Los Angeles Angels Trade Tommy La Stella

Tommy La Stella

Angels Trade Tommy La Stella 

Los Angeles Angels infielder Tommy La Stella was noticeably absent from Friday’s lineup against the Seattle Mariners fueling speculation regarding a trade. Further, La Stella hugged fellow teammates at the start of the second inning before leaving into the clubhouse. By the third inning, it was announced on social media that the Angels traded La Stella to the Oakland Athletics.

The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal was the first to report the trade over Twitter. The trade sends La Stella to Oakland for infielder Franklin Barreto.

La Stella’s Departure

Defensively

La Stella served as a reliable infielder during his time with the Angels. In 2019, he played mostly second and third base and was moved to first base this season to provide relief for the aging Albert Pujols in 2020. His versatility gave the Angels a lot of options for filing the infield, but at times, La Stella’s fielding has left more to be desired. He ranks in the bottom of the Angels roster in UZR at 0.1 and DEF at -0.6 according to Fangraphs.

Offensively

During his time with the Angels, La Stella provided a high-quality bat over the last two seasons. His offensive contribution led to his 2019 All-Star selection as he hit for a 0.832 OPS and generated a wRC+ of 122 with a 2.0 WAR by the end of the season. For a short duration in the 2019 season, he led the Angels in home runs over Mike Trout. His 2020 numbers continued to net him a 0.5 WAR hitting for an .845 OPS.

Franklin Barreto’s Arrival

Defensively

Barreto has played in less than 100 MLB games. Many thought Barreto would platoon the 2020 season at second base with Tony Kemp; however, he has seen limited action. Still, he gained a positive reputation as a shortstop during his minor league play. MLB.com ranked him baseball’s eighth best shortstop in 2016. Despite his limited time in the majors and during spring training, Barreto stayed in contention for a starting role in the infield.

Offensively

Barreto saw success in his minor league time at the plate where he led the Gulf Coast League in slugging percentage in 2013 and was named team MVP in 2014 for the Vancouver Canadians. However, in his limited time in the MLB, he has not shown great offensive production. Last year in 58 plate appearances, he hit .123 with a .401 OPS, resulting in a -0.6 WAR. This season, Barreto has only 10 plate appearances.

Outlook

The trade indicates General Manager Billy Eppler‘s look to the future. La Stella, set to be a free agent at the end of 2020, gives the Athletics high-quality offense at a low cost in preparation for a playoff run. Meanwhile, the Angels get a former top-100 prospect with defensive upside and more years of contract control.

Still, given the offensive production by La Stella over the last two seasons, Angels fans will likely remain disappointed with the trade. For a former 2019 All-Star, Barreto does not feel like a good gain. Further, offensive production remains a challenge for the Angels and Barreto looks unlikely to fill that need immediately.

However, the Angels need to look past 2020. Barreto offers more years of control at a lower cost. The Angels infield budget is bloated and the team needs cheap infield options to make room, hopefully, for a larger signing in the starting rotation. Also, Halo fans should not write off Barreto. He has been given limited opportunities to perform. His minor league experience highlights success on both sides of the ball. Joining a struggling Angels team should offer Barreto more plate appearances to evaluate his true potential and better refine his hitting tool.

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2 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. This feels like a replay of the Moneyball scene where the GM on the phone knows BB is screwing him but can’t help but make the trade anyway. Future value does not equal more, total value. Seems like BE used a trade chart a la NFL draft trade valuations. Perhaps shaking things up will pay off in the long term?

    1. I think this shows the market for a rental utility hitter like La Stella was low. I think bottomline is its better than nothing and why not take the gamble on Barreto.

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