Yankees Could Target Angels’ Controllable Starting Pitching

Jul 8, 2016; Baltimore, MD, USA; Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Matt Shoemaker (52) pitches during the second inning at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 8, 2016; Baltimore, MD, USA; Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Matt Shoemaker (52) pitches during the second inning at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports /

The last place Los Angeles Angels have several starting pitchers that could interest the New York Yankees at the upcoming August 1st trade deadline.

The Los Angeles Angels entered the All Star break at 37-52, 13 games back in the Wild Card race, and comfortably in the basement of the AL West. It’s fair to say they’re out of contention at this point and should sell anything not nailed down at the upcoming trade deadline, especially since they have arguably the worst farm system in baseball.

On the other hand, they have the best baseball player on the planet in Mike Trout locked up to a below market deal. If they aren’t going to trade him (and they might!), than a complete teardown probably doesn’t make sense for them, especially considering their considerable commitments to Albert Pujols and Andrelton Simmons. This is a veteran club that was built to compete now. Things just aren’t working out very well, and it’s not clear what the Angels do from here.

If they are going to attempt to contend in 2017, then the Angels are likely to stand pat at the 2016 trade deadline. They have some money coming off the books this winter that they can invest in some reinforcements, and staff ace Garrett Richards should be back at full strength by then. 

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That said, nearly every contender will be on the hunt for starting pitching in the next month (including the Yankees), and the Halos have three interesting and controllable arms they could shop if they are so inclined. Dealing one wouldn’t necessarily mean a complete rebuild.

Don’t forget that the Angels’ general manager is former Yankees’ assistant GM Billy Eppler, a Brian Cashman protege. Pundits have been predicting a big deal between the two former colleagues ever since Eppler got the job and it still hasn’t come. He knows the players in the organization well and surely still has his favorites. It’s only a matter of time before a move goes down.

Here are the controllable starters the Angels have to offer the Yankees:

Matt Shoemaker– 4.45 ERA and 3.66 FIP in 97 IP (17 GS)

While there have been some bumps along the way, Shoemaker has shown flashes of dominance in 2016, mostly thanks to an increased reliance on his excellent split-fingered fastball. He’s thrown the pitch 34% of the time in his first 17 starts of the year, and the results have been positive. He’s struck out nine batters per nine innings and walked just two per nine in the first half.

Although he’s already 29, he comes with three more years of team control. His performance has been up and down since finishing second in the Rookie of the Year voting in 2014, so Shoemaker is hardly a safe bet going forward, but he’ll probably settle in as a mid-rotation starter eventually.

Hector Santiago– 4.58 ERA and 5.14 FIP in 98.1 IP (18 GS)
While there are things to like about Santiago, he would very likely be a disaster in Yankee Stadium. Extreme fly ball pitchers don’t mix well with band boxes, and Santiago ranks sixth in MLB with 46.4% fly balls allowed. He does have a solid track record of run prevention (3.71 career ERA in 101 starts), but always with scary peripherals.

He’s currently walking four batters per nine innings and allowing 1.6 HR/9. Add in the fact that he comes with only one more year of team control, and he’s easily the worst fit for the Yankees out of this group. They’d be better off just re-signing Ivan Nova.

Nick Tropeano– 3.12 ERA and 4.74 FIP in 66.1 (12 GS)

A classic back-of-the-rotation finesse type of guy, “NiTro” isn’t a pitcher the Yankees can build their rotation around, but he is a useful piece for a team in search of pitching depth. At 25, he’s the youngest of this group and comes with the most team control (he won’t hit free agency until 2021).

Tropeano throws three types of fastball: a low 90’s four-seamer, a two-seamer with nice sink, and a mid-80’s splitter. He also mixes in a solid slider and a changeup that is probably his best offering.

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Because the Angels are not your typical sellers, they could even be interested in a need-for-need swap of major league pieces. There were rumblings that LA was eyeing Brett Gardner last winter to fill the gaping hole in left field. Could a Gardy for Shoemaker swap work for both sides?