Part of the reason that the Angels acted quickly in avoiding arbitration with left-hander Hector Santiago was due to trade interest they’ve received in the 28-year-old, reports MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez (links to Twitter). While there isn’t one specific trade scenario on which the Angels were focused, the team wanted to eliminate as many variables as possible in order to simplify discussions with interested parties. Gonzalez adds that there’s nothing imminent on Santiago at this time. Coming off 180 2/3 innings of 3.59 ERA, 8.1 K/9 and 3.5 BB/9 with two years of club control remaining and a reasonable $5MM salary for the upcoming season, it’s easy to see why some clubs would be intrigued by Santiago. Then again, he also led the AL in home runs allowed (29) and recorded just a 29.9 percent ground-ball rate. Metrics like FIP (4.77), xFIP (5.00) and SIERA (4.50) are considerably less optimistic when viewing Santiago than traditional metrics like ERA, although it’s worth noting that his bottom-line results have always outpaced his peripheral stats in the Majors; Santiago has a 3.55 ERA in his career while the three aforementioned ERA estimators value his production in the 4.29 to 4.71 range.
Here’s more on the Halos…
- The Angels and ace Garrett Richards have been working to avoid arbitration, per Gonzalez, but the two sides still have “a ways to go,” he hears. The two sides will exchange arbitration numbers on Friday (assuming a deal doesn’t come together quickly before that date) and have another five or six weeks to negotiate in an effort to avoid a hearing.
- While there’s been plenty of speculation linking left-hander C.J. Wilson to the Rockies in various trade scenarios, such a trade almost certainly won’t happen. MLB.com’s Thomas Harding reports (via Twitter) that one of the eight teams to which Wilson can block a trade under the limited no-trade protection that comes in the final season of his five-year contract is the Rockies. Wilson could, of course, agree to waive that right, although it’s difficult to envision any pitcher — let alone one that is coming off surgery and entering a contract year — would green-light a trade to the hitters’ haven that is Coors Field.
- The Angels have interest in Rockies outfielder Charlie Blackmon, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register tweets. While Fletcher noted as much yesterday, he adds today that the Halos do have some concerns about Blackmon’s splits. It’s not clear if Fletcher is referring to Blackmon’s platoon splits, home/road splits or both, but each dramatic split would be an understandable reason for pause. Blackmon has mashed at a .334/.386/.501 clip while playing at home over the course of his career but has mustered just a .241/.283/.370 slash away from Coors Field. And, while his platoon splits aren’t as pronounced, he has a .729 OPS against lefties compared to a .788 mark against righties in his career, and the discrepancy between those two numbers has grown in recent seasons. Fletcher also notes in his tweet that he is “99 percent sure” that the Angels won’t land Carlos Gonzalez in a trade due to the money remaining on Gonzalez’s deal. The 30-year-old Gonzalez is owed $37MM over the next two years and carries an $11.4MM average annual value (the number which counts against the luxury tax) on his seven-year, $80MM contract.
- Mike DiGiovanna of the L.A. Times writes that the Halos are about $5MM away from the luxury tax barrier, and owner Arte Moreno has yet to indicate any sort of willingness to exceed that $189MM threshold. The Angels haven’t had “substantive” talks about the Rockies’ trio of potentially available outfielders, a source tells DiGiovanna, who implies that an impact upgrade over the platoon of Daniel Nava and Craig Gentry seems unlikely. “We talk about players who are still available in free agency or who might be available in trades,” said GM Billy Eppler of his talks with Moreno. “We have our conversations, and that’s it. We’re discussing all of our options all of the time.” Eppler declined comment on specific players but told DiGiovanna that he would “of course” be satisfied if this ends up being the group he takes to Spring Training: “There are a lot of pieces on this team that were there last year until Game 162 scratching, clawing and fighting to keep themselves in it and were on the doorstep of a playoff appearance.”