The Los Angeles Angels are losing their September playoff push piece, Justin Upton, to free agency. If LA cannot bring him back, Melky Cabrera is a good alternative.
The Los Angeles Angels came up so close, but they just couldn’t do it. Mike Trout and company got so close to making their first postseason since 2014 as the team finished five games out of the AL Wild Card. For a good chunk of time in the late summer, the Angels looked to be heading to October.
Yet, a late-season meltdown prevented Trout from winning his first ever postseason game; were they to beat the New York Yankees. Los Angeles finished the season 4-10, effectively removing themselves from the playoffs.
It is a shame, really. The Los Angeles Angels are the proud home of the best player in baseball, yet, Torut has failed to win a single postseason game. The only season he made it to the playoffs the Angeles got swept by the Kansas City Royals in the ALDS. That was the same season the Angels led the MLB in wins.
Now, the Angels have another problem on their hands. In full pursuit of a playoff push, Los Angeles went out and acquired Justin Upton while sending Cameron Maybin to the Houston Astros.
As an Angel, Upton held his own. In 27 games, the outfielder slugged 7 home runs, drove in 15 RBIs and scored 19 times himself. With a .245 batting average, Upton was not enough to push the Angels over the hump into the postseason. Now, with an expiring deal and likely intents to join a contender, the Halos could have another hole in the outfield.
While there always is the possibility that the Angels can bring Upton back, with the money he is liking asking, it is not worth it. Instead, the Angels must turn to the free agent market to find a suitable replacement. Someone that will be consistent throughout the year while not breaking the bank.
The perfect man for the job? Melky Cabrera.
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Cabrera is no stranger to the MLB, as the outfielder has played 13 seasons at the highest level. In that time Cabrera has had some very high ups and some very low downs – yet, in 2018, he will still be a very good ballplayer.
Last season, Cabrera hit .285 with 17 home runs and 85 runs batted in. While he may not bring the same kind of power as Upton, he does provide a nice bat to fit into the two-slot to move Trout to the three spot. With a top four of Kole Calhoun, Cabrera and Trout, the Angels will score a lot of runs.
While the logical answer may be to replace a slugger with another slugger, that is not the route to go for the Angels. While guys like Upton and Jay Bruce are on the table, they are in the tail ends of their careers and will give the team another Albert Pujols situation.
As for Cabrera, he will bring that same veteran leadership with a better glove in left field and a lot less money. Last season, Cabrera likely hit his career max at $15 million. I would not be too shocked to see the Angels sign him to a two-year, $22 million deal. For both sides, that has to be a win.
Overall, the Los Angeles Angels definitely need to fill the hole left by Upton, amongst other things. Luckily for Trout and company, the perfect option exists in Melky Cabrera.