’s short-term and long-term [buys], depending on what you’re buying and how much control it has,” Minasian said. “If you’re looking at shorter-term rentals, then obviously we need to be in a position where we feel like that add is going to really push us. If we’re looking at players with control that can not only help us throughout the rest of this season, going into next year, it’s something we’ll entertain.
“I’ve been with clubs that you might not necessarily think are buyers, per se, but then a certain player pops up and makes sense for the long-term for that club and they go and buy. So I don’t really categorize it as buyer or seller. I think we’re looking for ways to improve our team, both short-term and long-term.”
What did Minasian think is the Angels’ biggest need?
“It changes quick,” he said. “And what we need now might not be what we need two weeks from now. With the injuries we’ve had, offensively we could use an upgrade. On the mound, both in the rotation and bullpen. The rotation has pitched very well of late, hopefully that continues. You can always use help in the bullpen. I think every team will tell you that. I think in all areas, we could use upgrades.”
Here are other topics Minasian touched on Friday:
Minasian said the timetable for Trout’s return from a right calf strain remains unclear. Trout, who has been out since getting hurt while running the bases on May 17, still hasn’t resumed baseball activities.
Ohtani in the Home Run Derby
Minasian said it wasn’t a hard decision letting Ohtani participate in next month’s Home Run Derby in Colorado. Not only did he think the two-way star would handle it well, but he also had previously scouted Ohtani during past home run derbies in Japan.
“Everybody’s shelf life is short in this game, to a certain extent, so if you have the opportunity to participate in an event like that, I am not going to be the one who says no,” Minasian said. “I think he obviously deserved that opportunity. He wants to do it. I’m excited to see him do it.”
Minasian said outfielder Jo Adell, who has 16 home runs and an on-base-plus-slugging percentage of .952 with triple-A Salt Lake this year, has continued to improve, but didn’t say when the 22-year-old prospect might return to the big leagues.
“From a defensive standpoint, he’s improved. Baserunning, he’s improved. Offensively he’s made adjustments,” Minasian said. “So there’s a lot of bright spots, things he’s been working on that have shown improvements.
“Could it be any week?” Minasian added of his return. “I don’t like putting time frames on anything. But he’s definitely a guy that we watch day in, day out to see what he’s doing.”
The agreement in which Anaheim sold Angel Stadium and parking lots to a company affiliated with team owner Arte Moreno may violate state law.
Minasian also praised the progress of double-A pitcher Reid Detmers, the Angels’ 2020 first-round draft pick, who has a 3.34 ERA in eight starts. Asked if the left-hander could reach the big leagues this year, Minasian said, “Never say never. He could. But ideally, as we sit here today, there are things he needs to work on.”
Minasian didn’t have a timetable for when another top prospect, outfielder Brandon Marsh, might return from a right shoulder injury. Marsh, 23, has played just 16 triple-A games this year and is currently rehabbing in Arizona.
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