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OC Register: Angels Q&A: Potential trade targets for the rotation?


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The Angels are 12-11 as they enjoy what will be their only off day in a 27-day span on Thursday, so it provides a good time to stop and answer some questions.

As usual, most of your questions focused on the pitching – or lack thereof – and what the Angels can do about it, with a good dose of Shohei Ohtani questions mixed in.

Q: Same question every season, what are the possible starting pitching trade options? — @BrokenHalo1979

A: It is still April, so it’s not really time to be asking this question. There are too many variables that can change quickly, including the performance of the Angels’ pitchers, the performance of the potential trade targets, and the performance of the Angels’ prospects who would be used to acquire one of the those pitchers.

The minor league season hasn’t even started yet, so teams that might be interested in trading the Angels a pitcher for a prospect still haven’t seen any of those prospects play any actual games. For prospects who weren’t in big league camp, they haven’t played in more than a year.

The other factor that makes it complicated is that several of the teams who have attractive pitchers and were believed to be likely sellers are off to good starts. The Boston Red Sox, San Francisco Giants and Kansas City Royals were all supposed to be non-contenders this year, but at the moment are all playing well, that means now is not the time to talk about trading for Boston’s Eduardo Rodriguez, San Francisco’s Kevin Gausman or Kansas City’s Danny Duffy.

If those teams do come back to earth, expect all of those pitchers to draw heavy trade interest throughout the summer.

Then, there are the Colorado Rockies. The Rockies, as expected, are playing poorly, so poorly that their GM just resigned. They have two attractive pitchers. Jon Gray is going to be a free agent at the end of the season, and German Marquez is signed through 2023 with an option. It seems likely Gray would be traded and that the Rockies would listen on Marquez, but because they still have him under control for a couple more years, they can wait.

Q: Will we see Chris Rodriguez start at some point? — @epalitofuerte

A: Many of you asked some version of this question, clearly believing that the best in-house solution to the rotation problem is Rodriguez.

Manager Joe Maddon said last week that Rodriguez does have the arsenal to be a starter in the future, but he reiterated after Wednesday’s game that it might be problematic to try to get him into the rotation this year.

He hasn’t thrown more than 42 pitches in a game, so it would take some time to stretch him out. Also, they don’t want to jump his innings too much after he had pitched just 9-1/3 innings in the previous three seasons.

Q: Where is Felix Peña and why hasn’t he returned to the bullpen yet? — @troymeans

A: Although Peña is still on the injured list, Maddon said his exclusion from the roster is not related to the hamstring injury that initially sidelined him. At the moment, they just don’t think he’s a better option than the relievers they have.

The Angels only have two relievers who can be optioned, Rodriguez and Aaron Slegers.

Q: What is Jo Adell’s status? If someone gets hurt, is he next to be called up? — @RolanNyan34

A: Taylor Ward is currently traveling with the team on the taxi squad, so that would imply that he is next up if there’s an injury to a corner outfielder.

Adell is likely to be at Triple-A when the season starts next week, and the Angels can then get a look at him in some real games – as opposed to the alternate site exhibitions – to gauge whether he made the necessary offensive and defensive improvements.

It’s certainly reasonable to think if he gets off to a good start in Salt Lake over the first three or four weeks that he could put his name back at the top of the list for a promotion if the need arises.

Q: Do you foresee Maddon ever putting Ohtani in the outfield if he gets pulled early to keep his bat in the lineup? — @CzerniakEric

A: Maddon has said this is a possibility down the road, but not yet. They would likely want Ohtani to spend some time working out in the outfield before they did that, and at the moment his plate is full with his prep for pitching and hitting.

If the Angels did do this, it could just be until his next at-bat, which would make it like a reverse double switch. They’d also have to have an outfielder who they wanted to take out of the lineup.

Q: I will go way out on an island, ever see the Angels using Ohtani as a closer? — @kevin3841

A: Ohtani’s issues as a pitcher have been his health and his command. If either of those prevents him from being a successful starter, they probably would also prevent him from being a successful reliever. You certainly can’t have someone come in from the bullpen and walk two hitters.

Also, considering the workload Ohtani faces as a pitcher and hitter, it seems like having a predictable schedule as a starter would be easier than the demands on getting warm quickly and often as a reliever.

Then there is the practical issue of how he’d get the proper warm-up when he’s hitting.

Q: I may have missed it, but does Joe ever talk about why Trout doesn’t attempt to run more often? — @MatthewMonig1

A: Honestly, it’s not even really a question anyone asks any more. Stolen bases are not much of a part of 2021 baseball because the reward of getting an extra base is not worth the risk of making an out on the bases.

The more significant risk is that Trout gets hurt too. He was injured sliding in 2017 and 2018, so the Angels certainly don’t want him sliding any more than is necessary.

Q: Any update on Mickey Callaway? — @rez2405

A: Major League Baseball is leading the investigation into the Angels’ pitching coach, who was suspended as soon as the allegations of his improper behavior came to light. The investigation is still ongoing.

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4 hours ago, tdawg87 said:

What. The. Fuck.

would you trade out slegers for pena, because that's the only guy. rodriguez ain't happening. maybe if you wanted to dfa somebody, then that would be an option.

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Just now, ukyah said:

slegers and pena seem pretty close to me. although slegers is off to a pretty rough start whip wise, etc.

I like Pena because he can pitch 3-4 innings if needed. 

With the current crop of guys, that's 3 pitchers. C-Rod is the only multi-innings guy but he can't be doing that all year.

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I imagine Guerra is first one of the mix to get DFA’ed. He’s been bad of late but started out well, and gives them length in the pen.

Pena is arguably better, but you likely lose Guerra to waivers and then you sacrificed depth for a little bit of upside in talent that Pena brings, so I can understand them holding out for now.

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6 minutes ago, tdawg87 said:

I like Pena because he can pitch 3-4 innings if needed. 

With the current crop of guys, that's 3 pitchers. C-Rod is the only multi-innings guy but he can't be doing that all year.

Guerra has thrown 3 innings twice already this year, and 2.1 IP in another appearance.

Pena never threw 2.1 IP again after his first appearance last year and then never topped 2 IP in a game after that.

Guerra is probably here until the rotation starts to shape up and guys like Canning, Cobb, and Ohtani can start regularly going 5-6 innings each start.

Edited by totdprods
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2 minutes ago, totdprods said:

Guerra has thrown 3 innings twice already this year, and 2.1 IP in another appearance.

Pena never threw 2.1 IP again after his first appearance last year and then never topped 2 IP in a game after that.

Guerra is probably here until the rotation starts to shape up and guys like Canning, Cobb, and Ohtani can start regularly going 5-6 innings each start.

Right but I'm not advocating for Pena to replace Guerra.

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