Los Angeles needs a lead-off hitter and the Phillies have one of the best
Long have the Los Angeles Angels been connected to the Phillies second baseman Cesar Hernandez. Los Angeles needs both a second baseman and a lead-off hitter, both of which Hernandez can provide over the long-term.
While the interest from Los Angeles has been well known Jim Salisbury of NBC Philadelphia reports the team “covets” the Phillies 27-year-old infielder. However, Phillies general manager and former Angels executive Matt Klentak has set an extremely high price on Hernandez, who still have three years of team control.
Last season Angels lead-off hitters combined to hit .253 and a .703 OPS last season, compared to a league-average .263 average and .755 OPS for lead-off hitters.
Even worse the Angels second basemen hit .206 last year, even after acquiring Brandon Phillips.
It’s a perfect match for both sides, although Los Angeles has one of, if not the, worst farm system in the league. According to MLB Pipeline, only one player other than Shohei Ohtani rates among the top-10 at their position, and no one rates among the top-100 prospects in baseball.
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Los Angeles would likely have to swing a major league starter to Philadelphia in a potential Hernandez trade. Even then the Angels have limited options with all their starters who threw at least 100 innings has an ERA of 3.60 or higher.
Garrett Richards was a promising young pitcher, but his career was derailed by a major knee injury. J.C. Ramirez was jettisoned from the Phillies 40-man roster after coming from Seattle in the Cliff Lee trade. Matt Shoemaker, Rickey Nolasco, and Jesse Chavez are over 30-years-old and have no value to a rebuilding team whatsoever.
Perhaps the only intriguing player on the Angels roster from the Phillies aspet is Mike Trout, but that is a pipedream fans will have until the day he retires.
Los Angeles is likely better off exploring cheaper trade options such as Ian Kinsler or Starlin Castro.