Angels Trade Top Prospect for Journeyman Lefty and Speed

The Angels have traded away perhaps their top power prospect in a deal with Arizona in which they have acquired another veteran relief pitcher who could be a big help in their 2014 run towards the playoffs. The Angles bullpen that entered 2013 with two excellent lefty situational relievers in Scott Downs and Sean Burnett have struggled through the first half of 2014 without a dependable lefty in the pen. The team brought up Rich Hill earlier this week, and in two appearances he has yet to record an out. Hill figures to be dispatched back to the minors, or released, with the trade for Joe Thatcher.

Thatcher had a couple of really good years in San Diego before moving to the vast

wasteland of the Diamondbacks midway through last season. This year he has put up good numbers - 25 strikeouts versus only three walks in 24 innings pitched and a 2.63 ERA and 1.08 WHIP - and he figures to see plenty of action the rest of the way in Anaheim.

Since the trade of Ernesto Frieri for Jason Grilli, Grilli has basically been used as the top set-up guy for newly designated Angels' closer
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Joe Smith, who has done a far better job than the erratic Frieri. For the record, Frieri had another horrendous outing for his new Pittsburgh team on Thursday, retiring a single batter while allowing five earned runs and letting a 3-2 ninth-inning deficit spiral to 8-2 in an eventual 10-2 loss.

Along with Thatcher, the Angels also acquired outfielder Tony Campana, a light-hitting speedster who doesn’t figure to find much playing time, if he even, at least for now, can find a spot on the major league roster. A lifetime .246 hitter over parts of four seasons with the Cubs and Diamondbacks, Campana has hit a single home run and driven in only 14 in over 400 at bats, but he has stolen 66 bases in 74 attempts. As a team, the Angels have

stolen 52 bases for the season, but no one has more than the 10 that both Mike Trout and Howie Kendrick has each recorded. If the team can find a spot for Campana, that added speed could help steal a game or two down the stretch.

The bad news is that these guys cost the team one of their top prospects, and their best power prospect, outfielder Zack Borenstein, who hit 28 home runs and batted .337 in class A last season. Borenstein had had a bit of a disappointing 2014 so far, splitting time between double-A and triple-A while hitting .262 with only seven home runs, but spring training started for him only a couple of weeks after the sudden death of his 20-year-old sister. Despite their history of having several Jewish managers and coaches, the Angels have never had a Jewish star player, certainly not to compare with the lineup of Sandy Koufax, Shawn Green, and others who have excelled at Dodgers’ Stadium. The Dodgers’ current number one prospect, Joc Pederson, will likely be the next in that line. The Angels

have had a few Jewish players for short periods, such as the mid-1960s tenure of Bo Belinsky, the one great year turned in by Lloyd Allen, and journeymen performances from Scott Schoeneweis and a couple of others. But, Borenstain as an Angels' start was not to be, and he'll be
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hitting home runs in the Arizona desert.

The Angels’ trade may be little more than spinning wheels, as it came shortly after the A’s made their blockbuster deal with the Cubs, acquiring two solid starters in Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel, strengthening their spot as THE team to beat in the American League.

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