Angels trade rumors: Ian Kennedy, other starters are possible trade targets

Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

The Angels are exploring the market for starting pitchers as they try to catch the A's in the AL West.

The Los Angeles Angels appear to be in the market for a starting pitching upgrade, as Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reports that the team "would like to add [another] starter."

The Angels, who are currently 38-33 and in the lead for the second AL Wild Card spot, aren't in dire need of an upgrade in the rotation. The Angels' rotation is significantly improved over last year's atrocity of a staff, as their 3.68 starters ERA is good for 10th best in the majors, while their 3.65 FIP ranks 7th.

The club's top trio of Jered Weaver, Garrett Richards, and CJ Wilson has been outstanding this season, but they have also received solid performances from the pair of Tyler Skaggs and Matt Shoemaker. The 27-year-old Shoemaker has looked surpringly strong in 6 starts (11 appearances overall) this season, accruing a 3.83 ERA (3.41 as a starter) and 9.6 K/9 versus an exemplary 1.9 BB/9. Skaggs, who has a 3.62 ERA in his first full-time gig at the big league level, is currently on the disabled list with a right hamstring strain, but could return as early as next week.

As Rosenthal points out, the Angels likely lack the necessary pieces to acquire someone of Jeff Samardzija or David Price's caliber, which means they'll likely go after more middle-tier options such as Ian Kennedy of the Padres or Dillon Gee of the Mets.

Kennedy, who the Angels targeted last summer, is an Orange County native and won't be eligible for free agency until after next season. Kennedy is notching a fine rebound campaign this year after posting a 4.91 ERA Last season. In 15 starts and 92 innings for the Padres, Kennedy has a 3.72 ERA, 3.08 FIP, 4.08 K/BB, and 1.5 WAR. Generally known as a fly ball pitcher, he would be a strong fit in the spacious Angel Stadium.

Gee is currently recovering from a strained lat, but is expected back by early next month. The 28-year-old right-hander had a strong start to the season before going down, posting a 2.73 ERA and 1.3 WAR in 52.2 innings. He had a 3.62 ERA and 4.00 FIP in 199 innings with the Mets in 2013.

One reason the Angels may be inclined to acquire another starter is the appealing option of moving Hector Santiago back to the bullpen. The 26-year-old Santiago, acquired along with Skaggs in December's Mark Trumbo trade, has been lackluster this season, walking nearly four batters per nine innings and posting a 4.44 ERA (4.35 FIP) in 48.2 innings, while also spending time in Triple-A due to his struggles. The Angels are currently in need of a left-handed reliever, and Santiago, a southpaw, would be a strong solution to that problem. He owns a career 3.49 ERA in 77.1 relief innings.

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