Pitching Halos' top priority as Deadline nears

August 29th, 2020

With the Angels' disappointing start to the season, they're one of only a few clubs who are clear sellers heading into Monday's 1 p.m. PT Trade Deadline. And they showed that on Friday, dealing second baseman to the A's for infielder .

The Angels have a few intriguing players who could be dealt, although the club isn't looking for a full rebuild with stars such as , and on the roster. But their need for pitching has been apparent yet again and they could make a move or two to bolster their rotation going forward.

The Angels have reportedly had calls on right-hander and infielder , but it would take quite the haul for them to part with either player. Bundy, 27, is under contract through next year and is exactly the type of starter they need to compete in 2021, while Fletcher, 26, is under team control through '24 and has surprisingly been one of the best players in the Majors this season. Otherwise, the Halos could look to part with impending free agents such as catcher or shortstop , like they did with La Stella.

It's also important to note that general manager Billy Eppler is in the last year of his contract and there has been no word on if he'll be offered an extension. The Angels could be cautious of making a major deal as a result.

Another important wrinkle to this year's Trade Deadline is that teams can only trade players who are part of their 60-man player pool (assigned either to the big league team or the alternate site). Clubs are permitted to include players to be named later in trades, however. Additionally, scouts have not been allowed to attend games in person, so all assessments of prospects have been done based on provided video and data and past knowledge.

The Angels are sellers after finishing the first half with just nine wins in 30 games. The Halos, though, are still looking to compete in 2021 and beyond, so it's not going to be a full teardown. They're not going to make any trades that worsen the roster for next year.

What they want
The Angels have an obvious need for pitching, as both their rotation and bullpen have struggled this year. Eppler covets pitchers with high strikeout rates and also prefers pitchers who can get ground balls. It doesn't seem likely for the Angels to make any trades for a position player, especially since they acquired Barreto, but they could always use more catching. Their lone move at last year's Trade Deadline was acquiring catcher Max Stassi from the Astros, and he was solid this season before going on the injured list last Friday.

What they have to offer
Bundy or Fletcher would bring a major return, but it doesn't seem likely the Angels are willing to make that kind of move because it would make the team worse in 2021. Trading Castro or Simmons seems more likely, as they're set to be free agents at the end of the season. Outfielder Brian Goodwin has also become a solid regular for them and is under team control through '22. With a crowded outfield that now includes top prospect Jo Adell in right, there's a chance they could look to move Goodwin for pitching. As far as prospects, the Angels could also look to deal one of their top Minor League outfielders such as Brandon Marsh or Jordyn Adams for pitching. But that kind of deal is more likely to come in the offseason.

Chance of a deal
The Angels have already traded La Stella, but they aren't expected to make any major deals at the Trade Deadline. But they do have a chance to add more pitching or positional depth to the organization by trading away a veteran on an expiring deal such as Simmons or Castro. Eppler would have to be wowed by an offer for a player such as Fletcher or Bundy to make a deal involving either player. The offseason remains a more likely time for the Angels to make a fully concerted effort to remake their beleaguered pitching staff.