The Los Angeles Angels appeared to be involved in the blockbuster Mookie Better trade, right up until it was reported that they weren’t.
The Los Angeles Angels were inserted in the Mookie Betts blockbuster trade unexpectedly and were making a huge improvement to the team as a result. The Angels were set to receive Joc Pederson, Ross Stripling and prospect Andy Pages from the Los Angeles Dodgers for Luis Rengifo and unnamed prospects.
The trade got reworked, the Dodgers sent more prospects, but got Graterol, and everyone seemed to benefit — except the Los Angeles Angels. For whatever reason, the reported deal between the Dodgers and Angels was nixed.
The speculation afterward is that the trade was nixed by Angels owner Arte Moreno, who either grew impatient or uncertain as trade talks continued. The trade was initially reported on a Tuesday and the revamped trade was reported five days later.
The fact that five days might have taken this trade away for the Angels is quite laughable, as the Los Angeles Angels will not find a trade better than this all season long.
The Angels could still land a pitcher sometime this season. Matthew Boyd is a name that has been circulating and who knows who will become available as the year goes on. They still won’t land an ace, as they will never trade Jo Adell, making it near-impossible to get a better trade than this one.
Ross Stripling is not an ace, but he is a former all-star that would have provided reliable depth in a rotation that needs it. While the rotation looks good enough to compete for a wild card spot now, it is one or two injuries away from falling apart.
Stripling would have helped that. Pederson would have also been a great power-hitting bat to add to the order. Sure, he is unusable against southpaws, but he is one of the best power-hitting left-handed outfields in baseball. That would have made this offense, which is light on great left-handed bats, even better.
It isn’t just that both players helped the Angels in various ways, but the team was getting the for virtually nothing. The Dodgers seemingly needed to just free up salary cap space and were willing to throw a surplus arm in Stripling into the deal just because the Angels were taking Pederson’s salary.
The Angels were getting assets ADDED to the deal for taking a $7.75 million contract of one of the best power-hitting left-handed hitters in baseball, all because the Dodgers needed to free up money.
This bridge seems to be burned. If the trade was going to go through it would have gone through by now. It now appears like the Dodgers are going to hold onto Pederson and Stripling, while Angel fans are left wondering “what if?”
The Los Angeles Angels will not find a deal better than the one that they, speculatively, pulled out of for no reason other than being impatient. The front office better hope that they make a playoff run to take the sting out of this.