Angels trade Noah Syndergaard, Brandon Marsh and Raisel Iglesias
The trade deadline has come and gone. A new Angels team has started to form in Anaheim and an eye on the season ahead has pushed its way to the forefront of the front office’s priorities.
“This is not the year I envisioned as far as where we are in the win-loss column” general manager Perry Minasian said Tuesday before the Angels’ 3-1 victory against the visiting Oakland Athletics — one of few teams statistically worse off than the Angels this season.
“But that being said, I do think there’s some really good players here,” Minasian continued. “And I think the combination of what we received back and financially what we freed up can really help us build a really competitive team next year.”
But the aftermath of the trades and the path forward were anything but easy. Dealing Noah Syndergaard — to the Philadelphia Phillies — was expected, but neither Brandon Marsh — also traded to the Phillies — nor Raisel Iglesias — traded to the Atlanta Braves — knew they would be on their way out.
The clubhouse was equally a mixed bag. As Iglesias spoke in Spanish of how he was surprised to be traded, Syndergaard was packing his bags and Marsh, the Angels’ homegrown product, was giving farewell hugs.
The Angels started the season as one of baseball’s best teams before a 14-game losing streak sent them spiraling.
Injured starting pitcher Michael Lorenzen, whose locker is close to Syndergaard’s, even intimated that if he becomes a free agent in the offseason, he and Syndergaard might hopefully be Angels again the next season.
The vibe, overall, was stuck somewhere in shock and confusion; a team that entered Tuesday 43-59 after thinking it could be playoff contenders in May, a GM waving a white flag, a team recognizing these next two months will count more for 2023 barring a baseball miracle.
Syndergaard, Marsh and Iglesias were moved to teams in the National League East with legitimate chances at competing in the postseason this year — professional gains for the trio, but emotionally a different story.
“Have the opportunity to play some meaningful baseball games with a team that’s in contention to win it all this year,” Syndergaard said. “It’s just a lot to process right now.”
Added Iglesias: “Unfortunately we weren’t able to compete here, but with the Braves, I need to be well prepared, be at my max competitiveness.”
Syndergaard was still owed about $7 million on the one-year, $21-million deal he signed with the Angels. Iglesias: $51 million, from the four-year, $58-million deal he signed in the winter.
The Phillies and Braves, respectively, will take over paying out those contracts, which frees up at least $58 million from the Angels’ payroll moving forward — money that will be spent on roster upgrades for the next season, and if not, at least gives them more money to offer in any potential Shohei Ohtani extension.
“From a payroll standpoint, ownership’s definitely invested in this club,” Minasian said. “I need to do a better job of building a roster. At the end of the day, that’s on me. I know there’s a lot made about Shohei and Mike [Trout], but it’s not just about two players. It’s about the organization.”
The Angels, in exchange, got: the Phillies’ No. 3 prospect, catcher Logan O’Hoppe, minor league outfielder Jadiel Sanchez and big league outfielder Mickey Moniak; and Braves relievers Jesse Chavez and Tucker Davidson.
Moniak, Chavez and Davidson will join the Angels’ big league roster. The team also called up infielder Jose Rojas and designated David MacKinnon for assignment. The active roster had 24 names on it as of Tuesday evening.
As the dust settled, interim manager Phil Nevin said his plan is to still go out and try to win ballgames, but that they “got closer today” to building a playoff team with the depth and flexibility added.
O’Hoppe, who is from West Islip, N.Y., is ranked the No. 86 prospect overall by MLB Pipeline. His move to the Angels gives them their only prospect ranked in the top 100 and gives the Angels a top-rated player at a position they are thin at in their system.
The San Diego Padres’ acquisition of Juan Soto before the MLB trade deadline has bolstered the team’s World Series odds, but not as much as one might think.
“I’m amazed, blown away by the rave reviews I’m getting on him,” Nevin said of O’Hoppe.
Moniak, who is from Encinitas, was also a top prospect in the Phillies’ system — the No. 1 pick in the 2016 draft who would have been on the Phillies’ opening day roster this year if he hadn’t broken his hand.
Nevin empathized with the pressure Moniak has been under in Philadelphia, recognizing his homecoming could be what he needs to break out.
Those are all looks on the road ahead, though.
“We need to finish as a team, guys need to finish individually,” reliever Aaron Loup said of what he thinks the message moving forward is. “Finish strong, build for next year to where when you’re going to camp, you have momentum pushing forward and looking up for next year.”
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