As many of us know, the Angels are dangerously close to the luxury tax. This leaves fiscal problems in any moves that they may consider. But a problem that may even be greater than the luxury tax is their whole in left field. Angels left fielders combined for a .570 OPS last year, which is the second lowest mark for a left field position in baseball history. So... What are the Angels options? Could the work a deal that provides a left fielder without falling over the cap? They can. Time to trade CJ Wilson. Wilson has been a steady performer and has pitched relatively well for the Angels, but is owed 20 million dollars next season. Therefore, trading him could provide financial flexibility, and may even be able to land them an outfield bat. Let’s take a look at the latter and think of a few outfielders the Angels can realistically target in a potential trade involving CJ Wilson.
This former-top-prospect had stalemated on the Mariners prior to being tossed to the Yankees at the deadline last season, but Ackley is a slightly above average defender, and can move around the diamond if necessary (I'm looking at you second base). He is also a lefty, which would balance the Angels righty-heavy lineup. We may have to eat some salary to get him, seeing as he's getting paid less than $4 million in the upcoming season, however he would provide average offense with average defense for the Angels. The Yankees could no doubt benefit from CJ Wilson, considering their rotation last season was devastated by injuries and setbacks.
Yes, 'Bro-hio' could be a perfect fit in Southern California. Swisher is a veteran leader who could bring a great clubhouse personality to the Angels. He is able to play LF, RF, and 1B, so he could even fill in for CJ Cron or relieve Kole Calhoun on an as-need-basis. This would enable us to eat less of Wilson’s contract than would need be for Ackley, however Swisher is not on the youthful side of 30 and will likely not provide a major upgrade over the current platoon situation. The upside of Swisher is the Clubhouse presence and ability to move around the diamond. Although the Braves are certainly in no dire need of starting pitching, Wilson could provide veteran leadership and be deemed more valuable the Swisher in Atlanta.
After the “Josh Hamilton crisis,” Arte Marino would have trouble investing in a player who has experienced drug problems in the past, but since his past mistakes, Melky has been a positive contributor. Last years 77 RBI's and .273 batting average would definitely boost the Angels lineup, and he is owed $14 Million for 2016 and is to be under contract for 2017. The high salary is looked at as a bonus in this circumstance because this represents a lower asking price, and makes a CJ Wilson trade with him more realistic. Another positive is that he is a switch hitter with very similar career splits from both sides of the batters box, which benefits any lineup. Cabrera, however, is 31 years old and his numbers have been declining these last few years. Cabrera could be a potential buy-low candidate than could pan out large, for just Wilson. On the White Sox end, they would provide interest in this due to the fact you can never have too much pitching, and they already have Avisail Garcia, who plays the same position and provides similar stats with Cabrera.
The rebuilding Brewers may be encouraged to sell off more of their remaining assets admits their prime to plan for the future. This youthful slugger hit 27 homeruns last year, and would be a major offensive upgrade for the Angels. His big bat could fit in the middle of the lineup and contribute to the Angels with such magnitude it would lead to a deep playoff push. A player of such magnitude and age comes at a price. This would likely take a package of minor leaguers in addition to CJ Wilson to acquire him, therefore making this the most unlikely of our bunch. I’m sure you’re thinking that there is no way that Milwaukee would have any interest in Wilson, but you may be wrong there. Although Wilson could be a great clubhouse presence for the currently-young Brewers roster, I’m sure you’re thinking that there is no way that Milwaukee would have any interest in Wilson, but you may be wrong there. Wilson could be a great clubhouse presents for the currently young Brewers roster and could be tossed at the deadline for some prospects if he has success.
Any of the above players could be a suitable fit in Anaheim, but which one is the best fit?
Mitch Robertson & Jake Wesley