The MLB trade deadline is fast approaching, and with it, some difficult decisions for the Los Angeles Angels. Eternities out of playoff contention, making a “buy now” deal is out of the cards, but there are legitimate concerns with becoming “sellers” as well.
The Angels have Mike Trout, Shohei Ohtani, and Anthony Rendon under contract in 2023. With all of that money and talent on the top end of their books, they have to at least make an attempt to field a competitive team next season. This makes a full-blow fire sale a logistical challenge, if not an impossibility.
So now, the Angels must search for a happy medium, selling veterans on short-term deals that perhaps boost their talent pool for next year, or increase their Minor League ammunition to make a win-now trade in the offseason. Names like Noah Syndergaard have been thrown around with consistency.
But it goes beyond just Syndergaard, as some of the Angels top relievers could also find themselves on the move, according to Jon Heyman and Joel Sherman of The New York Post:
“…the Angels most likely to be traded are starter Noah Syndergaard, closer Raisel Iglesias and relievers Ryan Tepera and Aaron Loup…”
Syndergaard as a trade target makes all the sense in the world. He has been reliable — albeit in a much different way than he’s used to — as a back-end starter for L.A. He’s owed approximately $7 million for the remainder of 2022, and is an impending free agent.
A return in a Syndergaard deal could look similar to what the Angels received in 2021 for Andrew Heaney, pitchers Janson Junk and Elvis Peguero. However, the more interesting tidbit is the inclusion of relievers Raisel Iglesias, Aaron Loup, and Ryan Tepera.
Iglesias, Loup, and Tepera represent Perry Minasian’s splash signings of the 2021 offseason, completely re-making the bullpen in the process. Unfortunately, the results have been underwhelming despite the elite resumes of all three players.
All three are having relative “down” seasons, and all are under multi-year contracts. Loup and Tepera through the 2023 season and Iglesias through 2025. Formulating a worthwhile trade for any one of these relievers could be a tall task.
However, if there were ever a trade deadline to get good value for Iglesias, Loup, and Tepera, this would be it. The market for relievers is incredibly thin, and contending teams in desperate need of top bullpen talent may be willing to overpay to ensure a splash acquisition.
There are many factors that Minasian and Arte Moreno must consider before the Aug. 3 trade deadline. But the Angels have quickly become a team to keep an eye on in the coming days.
Angels listening on Ohtani, but deal very unlikely
For the first time since he joined the team — and changed the baseball world — in 2018, the Angels are reportedly not hanging up the phones when asked about Ohtani. MLB insiders remain confident that Ohtani will not be traded before Tuesday, but offers have been made.