Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
news

MLB News

GM Eppler focused on prospects, not 'fire sale'

Angels building for future around young, controllable arms
MLB.com @mi_guardado

ST. PETERSBURG -- Shortly after the 1 p.m. PT non-waiver Trade Deadline passed Tuesday without any further activity from the Angels, outfielders Mike Trout and Kole Calhoun took a second to jointly hug right-hander Blake Parker in the visitors' clubhouse at Tropicana Field.

"I made it," Parker said.

View Full Game Coverage

ST. PETERSBURG -- Shortly after the 1 p.m. PT non-waiver Trade Deadline passed Tuesday without any further activity from the Angels, outfielders Mike Trout and Kole Calhoun took a second to jointly hug right-hander Blake Parker in the visitors' clubhouse at Tropicana Field.

"I made it," Parker said.

View Full Game Coverage

Parker and left-hander Jose Alvarez had been the subject of trade speculation in recent weeks, but the two relievers ultimately stayed with the club, keeping the Angels' bullpen intact for now.

"I didn't really know what to expect," Parker said. "But I love it here. I like what's going on here, I like the team, the front office and what they're doing, and I want to be a part of it."

After a disappointing and injury-plagued first half, the Angels tipped their hand as sellers by trading catcher Martin Maldonado to the Astros on Thursday and second baseman Ian Kinsler to the Red Sox on Monday, but they declined to part with any of their controllable assets on Tuesday. While the Angels unloaded two of their starting position players -- and soon-to-be free agents -- within a five-day span, general manager Billy Eppler said he thought the transactions fell way short of what he would call a fire sale.

"A fire sale, to me, sounds like you put everything out on the lawn and people just walk by and start grabbing things," Eppler said Tuesday. "That's definitely not what happened here. Not even close. I would completely disagree with that. But people have their own definitions of things."

In the end, the Angels simply chose to extract as much value as they could from a pair of expiring contracts, flipping Maldonado and Kinsler for three pitching prospects that they believe have the potential to make a future impact: right-hander Ty Buttrey and left-handers Patrick Sandoval and Williams Jerez.

With Trout under control through 2020, a full tear-down makes little sense for the Angels, who will instead attempt to once again retool and take advantage of their shrinking window to compete. Eppler said he had a handful of conversations with other teams on Tuesday, and while no transactions were made, he feels there was "some groundwork laid that could potentially pick up in the winter time."

"We want to continue to increase our win percentage, our win total, year in and year out," Eppler said.

For now, the departures of Maldonado and Kinsler will give the Angels a chance to develop other young players who could become a key part of their core moving forward. Manager Mike Scioscia said rookie David Fletcher will get an opportunity to take over the void at second base, with Luis Valbuena, Jefry Marte and Kaleb Cowart splitting time at third. Cowart was called up from Triple-A Salt Lake on Tuesday to replace Kinsler on the roster.

While the outside perception is that the Angels, who entered Tuesday 9 1/2 games behind the Mariners for the second American League Wild Card spot, are now operating more with an eye toward 2019 and beyond, shortstop Andrelton Simmons said that they aren't going to resign themselves to waving a white flag just because Maldonado and Kinsler are gone.

"I think most baseball players take pride in performing well," Simmons said. "You don't fold after a good player gets traded. You go out there and you still try to win."

Worth noting
• Simmons received a day off on Tuesday, with Fletcher starting in his place at shortstop. Simmons tweaked his back on a swing on Friday, but he said the respite was not health-related.

• Buttrey, who was acquired along with Jerez as part of the deal for Kinsler, is dealing with knee inflammation, but Eppler said he is slated to throw off the mound on Wednesday and will likely be activated from the disabled list soon. Buttrey and Jerez were both assigned to Triple-A Salt Lake after being acquired on Monday.

Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

Los Angeles Angels