General manager Tony Reagins said the Angels came up empty in their efforts to make a non-waiver Trade Deadline deal when they were unable to match up with other clubs.
Reagins was not specific about which clubs he was talking with, but reports indicated that the Angels made concerted efforts to acquire Roy Halladay from the Blue Jays and Heath Bell from the Padres.
“It really came down to not being the best fit for either party,” Reagins said. “We had a comfort level that we could go in certain situations and were willing to be aggressive. [Owner] Arte Moreno gave us no restraints. We went in with the idea of improving the club. A lot of effort was put into the process. From that standpoint, you move forward. We have business to take care of. Our focus is on Minnesota tonight. Our 25 guys have a comfort level they are going to be here for the rest of the year.”
There was one report that the Angels were close to a last-minute deal for Halladay, but Reagins would not confirm that. The Jays reportedly wanted shortstop Erick Aybar, infielder Brandon Wood, starter Joe Saunders and a prime prospect.
“Utimately, you have to find a match,” Reagins said. “You may offer talented players, but if the deal doesn’t fit for both parties . . . that’s the situation we were in. From a personnel standpoint, we made proposals that were very competitive and made sense. But the other side has to feel they made sense as well.”
The Orioles have been mostly quiet as the non-waiver trade deadline approaches, but multiple news outlets are reporting that the Dodgers are hot on southpaw closer George Sherrill. Sherrill has also been linked to the Angels, which could start an inter-city bidding war.
Baltimore is believed to be looking at teams with infield prospects, and the Dodgers’ Josh Bell and Angels’ Brandon Wood have both reportedly come up in trade talks. Both of the Orioles’ current corner infielders — Aubrey Huff and Melvin Mora — could be eligible for free agency next season, and Baltimore wants to get younger at the corners like it did in the outfield.
Sherrill, who was acquired in last season’s Erik Bedard trade, was named to the All-Star Game in 2008 and narrowly missed the same honor this season. The left-hander has been strong for Baltimore but could help further kick the Orioles’ rebuilding movement into gear.
— Spencer Fordin
With an owner, Arte Moreno, who obviously doesn’t worry about rolling the dice – recall the Mark Teixeira acquisition last year at this time — the Angels remain actively involved in the Roy Halladay sweepstakes. But they can’t be too optimistic.
The Jays clearly are asking for the moon and the stars, judging by the package they rejected in the Phillies’ counter-proposal according to ESPN.com: southpaw A.J. Happ and three highly-regarded prospects from Triple-A Lehigh Valley, outfielder Michael Taylor, pitcher Carlos Carrasco and shortstop Jason Donald. It is believed the Jays would insist on one of the Angels’ young starters – Joe Saunders, Ervin Santana or Jered Weaver – along with Brandon Wood and several other premium prospects.
Weighing against such a dramatic and costly move are several factors. One, the Angels are 20 games above .500 with the third worst team ERA in the American League, but the pitching has been much improved of late with Sean O’Sullivan and Matt Palmer delivering quality work in the No. 5 slot. John Lackey has shown in his past eight starts that he’s back in prime form as a lead dog in a rotation
Finally, they don’t have to look too far to recall how much valuable talent the Mariners surrendered to land Erik Bedard from Baltimore. All-Star center fielder Adam Jones alone, in reflection, wasn’t worth it, and there’s a possibility Wood could reach something approaching that level with consistent playing time.
There are other front-line starters who could appeal to the Angels by Friday’s non-waiver Trade Deadline, including the Indians’ Cliff Lee and the Reds’ Aaron Harang and Bronson Arroyo. The Reds also have several set-up men – veterans Arthur Rhodes and David Weathers and young right-handers Nick Masset and Josh Roenicke – the Angels could find attractive at a lesser price tag than a durable starter. Roenicke, who throws in the mid-90s, is the nephew of Angels coach Ron Roenicke.
The Reds reportedly would be interested in an everyday shortstop and power. Maicer Izturis’ brilliant play of late might be taking him out of trade consideration, but the Angels are loaded in the middle infield. Sean Rodriguez, with superior defensive tools and 23 homers in 75 games at Triple-A Salt Lake, could have huge appeal in Cincinnati with his powerful right-handed bat, along with outfielder Terry Evans (21 homers in 94 games at Salt Lake).
— Lyle Spencer
It’s unlikely the Angels will make a big, bold, Mark Teixeira-type move again this summer, but they’re monitoring every living, breathing reliever who could fill a late-innings role in front of closer Brian Fuentes.
Trouble is, teams in possession of these valuable commodities figure to ask for more than the Angels are willing to deliver. That seems to be the case with Orioles lefty George Sherrill, who would give the Angels a pair of left-handed hammers at the back end. Baltimore knows his value and is looking for a pair of prime-time prospects such as Brandon Wood and lefty Trevor Reckling, according to the LA Times. Hard to imagine the Angels doing something like that.
This could become a moot point if Jose Arredondo makes it back to anything resembling his 2008 form in Triple-A Salt Lake in his recovery from elbow issues.
With John Lackey back in top form and Sean O’Sullivan racking up wins at the back of the rotation, it doesn’t appear likely the Angels would give up the farm for Roy Halladay, as appealing as the great right-hander would be. The Indians’ Cliff Lee could be more in their ballpark.
The Angels have a surplus of highly athletic infielders and talented young pitchers. But with so many free agents looming this winter — Lackey, Kelvim Escobar, Vladimir Guerrero, Chone Figgins, Bobby Abreu, Darren Oliver — they’re understandably leery of moving the athletes and arms coveted by other clubs.
— Lyle Spencer