Huston Street Trade Puts Angels 1 Giant Step Closer in AL West Hunt

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Huston Street Trade Puts Angels 1 Giant Step Closer in AL West Hunt
USA Today

During the All-Star break, Huston Street told Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times he'd "love to" play for the Los Angeles Angels.

Wish granted.

On Friday, the Angels and the San Diego Padres consummated a deal that will send Street and minor league pitcher Trevor Gott to the Halos, per Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal.

In return, the Padres get a package of prospects, including shortstop Taylor Lindsey and pitcher R.J. Alvarez—ranked by Baseball America prior to the season as the Angels' best and fourth-best prospects, respectively—and shortstop Jose Rondon, per ESPN.com's Jim Bowden.

Street immediately bolsters a bullpen that got off to a rocky start. On June 22, the Angels pen had posted a 4.48 ERA and blown 12 of 28 save opportunities. The relief corps has since steadied itself. Mike Morin, a 23-year-old right-hander called up in April, began blanking hitters. And Joe Smith supplanted Ernesto Frieri as closer.

On June 27, the Angels dealt Frieri to the Pittsburgh Pirates for another underperforming reliever, Jason Grilli.

As it turns out, that was merely a prelude to the main event.

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Now, with the arrival of Street, the Angels have turned their biggest weakness into a strength.

Street posted a 1.09 ERA and converted 24 of 25 saves in the first half. At 30 years old, he's still in the prime of his pitching career and has another year left on his contract, a team option, at a relatively affordable $7 million.

Los Angeles is locked in a tough race with the Oakland A's, who went all-in with the blockbuster trade that brought pitchers Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel over from the Chicago Cubs.

By raiding their modestly stocked farm system to bring in Street and address their most glaring weakness, the Angels clearly showed they aren't backing down.

And why would they? With a top-notch starting rotation and an offense anchored by Mike Trout, arguably the most exciting hitter in the game, the Halos are poised to make a run at their first championship in more than a decade.

Predictably, there are doubters. Keith Law tweeted his reservations about the Angels sacrificing Rondon, who was hitting .327 at High-A ball:

The bottom line, though, is that one of the best teams in the American League just added one of the best closers in all of baseball, mortgaging possible future glory for a clear shot now. And an AL West race that also includes the surprising Seattle Mariners just got a whole lot more interesting.

As for Street, look for him to settle quickly into his new home. A former member of the A's, he's familiar with the division and the Angels franchise.

"I was probably too young to realize how good he was at the time," Street said of Angels skipper Mike Scioscia as trade speculation was heating up over the break, per Shaikin. "That's one of the best managers, maybe, of all time. If I went there, I'd have a real chance to win."

Now he has that chance. Time to see if he, and his new club, can take advantage.

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