The trade that would have sent Dodgers outfielder Joc Pederson and Ross Stripling to the Angels for infielder Luis Rengifo and outfield prospect Andy Pages appears to be dead. A report last week indicated Angels owner Arte Moreno was the one who put the kibosh on it. Moreno confirmed Monday that he did shoot down the LA-LA trade, per Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register, though he wasn’t willing to say why.
“It wasn’t all impatience. There were other things,” Moreno said of the causes for the failed swap, which fell through as the Dodgers waited to acquire Mookie Betts and David Price from the Red Sox (that ended up happening). Now, according to Moreno, the Angels have “moved on.”
Had the Angels gotten Stripling, he’d have looked like one of their most talented starters on paper. The club entered the offseason needing rotation help, and it has added a couple durable veterans in Julio Teheran and Dylan Bundy. It looks as if the the Angels continue to need front-end aid, though, especially with Shohei Ohtani set to stay off the mound for at least the first month and a half of the season.
The Halos did make a legitimate attempt to sign the No. 1 free agent available, right-handed ace Gerrit Cole, as they offered him $300MM over eight years back in December. But the Southern California native instead accepted the Yankees’ record-setting offer of nine years and $324MM. Moreno discussed the Angels’ Cole pursuit, indicating they simply couldn’t match the Yankees’ aggressiveness. “Walking in there and you knew, no matter what I bid, we’re going to get outbid,” he said. “We had a pretty big number out there.”
With the season getting closer, it may now be too late for the Angels to land an impact starter. However, if all goes well into the summer and the Angels are contending, Moreno’s hopeful they’ll find one via trade. The team has “the financial flexibility” for such an addition, according to Moreno, who noted it’s seeking someone “who can substantially help us, not a No. 4 or No. 5.”
General manager Billy Eppler may be tasked with finding that type of starter in a few months, but his future’s uncertain beyond 2020. The Angels exercised his option for this season late last year, though they haven’t made the playoffs since hiring Eppler before 2016, so he could be on shaky ground. It doesn’t seem they’re going to rush into an extension for him just yet. Rather, “As a group, we need to win,” said Moreno, who added, “I probably should fire myself” for the franchise’s recent performance.