The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim have had a few rough seasons these past three years, failing to make the playoffs in each while spending big in free agency.
Three years ago, they had no stars on offense but had some pitching. That wasn’t enough to make the playoffs, so two years ago they signed Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson and saw the emergence of Mike Trout. However, Pujols struggled mightily to begin the season and they failed to reach the playoffs. After digging a huge hole in April and this past season they signed Josh Hamilton but had little to no pitching depth and both entities struggled. LA failed to make the playoffs again.
The Angels still have solace in that Trout just keeps adding to his greatness and their lineup should be healthier, but one thing is still missing and that is strong pitching behind Jered Weaver and Wilson. There is one name out in the trade market that may be dealt this offseason and that is Tampa Bay Rays pitcher David Price.
The Rays have a tendency to trade of some of their biggest assets before they get too expensive for prospects. James Shields was dished to the Kansas City Royals for top prospect Wil Myers and Matt Garza to the Chicago Cubs for a package of prospects. Now, it might be time for Price to get dealt; he is the best of that trio, so the Rays won’t take a mediocre return.
For his career, Price has a 3.19 ERA, a 1.16 WHIP, 876 strikeouts and a 71-39 record in his six seasons pitched (five full seasons). He has been the Rays’ ace for the most part but he has had his struggles in the postseason with a 5.06 ERA and a 1-4 record. Price has also come up clutch in key situations: in his first month in the big leagues he put the Rays on his back and took them to their first ever World Series. Then, this past season he pitched the one game playoff against the Texas Rangers and dominated with a complete game, two run and four strikeout effort to put the Rays in the playoffs.
He is a 28-year-old left hander who has the potential to be the best in the game and has been clutch in key situations: he’s a manager’s dream. He is a perfect piece to add to the Angels puzzle and they might just have the pieces to pull it off.
Although the Angels don’t bolster any top-tier prospect, they do have a few young assets in the big leagues that can entice the Rays. The Angels have a power hitting first baseman that the Rays don’t have right now in Mark Trumbo. In three full seasons with he club, Trumbo has hit 95 home runs with 284 RBIs: that’s an average of 30 home runs and 95 RBIs per year, earning him an All-Star appearance in 2012. His average might tail off a bit and strikeouts might pile up but he has shown discipline and has had hot streaks in which he is simply unstoppable.
The the Angels also have a young, speedy outfielder in Peter Bourjos who can help shore up the Rays’ outfield to play along side Desmond Jennings and Myers. In his four years, Bourjos has shown some life in his bat; during his best year in 2011 he finished with a .271 average, 12 home runs, 43 RBI and 22 SB.
He has also been masterful in center field. Although all the attention has been on Trout, Bourjos might be the best of the two in the outfield. He has struggled lately to stay healthy so that will be a concern but has high potential.
The Angels can throw in some prospects as well in the deal but they have two young and cheap players that are major league ready which is something other teams may not have. Other teams may have high-level prospects but not all prospects pan out, as was the case with highly-touted Angels prospect Brandon Wood, who was just lost in the big leagues and is out of the league right now.
It might be a tough task to pull off but it might be their best chance to get back into the postseason.