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Grading the Los Angeles Angels on the 2013 MLB Winter Meetings

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Grading the Los Angeles Angels on the 2013 MLB Winter Meetings
David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

That sound you didn't hear following the four-day wheeling and dealing fest known as the Major League Baseball Winter Meetings is what made the Los Angles Angels so intriguing.

It was the cricket’s chirp, disguised as a collective thumbs up, instead of the disapproving roar.

The organization arguably pulled one of the biggest, if not the biggest, move in the last four days—sending Mark Trumbo to the Arizona Diamondbacks in a three-team deal with the Chicago White Sox that landed the Halos starting pitchers Tyler Skaggs and Hector Santiago.

It was impressive.

It was quick. 

Oddly enough, the Angels got “it” done, with most of the reactions toward the deal on the positive side—from what I saw, at least.

Sure, there wasn’t a major barrage of giant free-agent maneuvers or major trades the last four days by any MLB team, skewing the magnitude of what was accomplished by the Angels.

But they stayed away from self-inflicted stereotypes, moving from large, possibly draft-pick-surrendering, deals and made a solid cost-controlled effort to fix their starting pitching depth.

Both Skaggs and Santiago, based on the need to simply improve behind C.J. Wilson and Jered Weaver, are a good start.

Although dealing Trumbo seemed to be a 180 from what was passed along by Angels' general manager Jerry Dipoto no less than a week ago (The Orange County Register's Jeff Fletcher thought better of it via Twitter), it turned out to be the best option for getting young arms in return—in this instance anyway.

And, in the time of “Move Now,” the organization did not have the luxury of playing out a storybook scenario, where it keeps the local guy, and he miraculously rewards the gesture by leading it all the way to the World Series.

Will Trumbo be missed? Absolutely.

Power is always a good thing to have on the field, and a class act of a guy is always a good thing to have off the field. Trumbo embodied both areas.

The business side of things moves on, though.

The Angels needed starting pitching; moreover, they needed two starting pitchers. And, with one deal, they accomplished filling that need.

It’s a win—the first move in what seems like 1,000 of them where the criticism didn’t outweigh the praise.

Also, with that one move, the organization indirectly addressed another issue surrounding the 2014 roster: infield depth.

Jeff Gross/Getty Images
Keeping Howie will certainly help the defense in 2014.

Now that Trumbo is gone, it would be hard to imagine a scenario where Howie Kendrick gets traded.

That beneficial flip-flop in trade chips gives the Angels flexibility in the infield, allowing David Freese to hold the hot corner, Erick Aybar to play shortstop, Kendrick to keep the veteran presence at second, with a nice platoon of Grant Green and Andrew Romine off the bench.

That, for now, is another win.

If the timing of everything allows Kaleb Cowart to progress in Double-A, with Romine and Green carrying their weight and progressing as well, then I would say dealing Trumbo could eventually be viewed as an organization-shifting move.

It leaves the need to fill a void of 30-plus homers that Trumbo carried, no question. And that won’t be the easiest aspect to fill.

If Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton continue to fade, then I can also say this move could be viewed as the organization shifting in the wrong direction, too.

Isn’t everything in the guessing game like that? It’s a risk.

But, even with that possibility of the unknown, there has to be some feel of confidence among the Halo community.

Perhaps there really is a collective agreement in philosophy between the GM and manager Mike Scioscia.

That might be the biggest win of all, which can trickle down into a more positive clubhouse environment.

Mind you, that could have been a front for the media, saying the right things in an environment where the day is spent answering the same genre of questions.

I get that.

However, I also understand where the team was coming from, with reminders popping up every day, like the one Fox Sports’ Gabe Kapler sent out on Twitter:

That is the reality this organization cornered itself into. Now, it’s about making strides to right the ship. And the Angels are doing that, in my mind.

The organization was smart to acquire the Toronto Blue Jays' Rule 5 draft selection, Brian Moran, for international slot money. The left-handed reliever “annihilated left-handed hitters in Triple-A,” said Jerry Dipoto, according to MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez.

That’s never a bad thing to have, in the grand scheme of bullpen depth.

Sure, there is more work to be done with the offseason a long, long way from over. Adding another pitcher like Matt Garza would be a solid finale to the offseason—which became an actual possibility, as the money available under the tax threshold for the Angels is now around $20 million.

Until then, however, you still have to like what the Angels have done up to this point.

How do you grade the Angels?

Submit Vote vote to see results

I do.

 

Winter Meetings Grade: A

 

Unless otherwise noted, all stats and contract info were courtesy of baseball-reference.com.

Follow Rick Suter on Twitter @rick-suter.

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