Third Angels’ Deal: They’ve Moved From Frieri Alley to Huston Street

Possessing the major league’s second best record, the Los Angeles Angels appeared to have almost everything a solid title contender needs: Consistent and clutch hitting, and with power, solid defense, a smart, experienced and decisive manager with a quality coaching staff behind him, and vastly improved and now solid starting pitching. What was glaringly missing, however, was a dependable bullpen, led by a reliable closer.

As the season progressed, this weakness became more and more apparent, and after several unsettling losses, GM Jerry Dipoto and the rest of the Angels’ brain trust realized

that, after missing the playoffs for far too long, they had a real chance this season, and the one weakness could not be allowed to keep them from the playoffs, and from the big prize of the World Series.

So, first they unloaded the incumbent closer, the ineffective Ernesto Frieri, receiving in exchange a veteran in Jason Grilli who could be a solid set-up guy who also had closer experience and who, if need
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be, could be used in that role. Then they traded one of the organization’s top prospects, Zack Borenstein, for a solid situational lefty in Joe Thatcher. Then tonight, the final and most vital move has been made, with the acquisition of all-star closer Huston Street (along with minor league righty Trevor Gott), in a deal for more prospects.

The Angels gave up four young guys in the deal, a couple of whom could have good major league futures. Jose Rendon is a speedy young shortstop who was hitting .327 in the low minors and R.J. Alvarez was striking everyone out in Double-A, while compiling a microscopic 0.33 ERA. Also going to San Diego in the deal were pitcher Elliot Morris and second baseman Taylor Lindsey, who was the team’s number one draft choice in 2010

who has not progressed since hitting a sizzling .362 in the Pioneer League in 2011. He was at .247 in Triple-A this season, but he does have a bit of power, hitting as many as 17 home runs in one season.

But, the Angels received one of the games' very best in the 30-year-old Street. The nine-year vet is already number 31 on the all
time saves’ list, and has collected 24 saves already this season with San Diego, to go along with his 1.09 ERA and 0.76 WHIP. He also is familiar with the AL West, having spent his first four seasons with Oakland. Street is, however, in the final year of a two-year contract signed with the Padres, but the club – now the Angels – has a 2015 option. Incredibly, Street, with a lifetime 2.87 ERA and 1.02 WHIP, and the fifth highest save total among active pitchers, is earning only $7 million per year, including the 2015 option season.

The Angels began the season trying to navigate down Frieri Alley, but now they’re in the drivers’ seat on Huston Street.

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