The Angels have no hope of making a charge in the AL West and face a tough path to the Wild Card, but the club doesn’t appear to be ready to wave the white flag. To the contrary, the Halos are looking at a wide variety of potentially available starters, according to Jon Heyman of MLB Network (via Twitter).
Though they have battled into a plausible contending position, the Angels’ starting pitching situation remains quite problematic. The unfathomable loss of Tyler Skaggs has left an enormous hole in the organization and on the roster. With Andrew Heaney heading to the IL and JC Ramirez turning in messy rehab results, the rotation is full of inexperienced, less-than-ideal options.
Given the long odds of even reaching the postseason, it’s hard to imagine the Halos chasing the top rental arms. But the club does have good cause to consider controllable hurlers that will not only contribute now but help to fill out the rotation in the near future. Last winter’s signings of Matt Harvey and Trevor Cahill have been complete duds — which is always a risk, but especially so when you’re focused on short-term free agents. Repeating that approach probably won’t have a ton of appeal. But the Angels will surely also remain reticent to make a big commitment to a better veteran starter in free agency.
Trade talks make sense, then, particularly now that the L.A. organization has a greater abundance of prospects to work with. Of course, the team will also need to protect those assets as much or more as its future payroll capacity. An anemic talent pipeline has been a big problem in recent campaigns. The team is already enjoying the fruits of a more productive farm and will surely want to exercise caution lest it compromise its future talent base.
It’ll be interesting to see just how aggressively the Angels approach the starting pitching market. The preferred targets of GM Billy Eppler aren’t really clear. Heyman mentions Noah Syndergaard and Trevor Bauer — two of the best hurlers that could be moved this summer — but seemingly only by way of example. The report suggests the Angels have been looking at any and all possible arms. With value a paramount consideration for a team in this particular situation, a broad market exploration makes good sense.