There has been plenty of discussion over what the Los Angeles Angels should do at this year’s trade deadline. Joe Maddon, Perry Minasian, and the entire organization have taken a “wait and see” approach, but the time is quickly coming to make decisions. The trade deadline is July 30 at 1:00 p.m. PT, and the Angels have yet to make any moves of any kind.
Part of what could be delaying this process is the fact that the Angels — for the most part — are playing good baseball. They are 32-27 since losing Mike Trout to a Grade 2 calf strain, giving the team reason to believe they could contend this season if they simply got healthy. And for all the grief the Angels have gotten for their lack of starting pitching, they have been incredible in the month of July.
In 19 games this month, Angels starters have a 3.13 ERA. Since the All-Star break, that number is 2.81 with an average of 6.4 innings per start. Because of this, Maddon appears to be leaning towards becoming buyers at the trade deadline, with an emphasis on the bullpen, according to Sam Blum of The Athletic:
“The starters have really come along well. … As a group, I think they really have blossomed,” manager Joe Maddon said. “We’ve just got to figure out the bullpen and get to a point where the roles are clearly defined.”
“Who wants to give up bullpen pieces right now?” Maddon said. “Every year, everybody talks about the volatility of bullpens, you don’t want to invest in bullpens, and you don’t win without one. … So if there’s anything I’d love to focus on, it’s that.”
While Maddon does not have final say over what moves the team makes at the deadline, it perhaps carries some weight that he said this. Given how the team has been playing in the month of July, it’s not out of the realm of possibility to believe that a reliable bullpen and some health are all this team is missing to contend.
The question becomes which bullpen pieces should be targeted and how much the Halos are willing to give up to get them. Most of the available bullpen arms on the trade market have yet to be dealt, giving the Angels a chance to cough up some assets.
Within the next three days, it will become abundantly clear how the Angels view their chances this season. In the meantime, the Angels need to keep winning games, as a three-game sweep or series victory against the Colorado Rockies could reinforce a commitment to competing.
Reid Detmers dominates in Triple-A debut
While it’s certainly risky, the Angels could use the dominant Triple-A debut of Reid Detmers as a chance to trade one of their big league starters while still remaining competitive. In six innings, Detmers allowed zero runs, zero walks, and just three hits while striking out nine.