2017 Fantasy Baseball: Los Angeles Angels Acquire Justin Upton and Brandon Phillips
The Angels pulled off a pair of significant trades on the even of the playoff trade deadline. We have gone over the waiver trade period and its many rules and regulations. Technically, the trade deadline has not ended. Teams can make trades all the way through the end of the season as long as they follow the waiver rules. However, teams must set their playoff rosters before the clock strikes midnight on August 31st, so it is often considered the waiver trade deadline.
The Angels have been hot of late and they took advantage of the Tigers and Braves in their attempts to shed salary. They acquired Justin Upton from the Tigers and Brandon Phillips from the Braves. While they trail the first place Astros by 11.5 games coming into September, they are only a game and a half back from the second wild card spot.
Why the Angels Acquired Justin Upton
The Upton trade is ultimately the more significant deal. They traded their ninth ranked prospect (according to MLB.com) Grayson Long and a player to be named later or cash. In addition, the Tigers will be chipping in less than one million dollars for the remainder of the season. The 64,000 dollar question is whether Upton will opt out of his contract or not. We certainly can’t prove it, but that is probably what the PTBNL is based on.
Upton is on pace to hit 30 home runs or more and upwards of 100 RBI. Placing him in the same lineup as Mike Trout and Albert Pujols is guaranteed to cause some fireworks. Upton effectively replaces Cameron Maybin and becomes the second best player in the Angels lineup. They are short impact players beyond Trout, but that is about to change.
Why the Angels Acquired Brandon Phillips
Phillips is obviously not as big a name as Upton and the package is not even clear. The Braves clearly are trying to clear the decks for the future and Phillips is in the last month of his contract. Unlike past deals, the Angels have not had to surrender much to add to their lineup. Phillips replaces a combination of Cliff Pennington and Danny Espinosa. They combined to hit nine home runs, but also had a collective OPS around .600
Phillips has a .753 OPS with 11 home runs and 10 stolen bases on the season, He isn’t going to make anyone forget Bobby Grich or Rod Carew, but he is an average performer that will make the Angels lineup that much deeper. The moves combined should be enough to make the Angels a favorite to advance to the wild card round. Once you get there it is anyone’s guess how far they could go.
What these deals mean for you
Brandon Phillips might get a little bump from going to a winning team, but he is a second tier second baseman at best. In five category leagues he plays up because of his healthy batting average. Maybe he scores more runs in Los Angeles. Upton is obviously the bigger deal. It’s debatable as to whether this will impact his fantasy value one way or another. If you believe in the perpetual bump that comes from moving to a contender then he could get a bump. Otherwise, it is probably about the same.