Sources: Angels likely to shake up infield to address pitching needs
Expect a different look in the Angels’ infield next season.
The team is likely to trade either second baseman Howie Kendrick or third baseman David Freese to address other needs, according to major-league sources.
The Angels would like to add another starting pitcher for depth and protection as right-hander Garrett Richards works his way back from major knee surgery. They also could seek another left-hander for their bullpen.
Both Kendrick and Freese are 31 and entering their final years of club control before becoming free agents. Kendrick is perhaps more likely to be moved — the Angels could replace him internally with Grant Green and/or Gordon Beckham, while Double A second baseman Alex Yarbrough represents a long-term option.
It would be more difficult for the Angels to address third base from within. Beckham, 28, started his career with the White Sox at that position and played 13 games at third for the Angels last season, but lacks the power that most teams expect from a corner infielder. Green, 27, also has more experience at second than at third.
The Aug. 21 trade for Beckham, however, increased the Angels’ options. Beckham, like Freese, is entering his final year of arbitration; Freese projects to earn $6 million to $6.5 million, Beckham under $5 million. Kendrick, meanwhile, will earn $9.85 million in the final year of his current deal.
The Angels previously have discussed moving Kendrick, most notably in a deal to the Dodgers in July 2013. Kendrick has limited no-trade protection that allows him to block trades to six teams in 2014 and four in ’15, according to Cot’s Baseball Contracts. The identities of those teams are not known.
The Blue Jays, White Sox, Nationals and Marlins are among the teams that could seek to upgrade at second base. Kendrick batted .293 last season with a .744 OPS, seven home runs and 75 RBI. Freese batted .260 with a .704 OPS, 10 homers and 55 RBI.