How Do Los Angeles Angels Address Hole At 2nd Base?

Los Angeles Angels

Los Angeles Angels second baseman Johnny Giavotella (12) hits an RBI fielders choice. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

With the Los Angeles Angels filling one of their most glaring holes in the past two seasons by trading for outfielder Cameron Maybin.  Maybin will fill the left field position in 2017.  Now the Angels look to fill the second base void.

So the question many Los Angeles Angels fans have is who will the team get to play second base in 2017?  There are many different rumors flying around here are the top candidates that the Angels are considering.

In this post we will examine likelihood that the Angels will actually land each of them and how good a fit will they be for the Angels. All I can say is I hope the Angels get someone, because a season with either Cliff Pennington or Gregorio Petit at second base scares me even more than last year’s platoon of Daniel Nava and Craig Gentry did.

After watching tonight’s election results I’m so glad that I write about sports. Politics has become too depressing with this election campaign being even more excruciatingly painful then watching our Angels play at times this season.

So without any further adieu here are the potential candidates at second base.

Los Angeles Angels

Los Angeles Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner (10) celebrates with first baseman Adrian Gonzalez (23) after hitting a home run during the 2016 NLCS Playoffs. Credit Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Justin Turner – IF Los Angeles Dodgers – AVG. .275 27 HR’s 90 RBI’s .339 OBP

So this may be a longshot as Turner is one of the most sought after players in free agency having a great season for the Dodgers helping to lead them to NLCS. Turner has local ties as he played his college baseball less than 10 miles from Angel Stadium.  Besides his high price tag, Turner also has played third base most of the last couple of seasons for the Dodgers.

However, Turner played second base for most of his career so it wouldn’t be much of a stretch.  Turner would definitely be an upgrade and then some over anyone the Angels have on their roster. His bat would fit nicely in the middle of the Angels order.  However, the cost may be too great for the Angels to pay, but I think this would be a big signing and at 32 he is still got three good years left in him at least.  Last year Turner only made 5.1 million dollars, but after a couple of stellar seasons in LA he will command at least double that if not more.

Turner would be a great fit as he is a team player and definitely a leader on the field.  I think he would mesh very well with the current Angels team.

Grade: A   Likelihood of Angels signing him: C-

Los Angeles Angels Targets

Los Angeles Dodgers second baseman Chase Utley (26) hits a single during the seventh inning against the Washington Nationals in the 2016 NLDS . Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Chase Utley – 2B – Los Angeles Dodgers – .252 AVG. 14 HR’s 52 RBI’s .319 OBP

Chase Utley has had a very successful 14-year career playing for the Philadelphia Phillies and most recently the Los Angeles Dodgers.  Utley is a Southern California product playing his high school ball at Long Beach Poly and his college ball at UCLA.  Utley was originally drafted by the Dodgers out of high school, but decided to go to UCLA instead and he was then drafted by the Phillies.

Utley has won one World Series title for the Phillies in 2008.  He has been a strong clubhouse guy in the last couple of seasons for the Dodgers and would be great in the Angels clubhouse.  Utley ‘s production has dropped off over the past couple of seasons as he gets older and has been in somewhat of a platoon situation he still can play.

Last season Utley hit .252 with 14 homers and drove in 52 runs.  He also had a .319 OBP. Utley in his career has an average of .278 hitting 250 homers and driving in 977 runs.  Utley has also stolen 132 bases and has a career OBP of .361 and slugging percentage of .472.

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Utley’s issue is his age as he will be 38 when he starts the 2017 season,  couple this with the fact that his numbers have been declining over the past six seasons. Utley will be a cheaper option due to these reasons and probably be had for under seven million per season.  The Angels would probably only give Utley a two-year contract and who knows how he will produce during that time,

Grade C+  – Likelihood of Angels Signing Him – A-

Los Angeles Angels

Philadelphia Phillies second baseman Cesar Hernandez (16) singles against the Washington Nationals. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Cesar Hernandez – 2B – Philadelphia Phillies .294 AVG. 6 HR’s 39 RBI’s 17 SB’s .371 OBP.

Cesar Hernandez is an outside the box player that the Angels could acquire from the Phillies with the right package of players. Hernandez is a very good defender with a career .982 fielding percentage at second base.  Hernandez is very quick and is good at getting on base.  One negative is he has a high strikeout rate going down swinging 116 times in 2016.

Hernandez is under club control for the next four seasons so he would be a fairly low cost alternative.  He doesn’t have a lot of power, but could be a good table-setter.  Hernandez has a career OBP of .350 and is a switch-hitter with a lot of upside.  Not sure what it will take to acquire him, but he could fit in nicely to the current Angels team and be a definite upgrade from what they have now.

Is it likely the Angels go the trade route to get a player such as his Hernandez.  The answer to that is yes as long as the price is right.  The fact that Hernandez is only 27 is also very attractive.  We will see what Billy Eppler has up his sleeve.

GRADE:  A-  Likelihood of Angels trading for him – C- 

Los Angeles Angels

Los Angeles Dodgers left fielder Howie Kendrick (47) hits a double during the third inning against the Washington Nationals in the 2016 NLDS. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Howie Kendrick –   2B – Los Angeles Dodgers – .255 AVG 8 HR’s 40 RBI’s 10 SB’s .326 OBP

Howie Kendrick has been a very reliable second baseman over his 11-year career.  If this name sounds familiar to Angels fans, it is because Kendrick spent the first nine years of his career with the Angels.  Kendrick was traded in the winter of 2014 to the Dodgers in a three-way deal with the Florida Marlins that netted the Angels with the Marlins top pitching prospect Andrew Heaney.

Heaney pitched well in his year, but then suffered a torn UCL in his left elbow and had Tommy John Surgery this past summer and will not be back until the 2018 season. Kendrick on the other hand has been very reliable for the Dodgers for the past two seasons hitting .272 with 17 homers driving in 94 runs.  Kendrick has a .330 OBP and has stolen 16 bases.

Kendrick has also shown tremendous versatility for the Dodgers playing games at second base, third base, first base, and left field.  The fact that Kendrick is a free agent and is still relatively young at age 33 is also a plus. Kendrick has always been a good guy in the clubhouse and the Angels clubhouse would be bolstered if he were to return.

Kendrick would be a great fit all-around as he would not super expensive and he could play multiple positions for the Angles would welcome him back with open arms.  Hopefully if Eppler doesn’t land a premiere second baseman, he would strongly consider bringing Kendrick back home to where he began in Anaheim.

Grade: B+  Likelihood of Angels signing him – B

Los Angeles Angels

New York Mets infielder Neil Walker (20) slides safely under the tag of San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey (28) . Mandatory Credit: Lance Iversen-USA TODAY Sports

Neil Walker –   2B – New York Mets – .282 AVG. 23 HR’s 55 RBI’s .347 OBP

Neil Walker is the perfect combination of power and batting average.  He is also a switch-hitter which the Angels are looking for as well, and Walker is a good defender. Walker is someone the Angels looked at last season, but decided to stand pat with Johnny Giavotella.

Walker is a free agent again after only signing a one-year deal with Mets after last season worth about 10.5 Million Dollars.  Walker is a seven-year veteran playing his first six years with the Pittsburgh Pirates before leaving for the Mets last season.  Walker will probably command a contract in the neighborhood of around 14 million a season.  He is only 31 years old so Walker has still four or five productive years left.

If the Angels do decide to sign Walker to a multi-year contract he should still be productive throughout the duration of the contract. Walker has hit a total of 116 homers in his career and has driven in 473 runs with a .273 career batting average.  Walker’s OBP is .339 with a .982  career fielding percentage.

Walker is willing to be a team player and would fit nicely into the Angels bottom third of the order.  The only drawback is his expected salary might be prohibitive to the Angels budget. However, to get something of quality you have to be willing to pay for it.

Grade: A+  -Likelihood of Angels Signing Him – B

So whatever the Angels decide to do to fill their hole at second base, hopefully it will be an upgrade from this season. Any of the options above would be a positive step in the right direction in helping the Angels return to playoff contention in 2017.

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