L.A. Angels of Anaheim: Should Angels Sell at the Deadline?
For all intents and purposes, the Angels are buyers come this year's trade deadline.
After struggling for the better part of the first half, the Angels have been on a tear of late, winning 17 of their last 22 games.
However, the Halos still have some glaring holes to fill, and they'll need to address those areas of concern come the deadline.
If they don't, they can say goodbye to their playoff hopes in 2011.
Here are the Los Angeles Angels needs as we near the July 31st trade deadline.
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There is absolutely no denying that the back end of the Angels bullpen has been one of the best in baseball this year.
Scott Downs and Jordan Walden have combined to create one of the most formidable setup-closer punches in the game today.
However, the Angels middle-inning arms and long relievers have been less than stellar.
The Angels bullpen as a whole (Including Walden and Downs) have held opposing batters to an impressive .233 average thus far in 2011. That ranks 10th among all bullpens in baseball.
Contrast that with the Angels .263 opponent batting average in the seventh inning (innings normally not thrown by Downs or Walden) and you can begin to see the contrast in efficiency among the Halos bullpen.
As the season progresses and the Angels starting pitching begins to wear thin, (it is only natural for pitchers to tire as the calendar flips to late summer/early autumn) they'll be forced to place a greater emphasis on their long relievers as well as the middle of their bullpen.
Hopefully for the Angels sake, they'll be able to acquire an arm to shore up the middle of their pen and keep themselves in the pennant race well into September.
Power Hitting Third Baseman
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Alberto Callaspo hasn't been awful by any means in 2011.
However, for a team that currently boasts just the 19th best home run total in all of baseball, a little more pop out of their third baseman would be beneficial.
Third base is known as a premium power position, and Callaspo's three home runs represent a vastly underwhelming statistic.
The Angels have managed to stay in contention despite Callaspo's power limitations, but if the opportunity to acquire a power hitting third baseman comes along, they would be wise to test the market.
Depth at First Base
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By all accounts, Marc Trumbo is putting together a fine rookie season.
His 17 home runs lead the team, and his 41 RBI are good for second among Angels players.
The only issue is 2011 is Trumbo's first full season in the big leagues. As sure as there will be 162 games in a season, rookies that play every day are guaranteed to grow fatigued by September.
The Angels would be wise to keep Trumbo fresh for the playoffs, but they'll need to do so while fighting for the AL West pennant in the season's final month.
This is where the importance of depth at first base comes into play.
At first glance, the Angels appeared to have found the solution to that problem when they acquired veteran slugger Russel Branyan.
However, Branyan has posted just a .196 batting average in 107 at bats with the team in 2011.
Those aren't the numbers of a player you'd be comfortable putting in your lineup in the midst of a pennant race.
The Angels need a solid bat at first base to push Trumbo and keep him fresh as the wear and tear of the major league season progresses.
It may seem like nitpicking at its finest, but depth at the one-bag may prove to be the difference for the Angels in 2011.