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Could the Angels have plans to deal their top major-league ready prospect?
Whether it has worked out or not, Moreno and Reagins have always thought a few steps ahead of their current reality. The Torii Hunter signing just a year after the Gary Matthews Jr. debacle lessened the need for the lumbering Vladimir Guerrero to play outfield for two years. Letting Francisco Rodriguez walk after breaking the single-season saves record looks great now that he's overpaid to sit and watch the Mets play from behind in the bullpen. The list is long of examples like these that were made possible by the creative minds of management.
The writing is on the wall for somebody in the crowded Angel outfield. Short of getting a rule changed so that they can hit and field five outfielders at the same time, there will be a talented outfielder sitting everyday. The list includes Hunter, Peter Bourjos, Wells, Abreu, Willits, and the immortal Mike Trout. Within a year after Trout arrives, that will be six guys for three fielding spots and a DH. Not enough at-bats or gloves to go around for that group.
Given the Wells acquisition and subsequent logjam, I have a hunch that the Angels will soon be back on the trade channels gauging interest in one or multiple of the named. The likeliest trade candidate? I think it is Bourjos.
After bursting on the scene and pushing the acrobatic Torii Hunter to right field, Bourjos flashed his A-plus glove by making some stellar plays. However, his bat was nowhere near ready, and I really had to get past how good his defense is to see his horrible offensive numbers for what they are. In roughly a third of the season, Bourjos hit .204, walked only six times, punched out 40 times, and stole ten bases. Hardly what you ask from a leadoff hitter, even one who is experiencing his first growing pains as a hitter on the big league level.
He has loads of potential, versatility, is young, and has no permanent place with the Angels. Once Trout arrives and starts dropping jaws all over Angel Stadium, everyone will forget about Bourjos if he's not traded by then. He's a natural center fielder with two Gold Glove center fielders ahead of him and one on the way behind him.
Seems like the writing is on the wall for Bourjos. A mid-season trade to the Chicago Cubs in a package for third baseman Aramis Ramirez would be a great fit for the Angels. Stay tuned.