Angels not named Shohei Ohtani the Braves could target at trade deadline

MLB: JUN 27 White Sox at Angels

Though many expect the Angels to be sellers at the trade deadline, that might not be the case. The club is well out of reach of the AL West, as the Rangers sit 8.0 games ahead of Los Angeles. However, the Halos remain in the Wild Card, sitting 4.0 games out of the final spot.

Regardless of their current standing, the club should probably sell. Obviously, fans don’t want them to, but the Angels have virtually no chance of competing for a World Series. Moreover, despite this recent surge, it’s not a well-constructed baseball team and will likely miss the playoffs. The smart move would be to capitalize at the deadline and cash in on expiring contracts.

The biggest story is Shohei Ohtani. The Japanese superstar has been mentioned in trade rumors, which will continue leading up to the August 1 deadline. I believe the Angels should trade him because they have little chance of re-signing him. Ohtani wants to win above all else, and LA has shown since he joined they aren’t capable of doing so.

Letting Ohtani walk in free agency without getting anything in return is embarrassing. For the purposes of this exercise, let’s assume they do the right thing and move Ohtani, along with other pieces. Who could the Braves target at the trade deadline other than the two-way phenom?

Aaron Loup

Loup isn’t the bullpen piece Braves fans are hoping for, and rightfully so. His 5.00 ERA is horrendous, but his 3.77 FIP suggests the number should be lower. He’s also been better as of late. Outside of an atrocious outing against the Padres in which he allowed four earned runs, the veteran hadn’t allowed a run in seven straight outings, dating back to late June.

He’s not a sexy trade target, but the Angels would probably let him go for pennies on the dollar if they were to sell. The Braves have a knack for finding diamonds in the rough, and Alex Anthopoulos could see Aaron Loup as a solid low-leverage reliever as the club deals with a myriad of injuries to the relief core.

Matt Moore

Set to hit free agency this offseason, Moore makes a ton of sense to move for the Angels if a team is interested. He missed a bit of time with an oblique injury but is back in the bullpen. Before hitting the IL, the veteran lefty compiled a 1.44 ERA, 0.80 WHIP and 21 strikeouts in 25 innings.

He hasn’t looked the same since returning though, allowing three earned runs in as many innings. However, during the 2022 season, Moore posted a sub-2.00 ERA across 74.0 innings. It’s possible the Braves could see a path to him returning to the pitcher he was before the injury. He also wouldn’t cost much to acquire if the Angels choose to sell.

Carlos Estévez

Estévez is under contract through 2024, so he will cost more based on that information alone. The Angels closer owns a 2.13 ERA across 38.0 innings pitched and just earned his first All-Star nod. If the Braves wanted to add a better reliever without targeting the higher-profile guys like Josh Hader, Carlos Estévez makes a lot of sense.

The Braves acquired Raisel Iglesias from the Angels at last year’s deadline; it could make sense to go back to the watering hole and get another one. After signing Estevez to a two-year deal this offseason to compete for their open closer spot, it worked out better than they could’ve hoped, so they might as well cash in.

None of these are the sexiest trade targets, but Alex Anthopoulos is all about value. If the Angels choose to sell, these are a few names I could see in Atlanta’s crosshairs.

Photographer: John Cordes/Icon Sportswire

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