The Los Angeles Angels are in a bit of an awkward position as they prepare for the Aug. 2 MLB trade deadline. At 40-56, they are in no position to use prospects to land a top-level talent for this season. However, with Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout on the roster, they cannot make any moves that hurt their chances to compete in 2023.
This leaves the Angels with slim options, including trading away players on one-year deals. The prime example of this being starter Noah Syndergaard, who the Angels signed to a one-year, $21 million contract last winter. After essentially two full seasons away due to Tommy John surgery, Syndergaard has re-shaped his game to remain an effective pitcher.
Over 74.1 innings this season, Syndergaard has a respectable 4.00 ERA, 1.197 WHIP, and has become a relatively strong pitch-to-contact player. It has been a stark difference from the dominant strikeout pitcher the New York Mets had from 2015-18.
Nonetheless, Syndergaard could be an intriguing option for contending teams looking to add to the back end of their rotation in the playoffs. And because of that fact, the Angels starter has already thought about what a potential trade might look like, even if he was uninterested in commenting on specific rumors, according to Jeff Fletcher of The O.C. Register:
“I’ve thought about that quite a bit just because it’s been brought up in the years past,” Syndergaard said. “I think it would be a bittersweet moment because I’ve loved my time here. I’m not going to speak in speculation. When and if it does happen, I’ll have a better idea of what my thoughts are, but right now I love where I’m at. I love being an Angel.”
Syndergaard has long-praised Angels general manager Perry Minasian for making him feel like a grand prize during the offseason. It’s clear that he’s not only built strong relationships with the Angels front office, but within the clubhouse as well.
“Overall, I feel like I’m learning a lot,” Syndergaard said. “I’m still getting a feel for my delivery after not pitching for two years. But just going out there and working with the stuff that I have is just helping me become a better pitcher for when the plus stuff comes back. I’ll be able to utilize the stuff that I’m learning now to hopefully dominate even more.”
If the Angels ultimately decide to trade Syndergaard, they could net themselves a strong return. Last season, the Angels got two near-MLB ready pitching prospects for Andrew Heaney, who Syndergaard has easily outperformed this season.
They could also choose to hang onto him in the hopes of preserving the relationship and inking him to another deal this winter. Both options undoubtedly have merit, and it will likely come down to the offers on the table when the deadline arrives.
Angels not interested in an Ohtani deal
Despite receiving calls from rival teams, the Angels have made it clear that they have no interest in trading Ohtani prior to the Aug. 2 deadline. In the offseason, it’s a question they’ll seriously have to consider. But holding on to him through then remains the priority in the Halos front office.