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