If you are anything like me, well then, let me first say "sorry." That must be really rough for you. However, that means that I know that you have probably spent almost every waking second of the last few days feverishly scanning Twitter and sports news sites for information on the forthcoming trade the Angels are going to make.
I mean, they've got to deal someone, right? And it has to happen soon, right? Right? RIGHT? RIGHT?!?!?!?!?!?!?!!!!
Ahem... pardon me. I (and by proxy you) am a little over-caffeinated. Anyway, this looming trade has captured my interest well beyond normal standards because of how multi-faceted it is. This isn't the typical trade rumor in which we know the Halos are shopping one particular player or offering some nebulous package of prospects for a few specific targets. In database parlance, those kind of deals are one-to-many joins, but this current rumor is a many-to-many because the Angels are supposedly shopping so many different players and packages in search of a return that varies anywhere from a frontline pitcher to financial relief and maybe a fringe prospect. Heck, for all we know Dipoto could be planning on triggering multiple trades. The possibilities are endless and my brain just can't contain itself.
In order to try and make and sense of it all, let's break down the various trade options at the Angels' disposal:
The Peter Bourjos Expansion Pack
Ah, yes. Mr. Bourjos is no stranger to the trade block. To think that it was around the same time last off-season that
probably just me Angel fans were screaming from the rooftops that the Halos would be damnable fools if they traded Speedy Petey. Now it appears that trading him is an outright must. Theoretically they could have him serve as a defensive caddy for Mark Trumbo and on standby for if/when Hamilton gets hurt, but Bourjos could be the one non-prospect piece that the Angels have that could bring back an actual quality starting pitcher. Seeing how the jury is still out on his bat, he probably can't bring back an ace, but certainly he could be the main piece of a trade for Jonathan Niese-type mid-rotation guy.
The Mark Trumbo Mystery Box
Trumbombs or Trumboooooooos? That is the question. The Angels have declared Trumbo off limits in trade talks but that doesn't mean he is actually off limits. If anything it is the Angels trying to build up his trade value by making him seem like a hot commodity. You'd think his power and youth would make him an attractive trade chip, but that is really in the eye of the beholder. Some teams will drool over the power potential and his stellar first half of 2012 and think that they need to pay up to get a potential middle-of-the-order linchpin, but other teams will look at his 2011 season and miserable second half to 2012 and see a guy with no defensive value and a big problem getting on base who happens to run into a pitch every once in awhile. It is that latter case that puts the Angels into a position where they need to artificially enhance Trumbo. Think of Trumbo as a girl who is normally a 6 because she has an decent body but her face is a little messed up. Slap a brand new pair of double-Ds on their and suddenly you think she's a 9 because you aren't bothering to look at her giant crooked nose anymore. Some people will see through that ruse and realize that she/Trumbo is still just a 6 in disguise, but all it takes is one suitor fixate on those big bombs and put a ring on it, or in this case fork over a quality young pitcher like Julio Teheran.
The Kendrys Morales Clearance Sale
Maybe the Angels decide that they are kind of OK with their rotation. You might disagree, but it isn't your decision to make. In that case, the prudent move would be to shop Kendrys Morales. As a Boras client headed into his final season before free agency, the Angels probably aren't counting on Kendrys sticking around Anaheim after 2013. Instead of trying to soak another year of DH-duty out of him, the Halos could just cash out now, swap him for a lower-end starting pitcher or a quality reliever or a decent prospect or two. The return almost doesn't even matter because the whole point of moving him would be to clear a spot in the lineup for Peter Bourjos while simultaneously allowing Mark Trumbo to slide into the DH slot that he is more well-suited for. If they happen to save a few million bucks and the headache of dealing with Scott Boras in the process, well, that's just the cherry on top.
The Vernon Wells Liquidation
They say there is a sucker born every minute. Let's hope that one of those suckers grew up to be a GM for one of the 29 other MLB teams. We know the Angels need to clear their OF/DH logjam, so there is that motivation to rid themselves of Wells, but really this is more about washing his stank off the franchise. There is absolutely no reason the Angels couldn't trade Wells in addition to moving one of Trumbo-Bourjos-Morales in a separate deal. It isn't like he is blocking any of them. If anything, he's blocking Kole Calhoun from a bench job and there is a decent chance that Calhoun is better than Wells, maybe even by a pretty good amount. If the Angels can save a few hundred thousand bucks and maybe get back a fringy prospect in return for Vernon, they should consider themselves blessed.
The Economy Package
Or they could get creative with Wells. One rumor making the rounds right now is that the Halos are shopping Wells and Morales as a package deal. Doing so likely lessens the quality of player the Angels could get in return for Kendrys just by himself, but if tossing Morales into the package helps convince a team to take on a more significant chunk of Vernon's remaining $42 million, then that might be something the Angels have to consider. They clearly aren't hard up for cash, but they do have limits and such a deal could allow them to stay under theirs. Or, since Moreno seems really crazy right now, it could give them enough financial flexibility to go out and sign one of the mid-tier starting pitchers that is still on the market.
The Premium Upgrade
You want to get nuts? Let's get nuts! In all the scenarios above we see the Angels ultimately pursuing a solid number three starter. Maybe settling for a number four or an unproven youngster with upside. At no point are they approaching anything resembling an ace or even a number two starter. But what if they were to take two of their three available young bats and package them together and maybe throw in Garrett Richards, Hank Conger and/or a top prospect to boot? It is more of a quantity over quality approach, but is that something a cash strapped team like the Rays can really turn down for David Price? Maybe the Phillies look at that as a way to get young overnight and offer up Cliff Lee? OK, fine, that's probably asking a bit much, but the Angels could at least float the package out there and see who comes sniffing around.
The Daily Double
Maybe the Angels can have their cake and eat it too? We assume that they have one move left in them, but assuming anything about Jerry Dipoto is a pretty good way to end up looking stupid, as we all found out. If they really want to clear their logjam while fortifying the rotation AND the farm system, they could opt to trade two of their three hitters in separate deals. For example, flip Bourjos to the Mets for Niese and then send Morales to Cleveland for a solid pitching prospect. They could then go out and use the money saved on Morales to bring in someone like Carlos Lee, Lance Berkman or Jim Thome to fill in at DH for a year.
You know, there is actually still some decent pitching left in free agency. I still think Shaun Marcum would slot into this rotation pretty well. How could they possibly find a way to make that work? Maybe instead of trading a bat for an arm, the Angels could trade a bat for strictly prospects and/or financial savings? They could then use the open roster spot to sign someone like Marcum without having to stress so much about finding a trade partner that matches up so well. It is a lot of moving parts, but Dipoto isn't exactly averse to risky moves that cost money.
The Waiting Game
It is entirely possible that the Angels could be done... for now at least. Just because they have one extra bat doesn't mean that they have to rid themselves of that bat. Depth is never a bad thing (and don't you even try and play the "too much talent" card here or I will punch you right in the spleen). The Halos already buried Peter Bourjos on the bench for most of one season, they could do it again. Doing so would give them great insurance against injury, especially with Hamilton, or underperformance, especially with Trumbo, but it would also leave them stocked with a quality trade chip to dangle at the trade deadline. Who knows, maybe Hanson and Wilson both have big bounceback seasons and Richards comes into his own. If that were to happen, the Angels wouldn't need another starting pitcher anymore. They could instead try and use Bourjos to maybe find an upgrade a third base or to acquire a stud reliever if there additions of Madson and Burnett don't pan out. Sure, they'd be constantly hounded by trade rumors, but that is pretty much par for the course for Bourjos now anyway, right?
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