10 biggest trades in Angels history

December 8th, 2021

ANAHEIM -- The Angels have consummated a fair number of high-profile trades over the course of their history. While their track record is far from perfect, the Halos have not shied away from taking big gambles that have occasionally brought foundational pieces to the organization -- most notably, Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan.

Here's a look at 10 of the biggest trades in Angels history.

1. Ryan for Fregosi
Angels got from Mets:
RHPs Nolan Ryan and Don Rose, OF Leroy Stanton, C Francisco Estrada
Angels gave up: SS Jim Fregosi
Date: Dec. 10, 1971

Fregosi was the Angels' first star and a six-time All-Star over his 11 seasons with the club. But he's arguably best remembered for being on the wrong end of one of the most infamous trades in baseball history. In 1971, the Angels dealt an aging Fregosi to the Mets for a four-player package that included Ryan, then a hard-throwing 24-year-old with control issues. Ryan went on to become the greatest pitcher in Angels history, earning five All-Star selections, throwing four no-hitters and logging a 3.07 ERA over 291 appearances during his eight-year tenure in Anaheim.

He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in '99.

2. Carew for Landreaux
Angels got from Twins:
1B Rod Carew
Angels gave up: OF Ken Landreaux, INF Dave Engle, RHP Paul Hartzell, LHP Brad Havens
Date: Feb. 3, 1979

A seven-time batting champion and the 1977 American League Most Valuable Player, Carew was already on a Hall of Fame track when the Angels acquired him from the Twins in exchange for four players in '79. Carew spent the final seven seasons of his career in Anaheim, earning six consecutive All-Star honors from '79-84. He collected his 3,000th career hit on Aug. 4, 1985, becoming the 16th member of that exclusive club and the first to reach the milestone with the Angels. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in '91.

3. Downing for Bonds
Angels got from White Sox:
C Brian Downing, RHPs Chris Knapp and Dave Frost
Angels gave up: OF Bobby Bonds, OF Thad Bosley, RHP Richard Dotson
Date: Dec. 5, 1977

Bonds was coming off a monster 37-homer season when the Angels decided to send him and two Minor Leaguers to Chicago in exchange for a three-player package that was highlighted by Downing, a scrawny catcher who became one of the franchise's all-time players. After using weightlifting to transform his body, Downing -- who was subsequently nicknamed "The Incredible Hulk" -- batted a career-high .326 with 12 home runs in 1979, earning a spot on the All-Star team and helping the Angels secure their first AL West title. He posted an .813 OPS over his 13 seasons in Anaheim and departed as the Angels' leader in games, at-bats, runs, hits, total bases, doubles, home runs, RBIs and walks.

4. Robinson for Messersmith
Angels got from Dodgers:
OF Frank Robinson, RHPs Bill Singer and Mike Strahler, INF Bill Grabarkewitz, UTL Bobby Valentine
Angels gave up: RHP Andy Messersmith, INF Ken McMullen
Date: Nov. 28, 1972

The Angels acquired yet another future Hall of Famer in Robinson as part of this seven-player blockbuster with the Dodgers in 1972. The 37-year-old Robinson became the Angels' first designated hitter and batted .259 with an .848 OPS and 50 home runs in nearly two full seasons with the club. Singer also delivered an All-Star campaign in his first season with the Angels, going 20-14 with a 3.22 ERA over 315 2/3 innings. To get them, the Angels were forced to part with Messersmith, who went on to post a 2.51 ERA and earn two All-Star nods over the next three seasons with the Dodgers.

5. Teixeira for Kotchman
Angels got from Braves:
1B Mark Teixeira
Angels gave up: 1B Casey Kotchman, RHP Steve Marek
Date: July 29, 2008

The Angels already had the best record in the Majors and a sizeable lead in the AL West when they decided to pull the trigger for Teixeira, the Braves' star slugging first baseman who was in the final year of his contract. Teixeira did not disappoint, batting .358 with a 1.081 OPS and 13 home runs in 54 games for the Angels, who cruised to the division title before being eliminated by the Red Sox in the AL Division Series. While the Angels were unable to retain Teixeira in free agency, there was a significant silver lining: With the compensation pick they received from the Yankees, the Angels drafted a high school outfielder from New Jersey named .

6. Haren for Saunders, et al.
Angels got from D-backs:
RHP Dan Haren
Angels gave up: LHPs Joe Saunders, and , RHP Rafael Rodriguez
Date: July 25, 2010

Seeking to bolster their rotation down the stretch, the Angels surrendered quite a haul to pry Haren, a three-time All-Star, loose from Arizona in 2010. Haren largely performed as expected over the next three years, logging a 3.52 ERA before departing as a free agent following the '12 season. But the price for the frontline starter was steep. Along with Saunders, the Angels gave up two high-upside pitchers in Corbin and Skaggs, both of whom had been selected in the first two rounds of the '09 Draft. Corbin debuted with the D-backs in '12 and emerged as one of the most talented pitchers in the National League, making two All-Star teams and finishing fifth in the NL Cy Young voting in '18.

7. Greinke for Segura
Angels got from Brewers: RHP Zack Greinke
Angels gave up: SS , RHPs and
Date: July 27, 2012

The Angels dug back into their already-thin farm system to land Greinke in '12, adding a former NL Cy Young winner to their rotation as they prepared for their final playoff push. Greinke recorded a 3.53 ERA in 13 starts, but the Angels ultimately missed the postseason for the third consecutive season. The veteran right-hander went on to sign a six-year, $147 million deal with the Dodgers. For two months of Greinke, the Angels gave up Segura, their No. 1 position-player prospect, who became an All-Star shortstop for the Brewers in '13.

8. Edmonds for Kennedy
Angels got from Cardinals: 2B Adam Kennedy, RHP Kent Bottenfield
Angels gave up: OF Jim Edmonds
Date: March 23, 2000

After years of unfulfilled potential, the Angels decided to trade Edmonds, a two-time Gold Glove winner, to St. Louis in exchange for Bottenfield, an All-Star pitcher, and Kennedy, an infield prospect. The change of scenery benefited Edmonds, who averaged 30 home runs for the Cardinals over the next eight seasons and made three All-Star teams. Bottenfield recorded a 5.71 ERA in his lone season in Anaheim, but Kennedy spent the next seven seasons with the Angels -- becoming the starting second baseman on the 2002 World Series team. He is best remembered for his incredible three-homer performance in the clinching game of the AL Championship Series against the Twins.

9. Simmons for Newcomb
Angels got from Braves: SS , C
Angels gave up: LHP , SS , RHP Chris Ellis
Date: Nov. 12, 2015

In his first major move as the Angels' general manager, Billy Eppler orchestrated a deal for Simmons -- who was widely regarded as the best defensive shortstop in baseball and under team control for five years. In addition to providing Gold Glove defense, Simmons blossomed into an offensive threat with the Angels, earning an eighth-place finish on the AL Most Valuable Player ballot in 2017. The biggest piece the Angels gave up for Simmons was Newcomb, who was ranked the 19th-best prospect in baseball at the time of the trade. Newcomb debuted with the Braves in '17 and came within one strike of a no-hitter the following season.

10. Figgins for Bartee
Angels got from Rockies: UTL Chone Figgins
Angels gave up: OF Kimera Bartee
Date: July 13, 2001

A fourth-round Draft pick of Colorado in 1997, Figgins was traded to the Angels as a Minor Leaguer in exchange for Bartee -- a journeyman outfielder. The seemingly innocuous move soon reaped major benefits for the Angels, as Figgins reached the Majors in 2002 and became a fan favorite in Anaheim, batting .291 with a team-record 280 stolen bases over the next eight campaigns. Bartee, meanwhile, appeared in only 12 games for the Rockies and failed to record a hit in 19 plate appearances in '01.