The latest on the Angels, who could be one of baseball’s busiest teams this winter…
- There have long been rumors of animosity between Angels owner Arte Moreno and agent Scott Boras, stemming from the Angels’ fruitless pursuit of Mark Teixeira (a Boras client) in the 2008-09 offseason. Any hard feelings seem to have either been exaggerated or a thing of the past, however, as Boras told the Los Angeles Times’ Maria Torres and other reporters that he had recently had lunch with Moreno, and has kept up a good working relationship with the owner. “I sit down with the guy every year. I see him all the time. We have a common restaurant that we run into one another. So I wouldn’t read much into it,” Boras said. With the Halos in need of pitching, keeping up relations with the agent would seemingly be a necessary step this winter, as such top arms as Gerrit Cole, Stephen Strasburg, Hyun-Jin Ryu, and Dallas Keuchel (not to mention position players like Anthony Rendon, Nicholas Castellanos, and Mike Moustakas) are all Boras Corporation clients.
- Rather than free agents, Angels GM Billy Eppler also indicated that his team could be active on the trade front, noting the several young and controllable players both on the big league roster and in the upper levels of the farm system. “We have probably the most valuable type of players you can trade,” Eppler told reporters, including the Orange County Register’s Jeff Fletcher. “They are 0-to-3 (service time) players that we’ve stripped out a lot of the risk because they are pretty much there.…I think we can match up in deals, just about any deal. If clubs are willing to engage, we can engage.” As Fletcher notes, the odds of the team trading top prospect Jo Adell seems very unlikely, though players like Griffin Canning, Patrick Sandoval, Jose Suarez, Jaime Barria, Dillon Peters and Felix Pena, David Fletcher, Luis Rengifo, Taylor Ward, Matt Thaiss, or Jared Walsh could all be potential trade chips.
- Of course, several of those same names could play important roles for Los Angeles in 2020. For instance, since Albert Pujols will see more DH time on days that Shohei Ohtani is pitching, Eppler said Walsh or Thaiss could help fill the void at first base. The rookie duo “had some pretty good moments and showed that they were taking that first step and competing…I’d like to see how those guys respond to more at-bats and see how they go from there,” Eppler said. Thaiss, the 16th overall pick of the 2016 draft, has the higher pedigree of the two and also has spent a lot of time at third base, while Walsh has crushed minor league pitching over his five pro seasons. Both are left-handed hitters, making either solid fits to partner with the right-handed hitting Pujols. Of course, it could certainly be argued that the Angels should seek out a more established first baseman given how Thaiss and Walsh both lack experience, and Pujols is no longer a consistent offensive threat.