MLB: A look at Angels, Royals, White Sox moves this week

CLEVELAND, OH - SEPTEMBER 23: Carlos Santana #41 of the Cleveland Indians celebrates after hitting a solo home run off Lucas Giolito #27 of the Chicago White Sox during the second inning at Progressive Field on September 23, 2020 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Ron Schwane/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - SEPTEMBER 23: Carlos Santana #41 of the Cleveland Indians celebrates after hitting a solo home run off Lucas Giolito #27 of the Chicago White Sox during the second inning at Progressive Field on September 23, 2020 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Ron Schwane/Getty Images) /

MLB has seen a flurry of signings and deals over the past few days.  Let’s get you caught up on the major ones thus far and their significance for 2021 and beyond.

The Angels acquire reliever Raisel Iglesias from the Reds.

We’ll get to Iglesias. But first, I want to start with Mike Trout.

2021 will already mark Trout’s eleventh major league season. There’s no doubt Trout–a three-time AL MVP, eight-time All-Star, two-time All-Star Game MVP, among other accomplishments–has already clinched a spot in Cooperstown five years upon retirement.

However, the one thing Trout lacks is legitimate playoff experience. He’s played in three career MLB postseason games.


You read that correctly.

Only three.

All three games came back in 2014. The Angels were swept in the American League Division Series against the Kansas City Royals. Trout recorded one hit (a home run) in 12 at-bats (15 plate appearances)

By comparison, since the start of the 2011 season–Trout’s first in the majors–there have been 374 players to record 16 plate appearances or more in the playoffs.


You read that correctly (again)!

In fact, seven of those 374 players are pitchers! We’ve seen Clayton Kershaw (48 plate appearances) hit three times the amount of Trout since he entered the league in 2011. That’s not what you want.

Even with the expanded playoffs in 2020, the Angels were unable to get baseball’s biggest star to the MLB playoffs? Why might you ask?

Pitching. Pitching. Pitching.

Los Angeles had the sixth-worst ERA (5.09) in the majors last season. Their bullpen wasn’t much better, posting an ERA of 4.63. They also led MLB in blown saves with 14.

It’s no wonder that newly hired General Manager Perry Minasian would want to focus on pitching. The acquisition of former Reds’ closer Raisel Iglesias will help to say the least  Iglesias has posted a 2.85 ERA with 106 saves since the start of the 2016 season. The 30-year old posted a career-best 0.91 WHIP in 2020, as well as a 176 ERA+, in 23 innings. He easily becomes the best reliever for the Halos. His acquisition is a step in the right direction for a team desperate to make a postseason push.

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Carlos Santana signs with the Royals.

The former All-Star signed a two-year deal with Kansas City on Tuesday. The contract is reportedly worth $17.5 million. Santana is coming off a down season with his career-worst .199 batting average and .350 SLG.

For seven seasons from 2013-19, Santana averaged a .820 OPS, 26 homers, and 84 RBI per year. The 2020 MLB season saw many great stars–from Christian Yelich, Kris Bryant, Gary Sanchez among others–perform below expectations.

The one aspect of Santana’s game present last season was his ability to draw walks. He was second in MLB with 47 bases on balls in 2020, with only Bryce Harper ahead of him. His ability to get on base gave him a .349 on-base percentage–still the worst of his career. However, it was still above league average (.322).

I take everything I see in 2020 with a grain of salt. It’s much more likely Santana will be closer to his seven-season average in 2021 than his down year of 2020. Santana’s bat will be a great addition to a Royals lineup which needs an on-base presence. Kansas City had one of the five worst on-base percentages in all of baseball last season.

Remember, this is a Royals’ club that has offensive talent. Jorge Soler set a franchise record with 47 homers in 2019. Whit Merrifield has the most hits in the majors since the start of 2018 with 468.  That’s 28 more hits than the next closest player (Freddie Freeman, 440). Salvador Perez (in his first season back from Tommy John surgery) hit .333 with eleven homers, 32 RBI in 37 games last year. There is talent in this lineup. Is it talent enough to make the postseason? No, not yet. But, Santana’s signing adds another layer to an already competitive American League Central.

Lance Lynn is traded to the White Sox.

Speaking of the AL Central, Chicago’s rotation got a boost after trading for Lance Lynn on Tuesday. Lynn–a former MLB All-Star–joins a White Sox rotation featuring former Cy Young winner, Dallas Keuchel, and perennial Cy Young candidate, Lucas Giolito.

What does Lynn bring to Chicago? The short answer–a competent pitcher who will eat innings and save the bullpen. Since the start of the 2019 season, Lynn leads all major league pitchers in innings (292.1). He’s posted a 22-14 record with a 3.57 ERA in 46 starts over that span. The 33-year old has also posted a 10.3 K/9 rate during that time. He reunites with former skipper Tony LaRussa, who returns to the majors for the first time since winning the 2011 World Series with the Cardinals. Lynn was a rookie on that 2011 St. Louis club and pitched a scoreless inning in the deciding Game Seven of that Fall Classic.

Lynn joins a White Sox club coming off a playoff appearance in 2020. They lost in three games to the Athletics in the American League Wild Card Series. With Giolito and Keuchel, he gives Chicago a three-headed starter trio on par with that of the Indians’ Shane Bieber, Carlos Carrasco, and Zach Plesac. If we’re being honest, the White Sox trio is probably a shade worse than Cleveland’s. However, Chicago’s offense is far better (Jose Abreu, Tim Anderson, Eloy Jimenez, Luis Robert to name a few). Plus, Cleveland just lost the aforementioned Santana to the division rival Royals in free agency.

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By those standards, it’s been a good week for the White Sox. Plus, the off-season isn’t over by any stretch. Chicago has been mentioned in rumors with multiple free agents, including reliever Liam Hendriks and outfielder Michael Brantley.