Angels trade options: Offense or pitching?

The Angels could shop Mark Trumbo around for a big trade. (Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

With the trade deadline creeping up on the Los Angeles Angels, the Halo faithful are left to wonder if the team will make a big move.

Mike Scioscia, Tony Reagins and company are an unpredictable lot, so it’s uncertain how (if at all) the Angels landscape will change before July 31. Scioscia is the kind of manager that normally believes in the product he currently puts out on the field, so it wouldn’t be surprising if he let the deadline slip by without a move.

However, the reality is far different from whatever vision Scioscia has of his club. The Angels are a highly flawed team on both sides of the ball.

The rotation boasts potent arms in Jered Weaver and Dan Haren, but teams have a little bit of breathing room once they’ve faced the two co-aces. Ervin Santana is his normal Jekyll-and-Hyde self this season, getting lit up one game and nearly tossing a no-hitter the next. Joel Piñiero has struggled lately, allowing 10 earned runs in his last two starts. Rookie Tyler Chatwood has been very good as of late, posting an improved 2.6 ERA in his last two starts. However, he tends to suffer from inconsistency, as any rookie pitcher is wont to do.

At the plate, the Angels’ struggles are self-explanatory. Los Angeles has suffered from a major power outage since the season began, with Mark Trumbo’s 18 home runs leading the team. Overall, their 370 RBIs rank in the bottom 10 of Major League Baseball. That figure is a far cry from powerful Texas’s 479.

In addition, the Rangers have made a statement in a 20-6 romp over the Twins: we may not have a Jered Weaver or a Dan Haren, but we’ve got enough firepower to win at will.

The decision, it appears, will boil down to two options: Play to a known strength or patch up an obvious weakness.

If the Angels pursue a pitcher, they can choose to bolster either their starting rotation or their struggling bullpen. The arm everybody’s talking about so far is the Dodgers’ Hiroki Kuroda. Kuroda’s superb arm would complete the Angel rotation. San Diego’s Mike Adams is also a hot commodity. The staff suffers the most in relief, so it wouldn’t be a surprise if the Halos made a run for Adams.

From recent reports, though, it looks like the Angels are set on acquiring a bat. Carlos Beltran is in everybody’s sights, and if Reagins can pull a move that snatches Beltran out from under the noses of the likes of the Red Sox and Rangers, it would almost make up for his abysmal off-season. Tampa Bay’s B.J. Upton also looks tempting to the club.

Regardless of what move the Angels decide to make, it will come at the cost of one or more of the Angels’ current stars. Look for Howie Kendrick to come up primarily in trade talks. Trumbo could also come up as possible trade bait.
It’s always painful to see one of our favorite players shipped away for a quick fix, particularly if they’re as young and full of potential as Kendrick and Trumbo. But if it means the Angels will finally be in shape to compete for the pennant, then it’ll be well worth the sacrifice.

The absolute worst thing the Angels can do before the deadline is remain stagnant. Texas is quickly gathering momentum, and Los Angeles will have a little more hope to compete with a big move. Texas is too good for the Angels to do nothing and still expect to win.

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