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Trade Rumors: Angels might deal infielder for a starting pitcher

Could the Mets send a pitcher to the Angels this winter?

Thearon W. Henderson

The Angels are looking for a starting pitcher, says Ken Rosenthal. That makes sense, as the team lost Garrett Richards, who was enjoying an excellent season, to a gruesome knee injury that required surgery in August. There's at least some uncertainty as to when he will be back.

On top of that, starting pitcher Tyler Skaggs wasn't all that effective before he went down to Tommy John surgery in August. And while the Angels got twenty very good starts from rookie Matt Shoemaker, Jered Weaver was just decent this year, and C.J. Wilson struggled mightily. Hector Santiago, who made twenty-four starts for the Angels this season, wasn't as bad as Wilson but wasn't all that effective, either.

Rosenthal specifically reports that the Angels are looking to trade an infielder for a starting pitcher, though he names third baseman David Freese and second baseman Howie Kendrick—both of whom have just one year left on their contracts—as the players Los Angeles could trade but does not mention the Mets as a potential trading partner despite the team's starting pitching excess.

Of course, the Mets already have a second baseman with one year left on his contract in Daniel Murphy, and so long as David Wright is healthy, he will be playing third base on an everyday basis. Both Freese and Kendrick are right-handed hitters who have excelled against left-handed pitching and have dabbled a bit in playing first base at the major league level, but it is hard to imagine the Mets trading a starting pitcher for one year of either of the two players to platoon with Lucas Duda at first.

If the Angels were instead willing to deal shortstop Erick Aybar, who is 30 years old and has two years and $17 million left on his contract, perhaps the Mets would show some interest. Aybar has a career 99 wRC+ and has been rated well by baserunning and defensive metrics. But the Angels don't have an obvious replacement available at shortstop.

The Mets could obviously also use a corner outfielder this winter, but with Mike Trout and Josh Hamilton entrenched in the Angels' outfield—for different reasons—the Mets would pretty much have to target Kole Calhoun, who hit well this year and is still inexpensive and under the Angels' control for several more years. Given the incredible amount of money they have committed to just a handful of other players, the Angels probably aren't itching to give him up.