Welcome to the first edition of Trade Talk. Everyone loves trade rumors and playing GM, so let's combine them both and take some of those rumors floating around out there and concoct some trade scenarios to help out the Angels. Please note that these trade ideas are just ideas, though they are based on reported rumors. I'll do my best to suggest deals that actually work for both sides unlike some other bloggers and crazy forum lurkers like to fabricate (i.e. you will never see a suggestion like Reggie Willits for Roy Halladay). This week's focus is on fixing the abysmal Angel bullpen while also ridding the Halos of a few of their other problem areas along the way. Let's get started:
Could Huston Street end the tyrranical reign of the Bullpen of Doom?
- It's time to get rid of Gary Matthews. He wants out and the Angels want him out, but the problem is that not a lot of people are going to actually want him unless they get to pull off a salary dump of their own. That is really going to limit the Tony Reagins' chances of finding a taker for Private Matthews. There is, however, one potential match in the Toronto Blue Jays. The Jays are in a position to contend this year, but they need to shore up their depth if they want to stay in contention. Specifically, Toronto needs an insurance policy for underachieving, injury-prone outfielders Vernon Wells and Alexis Rios. Enter Gary Matthews. But who would exit Toronto? Turns out the Jays have a free agent bust of their own, B.J. Ryan. The former highest-paid closer in baseball has been dealing with arm troubles the last two-plus years and has now lost his closer job. His ERA is just a hair under 7.00 this year, but he has pitched shutout ball in his last four appearances, though his velocity remains down. With Brandon League, Jason Frasor and Scott Downs all emerging as quality relievers, there is little incentive for the Jays to fork over another $10 million to an injury-riddled middle reliever like Ryan, but the Angels are so desperate for bullpen help that they would happily take that chance. The only catch is that Matthews's contract is one year longer than Ryan's, so the Halos might need to cough up some cash and maybe a prospect to make it work. It should also be mentioned that Matthews has a no-trade clause, but it is hard to envision him enforcing it now that he is so far out of favor with Angel management
Sorry Sarge Junior, it is time to go.
- One of the better trade chips that the Angels can afford to part with is Erick Aybar. Though Mike Scioscia is often frustrated by his mental gaffes, Aybar is still a slick-fielding young shortstop who can hold his own at the plate, something a number of teams covet. One team in particular has a glaring need at short, but it would require the Angels to make a deal with the devil, a devil names the Red Sox. The BoSox have a gaping hole at short with Jed Lowrie injured and Julio Lugo being generally terrible. Boston also has an overabundance of excellent relievers. Manny Delcarmen, Justin Masterson, Takashi Saito and Ramon Ramirez could all be had for a price especially now that rookie Daniel Bard is having such a strong start to his career. Swapping Aybar for Delcarmen or Masterson would be a perfect match for both teams, assuming they are willing to deal with each other. Helping the Red Sox ensure their playoff berth isn't exactly real high on the Angels' agenda and vice versa.
Too many mistakes = 1 free plane ticket out of town
- Rather than screw around with finding an effective middle reliever, the Angels could just shoot for the moon and grab a guy who is a proven closer or set-up man. Their best option would be to make a move on Colorado's Huston Street. Not only has Street proven to be a consistent closer since his 2005 rookie season, but he is intimately familiar with the AL West from his days with Oakland, so there should be no concern over him struggling due to the league switch. The Rockies have already canned their manager, so a fire sale seems like the next most logical step for the team and Street is a prime candidate to get moved. Street will be moderately expensive though, so the Angels will have to part with one of those prized prospects that they hate to part with almost as much as they hate to promote to the majors. The struggles of Garrett Atkins creates a hole in the Rockie infield that Sean Rodriguez would fill nicely, or if they want to go with pitching, a groundball specialist like Jordan Walden or Trevor Reckling would profile nicely in the thin Rockie Mountain air. Since S-Rod is clearly not in the Angels plans, they should push to swap him for Street rather than dip into their dearth of young pitching talent.
So what do you think? Leave a comment with your feedback on the suggested deals or some trade scenarios of your own.