With the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline fast approaching, the Los Angeles Angels will be forced to make a decision as to the direction their team will take in the next few weeks.
Currently under .500 and still struggling to find an identity, it's still not clear whether the Angels will be buyers or sellers. The Texas Rangers and Oakland Athletics are threatening to pull away from the rest of the pack in the AL West, and the Angels can't seem to mount a significant challenge.
With their current situation, the Angels are likely to be involved in a variety of trade rumors. The goal of this tracker will be to inform fans of every single rumor as they happen over the next few weeks.
Be sure to bookmark this link and check back often—the next few weeks will no doubt be quite busy in Anaheim.
While in recent days speculating circulating around the status of second baseman Howie Kendrick and shortstop Erick Aybar was rampant, that has apparently quieted to the point that it's now believed that neither middle infielder is going anywhere—at least for now.
As for Kendrick, he has the ability to block trades to 12 teams, so with just over an hour until the deadline, suitors for his services have not yet been able to entice the Angels with an offer that sends him packing.
With less than four hours before the trade deadline, rumors continue to abound about the status of Los Angeles Angels second baseman Howie Kendrick.
The latest rumor has the Toronto Blue Jays interested in Kendrick's services.
According to Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca, the Jays are interested in Kendrick more as an option for the long-term rather than for help this year.
The Jays have vastly disappointed following the moves made this offseason, but it doesn't stop them from looking at long-term fixes.
Kendrick's slash line of .301/.344/.446 is indeed enticing, as well as his 11 home runs and 45 RBI. In addition, it frees up Emilio Bonifacio to spend more time in the outfield, assuming that's the direction the Jays take in the future.
Kendrick is under contract through the 2015 season, giving the Jays cost certainty as well.
The Los Angeles Angels made a move that will at least help alleviate payroll concerns for the 2014 season.
According to the official Angels Twitter feed, third baseman Alberto Callaspo has been dealt.
The #Angels have offically acquired INF Grant Green from the Athletics in exchange for INF Alberto Callaspo.— Los Angeles Angels (@Angels) July 31, 2013
Callaspo was in the middle of a two-year, $9 million deal and was due to make $4.875 million next season. He was hitting .252 with five home runs and 36 RBI when he was traded.
Presumably, Callaspo will help out at second base for the A's. Callaspo last played the position in 2010, registering 12 games with the Angels and Kansas City Royals.
In Green, the Angels get a player who was originally drafted in 2009. Once the No. 52 prospect in all of baseball according to Baseball America, Green offers the Angels versatility with the ability to play second, short and third.
It could also be a precursor to a possible Howie Kendrick deal as well. Kendrick has been mentioned in various rumors over the past two days.
It had been reported earlier in the day on Tuesday that the Arizona Diamondbacks and Los Angeles Angels were engaged in discussions to send starting pitcher Ian Kennedy from the desert to Anaheim.
Those talks apparently now involve a third team—the Chicago White Sox.
According to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN, the three teams could engage in a deal that sends White Sox pitcher Jake Peavy to Arizona and Kennedy to the Angels.
A problem with this deal is that the Angels' farm system would be even further depleted, so it will be interesting to see who the other players would be.
In theory, it's a deal that works out well for the White Sox. They would presumably receive top prospect(s) from the Diamondbacks along with mid-level prospects from the Angels.
With three-quarters of the Los Angeles Angels having been implicated in trade rumors in the past two days, it's not surprising now that shortstop Erick Aybar continues to draw interest.
Incumbent Pete Kozma has done a credible job this season, but Aybar would clearly represent an upgrade.
ESPN's Jim Bowden appeared to confirm Knobler's original report as well.
Angels&Cards have discussed a deal that would send either Carlos Martinez or Mike Wacha & Peter Kozma to LAA for Aybar (Cards reluctant)— JIM BOWDEN (@JimBowdenESPNxm) July 31, 2013
The addition of Wacha and/or Martinez would certainly help an Angels pitching staff that has suffered, with no real prospects that can provide immediate help.
With less than 24 hours until the trade deadline, the New York Yankees are exhausting all their options in terms of their search for third baseman. They've now included the Los Angeles Angels and Alberto Callaspo in their search as well.
According to Danny Knobler of CBS Sports, the Yankees have inquired about Callaspo's availability.
Callaspo is hitting .253 with five home runs and 36 RBI, not exactly numbers that fly off the pages. But considering the Yankees' combined production (.217, four home runs, 30 RBI). Callaspo clearly represents an upgrade.
He's signed through next season with an affordable $4.875 million contract for 2014, so it's not a deal that will hamstring the Yankees financially.
With Jake Peavy being the top pitcher available on the open market before the trade deadline, they would have to shed payroll in order to afford Peavy through next season.
Heyman goes on to say that Los Angeles Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto is very familiar with Kennedy from his days in the desert, and that the Angels could be a perfect partner.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports later tweeted on Tuesday that the Angels are indeed discussing bringing Kennedy aboard.
It's been a rough year for Kennedy, posting a 3-7 record and 5.22 ERA in 20 starts. If the Angels were to be interested, it likely wouldn't cost much in the form of prospects, something the Angels don't have an abundance of.
On Monday, reports swirled that the Angels could move second baseman Howie Kendrick and/or shorstop Erick Aybar.
On Tuesday, Mike DiGiovanna of The Los Angeles Times revealed that price to be very steep.
And any deal #Angels make involving Kendrick/Aybar would have to net a front-line, ML or ML-ready starting pitcher. Otherwise, both stay.— Mike DiGiovanna (@MikeDiGiovanna) July 30, 2013
Both Kendrick and Aybar are signed to long-term deals, making them attractive in that contending teams have financial certainty. But there's also no question that general manager Jerry Dipoto won't deal unless he gets exactly what he wants in return.
Come 4 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, Angels fans will know if they'll be looking at a new middle infield.
Lost in the shuffle in the many different tidbits of information circulating through the web in the past two days was this tweet from Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports on Sunday.
Angels are now 13 games back and open for business. Sources say they're willing to listen on Erick Aybar, Howie Kendrick and plenty more.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) July 29, 2013
In addition, Jim Bowden of ESPN (subscription required) believes that the Angels simply don't have much to work with in terms of value players on their roster.
The trade of Scott Downs on Monday netted a reliever in Cory Rasmus who could start contributing shortly.
There has been no speculation thus far concerning the fates of Aybar and Kendrick, and general manager Jerry Dipoto has given no indication that either are actually trade candidates at this point.
The Atlanta Braves have endured the loss of two valuable left-handed arms this season, with both Jonny Venters and Eric O'Flaherty suffering season-ending injuries.
On Monday, they turned to the Los Angeles Angels to help fill the void.
According to the Atlanta Braves' official Twitter account, they have acquired Angels southpaw reliever Scott Downs.
The Braves have acquired LHP Scott Downs from the Angels in exchange for right-handed pitcher Cory Rasmus.— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) July 29, 2013
Downs had registered 29 consecutive appearances this season before giving up two runs to the Oakland Athletics on Saturday. He goes to the Braves with a 1.84 ERA in 43 appearances, which includes holding left-handed hitters to just a .196 average thus far.
The move certainly helps bolster the Braves bullpen as they move into play on Monday with an 8.5 game lead over the Washington Nationals in the NL East.
For the Angels, they in turn get a right-handed arm who's been strong all season at Triple-A Gwinnett, registering a 1.72 ERA in 37 appearances with 14 saves. He earned a call-up to the Braves in late May, posting an 8.10 ERA in three appearances.
Rasmus is also the younger brother of Toronto Blue Jays center fielder Colby Rasmus.
With the Monday trade, the Angels certainly appear to have made a decision about their status this season. Look for general manager Jerry Dipoto to explore more options over the next 48 hours in an effort to bolster one of the worst farm systems in baseball.
The Los Angeles Angels were in the news on Thursday in terms of trade news, but it's not exactly going to thrill fans.
Perez was signed by the Mets out of Venezuela as a teenager and thus far hasn't pitched beyond the Rookie League level.
Concepcion was signed by the Mets as a teenager out of the Dominican Republic. At Low-A Brooklyn this season, Concepcion was hitting .238 in just six games thus far.
Certainly not the news that Angels fans wanted to hear with just six days remaining before the trade deadline.
With their loss to Bartolo Colon and the Oakland A's on Sunday, the Los Angeles Angels are now 10 games behind the A's in the AL West and just a game ahead of the Seattle Mariners for fourth place in the division.
With just 10 days to go before the trade deadline, at least one person believes the Angels shouldn't even consider being buyers.
Jon Morosi of FOX Sports suggests the Angels give up the fight for this season.
Angels about to fall 10 back. That puts them 1/2 game ahead of Mariners. Pretty clear they should sell, isn't it?— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) July 21, 2013
Morosi also threw out two names who could bring back decent return for the Angels as well.
Who could the Angels trade? Scott Downs and Erick Aybar are two names. @FOXSportsLive— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) July 21, 2013
Aybar would leap to the top of the charts as an available shortstop, and Downs would also be an attractive left-handed bullpen option as well.
The trade that saw top prospect Jean Segura shipped off to the Milwaukee Brewers last year for the services of Zack Greinke for a half-season certainly looms large right now.
With the non-waiver trade deadline now less than two weeks away, the Los Angeles Angels have yet to declare themselves as buyers or sellers.
If in fact they do decide to sell, two players who could bring back decent value won't be available.
According to Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com, neither Jason Vargas or Sean Burnett will be activated from the disabled list by July 31.
Burnett is in the first season of a two-year, $8 million contract and would have been affordable for most teams as a left-handed bullpen specialist. However, he has been plagued with elbow issues and has made just 13 appearances this year.
Burnett is long-tossing but likely won't start throwing off a mound for another 7-10 days, setting his return at mid-August at the earliest.
Ditto for Vargas, who is recovering from surgery to remove a blood clot in he left armpit in late June.
If general manager Jerry Dipoto is inclined to sell, he'll have to look elsewhere on the roster.
It's probably fair to say that ESPN baseball expert Jim Bowden liked what he saw in Los Angeles Angels first base prospect C.J. Cron in the Futures Game on Sunday.
Almost immediately after the game, Bowden shared his thoughts about Cron on Twitter.
Angels have a legitimate trade piece in CJ Cron a future middle of the order impact bat blocked by Pujols and Trumbo— JIM BOWDEN (@JimBowdenESPNxm) July 14, 2013
Cron is blocked at first base in Anaheim by both Albert Pujols and Mark Trumbo, so Bowden does bring up a legitimate point.
However, the Angels also feature the worst farm system in baseball according to ESPN, so general manager Jerry Dipoto won't be rushing to ship off top prospects, either.
The Los Angeles Angels are facing rotation issues with injuries to Tommy Hanson and Jason Vargas, and with the recent ineffectiveness of Jerome Williams.
According to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com, the Angels could be a good fit. Heyman also points out that Angels GM Jerry Dipoto has yet to identify his team as a buyer or seller, so it's pure speculation at this point.
Ironically, the Angels nearly drafted Hughes in 2004, but opted instead to select Jered Weaver.
Heyman quoted a rival executive as saying that Hughes would be better off "if you get him out of Yankee Stadium and into a pitcher's park."
According to Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto doesn't feel that major upgrades are needed.
“You’re always looking for ways to get better, to maybe find some smaller pieces to contribute, but the high-profile moves? I wouldn’t suspect that we’re looking for those. I don’t know that we can acquire a better starting pitcher than Jason Vargas, and the bullpen has been very good.”
Vargas, Tommy Hanson and Sean Burnett, all currently on the disabled list, could be back by late July, which would in essence act in a similar fashion as a trade.
The Angels haven't been linked to anyone in recent weeks, so Dipoto could well be hedging his bets on returning injured veterans.
One of the obvious needs for the Los Angeles Angels is pitching, both in the rotation and bullpen.
Injuries to Tommy Hanson and Jason Vargas have sapped the Angels of depth—something that was not a strength to begin with.
One player they can scratch off the list in terms of help is Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Yovani Gallardo.
According to Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com, Gallardo can block trades to 10 teams, and the Angels are on that list.
Gallardo has struggled through much of the season, posting a 7-8 record and 4.85 ERA. His contract takes him through the end of next season with a team option for 2015.
With a number of high-priced free agents in the fold who have yet to spark the Los Angeles Angels, general manager Jerry Dipoto is in a tough spot as the trade deadline approaches.
Yet, in a media scrum in late June, Dipoto gave no indication that he would be ready to start dealing, either as a buyer or seller.
I don’t see drastic paths. We have a roster of veteran players, most of whom are under club control, a very talented offensive club, pitching staff is evolving, some pending free agents, many others under club control. We’ll assess as we go.
We are not a buyer, we are not a seller. We’re the Angels, who are sitting here trying to win a game today. Our sense of urgency has to be today, tomorrow and every day.
At this point in the season while the Angels continue to tread water, that sense of urgency grows stronger and stronger. Dipoto will be tasked with the job of determining whether his current roster can meet that challenge.