The Los Angeles Angels are looking to upgrade their pitching staff, reportedly making an effort to land a pair of San Diego Padres in starter Ian Kennedy and closer Huston Street, per FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal. Rosenthal adds that the clubs have already discussed Street, but not yet Kennedy.
At 57-37 (the second best record in baseball), the Angels currently sit just 1.5 games behind the Oakland Athletics in the highly competitive AL West. Oakland has already made a major move by adding Jason Hammel and Jeff Samardzija in a single acquisition with the Cubs just over a week ago, so the Angels may be inclined to make a splash in order to keep up with their rival in Northern California.
The Angels haven't been shy about wanting to upgrade their relief crop this summer, already making moves to acquire Jason Grilli from the Pirates and Joe Thatcher from the Diamondbacks. However, Angels' general manager Jerry Dipoto continues to assert that the organization is on the hunt for a late-innings arm that could significantly improve a bullpen that has been the club's biggest weakness this season, ranking 25th in the majors with a 3.95 FIP and 27th with a 0.3 WAR.
Street, a recently named NL All-Star, has been magnificent as the Padres' closer this season. In 33 innings, the 30-year-old right-hander has a 1.09 ERA (314 ERA+), 2.88 FIP, and 4.86 K/BB. He would provide the Angels with a much-needed high leverage compliment to right-hander Joe Smith, who took over as the Angels' closer following Ernesto Frieri's early-season implosion and has been lights out since then. If the Angels were to acquire Street, Smith would likely move back to an eighth-inning role, giving the Angels a devastating one-two punch at the back of their bullpen.
If talks for Street fall through, the Angels could also target San Diego's set-up man Joaquin Benoit, who has been equally as impressive as Street this season and may be a tad easier to acquire.
The rotation isn't a major need for the Angels, who have posted a combined staff FIP of 3.67 (9th) and WAR of 7.9 (8th). However, CJ WIlson is currently sidelined with a sprained ankle and the club would prefer to use Hector Santiago as a reliever. Matt Shoemaker (3.77 FIP) probably isn't the most reliable option either.
Kennedy has long been on the Angels' radar, as the team tried to acquire him last summer when he was considered a buy-low target with the Arizona Diamondbacks before being dealt to San Diego. The 29-year-old Orange County native has bounced back after a rough 2013 to post a 3.47 ERA, 2.92 FIP, and 2.3 WAR in 124.1 innings pitched. Like Street (who comes attached with a $7 million team option for 2015), Kennedy isn't eligible for free agency until following next season.
While Street and Kennedy would be great fits in Anaheim, there are a couple roadblocks to any deal involving the two clubs.
The Padres, who are going through a front office overhaul, likely won't have a new GM in place before the trade deadline, and ownership appears to view the Padres as a quick rebuilding project, which may make Street and Kennedy, both under club control through 2015, worth keeping.
The Angels are also lacking in trade chips, boasting one of (if not) the worst farm systems in baseball. Rosenthal mentions Triple-A second baseman Taylor Lindsey (considered to be the organization's top prospect) as a possible target for the Padres, as well as a group of young relievers that includes names such as RJ Alvarez and Cam Bedrosian. While more unlikely, the Angels could also consider dealing off their major league roster, as guys such as CJ Cron and Grant Green are particularly valuable assets due to their youth.