According to Robert Murray of FanSided, the Angels had interest in center fielders Kevin Kiermaier and Harrison Bader before they signed with the Blue Jays and Mets, respectively. The news isn’t necessarily a surprise given the club’s reported interest in bolstering the club’s outfield mix with the likes of Michael A. Taylor and Adam Duvall. Taylor, in particular, fills a similar role to Bader and Kiermaier as a glove-first outfield option who offers a plus glove in center field and roughly league average offense.
That being said, both Bader and Kiermaier are elite defensive center fielders who have received at least semi-regular playing time throughout their careers. Given their status as regulars best suited for center field, the Angels’ interest in the duo is noteworthy even in spite of the fact that both players have already signed elsewhere, as it could indicate a willingness to move franchise face and future Hall of Famer Mike Trout out of center field. Trout, 32, has logged nearly 93% of his 12207 1/3 career innings on the outfield grass in center, and his glovework has continued to rate well even as he enters his 30s with +3 Outs Above Average in 82 games last year.
Despite his solid defense and lengthy track record at the position, rumors of the Angels moving Trout out of center field have been floated somewhat regularly in recent years, dating back to 2022 when former Angels skipper Joe Maddon told reporters that the club was considering playing Brandon Marsh as the club’s regular center fielder. Moving Trout to a corner or even DH isn’t without logic; after all, he’s seen his star fade somewhat in recent years due to a rash of injuries that left him to play just 237 games in the last three season, or less than half of the Angels’ contests in that time. While Trout appears as capable of handling the position as ever when on the field, it’s possible moving down the defensive spectrum could allow him to stay healthier and remain on the field for the Halos going forward.
More from around the American League…
- Longtime Tigers slugger J.D. Martinez is currently a free agent after a rebound season with the Dodgers where he crushed 33 home runs in just 113 games. Earlier in his career, Martinez spent three and a half seasons in Detroit and found great success with the club as he slashed .300/.361/.551 with 99 homers in 458 games during his tenure with the Tigers. With Detroit on the rise after finishing second in the AL Central last year, adding a power bat like Martinez to the club’s lineup could make some sense, and MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand indicates that the club is “believed to have some interest” in a reunion with the veteran slugger. With that said, Evan Petzold of the Detroit Free Press pumped the breaks on a rumored connection between Martinez and the Tigers today, saying the club has not expressed interest in the veteran’s services this offseason with Kerry Carpenter penciled in as the club’s everyday DH.
- The Yankees have hired Pat Roessler as their newest assistant hitting coach, according to a report from Randy Miller of NJ Advance Media. Roessler has previously served as hitting coach for both the Expos and the Mets, and his stay in Queens coincided with the club’s NL pennant-winning season back in 2015. Roessler’s most recent role was as assistant hitting coach for the Nationals, though the sides parted ways earlier this offseason as the Nats overhauled their coaching staff. Earlier this offseason, the Yankees added James Rowson as their hitting coach and tapped Brad Ausmus to replace new Mets manager Carlos Mendoza as the club’s bench coach.