Monday, July 18, 2016

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By Glen Mckee, Staff Writer Not Taking a Break After All - 

Ya know, I was going to take this week off because the Angels only played three games last week, and I needed a break after the crappy two weeks before the AS break.  But then a few things happened.  First, I just finished a yard project I’d been working on for a few days and I’m flush from the success of that.  B, I lost three pounds last week.  Yay, de-fattening!  Finally, but actually first on a timeline, the Angels swept the White Sox this weekend.  I know it’s only three games and it’s against a team whose offense is choking like (insert sexual innuendo here), but there have been so few reasons to celebrate this year that I’m going to take advantage of one when it mushroom-stamps me.

Let’s go!

The Bad.  Yes, there were a few bad things in this abbreviated week of games.  Let’s get them out of the way.

- Mike Trout.  What?  Dude went to the All Star game, how can he be bad?  Well, he only got one hit and for the first time since 2014 he didn’t get the MVP from that game.  Boooooo, Trout!  He also started out after the ASB with two 0-fer games.  What the hell, man?  Get back on the stick.  Of course, he did return to Troutian form in the last game, going 1-3 with a walk and two runs scored. Yay, Trout!  Look, that even make Alex Curry happy:

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- The Chicago White Sox.  Even after we swept them we’re still way behind them in the standings, but for the weekend, boy did they look terrible.  We hit them at the right time.

The Good.  There was so much good in such a short time.  I’m gonna start it off with somebody who has never made the good column until now.

- Mike Scioscia.  Yep, the Sosh.  I got to watch the entire game Saturday night so I was sure they’d lose.  The game went to the ninth, Shoemaker was solid, and then he got into a bit of trouble.  Ah, crap.  You just know Sciosica is itching to get Salas into this game somehow and blow it.  But Mike surprised me and realized how lousy the bullpen is, and stuck with Shoe.  It paid off, and Scioscia got the last laugh.  Well done, Sosh.

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- Albert Pujols.  Pujols decided to come out of the AS break on fire, or en fuego as they say in his language.  Well, actually, like Trout he had an 0-fer the first two games but then made up for it with 2 HR in the final game (somebody bump the “Pujols important HR thread please).  I’ll take that from him any three games this year (although it is 2-9, so I’d prefer to have one more hit mixed in there).

- The Starting Pitching.  Shoemaker first and foremost, with the shutout.  He’s moved himself onto the “do NOT trade list” with his performance over the last few months.  Santiago threw seven shutout innings.  Heck, even Weaver got in on the action with seven innings and one earned run.  There were rumors that Weave’s fastball hit 86 during the game, which gave me this reaction:

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- The bullpen.  Well, they had it easy. The only had to pitch four innings in three games.  2 BB, 1 H, 3 SO, 0 ER.  Well done to Guerra, Smith, Salas, and Ramirez.  Let’s hope Salas and Smith can build on this.

- The offense.  Hard to single out anyone other than Pujols because it was a solid effort all around.  16 runs in three games, off of only 2 HR.  Chicks dig small ball!  Or something.

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The rest.  Baseball is back for real this week and the Angels have six tough division games.  We’re only about three months away from Halloween and the return of pumpkin-flavored everything (Yay!  Although it’s actually pumpkin-spice flavored everything.  Pumpkin doesn’t have much flavor.  Thanks, Captain Buzzkill!) and the return of the official broad of October 31, Elvira:

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That woman has made me feel like I’m climbing the rope in gym class ever since I actually was climbing the rope in gym class.  If you want to read a fun story, google “Elvira Tom Jones” and get ready.

The week ahead.  Three at home versus the team  we all hate, the Rangers, home of Josh Hamilton and about $25 million of Arte’s money.  Of course Josh won’t be on the field because he’s Josh.

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Then, three in Houston against the Astros.

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My predictions versus last week.  I predicted 1-2 versus the Other Sox, and the Angels went 3-0. Suck it, Glen!  For the year I’ve predicted 38-49 and in those games the Angels went…38-49!  Yes! I’m now perfect for the season.  To celebrate, here’s a pic of Rosario Dawson.

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My predictions for the week ahead.  The Rangers just went 1-2 versus the Cubs and they’re 3-7 in their last 10.  2-1 versus the Rangers.  The Astros are a different story, going 7-3 in their last 10.  1-2 versus the Astros.  See you next week.

Saturday, July 16, 2016


By Robert Cunningham, AngelsWin.com Staff Writer - 

Recently reactivated from the disabled list, Geovany Soto was having an impressive offensive season while providing quality defense behind the plate.

Below are Soto’s 2016 splits:

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So clearly Geovany is destroying left-handed pitchers and basically hitting slightly below League average (79 wRC+) against righties.

The Angels signed Soto to a one-year deal for $2.8MM at the beginning of the season and it has proven to be a solid free agent signing and now, subsequently, a decent trade chip to move at the deadline.

In order to understand which teams might be good suitors for the Angels we need to examine which teams, based on our initial list of contenders found in the first article of the series, might have a need for a primary backstop and also which teams could potentially use a catcher who hits left-handed pitching well. The short list is below:

  • Nationals
  • Orioles
  • Indians

There are other teams that are borderline trade suitor candidates that include the Red Sox, Royals, Cardinals, Blue Jays, White Sox, Astros, Rangers, and Marlins. Any of these teams could be the dark horse in a Soto deal but they are comparatively remote compared to the three primary teams listed above.

Let us take a look at those three best fit candidates to see if they are really a match.

Nationals

Primary Need(s): Back-up Catcher and Center Fielder
Secondary Need(s): Closer or Quality Back-End Reliever

When you pull up the list of Weighted Runs Created Plus, for team catching, on FanGraphs the first thing that catches (no pun intended) your eye is the Nationals at the very top of the list with the best overall offensive production, from the catcher position, in baseball.

So why would they need Geovany Soto?

Well it is pretty clear that Wilson Ramos has, in his last year of arbitration control before he becomes a free agent, established himself as the primary catcher in Washington, picking up the bulk of at-bats through excellent defense and wRC+ of 112 and 154 against LHP and RHP respectively.

The lesser problem is Jose Lobaton who has, in limited at-bats, played above average defense combined with poor offense including wRC+ of -81 and 91 against LHP and RHP respectively.

Clearly there is a scenario here where the Nationals would want a more experienced catcher to back up Ramos that can mash left-handed hitting while providing at least average or better defense.

Soto would be such an acquisition. It would allow Ramos to pick up most if not all of the at-bats against RHP with Geovany picking up all of the at-bats versus LHP creating even better and more consistent offense out of the catching position and giving the Nationals additional firepower in a playoff run.

Additionally if Ramos were to get injured Soto and Lobaton could split catching duties with the former hitting against all LHP’s and some RHP’s and Lobaton could focus primarily on hitting against RHP’s without losing a ton of production (Losing Ramos would be damaging to Washington though).

Nationals Likely Target(s): C Geovany Soto, RHP Huston Street, RHP Fernando Salas, and RHP Joe Smith

Angels Likely Target(s): A+ OF Victor Robles, AAA RHP Reynaldo Lopez, A+ RHP Erick Fedde, AA OF Andrew Stevenson, AA 2B Wilmer Difo, A LHP Taylor Hearn, AAA RHR Koda Glover, A 3B Kelvin Gutierrez, AAA RHP Austin Voth, A OF Telmito Agustin, A+ 2B Max Schrock, A RHP Andrew Lee, and AAA RHP Paolo Espino

Trade Scenario(s):

1) Angels trade C Geovany Soto to the Nationals in exchange for AA 2B Wilmer Difo

Difo is a near-ready MLB 2B with excellent contact skills, speed, and solid defense at the keystone

2) Angels trade C Geovany Soto and RHP Joe Smith to the Nationals in exchange for A+ OF Victor Robles and AA 2B Wilmer Difo

Difo is as above. Robles is a young OF with excellent contact ability, above average all fields defense, and on-base skills who could be ready for big League action by 2018

Orioles

Primary Need(s): Starting pitching, LH Starter, RH Starter, LH Middle Reliever, RH Middle Reliever, and Back-Up Catcher

Secondary Need(s): None

Another team you might not think immediately needs help in the catching department is the Orioles.

However when you scrutinize further you see how badly both Wieters and Joseph have hit against left-handed pitching. In fact their combined wRC+ is negative against lefties! Yikes!

Someone like Soto would be a solid boost to their backstop offense. Joseph is a good defender but if you move him into a reserve defensive role it will allow Wieters to play against RHP and Geovany against LHP mostly creating better offensive balance and not losing much on defense.

The Orioles need help with their rotation and bullpen, the most, but picking up a backup catcher that can mash lefties would be a boon too.

Orioles Likely Target(s): LHP Hector Santiago, C Geovany Soto, LHR Jose Alvarez, RHP Matt Shoemaker, RHP Tim Lincecum, RHP Jhoulys Chacin, LHP Tyler Skaggs, RHR Joe Smith, and RHR Fernando Salas

Angels Likely Target(s): RHP Dylan Bundy, A- RHP Hunter Harvey, RHR Mychal Givens, AA C Chance Sisco, A+ OF D.J. Stewart, AAA 1B Trey Mancini, A+ C Jonah Heim, A+ LHR Tanner Scott, RHP Tyler Wilson, RHR Oliver Drake, AAA LHP Ariel Miranda, AAA RHP Joe Gunkel, and AA LHP John Means

Trade Scenario(s):

1. Angels trade C Geovany Soto to the Orioles in exchange for RHR Oliver Drake

Drake is a potential back-end reliever that could become a candidate for closer duties in Anaheim

2. Angels trade C Geovany Soto and LHR Jose Alvarez to the Orioles in exchange for RHR Oliver Drake and A+ LHR Tanner Scott

Drake is as above. Scott is a reliever that spits hot fire at 100 mph as a lefty with back-end bullpen written all over him.

3. Angels trade LHP Hector Santiago, C Geovany Soto, LHR Jose Alvarez, and RHR Joe Smith to the Orioles in exchange for RHP Dylan Bundy, RHR Oliver Drake, and A+ LHR Tanner Scott.

Angels absorb Santiago’s and Smith’s remaining $2.5MM and $2.75MM 2016 salaries. Bundy is a former top prospect that has been used primarily in the bullpen due to being out of options (although he will make a start soon) but if he were to be traded now would be the time to ask with the Orioles so close to a pennant (it’s a long shot). Drake and Scott are as above

This is another example of the Angels trading more players than they get back in return to increase quality

Indians

Primary Need(s): Corner OF and Catcher
Secondary Need(s): 3B and Middle Relief

Here we are again circling back around to the Indians in the Trade Candidate series.

Previously we spoke about their need for relief but found them to be a less likely candidate in trade talks for Huston Street.

Defense has been the cornerstone of the Indians success this year and Yan Gomes is a great defensive backstop and Gimenez isn’t too shabby as well.

However looking further into their catching situation they face an abysmal hole with their offensive production that could use rectification.

Geovany would make a useful addition to the club splitting time with Gomes behind the plate particularly against LHP.

The only real problem with this scenario is that Gomes hitting issues have come primarily against RHP. Either way Soto would be an upgrade offensively over Gomes giving some needed firepower for the Indians playoff hopes.

Indians Likely Target(s): OF Kole Calhoun, C Geovany Soto, RHR Huston Street, RHR Joe Smith, and RHR Fernando Salas

Angels Likely Target(s): AA OF Bradley Zimmer, AA OF Clint Frazier, A+ LHP Justus Sheffield, RHR Mike Clevinger, AA LHP Rob Kaminsky, A+ 1B Bobby Bradley, A+ C Francisco Mejia, A- LHP Juan Hillman, A+ OF Greg Allen, AAA RHP Adam Plutko, RHR Shawn Armstrong, A+ 2B/SS Yu-Cheng Chang, A+ RHP Dylan Baker, and A+ 2B Dorssys Paulino

Trade Scenario(s):

1) Angels trade C Geovany Soto to the Indians in exchange for AA LHP Rob Kaminsky.

Angels absorb Soto’s remaining $1.4MM 2016 salary. Kaminsky is left-handed starter with mid-rotation upside

2) Angels trade C Geovany Soto and RHP Joe Smith to the Indians in exchange for A+ LHP Justus Sheffield and RHR Shawn Armstrong

Angels absorb Soto’s remaining $1.4MM 2016 salary. Sheffield is a young lefty with good control as a mid-rotation starter. Armstrong has already pitched at the Major League level and has excellent potential in the back-end of the bullpen

Conclusion

The odds are nearly 100% that the Angels will trade Soto before the deadline on August 1st, 2016 considering his contractual control through the end of the season.

Geovany really fulfilled the promise on his short-term contract with the Halos and should provide a reasonable prospect back in trade or something better as part of a larger package if we find a trade partner that wants more than just a catcher.

As stated in the opening there are certainly several other teams that should have some level of interest in trading for Soto but the three listed above appear to be the best fits and have the greatest need to improve offensively at catcher.

All three of those teams should have a great deal of interest in Soto specifically with the Orioles and the Nationals being the most likely followed closely by the Indians mainly due to the fact that Geovany crushes left-handed pitching and the former two fit that profile best.

Angels fans should say their goodbyes to Soto now because by August 1st he will be playing for another team based on the eleven teams that should have some level of interest in his services.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

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Mike Trout joined yesterday’s “MLB Tonight” from the field in San Diego. The clip below includes Trout discussing playing in the Major Leagues, other big leaguers saying he’s their favorite player to watch, and his thoughts on David Ortiz retiring.

On playing in the Major Leagues, Trout said, “My parents always taught me not to take anything for granted. Putting the uniform each and every day on in the big leagues, I can’t ask for much more. It’s special and I want to be here.”

At the 2:30-minute mark Trout watched big leaguers saying he’s their favorite player to watch. To the clip, Trout said, “Makes you feel good, man. Makes you think that you’re doing something right.”

On David Ortiz retiring, Trout said, “He’s not retiring. He can’t retire with [those] numbers. …He’s coming back for sure, I think.”

Everyone loves, Mike!

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Click here to see the entire interview with Mike Trout.

Monday, July 11, 2016

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By Glen McKee, Staff Writer and Sad Panda - 

The poet Ralph Waldo Emerson (you know he’s either great at something or a serial killer because he’s referred to by all three of his names) said “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.”  A foolish consistency is also the hobgoblin of last-place teams going into the All Star break.  
The Angels are consistently striving to reach mediocrity, with occasional dashes of hope and despair. Let’s begin our weekly torture session of looking at what happened last week.  Did I say torture? 

Now we’re talking!

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The bad.  Believe it or not, there wasn’t a whole lot of bad out there.  There was just enough bad to keep us from winning three games that we had a chance to win, but that isn’t too much bad, really. 

- Albert Pujols.  After a hot June, he’s cooling off in July. .214 last week, no HR, 4 RBI.  He has a few days to rest his older-than-advertised bones and feet.  Hopefully that helps.  Hey Albert, a tip from a guy who is a few years older than you: take a few naps.  Naps are great.  

- Joe Smith.  The parallels between current Joe Smith and Scot Shields at the end of his career are hard to ignore.  You could say that about any reliever who loses his stuff and the signs all point to Smith being a less-than-average Joe.  Despite that, Scioscia still used him three times last week, mostly in critical situations, and the results were predictable.  2.2 IP, 6 hits, 6.75 ERA, 2.63 WHIP.  Hopefully Cam Bedrosian is the 8th inning guy after the ASB because we can’t keep going back to Smith.  That well is dry.  Speaking of relievers who have apparently lost their stuff…

- Huston Street.  1.1 IP, 6.75 ERA.  Hey, Street and Smith had the same ERA last week!  Rotoworld has an update on Street listing him as “day to day.”  Guess who else is gonna be on the DL soon?

- C. J. Cron.  Not because of his bat (although he was cooling off), but because of a broken hand and a trip to the DL.  I guess the Angels have to have a certain amount of players on the DL or something bad will happen, like even more players going on the DL.

- Johnny Giavotella.  He hit a Mathis-like .208 last week and his BA for the season has dropped to .268.  Hopefully a few days off heats him up again.

- Yunel Escobar’s defense.  His bat is great at the top of the lineup.  His defense at 3B is atrocious. Even when I’m watching the game on Gamecast I can see how bad his defense is.  With Cron out for an extended period it would seem like a give Escobar some reps at DH/1B and have one of our slick-fielding 3B from Salt Lake take over at 3B.  Escobar’s defense at 1B wouldn’t hurt us any more than it does at 3B, and we’d get a better glove at third.  Plus, just have him mostly DH.  It’s baseball, not rocket science.  

- The schedule after the ASB.  After the break the Angels have four in Chicago against the White Sox, and then face the Rangers, Astros, Royals, and Red Sox to finish up the month.  It’s gonna be brutal.

The good.  There was some good last week.  The Angels managed a four-game winning streak (but followed it up with two disheartening losses) and actually had a record over .500 for the week.  That hasn’t happened since…well, I don’t want to look it up because that’s too much work for such a sad reward.  But yeah, they had a decent week!

- Cam Bedrosian.  If Huston Street has any trade value left at all, Bedrock will be the closer in August.  4 IP last week, 0 ER.  For the season:  1.12 WHIP, 1.09 ERA.  Dude is finally becoming who we all hoped he would become.  Now if only we could clone him, or had another guy in the pen with similar stats…

- Delois Guerra.  Well, he wasn’t good last week but one bad performance doomed him.  Take that out and he was great!  Yes, I know.  Anyway, “Guerra” is Spanish for war, but if you drop one r from that it become guera, which loosely translates as “white girl.”  Although she’s not white and has nothing to do with this at all, here’s a picture of Shakira to make everyone feel better.

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- Tim Lincecum.  I know I’m reaching here but he had kind of a good game the last time, 5.2 IP and 3 ER against a good Baltimore offense in their home park.  

- Hector Santiago.  I didn’t weep for him this week.  One game, 7 IP, 0 ER.

- Andrelton Simmons.  I have a whammy (not, that’s not a euphemism) but I have little control over it.  Last week I started a thread about how negligible Simmons’s offense was, and he responded by hitting .400 over the week and raising his season average to .269.

The rest.  It’s a few weeks before the trade deadline and the Angels have a brutal schedule ahead. That should convince EpPler to make at least a few trades, so this team may look different in August.  

The week ahead.  Four days off for the ASB (and the only MVP Trout will get again this year) and then three in Chicago.  Enjoy the break.

My predictions versus last week.  Remember the whammy I mentioned above?  I did control it a bit last week by predicting a 0-7 run.  It was an attempt to get my predicted record closer to the actual record, and it worked.  You’re welcome.  The Angels went 4-3.  For the year, I’ve predicted 37-47 and the Angels went 35-49 in those games.

My predictions for this week.  As alluded to above, Mike Trout will once again be the All Star game MVP (no whammy).  The Angels will go 1-2 in Chicago.  EpPler will make one trade next week, or sign another guy from the scrap pile.  Last Week in Angels baseball will take next Monday off because of a light schedule and a desire to avoid alcoholism caused by writing these depressing updates.

Sunday, July 10, 2016



By Robert Cunningham, AngelsWin.com Staff Writer - 

Author’s Note: The following player data was pulled via FanGraphs on July 4th, 2016.

Huston Street, the Angels closer, is under contract for the remainder of 2016 with approximately $4MM remaining, all of 2017 at $9MM, and has a team option in 2018 for $10MM with a $1MM buyout.

Street has, unfortunately, struggled in 2016. When you have a K/9 rate equal to your BB/9 rate and you are running a .345 BABIP, you are probably not performing well.

The low strikeout rate combined with the elevated walk rate could be injury related, mechanics related, or age related (or all three) it is difficult to tell.

There is a possible bright side to this story however.

First of all that .345 BABIP is well above Street’s career .263 BABIP. That’s nearly 100 points difference and seems really unsustainable. You should expect regression to his career rate meaning simply that more of the balls in play should be converted to outs moving forward.

This is particularly true when you look at Street’s 2016 batted ball profile:

 

If Huston is generating 55.6% groundballs with a 57.1% pull rate against right-handed hitters you’d have to think that his BABIP would regress and his ability to get outs, especially with Andrelton Simmons manning shortstop, would improve, perhaps even dramatically so.

To be fair his 2016 numbers are across a limited sample size of about 16 innings pitched and his career numbers don’t generate as many groundballs against right-handed hitters but the numbers above reflect a pitcher who should have more groundouts and double plays than what actually occurred, in-game, for Street.

These disparities become even more apparent when you look at his BABIP, K%, and BB% by pitch type both in 2016 and over his career:

 

Cleary Street is having serious BABIP issues with his slider and change up. The slider is 123 points over his career average and his change up is a whopping 202 points over making regression to the mean a very likely outcome for both of these pitches.

To be clear we should also point out that Street has experienced about one mile per hour loss in velocity drop on all his pitches in 2016. This likely is a contributor, on some level, to his issues this year but it doesn’t seem like it can fully explain the actual results.

Those results point to Huston having good and expected outcomes with his sinker but less than expected results with his slider and even worse than expected results with his change up.

The bottom line is that things should improve for Huston Street moving forward but will that be enough to showcase his improvements before the trade deadline?

Street will be 33 years old next month in August and, as stated above, is under team contractual control through 2018 if the Angels desire to pick up his team option.

Eppler and company, if they follow the lines of logic regarding a retooling of the roster to coincide with Richards and Heaney’s probable return in 2018, won’t have much use for a 34 ½ year old closer in his last year of control when they get to the start of that 2018 contending season.

This simply means that Street should be a trade chip at the deadline if he can bring back a reasonable return based on his current performance level. If the Angels don’t get the right return it will be better for them to wait until the offseason or at next year’s trade deadline to trade him as his performance should improve soon barring an unknown injury or mechanical issue.

In order to determine who Huston’s most likely trade suitors are we need to take his batted ball profile, from 2014 to 2016, and determine what teams have a defensive alignment that best suits Street’s style of pitching and actual batted ball results as seen in his spray charts below:

 

 

Based on Street’s profile an acquiring team will want to have a defensively average or better SS and 3B to handle groundballs to the left side of the infield and up the middle. Additionally having a defensively average or better LF and 2B would be ideal as well based on Huston’s spray charts.

Below is the short list of teams that are average or better defensively at SS, 3B, 2B, and LF and could use a back-end right-handed reliever:

Giants
Rangers
Royals
Cubs
Indians

Do these teams look familiar?

Defense is often an underrated aspect of baseball but it is not a coincidence that these five teams in playoff contention also happen to be good defensive units as well.

Let’s take a look at these five teams to see if there really is a fit for Huston Street.

Giants

Primary Need(s): Corner OF, Back-End Reliever/Elite Closer, 3B
Secondary Need(s): Mid or Back-End Starter, Back-Up Catcher

Is a third mention in the Trade Candidate series a charm?

The Giants have a pretty sturdy bullpen led by Casilla their closer. It is also fairly well balanced with Casilla and Law able to get hitters out on both sides of the plate, along with Gearrin, Strickland, and Romo able to effectively get right-handed hitters out, and Kontos and Osich available to handle left-handed hitters.

Lopez, surprisingly, has been struggling hard this year and if you had to point to a weak link it is him. He’s in the last year of his contract so he’s expendable for a team that is pushing for a playoff spot.

An ideal standard for a playoff bullpen should be something similar to what the Yankees have this year which is a trio of top end relievers that can get hitters out on both sides of the plate in the late innings (7th and beyond) of a game.

The Giants don’t quite have that yet. If they added an elite reliever, preferably a lefty, to complement their two righties in Casilla and Law it would certainly improve their chances.

Frankly San Francisco doesn’t seem like the best fit. Their real bullpen need is a top shelf left handed closer type and Huston doesn’t quite fit the first part and is definitely not left-handed. However Street does have a lot of closing experience and he probably represents a second or third tier option for the Giants if they don’t want to pay the exorbitant price for someone like Aroldis Chapman.

Giants Likely Trade Target(s): 3B Yunel Escobar, LHP C.J. Wilson, LHP Hector Santiago, RHP Huston Street, C Geovany Soto, and RHR Fernando Salas

Angels Likely Trade Target(s): AA 2B Christian Arroyo, AA LHP Andrew Suarez, AA RHP Tyler Beede, A+ RHP Phil Bickford, A+ 1B Chris Shaw, A+ RHP Jordan Johnson, AAA RHP Clayton Blackburn, OF Jarrett Parker, AAA LHP Adalberto Mejia, AA RHR Chase Johnson, A RHP Michael Santos, AA RHR Ray Black, AAA LHR Steven Okert, AAA RHP Joan Gregorio, and A+ RHR Ian Gardeck

Trade Scenario(s):

1) Angels trade RHR Huston Street to the Giants in exchange for AA RHP Tyler Beede and A+ RHP Jordan Johnson
- Angels absorb Street’s remaining $4MM 2016 salary
- Beede is right-handed starter with mid-rotation upside
- Johnson is also a right-handed starter with good control and mid-rotation upside as well

2) Angels trade RHR Huston Street and 3B Yunel Escobar to the Giants in exchange for AA 2B Christian Arroyo, AAA LHP Adalberto Mejia, A+ 1B Chris Shaw, and A RHP Michael Santos
- Angels absorb Street’s remaining $4MM 2016 salary and $7MM of his 2017 salary as well as absorbing Escobar’s remaining $2.7MM 2016 salary
- Taking on the additional 2017 salary allows the Angels to include one more prospect in the deal
- Arroyo, the Giants #1 prospect, could best be described as the ‘Kole Calhoun’ of middle infielders meaning he does everything above average but nothing spectacularly well
- Mejia is a lefty with good control, a low 90’s fastball, average slider and plus change up with a ceiling as a #3 or #4 starter
- Shaw is a young and talented potential replacement for Pujols
- Santos is a young projectable righty who currently pitches in the low 90’s with a nice four-seam and two-seam fastball, plus curveball, and average change up that has a ceiling of a mid-rotation type

Rangers

Primary Need(s): Front-End Starter, Back-End Left-Handed Starter
Secondary Need(s): Middle Reliever

Recently discussed in the Trade Candidate Hector Santiago episode, the Texas Rangers appear here too because their needs are almost exclusively pitching-related.

When examining their bullpen you see three guys that they can turn to for late-inning duty including RHR Keona Kela, RHR Matt Bush, and LHR Jake Diekman.

However behind that trio the only semi-reliable pitchers are RHR Sam Dyson and RHR Shawn Tolleson. Barnette can get left-handed hitters out but isn’t the ideal option to do so, Ramos has done poorly both in a starter and relief role, and former Angel Michael Roth has not fared well at all in Texas.

The Rangers could certainly shake things up and make a big trade for an elite closer type which would certainly strengthen their bullpen but with all of the starting pitching injuries they’ve experienced you have to think their trade focus is on fixing the rotation first and if there is money and trade chips left over fix the bullpen last.

Huston Street would fit well if he was a setup man in Arlington as he can attack right-handed hitters and keep the ball on the ground. If his change up issues are strictly BABIP related he could fill a closer role and would provide the proverbial veteran presence in the Rangers relief corps as most of the Rangers relievers are fairly young.

So the bottom line is that Texas, if they choose to go after an elite option for their bullpen, will almost assuredly pass on Huston. It is possible in that scenario that they would still have interest in a middle reliever such as RHR Fernando Salas.

There is a scenario where the Rangers exhaust a lot of their resources bringing in rotation help but still want to bring in a veteran closer like Street and the Angels are well positioned because they can take on salary which would likely be useful to the Texas front office (besides we already are paying for one of their players anyway why not more!).

Of course there is always the element of trading within the Division which automatically makes this deal more of a longshot particularly because of the extra years of control Texas would have contractually with Street.

Rangers Likely Target(s): LHP C.J. Wilson, LHP Hector Santiago, RHP Matt Shoemaker, RHR Huston Street, RHR Joe Smith, LHP Jose Alvarez, and RHR Fernando Salas

Angels Likely Target(s): AAA OF Lewis Brinson, 2B Jurickson Profar, AA RHP Luis Oritz, AAA 3B/OF Joey Gallo, A+ RHP Ariel Jurado, AA 2B Andy Ibanez, AA OF Ryan Cordell, LHR Andrew Faulkner, AAA RHR John Fasola, A RHP Pedro Payano, AAA 2B Drew Robinson, AA RHR Adam Parks, and AA LHP Frank Lopez

Trade Scenario(s):

1) Angels trade RHR Huston Street to the Rangers in exchange for AA LHP Frank Lopez and AA RHR Adam Parks
- Lopez is a left-handed pitcher with a history of good control with mid-rotation upside
- Parks is a right-handed reliever with good control and an ability to generate poor contact

2) Angels trade RHR Huston Street and LHP Hector Santiago to the Rangers in exchange for 2B Jurickson Profar and AA RHP Luis Ortiz
- Angels absorb Santiago’s remaining $2.7MM 2016 salary
- Profar, a former top prospect, would provide solid 2B defense with a good combination of above average tools
- Ortiz is a young righty with good control and mid-rotation upside

Royals

Primary Need(s): 3B, Frontline (Two-way) Starter or LH Middle Rotation Starter
Secondary Need(s): Back-End Closer Type or RH Middle Reliever

Yet another mention, along with the Giants, in the Trade Candidate series places Kansas City in the “third is the charm” category of trade suitors.

Looking at the Royals bullpen you see some familiar names that have made their relief corps one of the most feared in the Majors over the last two years including RHP Wade Davis and RHP Kelvin Herrera.

Update (7/7): Davis has hit the DL with a forearm strain which is often a precursor to Tommy John surgery creating a need in their bullpen if they stay in the playoff hunt.

Behind those two they also have Luke Hochevar who has been outstanding against both sides of the plate this season giving them enviable 7th, 8th, and 9th inning options.

After Hochevar the Royals have some decent options in Soria and Flynn who have been effective against left-handed hitters and Moylan and Gee who have been able to put right-handed hitters out on a consistent basis. Wang has been the only reliever really having trouble contributing to the bullpen’s success.

The solution for Kansas City seems really obvious to the author: Trade for a more reliable starter and move Ventura to the bullpen.

Of course if the trade rumors regarding Yordano are true there is a scenario where the Royals trade him to another team and then trade for another reliever such as Huston Street to fill out their bullpen.

That scenario seems like a stretch though so it would put the odds of a Huston Street-based trade with the Royals on the low end of the spectrum. It seems more likely that the Royals would trade Ventura for Aroldis Chapman (with the Yankees putting Yordano in their bullpen) and then inquire with the Angels for a starter like Hector Santiago and a middle reliever like Fernando Salas.

Royals Likely Target(s): 3B Yunel Escobar, LHP C.J. Wilson, LHP Hector Santiago, RHR Huston Street, RHR Joe Smith, and/or RHR Fernando Salas

Angels Likely Target(s): AAA RHP Kyle Zimmer, AAA RHP Miguel Almonte, A+ LHP Foster Griffin, AA 1B Ryan O’Hearn, AA OF Bubba Starling, AAA 3B Hunter Dozier, AA LHP Matthew Strahm, AA RHP Pedro Fernandez, AA LHP Eric Skoglund, AA RHP Glenn Sparkman, A+ RHP Josh Staumont, OF Reymond Fuentes, AA RHP Alec Mills, AAA OF Jorge Bonifacio, A SS Marten Gasparini

Trade Scenario(s):

     None that make obvious sense involving RHR Huston Street

1) Update (7/7): Angels trade RHR Huston Street to the Royals in exchange for AA RHP Glenn Sparkman and AA LHP Eric Skoglund
- Angels absorb Street’s remaining $4MM 2016 salary
- Sparkman is a righty with mid-rotation upside
- Skoglund is a lefty starter that can fill a back-end rotation role

Cubs

Primary Need(s): Elite Closer Type, Back-End Relief
Secondary Need(s): None

As we discussed in the Santiago episode of the Trade Candidate series, anytime you talk about relief help Chicago is bound to pop up in the conversation.

However in regard to Huston Street he seems like a secondary or even tertiary choice for the Cubs front office as they will likely pursue a more elite option to stabilize the late innings of a ball game.

This of course makes the odds of a Huston Street-based trade low but not impossible. In the end they are probably keenly eyeing left-handed relief but if the price becomes too exorbitant they could still circle back around to the Angels.

Cubs Likely Target(s): LHR Hector Santiago and LHR Jose Alvarez

Angels Likely Target(s): AA OF Ian Happ, AA OF Billy Mckinney, AAA OF Mark Zagunis, C Willson Contreras, AA 2B Chesny Young, AAA RHR Corey Black, A+ RHR Trevor Clifton, A+ RHR Daury Torrez, and A- LHP Jose Paulino

Trade Scenario(s):

     None that make immediate and obvious sense involving Huston Street

Indians

Primary Need(s): Corner OF
Secondary Need(s): 3B and Middle Relief

Also another familiar team name in the Trade Candidate series the Indians, despite all of their recent success, have a weakness and it is in their bullpen.

To be clear the Tribe has some effective relievers including current closer Cody Allen and some of their late and middle relievers Dan Otero, Bryan Shaw, and Zach McAllister.

Behind that group however the Indians have a trio of guys in Hunter, House, and Clevinger who can combat left-handed hitters but not much else. Jeff Manship has struggled and proven to be ineffective against both sides of the plate.

The reason this group of relievers hasn’t been exposed in game play is because the Indians rotation is so rock solid in getting deep into games that the middle relief hasn’t been tested heavily and the Tribe has been good at playing the matchups.

It would behoove Cleveland to consider bringing in either an elite closer or at the minimum another good right-handed reliever (or both) to give their bullpen increased depth to match the depth and breadth of their rotation.

Indians Likely Target(s): OF Kole Calhoun, RHR Huston Street, RHR Joe Smith, and RHR Fernando Salas

Angels Likely Target(s): AA OF Bradley Zimmer, AA OF Clint Frazier, A+ LHP Justus Sheffield, RHR Mike Clevinger, AA LHP Rob Kaminsky, A+ 1B Bobby Bradley, A+ C Francisco Mejia, A- LHP Juan Hillman, A+ OF Greg Allen, AAA RHP Adam Plutko, RHR Shawn Armstrong, A+ 2B/SS Yu-Cheng Chang, A+ RHP Dylan Baker, and A+ 2B Dorssys Paulino

Trade Scenario(s):

1) Angels trade RHR Huston Street to the Indians in exchange for A+ LHP Justus Sheffield and RHR Shawn Armstrong
- Angels absorb Street’s remaining $4MM 2016 salary
- Sheffield is a young lefty with good control as a mid-rotation starter
- Armstrong has already pitched at the Major League level and has excellent potential in the back-end of the bullpen

2) Angels trade RHR Huston Street, RHR Joe Smith, and C Geovany Soto to the Indians in exchange for AA OF Bradley Zimmer and A+ LHP Justus Sheffield
- Angels absorb Street’s remaining $4MM 2016 salary and all $9MM of Street’s 2017 salary
- Zimmer is a bright young prospect capable of playing either corner OF position
- Sheffield is as above
- Another hypothetical example of the Angels using three players and their financial muscle in a 2018 retooling scenario to gain one good prospect as the centerpiece of a multi-player deal

Conclusion

Just like Hector Santiago, this may not be the best moment to trade Huston Street because his potential value is suppressed.

Although it appears Street is suffering primarily from bad BABIP issues on his slider and change up he has lost 1 mph across his array of pitches making age and potential arm wear a concern.

It is the author’s opinion that Huston will more than likely be traded by the deadline assuming Eppler gets back an appropriate prospect or package of prospects because Father Time is not on Street’s or the Angels side and Huston will provide more value to a team that is in the middle of its window of contention.

The likeliest suitors out of the best defensive-fit teams identified above appear to be the Rangers, Indians, and to a lesser degree the Giants. Texas may prove difficult because they are an inter-Division rival while Cleveland may not match up well in trade if they aren’t willing to move Zimmer or Frazier. The Giants are also less probable insofar as their interest in Street is probably secondary or tertiary to their other options.

Certainly there could be a dark horse out there that comes in and sweeps him up but they won’t have the ideal defensive fit but they may have the desperation to pay Eppler’s price.

Although the author would like to see him traded now it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Angels wait and try to rebuild Street’s value in the second half of 2016 and move him in the offseason when there should be more potential suitors.

If the Angels are following a 2018 retooling plan they don’t necessarily have to sell off all their pieces, such as Street, right now. But as Angels fans are painfully aware any pitcher is just a throw away from an arm, shoulder, or bicep injury so the Angels front office needs to show thoughtfulness, prudence, and strict risk management at the deadline.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016


By Robert Cunningham, AngelsWin.com Staff Writer - 

Author’s Note: The following player data was pulled via FanGraphs on June 30th, 2016.

Hector Santiago, who has one more year of arbitration control in 2017, has had another inconsistent season, so far, in 2016.

Santiago creates uncomfortable at-bats for his opponents, as evidenced by his .241 Batting Average Against (BAA) and elite, low 14.7% line drive rate. He is an unconventional pitcher insofar as how he gets hitters out through poor quality of contact.

Unfortunately Hector’s actual results reflect his peripherals and he has been punished by right-handed hitters (RHH’s) taking him long this year in addition to walking too many batters.

Santiago’s Slugging % Against (SLG) righties this year is a full 150 points higher than against lefties. "Through the magic of hit distribution most of these home runs against RHH's have occurred at home, oddly enough.

So these results really lead us to ask the question of whether or not Hector has any amount of significant trade value?

Although it is clear that Santiago’s actual results are a major negative factor in determining his value we also need to consider left-handed pitcher scarcity in the potential 2016 trade deadline market.

When you examine the potential trade candidates you get a short list of left-handed starters that include names like Rich Hill, Drew Pomeranz, CC Sabathia, C.J. Wilson, and maybe Matt Moore and Francisco Liriano if the Rays and Pirates continue their recent slides.

This initially seems like a lot of competition but when you look at their splits you discover that only Rich Hill (and Wilson in 2015), Francisco Liriano, and Matt Moore are actually better than Hector against left-handed hitters (LHH’s). Notably only Hill and Liriano have higher groundball rates vs. LHH’s than Hector.

It is this relative scarcity combined with the short-term team and price control that will give Santiago some level of value at the trade deadline because there are a lot of projected playoff teams that have a significant number of LHH’s in their lineups and some of their opponents want and need a lefty to combat them.

In order to determine which team(s) might be a good fit we need to first address Hector’s greatest weakness which is the long ball against RHH’s.

To make a long story short the author started off by examining park factors to see which parks suppressed right-handed power but after some deliberation decided to examine where and how far the home runs Santiago coughed up this year actually landed.

The unsurprising part of this answer is that most of the home runs hit off of Hector ended up going over the left field fence. The surprising part was by how far which was an average of about 400 feet per ESPN’s Home Run tracker:

 photo HS1_zpsjkuosgyt.png
This simply means that when Santiago gives up a home run over the left field fence it goes so far that NO stadium in the League can contain it based on the average true distance it travels. In case you were wondering Anaheim has the greatest left field fence distance at 347 feet.

In turn this means that any team that wants to use Hector as a starter will have to live with the fact that he will give up home runs to right-handed hitters barring a change in his mechanics and/or repertoire of pitches. What it also could mean is some teams might rather use him in a relief role where his stuff might play up better and his exposure to right-handed hitters might be reduced.

So in order to build a list of potential suitors we need to build two lists, one for teams that view him as a starter and another for teams that view him as a back-end reliever or left-handed specialist.

To begin we need to understand where Santiago puts balls in play. Below are his batted ball splits for 2016 (i.e. what he is actually doing this year):

 photo HS2_zpsaob5sbgm.png

Beyond his elite low LD% rates, Hector generates 55.9% groundballs against LHH’s and a lot of those are pulled to the 2B/1B side of the mound. Additionally, against RHH’s, he generates 51.1% flyballs and approximately 40% of those are pulled out to the left field side.

To see this visually here are Santiago’s 2016 spray charts versus left-handed and right-handed hitters, courtesy of FanGraphs:

 photo hs3_zpsd2uxvenb.png

 photo HS4_zpsoqfvcn50.png

Based on the numbers and the graphs it would make the most sense for an acquiring team to have at least an average or better defensive left fielder and second baseman. Looking at the batted ball distribution further it would also make sense if the acquiring team had at least a shortstop that was average or better defensively as well.

Below is a list of teams that have a left fielder, second baseman and shortstop that are average or better, or project to be average or better, defensively and likely need a left-handed starter:

Giants
Rangers
Royals
Red Sox

These four teams represent the best fits to handle Hector’s batted ball distribution based on how he’s performed year-to-date as a starting pitcher.

The second list is also based on Santiago’s batted ball distribution but instead of team’s that need a starter this list focuses only on teams that need a back-end left-handed reliever:

Giants
Red Sox
Cubs

These three teams represent the best fits to handle Hector’s batted ball distribution based on how he’s performed year-to-date and also have a need for a left-handed reliever in their bullpen.

This indicates that the Giants, Rangers, Royals, Red Sox, and Cubs could have some level of interest in Santiago as either a starter or reliever. Let’s examine each case further to determine who is really a match.

Giants

Primary Need(s): Corner OF, Back-End Reliever/Elite Closer, 3B
Secondary Need(s): Mid or Back-End Starter, Back-Up Catcher

The Giants are already becoming a recurring theme in the Trade Candidate series first with Escobar and now with Santiago.

Matt Cain has been injured (hamstring) and not performing well so far this season. He’s set to return after the All-Star Break but the Giants are probably concerned about his performance level in a playoff race.

Hector likely wouldn’t be that much of an upgrade over Cain although he’d play well into their infield defense versus left-handed hitters. The Giants would probably have more interest in Santiago as a reliever and as rotation insurance in case of an injury.

Giants Likely Trade Target(s): 3B Yunel Escobar, LHP Hector Santiago, RHP Huston Street, C Geovany Soto, and RHR Fernando Salas

Angels Likely Trade Target(s): AA 2B Christian Arroyo, AA LHP Andrew Suarez, AA RHP Tyler Beede, A+ RHP Phil Bickford, A+ 1B Chris Shaw, A+ RHP Jordan Johnson, AAA RHP Clayton Blackburn, OF Jarrett Parker, AAA LHP Adalberto Mejia, AA RHR Chase Johnson, A RHP Michael Santos, AA RHR Ray Black, AAA LHR Steven Okert, AAA RHP Joan Gregorio, and A+ RHR Ian Gardeck

Trade Scenario(s):

1) Angels trade LHP Hector Santiago to the Giants in exchange for AAA LHP Adalberto Mejia

- Angels absorb Santiago’s remaining $2.5MM 2016 salary

- Mejia is a lefty with good control, a low 90’s fastball, average slider and plus change up with a ceiling as a #3 or #4 starter

2) Angels trade LHP Hector Santiago, 3B Yunel Escobar, and C Geovany Soto to the Giants in exchange for AA 2B Christian Arroyo, AA LHP Andrew Suarez, and AA RHR Ray Black

- Angels absorb Santiago’s, Escobar’s, and Soto’s remaining $2.5MM, $2.7MM, and $1.4MM 2016 salaries

- Arroyo, the Giants #1 prospect, could best be described as the ‘Kole Calhoun’ of middle infielders meaning he does everything above average but nothing spectacularly well

- Suarez is a solid left-handed starter with good control and mid rotation upside

- Black is a flame throwing right-handed reliever with elite closer written all over him

Rangers

Primary Need(s): Front-End Starter, Back-End Left-Handed Starter
Secondary Need(s): None

The Rangers have done remarkably well so far this year considering that three of their five starters are on the Disabled List.

Darvish is starting a rehab assignment but Holland is experiencing shoulder inflammation and could potentially be out for a significant period of time and Colby Lewis has a lateral strain that may keep him out until late August.

If you’re not concerned about Yu’s overall health he and Hamels make up two-thirds of a playoff starting rotation. Behind them though is an unreliable cadre including the aforementioned Lewis and Holland and the ineffective Martin Perez.

You’d have to think that the Rangers are considering adding not only a frontline starter but also a left-handed starter that will give Texas options in the 2nd half and the playoffs.

Clearly Arlington Stadium is a hitter’s park but it is particularly good for left-handed hitters making a starter like Santiago a bit more valuable in that environment because he can keep the ball on the ground against them.

If the Rangers decide to go big and get a frontline ace type pitcher it still seems possible that they would try to add a second  back-end, left-handed starter like Hector to add some balance to their rotation.

Rangers Likely Target(s): LHP Hector Santiago, RHP Matt Shoemaker, RHR Huston Street, RHR Joe Smith, LHP Jose Alvarez, and RHR Fernando Salas

Angels Likely Target(s): AAA OF Lewis Brinson, 2B Jurickson Profar, AA RHP Luis Oritz, AAA 3B/OF Joey Gallo, A+ RHP Ariel Jurado, AA 2B Andy Ibanez, AA OF Ryan Cordell, LHR Andrew Faulkner, AAA RHR John Fasola, A RHP Pedro Payano, AAA 2B Drew Robinson, AA RHR Adam Parks, and AA LHP Frank Lopez

Trade Scenario(s):

1) Angels trade LHP Hector Santiago to the Rangers in exchange for AA 2B Andy Ibanez

2) Angels trade LHP Hector Santiago and RHR Joe Smith to the Rangers in exchange for 2B Jurickson Profar

- Angels absorb Santiago’s and Smith’s remaining $2.5MM and $2.8MM 2016 salaries

3) Angels trade LHP Hector Santiago and RHR Joe Smith to the Rangers in exchange for AA RHP Luis Ortiz, A+ RHP Ariel Jurado, and AA LHP Frank Lopez

- Angels absorb Santiago’s and Smith’s remaining $2.5MM and $2.8MM 2016 salaries

- Ortiz is a young righty with good control and mid-rotation upside

- Jurardo is also a young righty with good control and mid-rotation upside

- Lopez is a lefty who could be a #4 or #5 starter but might have to move to the bullpen

Royals

Primary Need(s): 3B, Frontline (Two-way) Starter or LH Middle Rotation Starter
Secondary Need(s): Back-End Closer Type or RH Middle Reliever

The Royals, another recurring team in this Trade Candidate series, definitely could use either a frontline starter and/or a left-handed mid or back-end rotation starter.

There have been rumors, as reported by Jeff Passan, that the Royals have grown tired of Yordano Ventura’s antics on the field and have quietly inquired about trading him with at least two other teams even though this was shot down by an anonymous Royals executive just two weeks later.

Personally the author believes that if the Royals stay within striking distance of a wild card spot they would rather trade for another starter and move Ventura to the back-end of their bullpen where his fastball will play up better and it would limit his exposure to brawl situations on the field.

As stated in the Yunel Escobar article the Angels are a good trade partner for the Royals right now in terms of how much cash we can absorb for 2016 and perhaps 2017 and the type of players they need right now.

Royals Likely Target(s): 3B Yunel Escobar, LHP C.J. Wilson, LHP Hector Santiago, RHR Huston Street, RHR Joe Smith, and/or RHR Fernando Salas

Angels Likely Target(s): AAA RHP Kyle Zimmer, AAA RHP Miguel Almonte, A+ LHP Foster Griffin, AA 1B Ryan O’Hearn, AA OF Bubba Starling, AAA 3B Hunter Dozier, AA LHP Matthew Strahm, AA RHP Pedro Fernandez, AA LHP Eric Skoglund, AA RHP Glenn Sparkman, A+ RHP Josh Staumont, OF Reymond Fuentes, AA RHP Alec Mills, AAA OF Jorge Bonifacio, A SS Marten Gasparini

Trade Scenario(s):

1) Angels trade LHP Hector Santiago to the Royals in exchange for AA LHP Matthew Strahm

- Angels absorb Santiago’s remaining $2.5MM 2016 salary

- Strahm is a near-ready MLB prospect with excellent control and mid-rotation upside

2) Angels trade LHP Hector Santiago, 3B Yunel Escobar, and RHR Joe Smith to the Royals in exchange for AA RHP Alec Mills, AAA RHP Miguel Almonte, AAA OF Jorge Bonifacio, and A+ RHP Josh Staumont

- Angels absorb Santiago’s and Escobar’s remaining $2.5MM and $2.7MM 2016 salaries

- Mills is a near-ready MLB starter with front or mid-rotation upside due to his excellent control

- Almonte if he develops has a chance to be a mid-rotation starter but has a high floor as a power reliever in the back-end of the bullpen

- Bonifacio is a power hitter but is limited defensively to LF, DH, or 1B due to a fringe throwing arm and defensive skills

- Staumont has a huge arm but significant command issues making him a lottery ticket

Red Sox

Primary Targets: LHP/LHR Hector Santiago, and RHP Matt Shoemaker
Secondary Targets: LHR Jose Alvarez, RHR Joe Smith, C Geovany Soto, and RHR Fernando Salas

When it comes to a likely suitor for Hector Santiago, the Red Sox and the Green Monster don’t immediately strike you as a particularly good environment for the left-hander to pitch in.

However, as was discussed at the beginning of the article, Hector’s long distance home runs he gives up against right-handed hitters wouldn’t stay inside of any stadium in baseball.

In fact Santiago may provide more hidden value to the Red Sox when you look at their 2015 park factors:

 photo HS5_zps8ddjthok.png

You can see that Fenway coughs up singles, doubles, and triples to left-handed hitters approximately 4%, 21%, and 24% higher than MLB average.

The advantage of having Hector pitch here is that he has an aforementioned elite, low line drive rate which is #1 in all the Majors. What that means is Hector puts the ball on the ground or high in the air but not often in between.

This low line drive rate is also important against right-handed hitters at Fenway because they too hit singles and doubles at an average 3% and 10% more than the MLB average.

Batting Average on Balls In Play is primarily driven by how many line drives a pitcher gives up and to a lesser degree how many groundballs they give up. Hector’s pitch movement and ability to force hitters into poor contact allows his team’s defense to make outs as long as the ball isn’t going out of the yard.

As a back-end starter Santiago would provide some value to a Red Sox team that really needs pitching. How much value is certainly debatable but in his last three starts he has a 3.44 ERA albeit with a bad walk rate (which is one of Hector’s two bad pitching traits).

The other angle, of course, would be to bring in Hector as a back-end reliever. Boston’s bullpen isn’t bad but it hasn’t been great and lately they’ve been overworked. Santiago has previous relief experience, is effective at getting left-handed hitters out, could act as injury insurance in case a starter goes down, and if he moves to a relief role he could probably dial up his velocity a tick or so which may make him more effective all-around.

Red Sox Likely Target(s): RHP Matt Shoemaker, LHP Hector Santiago, RHR Joe Smith, RHR Fernando Salas, C Geovany Soto, and LHR Jose Alvarez

Angels Likely Target(s): AA 2B/OF Yoan Moncada, AA OF Andrew Benintendi, LHP Henry Owens, AA 2B Mauricio Dubon, A+ RHP Travis Lakins, AA RHP Ben Taylor, AA LHR Luis Ysla, AAA RHR James Shepard, A RHP Marcus Brakeman, AA Utility INF Tzu-Wei Lin, A 1B/DH Josh Ockimey, AA LHP Jalen Beeks, AAA RHR Kyle Martin, AAA RHP Aaron Wilkerson, and AAA Corner INF Jantzen Witte

Trade Scenario(s):

1) Angels trade LHP Hector Santiago to the Red Sox in exchange for AA LHP Jalen Beeks and AAA RHR Kyle Martin

- Angels absorb Santiago’s remaining $2.5MM 2016 salary

- Beeks is an under-the-radar lefty with a mid-90’s fastball and a solid changeup who may wind up as a mid or back-end rotation starter

- Martin is a right-hand bullpen piece who lives in the mid-90’s with his fastball

2) Angels trade LHP Hector Santiago, RHR Joe Smith, LHR Jose Alvarez, and C Geovany Soto to the Red Sox in exchange for AA OF Andrew Benintendi, AA LHP Jalen Beeks, and RHR James Shepherd

- Angels absorb Santiago’s, Salas’, and Soto’s remaining $2.5MM, $1.4MM, and $1.4MM 2016 salaries and send $3MM to cover part of Santiago’s 2017 arbitration salary

- Benintendi is a very promising young OF with excellent projected contact ability

- Beeks is as above

- Shepherd is a right-handed reliever with good control who, like Santiago, creates poor quality of contact

- This is an example of the Angels trading more players than they get back for the one prime prospect in Benintendi

Cubs

The Cubs, this year’s fan-determined team of destiny, certainly aren’t hurting for help as they sit atop the standings.

Although their playoff rotation seems to be set, Chicago’s bullpen is another matter with only Hector Rondon able to battle left and right-handed hitters.

Now clearly the Cubs are a team primed to go after an elite reliever like Aroldis Chapman and Andrew Miller or even a lower-tier reliever such as Sean Doolittle.

However acquiring one of those guys still won’t solve all of their woes as they could also use a good left-handed reliever and that is the most likely role they would want to fill if they decided Hector Santiago was a fit.

The odds of that seem pretty low when looking at the broader picture and the potential relievers that they can find and choose from in the market even if it is relatively scarce in left-handed relief.

Cubs Likely Target(s): LHR Hector Santiago and LHR Jose Alvarez

Angels Likely Target(s): AA OF Ian Happ, AA OF Billy Mckinney, AAA OF Mark Zagunis, C Willson Contreras, AA 2B Chesny Young, AAA RHR Corey Black, A+ RHR Trevor Clifton, A+ RHR Daury Torrez, and A- LHP Jose Paulino

Trade Scenario(s):

1) Angels trade LHR Hector Santiago to the Cubs in exchange for AAA OF Mark Zagunis

- Angels absorb Santiago’s remaining $2.5MM 2016 salary

Conclusion

To be perfectly clear this may not be the best time to sell Hector Santiago.

His 2016 year-to-date results have been inconsistent and the Angels may want to gamble that he’ll improve in the 2nd half increasing Hector’s value and then try to move him in the offseason where the list of available trade suitors will likely be larger or at the trade deadline next year.

That being said Billy Eppler has firsthand experience with UCL injuries and if the asking price is met or the offer really provides an impressive injection of talent he will pull the trigger in a heartbeat.

Out of all the teams discussed in this submission of the Trade Candidate series the Royals and the Red Sox seem like the most likely trade suitors followed by the Giants and the Rangers. The Cubs seem unlikely but if they get frustrated with the Yankees demand for Kyle Schwarber in trade they may turn to a more creative and sensible solution.

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