COMMENTARY | The Los Angeles Angels' Hot Stove is heating up, and it smells like they might actually be cooking something good.
Usually when it comes to negotiations, it's best to play your hand close to the vest and keep things under wraps. But this offseason that would be a waste of time for the Angels because everyone in baseball knows what they're going after -- pitching, pitching and more pitching.
The team has plenty of cards to play with -- a wide selection of major league-level hitters that could improve just about every team in the league that wants to improve and whose loss wouldn't much affect the Angels' on-field production.
As bad as the pitching for the Angels was last year, the offense was excellent and that was with under-performances from Josh Hamilton Albert Pujols and Erick Aybar.
Aybar is one name being tossed around in trade rumors. But then so are Peter Bourjos, Chris Iannetta, Howie Kendrick and Mark Trumbo. The better question would be "Who isn't available?" -- besides any of the pitchers, of course.
According to Jon Heyman, the top name coming up in trade rumors with the Angels is Trumbo. He's been linked to teams like the Cleveland Indians, Philadelphia Phillies, Boston Red Sox, Tampa Bay Rays and Colorado Rockies. Heck, even the Miami Marlins have shown interest.
Trumbo has been the subject of trade talks ever since the Angels signed Pujols to his mega-contract and, while the team seems reluctant to trade him, if he could bring back a good pitcher, it almost has to.
There were reports of a trade with the Indians for pitcher Cory Kluber, and most experts assume Trumbo would be involved if the Angels enter the David Price sweepstakes.
There have been trade ideas thrown around involving top pitching prospects from teams who need a first basemen and who have a surplus of starting pitchers -- like the Pittsburgh Pirates or the Seattle Mariners.
I think he has played his last game as an Angel. The team is just too desperate for pitching. Also, if you look closer at Trumbo's statistics, it gets a little unclear just what his value is going forward.
Obviously, the numbers that stand out are the home runs and RBIs -- 34 and 100, respectively. The home runs are excellent -- tied for fourth among first basemen.
Unfortunately, that's where all his excellence comes to an end. Even with all those dingers, Trumbo was just 13th in OPS among first basemen. And he was dead last with a paltry .294 OBP.
And all of that was "spiked" by a hot April and May. The other four months of the year he was one of the least-productive players in the league.
"But, Jed, he wound up with 100 RBIs, how can you say he wasn't productive?" Well, I never said that he didn't get any hits. He did. And if you get hits when other players are on base, they score and you get an RBI.
The problem is that the overall number of hits he got was among the worst in the league. And if you look at his numbers with runners on base -- .222/.282/.420 -- it gets even worse.
Trumbo is definitely one of the Angels' fans favorite players, but these are desperate times for a team that has the payroll of a playoff contender.
Actually, the time to trade Trumbo was early June of this season. They knew they needed pitching and after his April and May, his value would never be higher. His stats collapsed after that, but with his expected $5 million salary in 2014, it seems there's still enough interest throughout the league.
The Angels have painted themselves into a bit of a corner with their long-term contracts and they need an overhaul of sorts.
If they can move two three of these players that are positionally redundant to get decent pitching in, then the Angels can change from being a team with playoff payroll to actually being a playoff team.
Jed Rigney is a Los Angeles-based award-winning filmmaker who also fancies himself a baseball writer. He is the lead humor columnist at Through The Fence Baseball.
You can find him on Twitter @JedRigney.
- Sports & Recreation
- Mark Trumbo
- Los Angeles Angels