Last season, the Angels’ season was in shambles after an ugly April. The bats disappointed, the starting pitching wasn’t as good as anyone expected, and the bullpen was a mess. The entire tone of the season changed when the Angels made a trade for Ernesto Frieri in early May.
Frieri was the spark the Halos desperately needed. He didn’t allow a single run in his first 26.1 innings in Angel red, and struck out an incredible 45 batters in that span. Walks were an issue, but Frieri jolted the bullpen as many Angels regressed toward their career norms and Mike Trout did Mike Trout things.
Today, the Angels are 9-17. The bats have disappointed, the starting pitching hasn’t been as good as anyone (or at least I) expected, and the bullpen is a mess. Entering the season, the pen looked like it could be a strength for the Halos, with Frieri returning, newcomer Sean Burnett, a full season of good Kevin Jepsen, and a wild card in a potentially healthy Ryan Madson, whose timetable is up in the air. The Angels’ bullpen needs a jolt. Here’s a look at a few possible trade candidates who could provide that jolt.
AJ Ramos, Miami Marlins
A smallish pitcher who lives a fastball that can get into the mid-90s, Ramos could provide the spark that this bullpen needs. The 26-year-old rookie is under team control for at least the next six seasons. In this young season he’s posted a respectable 2.87 ERA and struck out 17 batters in 15.2 innings. Ramos isn’t going to light the world on fire, but he can provide solid middle relief innings, and the Marlins would likely be willing to part with him without the Angels having to give up too much.
Matt Lindstrom, Chicago White Sox
The White Sox probably won’t be sellers too early, but for the right price, Lindstrom could probably be had. The right-hander has struggled early this season (4.91 ERA, 11 IP), but he’s coming off of his second consecutive strong season. In 2012, the 33-year-old pitched to a 2.68 ERA (and a 3.16 FIP) over 47 innings. His contract is also relatively team-friendly, paying him $2.3MM this season and including a team option for $4MM for 2014. If his team declines his option, he’ll be bought out for $0.5MM.
Wesley Wright, Houston Astros
A sinkerballing left-hander, Wright could provide a nice spark. Traditionally, Wright has been a strong ground-ball pitcher, and while his ground ball rate has taken a bit of a dip early this season, he’s still been very effective. The 28-year-old has a 2.92 ERA through 12.1 innings. Wright hit arbitration eligibility last offseason, and is under team control through 2015. Another left-handed relief option wouldn’t hurt either.