Despite Mike Trout’s presence, the Angels are stuck in no-man’s land as a club that doesn’t look like a clear-cut contender, Buster Olney of ESPN observes (subscription required). As brilliant as Trout has been, the Angels haven’t made the playoffs or won more than 85 games in a season since 2014, leading Olney to note there’s a legitimate argument they should consider a Mariners-esque rebuild. However, the Angels have signed starters Matt Harvey and Trevor Cahill in win-now moves this winter, and Olney concedes it’s unlikely they’ll blow things up in the final two years of Trout’s contract. The 27-year-old Trout “desperately” wants to win, and the Angels are uninterested in trading him, writes Olney. But moving Trout to jump-start a rebuild is something the Angels should at least consider if he’s unwilling to sign an extension, Olney argues.
Here’s more from around the game:
- Although Jed Lowrie was among the majors’ premier second basemen from 2017-18, during which he totaled 8.5 fWAR in 1,325 plate appearances as a member of the Athletics, the A’s won’t bring the free agent back. With Lowrie currently on the open market, Oakland acquired his replacement, Jurickson Profar, on Friday. The fact that Profar’s younger and cheaper than Lowrie led the A’s in that direction, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports. While the 25-year-old Profar will earn a projected $3.4MM in 2019, Lowrie, 34, is seeking a three-year contract, according to Slusser. MLBTR estimates the switch-hitting Lowrie will find a three-year, $30MM pact, though Slusser writes that “many industry experts” are anticipating a two-year deal in the $18MM to $20MM range.
- The Profar acquisition will also have an effect on A’s middle infield prospect Franklin Barreto, long one of their top farmhands. Trading for Profar suggests the A’s aren’t convinced Barreto can be part of the solution at second, posits Slusser, who adds that the team could shift the 22-year-old to the outfield (where he has racked up some experience in the Venezuelan Winter League) or even deal him. If Barreto does stick around, it’s likely he’ll “take on more of a utility role,” general manager David Forst said. Forst remains bullish on Barreto, as he added, “He’s going to be a valuable guy for us, his bat is going to play.”
- Having acquired Paul Goldschmidt and Andrew Miller, most of the Cardinals’ heavy lifting for the offseason is already done prior to the New Year. The club hasn’t ruled out picking up another reliever to join Miller & Co., though, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch suggests. The Cards will also land a backup catcher – potentially by way of a minor league contract, per Goold – and perhaps another left-handed bench bat. St. Louis did acquire lefty-hitting reserve Drew Robinson from the Rangers earlier this month, but the 26-year-old utilityman hasn’t produced much in the majors and still has another minor league option remaining.