The Los Angeles Angels were served a bit of stale cheese this past week, with three-fourths of their starting infield hitting the injured list.
Gio Urshela’s fractured pelvis will definitely keep him out for the rest of the year, with Zach Neto and Anthony Rendon’s timelines a bit more cloudy.Neto suffered a strained oblique and hit the injured list on June 14, and Rendon was plunked on the wrist and joined him on the sidelines a day later. Urshela’s bat will probably be missed the most, but Neto is in the middle of a pretty impressive rookie campaign.
All three players are huge parts of a team that has found itself, somewhat surprisingly, in the thick of a pennant race. Faced with the grim reality of Kevin Padlo and Michael Stefanic taking meaningful at-bats, the Halos flipped a few minor league pitchers for veteran infielders to help hold down the fort.
What two trades mean for the Los Angeles Angels
With Brett Baty’s arrival in Queens, Eduardo Escobar was forced out of his regular role as the New York Mets everyday third baseman. In L.A., the switch-hitting veteran will get more playing time. While his best days may be behind him, his bat still has plenty of pop (20 homers just a year ago), and he plays a decent hot corner to boot. Rendon’s track record with injuries isn’t the best, and Escobar’s presence provides the club with a nice Plan B should history repeat itself. In the meantime, he should contribute veteran at-bats to a team that desperately needs help at third base, and all it cost was a couple of Double-A pitchers.
After three pretty disappointing seasons in Cincinnati, the Reds gave Mike Moustakas $22 million to kick rocks, and he eventually landed on Colorado’s 2023 Opening Day roster. Invited to spring training with the Rockies as a non-roster invitee, he played his way on to the team and has been enjoying a nice bounce back season, hitting .270 with a .795 OPS while playing a regular role as a corner infielder. Now a part of the Angels, he most likely won’t be an everyday starter for the Halos, he is an intriguing depth piece that has also played some second base, and his lefty bat will offer some nifty platoon options or late game swaps.
The Angels are just six games out of first in AL West, and just one game out of the wildcard. Adding Escobar and Moustakas now allow them to stay competetive, while providing the team with some nice options down the road should Rendon and Neto come back healthy.