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Angels eyeing upgrade at second base

Assistant GM Martone discusses LA's strategy for fortifying infield
MLB.com @mi_guardado

Angels assistant general manager Steve Martone shed some light on the club's offseason plan to fortify the infield during an interview with MLB Network Radio's Jim Duquette and Jim Bowden on Sunday.

Asked about the Angels' interest in pursuing free-agent third baseman Mike Moustakas, Martone said that the current focus is on plugging the team's hole at second base.

Angels assistant general manager Steve Martone shed some light on the club's offseason plan to fortify the infield during an interview with MLB Network Radio's Jim Duquette and Jim Bowden on Sunday.

Asked about the Angels' interest in pursuing free-agent third baseman Mike Moustakas, Martone said that the current focus is on plugging the team's hole at second base.

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"Our next priority is second base," Martone said. "It's an area we struggled to address the past couple of seasons."

Martone added that he would like to see a platoon at third base between the left-handed-hitting Luis Valbuena and a right-handed hitter.

Los Angeles' interest in acquiring a second baseman has been well documented this offseason, as the club received a Major League-worst .592 OPS at the position in 2017. The Angels have reportedly been exploring a number of possible upgrades, including the Tigers' Ian Kinsler and free agents Neil Walker and Zack Cozart. Los Angeles has also been linked to the Marlins' Dee Gordon and the Phillies' Cesar Hernandez in the past.

Video: Guardado on potential options for Angels at second

While the Angels have been viewed as a potential landing spot for Moustakas, a Southern California native, he does not seem to fit into Martone's projection for third base since he bats left-handed and would be seeking an everyday role. Todd Frazier, Eduardo Nunez and Yunel Escobar, who spent the past two seasons as the Halos' primary starter at the hot corner, will be among the right-handed-hitting third basemen available on the free-agent market this offseason and could be targets for the Angels.

Frazier, 31, batted .213 with a .772 OPS, 27 home runs and 76 RBIs in 147 games between the White Sox and Yankees this past season. The 30-year-old Nunez, who can also play second base, hit .313 with an .801 OPS, 12 homers and 24 stolen bases in 114 games in 2017 with San Francisco and Boston.

Injuries limited Escobar to 89 games with the Angels this past season, but the 35-year-old veteran was a productive presence at the top of the lineup when healthy, batting .274 with a .730 OPS and seven home runs.

Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com.

Los Angeles Angels