Los Angeles Angels: 5 trade options for rotation help

Los Angeles Angels Billy Eppler (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)
Los Angeles Angels Billy Eppler (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images) /
1 of 6
Los Angeles Angels Billy Eppler
Los Angeles Angels Billy Eppler (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images) /

The Los Angeles Angels lost out on Gerrit Cole, who signed with the New York Yankees, and couldn’t even land Ross Stripling. Here are other rotation options potentially available on the trade market.

Yes, the Los Angeles Angels landed one of the top free agents on the market when they signed infielder Anthony Rendon in December. But fixing a starting rotation that ranked dead last in the majors in quality starts and innings pitched per start was a more difficult problem for the Angels, who couldn’t land their top free-agent target and instead worked on the margins.

The Angels had just 22 quality starts — six innings with three or fewer earned runs allowed — last season, 12 fewer than the next worst team in baseball and 18 less than the next closest teams in the American League in the Detroit Tigers and Toronto Blue Jays.

With 4.2 innings per start, the Angels were behind even the Tampa Bay Rays, who had just one pitcher — Charlie Morton — qualify for the ERA title by pitching at least 162 innings and used 14 different pitchers to start games.

More from Call to the Pen

Los Angeles also tied for last in the majors in ERA- per FanGraphs with an ugly 125 mark matched only by the Pittsburgh Pirates and the starters’ 5.64 standard ERA was better than only the 5.87 posted by Colorado Rockies.

The Los Angeles Angels were hampered by injuries (not to mention the death of Tyler Skaggs on July 1) and had no one start more than 18 games, while 19 pitchers took the ball to start the first inning at least once. Veteran Trevor Cahill, who started 11 games and worked 26 times in relief, led the staff with 102.1 innings pitched.

The club did sign free agent Julio Teheran, who has been durable with at least 30 starts in each of his seven full major-league seasons with the Atlanta Braves and acquired Dylan Bundy in a trade with the Baltimore Orioles.

But neither of those pitchers is a true top-of-the-rotation option such as Gerrit Cole could have been, had the Angels been able to convince him to head west to Anaheim instead of going east to the New York Yankees.

It appeared the club was going to acquire young right-hander Ross Stripling from the Los Angeles Dodgers, but owner Arte Moreno acknowledged on Monday he killed the trade after it was delayed because of problems the Dodgers and Boston Red Sox had completing the deal that sent Mookie Betts and David Price to Los Angeles.

Teheran is 29 years old and has pitched at least 174.2 innings every season since 2013. Last year with the Braves he made 33 starts and had a 3.81 ERA and 1.323 WHIP in 174.2 innings, striking out 162 and walking 83 while allowing 22 home runs.

Since 2013, Teheran has been an All-Star twice (2014 and 2016) and has averaged 32 starts and 191 innings a season while compiling a 3.64 ERA and a 1.208 WHIP with 1,169 strikeouts and 449 walks in 1,334 innings. Last season, Teheran led the National League with 14 hit batsmen and matched a career-high with 8.3 strikeouts per nine innings.

Bundy, now 27, is another right-hander who has started all 89 games in which he’s appeared since 2017. Last season for a dreadful club in Baltimore, Bundy made 30 starts and worked 161.2 innings, posting an ERA of 4.79 with a WHIP of 1.355. He struck out 162 and walked 58 while serving up 29 home runs — 1.6 per nine innings.

His first full season as a starter in 2017 remains his best, when he made 28 starts with an ERA of 4.24 and a WHIP of 1.196 in 169.2 innings. He struck out 152 and walked 41 that season while allowing 26 home runs. The 41 home runs Bundy surrendered in 2018 led the American League and were the most given up by a pitcher since Bronson Arroyo was taken deep 46 times in 2011.

With that, what are some of the other options available to the Angels on the trade market?

One potential candidate went off the market over the weekend. Cleveland Indians righthander Mike Clevinger underwent surgery Friday for a partially torn left meniscus and is expected to be out six to eight weeks.

So who else is available? Let’s take a look. Kenta Maeda was traded from the Dodgers to the Minnesota Twins last week while the Texas Rangers in mid-December took a flyer in two-time Cy Young winner Corey Kluber in a deal with the Indians.

There is one other potential starting option the Los Angeles Angels acquired. Righthander Matt Andriese came from the Arizona Diamondbacks in a Jan. 14 trade and while he worked exclusively out of the bullpen last season, he does have 49 career starts, including 36 in 2016-17 when he was with the Rays.

The problem is he’s got a 4.64 ERA and 1.344 WHIP in 236.2 innings as a starter and a 4.50 ERA and 1.307 WHIP in 192 innings of relief work. So neither option is ideal.

But these five pitchers remain possibilities for trades, even if they may not be ideal No. 1 or No. 2 options in a rotation.