The Angels did not make any splashy moves to improve their roster for this year but instead bolstered their farm system by becoming sellers at the deadline. As the deadline grew near it was reported by Jon Heyman that the Angels were in on star starting pitcher Max Scherzer.
Adding a piece like Scherzer would have greatly improved the starting rotation as a rental. The team has an ERA of 4.76 which ranks 25th in the league. However, the Angels ended up being sellers trading away starting pitchers Andrew Heaney and reliever Tony Watson at the deadline to improve their roster in the coming years.
Heaney to the Yankees
Heaney was the first move the Angels made at the deadline on Thursday by moving him to the Yankees. In return, the Angels received two Class AA pitching prospects, Janson Junk and Elvis Peguero. In the deal, the Angels will pay the remaining six million dollars of Heaney’s contract.
Junk was starting pitcher for the Yankees Class AA affiliate the Somerset Patriots. He pitched in 20 appearances this season with a 4-1 record and a 1.78 ERA. He was the 27th ranked prospect in the Yankees system and on the rise due to his breakout year.
Peguero, another prospect that was on the rise through the Yankees system. He was bouncing around between the Yankees Class A and Class AA affiliates this season. His ERA dropped from a whopping 27.00 to a 2.51 this year according to baseball-reference.
If both Junk and Perguero can keep up this consistency, they can be vital pieces to the Angels pitching staff in the future along with the 20 other pitching prospects they drafted in the 2021 MLB Draft.
Watson to San Fransico
In their second trade, late Thursday afternoon the Angels traded relief pitcher Tony Watson to San Francisco. In return, the Angels received 30-year-old relief pitcher Sam Selman, who has made a brief stint in the MLB this season and is currently in AAA. Jose Marte, a 25-year-old pitcher in Class AA, Ivan Armstrong a 21-year old right-hander who is currently in Low-A.
Selman made his MLB debut in 2019 with the Giants. In his 41 appearances, he had a 4.06 ERA with 41 strikeouts to 19 walks in 37 innings. This season however he has struggled in his seven major league appearances and has struggled in AAA.
Marte has had a decent season with the Richmond Flying Squirrels posting a 3.57 ERA with 36 strikeouts to 15 walks in 22 innings.
Armstrong is having the best season out of the three pitchers acquired in this deal. With the San Jose Giants, Armstrong has a 1.88 ERA with 43 strikeouts to 14 walks in 38 innings of work.
In total, the Angels made moves to bolster their pitching staff for the future in hopes to have a star pitcher in their rotation.
Why Not Selling Everyone was the Right Choice
Overall, the Angels did what they could to improve for next season. Knowing that they are seven games out of the second wild card made it evident that making the playoffs was very unlikely. With Rendon and Trout being injured, with no clear timetable insight, the direction to sell-off rentals to get more prospects was the right move.
By not moving on from huge pieces, such as Raisel Iglesias, it gives the Angels the chance to negotiate an extension to keep him for the future of this team. Iglesias this season is one of the top relievers in the league posting a 1.93 ERA, as hitters batted .176 against him. With the hopes to compete next season having a lockdown closer is a vital piece to this team’s success.
In addition, because they did not completely sell it gives them a chance to retool for next season. This year with Mike Trout being out since May and Anthony Rendon being placed on the injured list multiple times this season. Going out and getting a rental, like Max Scherzer, to try and compete for a playoff spot would have been very difficult with the injury the injuries from their star players.
It gives the Angels another offseason to add more pieces around their core of Trout, Ohtani, and Rendon, and with all the pitchers that they have acquired, through the draft and this year’s trade deadline, there are multiple avenues for their pitching to improve next year to compete for the playoffs.
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