Angels could match up with Diamondbacks on trade for infielder
Filling a gaping hole in left field is the Angels’ biggest priority this winter, but they also have a void at third base and would like to upgrade at second base. They could turn to the Arizona Diamondbacks for help.
The teams appear to match up well for a potential trade, with the Angels having a surplus of starting pitching — the Diamondbacks are seeking at least one more arm to go with Zack Greinke, who signed for six years and $206 million, and Patrick Corbin atop the rotation — and Arizona having a surplus of infielders.
Among the possible Angels targets are Diamondbacks third baseman/first baseman Jake Lamb, 25, shortstop/second baseman Chris Owings, 24, and Brandon Drury, 23, who can play all three infield positions.
The left-handed-hitting Lamb batted .263 with a .331 on-base percentage, .386 slugging percentage, six homers and 34 runs batted in over 350 at-bats in 107 games last season.
Owings had a .227/.264/.322 slash line with four homers and 43 RBIs in 147 games, and Drury hit .214/.254/.375 with two homers and eight RBIs in 20 games.
The Angels have eight starting pitchers with big league experience — Garrett Richards, Andrew Heaney, Hector Santiago, Jered Weaver, C.J. Wilson, Matt Shoemaker, Nick Tropeano and Tyler Skaggs — all with varying talent and salary levels, increasing the chance of a fit with Arizona.
Among the other possible third-base targets are Oakland’s Brett Lawrie and Danny Valencia. The Angels also have two third-base prospects in Kaleb Cowart and Kyle Kubitza, who could battle for the job if no trade is made and the team doesn’t retain free-agent third baseman David Freese.
Cowart experienced a resurgence after getting demoted from double-A Arkansas to Class-A Inland Empire to start 2015, getting promoted to triple A in May and to the big leagues in August.
The switch-hitter batted .174 in 46 at-bats but was so strong defensively he replaced Freese in the late innings of games in which the Angels held narrow leads.
Kubitza, acquired from Atlanta last winter, hit .194 in 36 at-bats. He has a little more offensive upside than Cowart but is not as polished defensively.
“I’ve heard very positive things about both,” General Manager Billy Eppler said Monday at the winter meetings. “When players are young, they can turn a corner really fast. So you want to leave yourself open to that kind of flexibility if that player does mature and come pretty quick.
“We’ll keep an open mind, go to spring training with an opportunity to be wowed. It sounds like the tools are there for them to be able to do that.”
Get our high school sports newsletter
Prep Rally is devoted to the SoCal high school sports experience, bringing you scores, stories and a behind-the-scenes look at what makes prep sports so popular.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.