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How do Pederson, Stripling affect Halos' plans?

@RhettBollinger
February 5, 2020

A few days after this trade was reported as being complete, it ended up falling through in the aftermath of the Mookie Betts trade from the Red Sox to the Dodgers, to which it originally was related, being reworked. ANAHEIM -- The trade has yet to become official but it’s

A few days after this trade was reported as being complete, it ended up falling through in the aftermath of the Mookie Betts trade from the Red Sox to the Dodgers, to which it originally was related, being reworked.

ANAHEIM -- The trade has yet to become official but it’s been reported the Angels are set to receive outfielder Joc Pederson and right-hander Ross Stripling in a trade that sends infielder Luis Rengifo to the Dodgers. More prospects are expected to be in the deal, per MLB Network’s Ken Rosenthal.

It’s an intriguing trade for the Angels, who moved a promising 22-year-old infielder under team control through 2025 but received two veterans who can help them win now. Pederson, coming off a 36-homer campaign, is expected to be the club’s primary right fielder, while Stripling, who owns a career 3.51 ERA, fills a major need in the rotation.

Here’s a look at some of the key questions about the trade and what it means for the Angels this season and beyond:

Why add another outfielder?

The Halos were expected to have a starting outfield of Justin Upton in left, Mike Trout in center and Brian Goodwin in right with top prospect Jo Adell on the way to take over for Goodwin at some point. So there wasn’t necessarily a huge need, but Pederson fits in well because of his ability to crush right-handed pitching while also being able to play both corner outfield spots and even some first base. It also gives the Angels much more depth, with Goodwin now able to serve as the fourth outfielder and potential platoon partner with Pederson in right.

Pederson, 27, slashed .249/.339/.538 with 36 homers, 16 doubles and 74 RBIs in 149 games last year and has durability, as he played in 148 games in 2018. Goodwin is coming off a surprisingly solid season but doesn't have the same kind of power Pederson has, and Pederson also grades out as a better overall defender.

Where does Pederson fit in?

The Angels don’t have a traditional leadoff hitter and Pederson could fit that role for the club just like he did for the Dodgers over most of the past two seasons. He’s not a prototypical leadoff hitter with his power and lack of stolen bases, but he's thrived in that role, and hit .250/.342/.552 with 33 homers and 64 RBIs in that spot last year.

Pederson's 33 homers out of the leadoff spot ranked third in the Majors, and his .894 OPS ranked sixth best. The Angels received 18 homers out of the leadoff spot last year with a .762 OPS, so Pederson would be a major upgrade.

But new manager Joe Maddon can get creative and move Pederson down in the order based on matchups, as David Fletcher is also a capable leadoff hitter and Tommy La Stella has some experience there as well.

Maddon will also have to find ways to keep Pederson from facing lefties, as it’s been an issue in his career. Pederson was limited to just 40 plate appearances against southpaws last season. He didn’t homer against a lefty and had just two doubles in 2019

Goodwin also hits from the left side, but he actually fared better against lefties than righties last year, so he could make for a platoon partner with Pederson, who would sit against lefties.

How does this affect Adell?

Adell is MLB Pipeline's No. 6 overall prospect and wasn’t likely to make the Opening Day roster even before the trade because Goodwin was the favorite to start in right. Adell, 20, can now head to Triple-A Salt Lake and polish up his skills before being called up for his debut at some point during the season.

Pederson is also a free agent after the season, so it doesn’t affect Adell’s long-term status as the Angels’ right fielder of the future.

How does Stripling fit in?

The need for pitching is obvious for the Angels, so it came as no surprise on Wednesday when it was reported that Stripling would be part of the deal as well. Stripling lacks durability -- his career-high in innings was 122 in 2018, and he's only topped 100 innings twice in four years -- but he has many of the traits Angels general manager Billy Eppler looks for in a pitcher.

Stripling has experience as a starter and a reliever and has a 3.51 career ERA to go along with an All-Star appearance in 2018. It's not smoke and mirrors for Stripling, who has 377 strikeouts against 91 walks and 49 homers allowed in 387 career innings.

Stripling has posted strong ground-ball rates throughout his career and has a 3.71 ERA as a starter and a 3.12 ERA as a reliever. But he’s expected to join the rotation for the Angels, which had some uncertainty at the back end until his addition.

It’s still unclear if Shohei Ohtani will be ready to pitch at the start the season after completing his Tommy John surgery rehab in late December, but the Angels now have five starters lined up behind him in Andrew Heaney, Julio Teheran, Dylan Bundy, Griffin Canning and Stripling. This means other experienced starters, such as Matt Andriese and Félix Peña, can head to the bullpen.

Stripling, 30, is also under team control through 2022, which gives them value beyond this season.

Why Rengifo?

The Angels had infield depth after signing Anthony Rendon to a seven-year deal worth $245 million to become their everyday third baseman. With Andrelton Simmons entrenched at shortstop, the Angels had Fletcher, La Stella and Rengifo at second base, which made Rengifo expendable. Fletcher and La Stella can now split time at the position, while Rengifo could’ve opened the year at Triple-A.

Are there other players involved?

There are reports that there are more Minor Leaguers involved in the deal, but the only name that has surfaced so far is Dodgers prospect Andy Pages, who is reportedly headed to the Angels, per ESPN.com’s Kiley McDaniel.

Pages, 19, is coming off a huge year, slashing .298/.398/.651 with 19 homers and 55 RBIs in 63 games at Rookie-level Ogden. The Dominican Republic native would immediately become one of the Angels' Top 10 prospects.

Rhett Bollinger covers the Angels for MLB.com. He previously covered the Twins from 2011-18. Follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and Facebook.