What Do the Angels Need Going Into the Winter Meetings?
The Angels need starting pitching, and they need it now. David Price may command a return the Angels can't deliver; Jason Vargas signed with the Royals; Phil Hughes and Ricky Nolasco are now with the Twins. That leaves Matt Garza, Bronson Arroyo, and Bartolo Colon as likely the best free agent starters left. Players are going fast. It's a crazy offseason. The Halos have made good moves so far, but they need to do more. What they have been trying to get via trades is not quite working for them. But I have a scenario that may be more realistic, and may be made of gold if played the right way.
Mark Trumbo and Howie Kendrick are the Angels' most valuable trade chips right now -- Mike Trout doesn't count. The front office has been shopping both for young controllable starting pitching, but teams aren't biting and are offering less. So what do they do?
I have heard that the front office is shifting to free agency, and that Trumbo and Kendrick may remain Angels in 2014. But it doesn't have to be black and white. There is another possibility.
Here is my proposal to Arte Moreno and Jerry Dipoto...
Trade Howie Kendrick for Prospects
Do it right now. Trade Howie for that organizational depth Jerry Dipoto has been hammering us about since the trade deadline. Howie's value will never be higher. He probably won't hit quite like he did in 2013; he's likely a .285-.300 hitter for the rest of his career. So deal him now for that depth, and replenish the farm system that fans love to get down on.
Sign Matt Garza and Bronson Arroyo or Bartolo Colon
The money freed up from trading Kendrick, in addition to funds available from non-tenders, will allow the Angels do just this. I'd go all in on Garza. Arroyo and Colon are just throw-ins; they can solidify the last spot in the rotation with whoever if they sign Garza first. Halladay is even an option' they Halos have been after him for years. I think this should be a no-brainer.
Keep Mark Trumbo and Let His Value Increase
We all know Trumbo's power potential. And it has yet to reach it's peak, which means his value still has to go up. 2014 is probably the year for Mark. I think that will be the season where his value hits it's highest level. If they sign Garza and an additional starter, they won't need to deal Trumbo for starting pitching this winter. With Kendrick traded, there is depth once again. So let Trumbo increase his value, see where the rotation is at next July, and trade him then. Depending on the overall status of the starting rotation, they can deal Trumbo for another starting pitcher, or trade him for a big return on additional prospects to replenish the farm system even further. Either move would be great for the organization.
The Angels Would Be Set Up to Win Now AND for the Future
There are two ways to build a successful roster: 1) Build a balanced offense and pitching staff with bargain chips mixed with young homegrown talent, like the 1998 Yankees 2) Spend on an expensive core at both offense and pitching, and fill the supporting roles with good, cheap, controllable talent. The latter is what the Angels have done; however, some of their supporting players are starting to get a little expensive. So to counter that, the approach the Halos are taking can work wonders (for now and for the future) if they play their cards in a way that I just suggested. This is only an issue if Arte Moreno is still worried about the luxury tax.
Then again, Arte has surprised us time and again with the same talk about financial inflexbility, and then pouring the cash on. And if that happens, they can keep everybody!
We'll see in 2014.