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Padres get terrific return from Angels for Huston Street

Jul 19, 2014, 12:29 AM EDT

Taylor Lindsey Taylor Lindsey

The Angels wanted a true closer awfully badly, giving up three of their top 10 prospects to bring in Huston Street from the Padres on Friday.

It was a six-player deal in all, with the Padres getting second baseman Taylor Lindsey, shortstop Jose Rondon, reliever R.J. Alvarez and right-hander Elliot Morris from the Angels for Street and right-hander Trevor Gott.

ESPN’s Jim Bowden was the first to report the deal, with the Los Angeles Times’ Mike DiGiovanna and FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal filling in the particulars.

Lindsey opened the year as the Angels’ No. 1 prospect, according to Baseball America. In fact, he was the team’s only prospect to make BA’s preseason Top 100 list. Lindsey, though, has had a tough season as a 22-year-old in Triple-A, hitting a modest .247/.323/.400 in a very good environment for offense at Salt Lake. He’s still a nice all-around offensive prospect with his history of hitting for solid averages and decent pop. He also doesn’t strike out too much (just 44 times in 334 plate appearances this year). He’s no better than average defensively at second, but he should be good enough to stay there. Ideally, he’ll push Jedd Gyorko to third next year with Chase Headley expected to depart as a free agent (if not well before then).

While Lindsey’s stock has dropped, Rondon’s has been on the rise this year, what with him hitting .327/.362/.418 as a 20-year-old in the California League. He doesn’t figure to develop any home run power as he ages, but his line-drive stroke will produce doubles and he’s a legitimate shortstop. He’s gives the Padres another potential long-term alternative to Everth Cabrera, though he’s at least two years off.

Alvarez has definite closer potential. The 2012 third-round pick has allowed just one earned run in 27 innings for Double-A Arkansas this year, striking out 38 in the process. He has a 155/48 K/BB ratio lifetime in 103 minor league innings. Command is an issue, he throws in the mid-90s and has a very good slider. He could reach the majors in the second half and challenge for the closer’s role come next summer.

Morris, a 2013 fourth-round pick, was 5-4 with a 3.27 ERA and an 84/41 K/BB ratio in 85 1/3 innings between low-A Burlington and high-A Inland Empire this season. He’s not as highly regarded as the other three prospects.

Still, that’s quite a return for Street, who is making $7 million this year and whose deal contains a $7 million option for 2015. He’ll step right in as the Angels’ closer, pushing Joe Smith back to the eighth inning and strengthening in the bullpen as a whole. Of some concern to the Angels should be the fact that Street hasn’t pitched 60 innings in a season since 2009. He’d been used carefully by the Padres this year — they haven’t had all that many leads to protect — throwing 33 innings in the first half. The Angels will have more work for him, but they might want to tread carefully.

It should be noted that the Angels didn’t just get Street in the trade: Gott, a 2013 sixth-round pick, has a good chance of reaching the majors as a middle reliever or maybe a setup man. He has a 3.56 ERA and a 42/18 K/BB in 43 innings between high-A and Double-A this year.

In all, this one looks like a real winner for the Padres, especially in light of the fact that infield prospects were their biggest area of need. They matched up well with the Angels there, since the Angels feel they’re set with Erick Aybar and Howie Kendrick going forward. It’s just that minor league depth is hardly a strength of the Angels system; they’re not going to have much to offer if injuries strike and they need additional reinforcements this year.

  1. penguins87and71 - Jul 19, 2014 at 12:36 AM

    Wow if this is what the Pirates had to give up to get him, the NO THANK YOU! I know he was a ALL Star this year and had terrific numbers, and he will probably help the Angels, but giving up 3 top 10 prospects is a little to much for me.

    • SocraticGadfly - Jul 19, 2014 at 1:12 AM

      Given that just 1 of the 3 prospects was an MLB top 100, and him barely, this actually says more about the thinness of the Angel system than it does the actual price paid.

      Let’s call Gott and Alvarez a wash. The Angels gave away a 2B who may, and may well not .. note the “ideally” … make the big team next year. Rondon? As noted, he’s at least two years off … still in A ball.

      In exchange, the Angels get a proven closer whose consistently put up very good numbers, if not quite great. Yes, he’s been on short innings in the past few years. Flip side is that the Haloes have Grilli as well as Smith in the back end of the pen to get to Smith.

      The $7M isn’t unreasonable at all for next year, either.

      So, I don’t think this is a “robbery” for the Friars at all. It could be a win-win, which is fine. For now, with the Grilli trade plus this, the Angels have a very, very solid pen now.

      • SocraticGadfly - Jul 19, 2014 at 1:21 AM

        Per Aaron Gleeman’s earlier post about the trade, with the Angels acquiring the All-Star closer Huston Street:

        Street has never been particularly durable and occasionally has trouble keeping the ball in the ballpark, but he’s never had an ERA above 4.00, boasts a 2.87 ERA in 565 career innings, and has a 2.03 mark with a 127/32 K/BB ratio in 129 innings for the Padres since 2012.

        Again, to me, looks like a smart move for the Angels, with Grilli and Smith leading to Street this year. And, they can let Grilli walk in the offseason if he wants too much.

      • marketingforcontractors - Jul 19, 2014 at 7:43 PM

        Gott is organizational filler. Nothing more. Certainly not the caliber of pitcher Alvarez is, even if Alvarez is a closer. Elliott is much better than Gott. So that is not a wash.

        Rondon is the prize of the group. He plays exceptional defense and hits for average with a great contact rate. He is exactly what the Padres need.

        Lindsey is pretty much the same player as Gyorko. A power bat with little plate recognition. He may have started the year as the top player in the Angels organization, but he has really struggled at AAA.

      • SocraticGadfly - Jul 20, 2014 at 12:27 AM

        Thx for the additional info.

        That said, I’m always skeptical about “touting” a guy still down in A ball. Wake me up when he’s at AA and we see what he’s doing there.

      • apkyletexas - Jul 20, 2014 at 1:33 AM

        Deals like this are how minor league systems get “thin” in the first place. Can’t have it both ways. A bad deal is a bad deal, no matter how you spin it.

  2. zzalapski - Jul 19, 2014 at 1:02 AM

    It’s like the Angels didn’t learn anything from the Greinke rental.

    • SocraticGadfly - Jul 19, 2014 at 1:13 AM

      It’s not a “rental.” His $7M option will surely be picked up, and will be worth it.

      • hbk72777 - Jul 19, 2014 at 1:15 AM

        Could get Robertson, Rodney or a host of others next year, for way less than 7 mil

      • SocraticGadfly - Jul 19, 2014 at 1:29 AM

        Wrong … Rodney’s making $7M himself next year and is 7 years older. Pass. Besides, since he’s signed next year to the division rival Mariners, he’s not moving anyway …

        You might want to check things like that out before commenting?

      • SocraticGadfly - Jul 19, 2014 at 1:32 AM

        Oh, and Robertson? The Yankees themselves, at least, will definitely offer him more than $7M a year for his new contract.

      • zzalapski - Jul 19, 2014 at 2:28 AM

        Thought it was a player option, not a team option. My mistake.

  3. Caught Looking - Jul 19, 2014 at 1:04 AM

    That’s a pretty good haul for a team without a GM

  4. xpensivewinos - Jul 19, 2014 at 1:17 AM

    Whoever pulled that deal off should get the GM job……

    • gloccamorra - Jul 19, 2014 at 2:19 PM

      Would you believe… Omar Minaya?

  5. kennewickmike - Jul 19, 2014 at 1:18 AM

    This says a lot about the team the owners think they have. Once a team starts trading away youth for second half players it sounds like they want this year to be the year

    • scatterbrian - Jul 19, 2014 at 12:25 PM

      Oh absolutely. The Angels made two big splashes the last three years that have netted them two 3rd place finishes. Moreno is getting impatient. If the Angels miss the postseason, DiPoto and/or Scioscia will get the axe.

    • asimonetti88 - Jul 19, 2014 at 1:29 PM

      The Angels will pick up Street’s option for next season.

  6. thehawg - Jul 19, 2014 at 1:27 AM

    2003 Marlins traded Adrian Gonzalez for Ugueth Urbina & in my humble opion that was key factor for them winning the World Series. Hope this current trade works out for both teams.

    • ltzep75 - Jul 19, 2014 at 9:31 AM

      Adrian Gonzalez went on to murder baseballs and Ugie went on to murder farmhands. Win-win.

  7. crackersnap - Jul 19, 2014 at 2:48 AM

    The last couple of years the Angels have been brutalized everywhere for their horrid minor league system, considered no better than second worst in all of baseball. And now, after they send out 4 warm bodies from that same system, suddenly those 4 bodies are considered an overpay? For one of the few proven shut-down closers in the major leagues??

    Didn’t everyone learn something from the Randall Grichuk trade? Remember?? The ZOMG Angels #1 prospect that can’t hit his weight with the Cards and can’t stay on the roster???

    • sabatimus - Jul 19, 2014 at 5:45 AM

      I have no idea who Randall Grichuk is. Which proves your point nicely.

    • jarathen - Jul 19, 2014 at 8:56 AM

      Grichuk was never #1. He had a chance to make the club someday but wasn’t ever seen as great.

    • SocraticGadfly - Jul 19, 2014 at 11:30 AM

      Ahh, he’s done fine in AAA this year. A short-sample mid-season callup is an unfair comparison, and is not the same as “can’t stay on the roster”?

      #Fail.

    • paperlions - Jul 19, 2014 at 12:05 PM

      Grichuk is doing fine. I’m am not optimistic due to his in ability to recognize off-speed stuff. But he’s athletic with great raw power and still only 22 yrs old while playing in AAA.

    • marketingforcontractors - Jul 19, 2014 at 8:26 PM

      Do you mean Randall Grichuk, the youngest player in the Cardinals system in AAA? The kid hitting .270 with a .502 slg and 16 home runs in 306 PA so far this season in the International league? Seems that is a little more than his weight of 195. What do you think?

      He is still a very, very good prospect. He is just buried in a deep Cardinals system. No place to put him in that OF.

      RJ Alvarez will be in the majors this season. His FB is more than warm, its red hot. He is consistently hitting 98 and sits 96 this season. He has gained more control of his slider and added a changeup and that has resulted in a 0.33 ERA with 12.7 K/9 and makes him one of the best relievers in the minors.

      Lindsey was a higher rated prospect than Cron. I think he is a clone of Gyorko, but Gyorko had 23 home runs in his rookie season. Not really a warm body.

      And that brings us to the prize of the group, Rondon. In his first time playing full season ball, he jumped all the way to A+ ball at just 20 yrs old and is hitting .327/.362. He is a prototypical 2 slot hitter and will move fast in the Padres system. Not really just a warm body.

      I would guess that is why everyone that has written a piece on the trade is calling it a great haul for the Padres.

      • SocraticGadfly - Jul 20, 2014 at 12:45 AM

        Again, wake me up when Rondon’s in AA and let’s see how he is. He spent two seasons in Rookie before moving to full A ball. He does have great range. Decent fielding percentage, if perhaps not quite great. Per your earlier post, a 16% K rate is maybe not horrible for today’s BB world, but I wouldn’t call his contact rate great.

        Alvarez? He may get a post-Sept. 1 callup if he’s been put on the 40-man by then. I don’t see any other reason he’d be in the majors this year though.

  8. andreweac - Jul 19, 2014 at 2:57 AM

    Rumor has it the Angels never revoked Tony Reagins MLB database credentials. Dipoto was taking a nap and Tony completed the transaction.

  9. jarathen - Jul 19, 2014 at 8:59 AM

    I hated this trade on its face, and I still think the Angels gave up one of their best org BP arms and a nice surprise in Rondon, but I think SI’s Cliff Corcoran says it best. His article is a reminder that while these are big pieces of LAA’s minor league depth, it’s more due to dearth of said depth than any status as above-average prospects that Angels fans know who these kids are.

    Though Keith Law said he would not have traded Rondon for Street straight up even. And this does make two high-ranking SS in the org that were ultimately traded in just a few years. Aybar can’t play forever.

    • gloccamorra - Jul 19, 2014 at 2:22 PM

      When the Cubs THINK they’re ready to contend, they’ll trade one of their stockpiled SS prospects for pitching. The Angels should be right there.

      • marketingforcontractors - Jul 19, 2014 at 8:32 PM

        Shortstops are generally the best athletes on the field and can more easily move position than other players. The Cubs have already moved Lake and Arismendy, two natural shortstops, to other positions where they are playing well. I dont think they will be moving any of them if they keep on hitting.

      • SocraticGadfly - Jul 21, 2014 at 11:00 AM

        Agreed with Marketing. Robin Yount a primo example, moving to the outfield. As long as a shortstop can be taught to judge fly ball distance off the bat, the rest is easy in moving out there.

  10. dustyswar - Jul 19, 2014 at 10:23 AM

    Now what will the phillies get for papelbon if they pick up his tab to send him somewhere?

  11. gibbskins9 - Jul 19, 2014 at 10:39 AM

    I love it, over rated minor league talent for the sole purpose of gaining major league talent in a trade. Lets look back in a few years.

  12. chargrz - Jul 19, 2014 at 10:57 AM

    Angels got the better end of deal. The Padres trade their only All Star for a few wanna be major leaguers that will never add up to anything at the big league level. Headley is next.

    • icanspeel - Jul 19, 2014 at 12:38 PM

      It remains to be seen who got the better end of the deal, but Tyson Ross is also an all-star Padre and what do the Padres need a closer for right now? Besides they have Benoit who can close.

      • gloccamorra - Jul 19, 2014 at 2:26 PM

        What does a team with a losing record need a closer for?

        The Padres lost 96 games in 2001, but had Trevor Hoffman to save 38 games. Without those saves, the Padres would have lost maybe 110 games or more, and a big chunk of their fan base. THAT’S why losing teams need a closer.

  13. rcali - Jul 19, 2014 at 5:09 PM

    Ahhhhh Prospects, the famous word to make the selling teams fans feel better about the long term direction.

    • gloccamorra - Jul 19, 2014 at 6:36 PM

      I prefer the term “magic beans”, but some of them sprout!

  14. mikhelb - Jul 19, 2014 at 7:37 PM

    The Angels can get a better return than what they gave for Street, by trading one of their MLB players, not that they are filled with valuable young talent, it is just that their farms are crappy and any acquisition whatsoever has the potential to be better than what they traded away.

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