Second Base Options for the Angels

Updated: November 13, 2016

As expected, the Angels are interested in upgrading the second base position this off-season. That said, the Angels have their options open either via trade or the slim pickings on the free agent market. The trade route might net the Angels a solid second baseman, but their lack of high impact prospects will limit their ability to acquire such talent.

Last season, the Angels employed three players at the second base position. None of which produced much for the team. Cliff Pennington, who is entering year two of his two-year deal he signed last off-season, is expected to serve a utility role as the Angels search for a starter.

Pennington hit just .209 last year with a rather below average .265 on base percentage, making him a bench player at best. His value stems from his career .989 fielding percentage at second base and .994 last season. The Angels also have Gregorio Petit, but like Pennington he has a weak bat and will compete for a bench spot on the team.

On the free agent market, there is not many obvious upgrades out there aside from free agent, Neil Walker. The other cheaper alternatives the Angels may pursue could be Steve Pearce, Kelly Johnson or Chase Utley. Those three would come on short-term deals, while Walker would be looking for a longer term contract in the neighborhood of four or five years. Here is how they stack up:

  • Walker (31) – .273/.339/.775 and .989 Fielding
  • Pearce (34)- .254/.333/.774 and .992 Fielding
  • Johnson (35) -.251/.330/.751 and .981 Fielding
  • Utley (38) -.278/.361./.863 and .982 Fielding

All four of those solution would fit the Angels preference of having a second baseman with a solid glove as they all possess good fielding numbers. The best hitter of the group may be Utley, but at the ripe age of 38 father time is right around the corner for him. The youngest of the group is Neil Walker, but his contract demands just might be outside of the Angels price range.

Lastly, the Angels can try to upgrade via trade. Names that have been rumored include Cesar Hernandez, Brandon Phillips, Brett Lawrie, Ian Kinsler, Scooter Gennett, Chris Owings and lastly, Brian Dozier.

Most of these options will cost a few prospects, which the Angels do not have the luxury of giving up. Thus, you can pretty much cross off Kinsler Dozier and Hernandez from the trade list. Leaving the veteran Phillips as an interesting short-term candidate as well as the cheaper choices from non contending teams. Here is how they stack up:

  • Gennett (26) -.279/.318.738 with .980 Fielding
  • Owings (25)- .254/.294/.669 with .993 Fielding
  • Phillips (35) – .275/.320/.741 with .988 Fielding
  • Lawrie (26) – .261/.315/.734 with .975 Fielding

Out of this group, Owings, Gennett and Lawrie have youth on their side and could be appealing to the Angels as a longer term solution. Gennett and Owings are under control till 2020, while Lawrie is a free agent in 2018 as he is in his third season of arbitration.

Phillips is in his last year of a 10 year, 98 million dollar deal with the Reds. His case is an interesting one as he will cost 14 million but also possesses a no trade clause. At age 35, he may not waive it to come to the Angels, who do not exactly resemble a contender at the moment.

In summation, the choices at second base for the Angels this off-season are very slim but I expect them to sign or trade for at least one of the names I have mentioned in this article. I would be very surprised to see them start the season with Pennington at second base.

* All stats used are career averages*

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