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The Angels are currently 6 games behind Oakland in the AL West which seems to be their best hope for making the playoffs. After a rough May, the Angels are looking to end on a high note in Oakland. This 4 game series can be a turn around point for the Angels or the moment they walk overboard.
Never too soon to start thinking about the playoffs
We are in late May but being 6 games back is not ideal. The Angels have a good lineup so that can always keep them in the conversation to make the playoffs, but their pitching situation is what holds them back. If the Angels were to get swept by the A’s, that would put them at a monstrous 10 games back from first place in the AL West. And with that, it is very likely that their season will be over.
Of course there have been teams who have bounced back from greater depths like the 2019 Washington Nationals. But the difference between the Angels and the Nationals is that they had a good pitching staff, they simply weren’t clicking at the right time. The Angels have the opposite of that problem. They don’t have a good pitching staff and their stellar lineup has been subpar so far this season.
A’s sweep would be devastating to the Angels’ playoff hopes
With the Angels being down 10 games, it’s hard to see them as buyers for the trade deadline. It would make more sense to offload a majority of their starters like Heaney, Bundy, and Cobb. It would also make a lot of sense to get rid of some bullpen members like Rasiel Iglesias and Mike Myers. The Angels could get a decent haul for all of these players to prepare for next season since these pitchers.
On the lineup side, trading away Jose Iglesias could get the largest return. He has not produced offensively which doesn’t matter since that’s not why the Angels signed him. He has been poor defensively as well which is very uncharacteristic of him. Many teams would likely still believe in his ability to play great defense so many teams should be interested. Aside from that, I would say everyone else is not moveable. Although I would throw in Upton and Ward to the discussion as well to see what they can net us in terms of pitching.
Angels have a lot of money to work with in 2022
The only players basically guaranteed for next year will be Fletcher, Trout, Ohtani, Walsh and Rendon. That in itself is a really solid lineup and it leaves about $100 million on the table to work with before they get to the luxury tax limit set in 2021.
But let’s also play the hypothetical of the Angels sweeping the A’s. Of course this is a lot less likely but who knows, maybe the starters will have good command and go deep into innings. Should the Angels sweep the A’s, they would be about 3 games behind first place which would most likely be the Astros at that point.
Angels sweep would make them serious buyers
At 3 games behind, the Angels have a lot more room to work with. The Angels would still have about $100 million to work with next season so they could move around rather freely during the deadline. They can trade away Upton while eating a large part of his salary to open even more room in 2022. For Upton they can get a nice little return of some young arms. Ward will also have more playing time which will allow him to develop more.
However, trading Upton seems unlikely due to how much the Angels owe him for next season as well. But the Angels could trade away Heaney, Bundy, Quintana and maybe even Cobb in part of a possible three team trade to where they send them out for other starting pitchers. The Angels could possibly trade for Barrios and Marquez. German Marquez of the Rockies seems like the most viable candidate. The Angels have a lot of room to pay the $20 million owed to him through 2023.
German Marquez best fit for Angels
The Rockies are likely looking to just get him off their payroll so they should be open to a trade involving Heaney, Bundy, Quintana, and Cobb. They could further use them as trade pieces to get some young talent from other teams that are looking to bolster their pitching staff with an extra arm.
The Angels would be serious buyers if they are able to sweep the A’s. They could be serious sellers if they are swept. A lot is on the line for the Angels in Oakland. It’s make or break even though we are only in late May. The Angels are sending Ohtani in game 1, then Cobb, Quintana, and Bundy will follow.