The acquisition of Howie Kendrick could prompt a trade for Phillies second Cesar Hernandez. Are the Angels a possible trade partner for Hernandez?
So far this offseason, the Phillies have made two significant trades in acquiring Howie Kendrick from the Dodgers and Pat Neshek from the Astros. From the buzz around the club on the rumor mill, they may not be finished dealing just yet.
According to Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly’s sources, “[Cesar] Hernandez was a hot name in trade talks at the general managers meetings.” While the general manager’s meetings have passed, the winter meetings are just a few weeks away. Hernandez may generate even more buzz once those meetings roll around.
The Phillies have shown they are willing to listen to offers for their younger players, as the Ken Giles trade showed last winter. If a team is willing to give a significant return for a young player like Hernandez, the deal may be too hard to pass up.
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One team that Hernandez could fit with is the Los Angeles Angels. Orange County Angels beat reporter Jeff Fletcher said the Angels could wind up trading one of their better young players for a “premium” second baseman since the free agent market has few quality second baseman. With Hernandez producing 4.4 fWAR last season, he could easily be the premium second baseman the Angels need.
Trading Hernandez wouldn’t leave the Phillies with a hole at second by any means. With the aforementioned acquisition of Kendrick, they already have Hernandez’s replacement on the roster need be. Freddy Galvis could also wind up sliding over to second when J.P. Crawford is eventually promoted (I think I say that in nearly every article I write). The team also has 2015 second-round pick Scott Kingery as well as Jesmuel Valentin in the upper-minors as long-term options.
Corey Seidman of CSN Philly said a Hernandez trade “only makes sense if the Phillies bring back a major-league ready player.” He pointed out that teams are unlikely to part with a “safe, top prospect” for Hernandez, saying the Phillies would be better off with a major-league ready player versus an unproven prospect.
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One player that fits this bill is left-handed pitcher Tyler Skaggs, as pointed out by Joe Giglio of NJ.com. Skaggs has already went through two trades, first being traded from the Angels to the Diamondbacks and then back to the Angels. Skaggs also underwent Tommy John surgery that cost him all of 2015 and a significant portion of 2016.
Despite his baggage, Skaggs still has plenty of potential. Baseball America named him Arizona’s No. 1 prospect after the 2012 season. He has a curveball that broke more than five inches to his glove side and dropped nearly ten inches last season according to Brooks Baseball.
Mixing that wicked curve with a low-90s fastball and solid changeup, Skaggs has legitimate strikeout potential. In ten starts in 2016, he struck out more than a batter per inning.
Skaggs would also round out what could be a solid Phillies rotation next season. Jeremy Hellickson, Jerad Eickhoff, Vince Velasquez, and Aaron Nola already provide a solid core of starters. Skaggs would be the final piece and perhaps one of the stronger pitchers in the rotation next season. He also has plenty of time left under team control with free agency not coming until after the 2020 season.
As with any and all trades in baseball, the two sides have to find a common ground. A one-for-one swap for Skaggs and Hernandez would leave both teams happy as the Angels would fill a glaring hole at second base and the Phillies would have their final piece in the rotation without leaving a hole somewhere else.