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Chad Stewart

Mike Moustakas just might be the player the Angels need most

Chone Figgins. Alberto Callaspo. David Freese. Yunel Escobar. These are the names of a few of the players who have manned third base for the Angels over the last decade or so. High-level production at the hot corner has eluded the Angels since the homegrown Troy Glaus’ career fizzled out in the early part of the century.

Multiple players who we were led to believe would put an end to the eternal nightmare have come along since then. Dallas McPherson, Brandon Wood, Kaleb Cowart, and even Kyle Kubitza have been lucky enough to don the title of “future Angels third baseman” throughout the years. But none of them ever worked out, and the Angels have been left relying on a different unremarkable veteran third baseman to fill in every few years.

There is a player on this year’s free-agent market, however, who could solve this recurring dilemma, and his name is Mike Moustakas. Continue reading at Halos Heaven.

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If I were Billy Eppler…, Part II

Because so many baseball fans love to play GM every offseason, we here at Halos Heaven decided to get in on the action. You may have seen Jessica DeLine’s post a couple of days ago. That was the first part of a series in which each member of the HH staff outlines his or her ideal offseason.

The basic guidelines for the series are as follows. For the luxury tax payroll, we are using the number calculated by Cot’s Contracts, which is about $142.3 million for next season.

The luxury tax threshold, which owner Arte Moreno has indicated as the spending limit in years past, is $197 million for 2018, leaving us with almost $55 million to play with. We then knocked that number down to $45 million to ensure that there is enough payroll flexibility to make mid-season acquisitions possible.

As for our proposed offseason moves, we are using MLB Trade Rumors’ free-agent predictions and FanGraphs’ crowdsourced contract estimates as baselines for any free-agent signings.

For trades, we vowed to keep them as realistic as possible. A common tactic among baseball fans on the internet is simply suggesting that their team trade a bunch of players they don’t like in exchange for some they do. That’s not how trades actually work, so that’s off limits.

And lastly, if we are acquiring an arbitration-eligible player, we are using MLB TR’s arbitration projections to calculate the player’s effect on the payroll, as the final arbitration numbers are not yet in.

Got it? Continue reading at Halos Heaven.

Justin Upton opting into his contract is the best-case scenario for the Angels

On August 31, the Angels acquired Justin Upton from the Tigers in exchange for a pair of right-handed pitchers, Grayson Long and Elvin Rodriguez. In the second year of a six-year, $132.75 million deal, Upton was in the midst of the second-best season of his career, and the move positioned the Angels to make a late-season postseason push, though they ultimately came up short.

The Angels were able to land Upton for the low cost of two minor league pitchers because his contract includes an opt-out clause after this season and with the Tigers entering a rebuilding phase, he was likely to elect free agency, and leave the final four years of his contract behind. Even after having success in Anaheim and the Angels intending to remain competitive for the foreseeable future, however, Upton still reportedly plans to exercise his opt-out clause.

Opting out doesn’t necessarily mean he wants to leave Anaheim. As has been reported, it may simply be a way for him to negotiate a more lucrative contract with the Angels.

Regardless, the best-case scenario for the Angels involves Upton manning left field for them next season, whether it’s by opting into his current contract or signing a new one. Continue reading at Halos Heaven.

A look into Garrett Richards’ 2017

After making just six starts in 2016 and undergoing an experimental alternative to Tommy John surgery, Angels ace Garrett Richards began the 2017 season fully healthy and, therefore, with high expectations firmly fastened to his right arm. But he was removed from his first start of the season in April after 4 2/3 scoreless innings with what was originally billed as only a “biceps cramp.”

The injury turned out to be much more serious, though, and the 29-year-old was sidelined until September with nerve irritation in his biceps. When he was on the field, however, Richards looked like he hadn’t missed any time at all, posting a 2.28 ERA in six 2017 starts. Continue reading at Halos Heaven.

The Angels finally have a star left fielder, and his name is Justin Upton

In 2017, Angels left fielders have provided the third-worst offensive production at the position in the majors—and that’s an improvement. Over the previous two years, they ranked dead last. With yesterday’s acquisition of the power-hitting Justin Upton, however, that’s all about to change. Continue reading at Halos Heaven.

Checking in on Luis Perdomo’s Development

Just two years removed from pitching in Single-A, right-hander Luis Perdomo is a full-time member of the Padres’ starting rotation. In December 2015, he was selected by the Rockies in the Rule-5 draft and later traded to San Diego for cash considerations, which is the reason for his quick ascension.

Originally signed by the Cardinals as an international free agent in 2011, Perdomo posted a 4.10 ERA in 316 innings across four different minor league levels; none above High-A. But being a Rule-5 pick, he was thrust into the majors in 2016. Continue reading at Padres Prospectus.

Kaleb Cowart making progress at the plate

In 2010, the Angels spent their first-round draft pick on a talented Georgia-high school product by the name of Kaleb Cowart. A switch-hitting third baseman, Cowart performed as expected in the lower levels of the minor leagues, but his production fell off dramatically after a promotion to Double-A in 2013.

After two rough years at that level, Cowart was demoted back down to High-A Inland Empire, which is when he altered his swing and improved his results. And when a vacancy at the hot corner opened in Triple-A Salt Lake, the Angels called upon Cowart.

He proceeded to post the best numbers of his professional career in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League, resulting in his first major league call-up in the second half of 2015. But he was overmatched by big-league pitching, posting a miserable .174/.255/.283 line in 52 plate appearances.

In 2016, he again produced in Triple-A, but when he earned another call to the majors, he was even worse than the year prior; he hit just .176 with a .446 OPS and failed to draw a single walk in 87 plate appearances.

But with the Angels searching for production from the second base position, Cowart was given a chance at a new position this year, and he’s made the most of the opportunity. Continue reading at Halos Heaven.

Brad Hand: Possible Trade Packages

With last year’s mid-season trades of Andrew Miller, Aroldis Chapman, and Mark Melancon, the trade-deadline market for elite relievers was set. The large returns the three garnered along with their vital roles in the postseason displayed just how much contending teams value pitchers who can dominate the highest leverage situations.

The trade market for premier relievers isn’t nearly as strong this year as last, but a number of late-inning beasts will still be changing teams prior to July 31st’s deadline, and the Padres possess the best one available. Continue reading at Padres Prosectus.

Dinelson Lamet’s Slider Will Lead Him to Success

In 2014, the Padres signed right-hander Dinelson Lamet out of the Dominican Republic. Although he was never a highly-rated prospect, Lamet posted solid numbers throughout his time in the minor leagues and is now showing an ability to hold his own against major league hitters. Continue reading at Padres Prospectus.

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