Angels Notes: Potential Willson Contreras Package, Minor League Update, and More


The Chicago Cubs have been silent this winter among a flurry of transactions by other perennial postseason clubs.

The reason seems to be due to the Cubs’ concerns about their bloated payroll and not wanting to add salaries without first eliminating some contracts on the books for 2020.

Two-time All-Star catcher Willson Contreras has been rumored to be a potential trade candidate for the Cubs. Contreras is expected to command between $4.5-$6 million in arbitration for next season.


The Los Angeles Angels need a catcher and the former Joe Maddon backstop would make a great fit for an Angels club with Max Stassi and Anthony Bemboom as the catchers on the roster. 

The cost for Willson Contreras, who has been an All-Star the past two seasons and is under team control for the next three seasons, is perceived to be high from any trading partner. The Angels’ top two prospects are outfielders in Jo Adell and Brandon Marsh and both have been sought after in other deals the Angels have refused to complete this offseason.


The Cubs have another catcher, Victor Caratini, on their roster to assume starting catching duties while top prospect Miguel Amaya prepares for his Double-A season in 2020. 

The Cubs also have an abundance of payroll wrapped up in starting pitching. While trading Yu Darvish and Jon Lester are unlikely due to no-trade privileges by both, they may look to move another pitching contract in exchange for younger Angels major league ready starters.

While the Angels are not likely to deal Griffin Canning at all, the recent additions of Julio Teheran and Dylan Bundy could make other young Angels starters available. 

The Cubs are looking at a starting rotation of Yu Darvish, Jon Lester, Jose Quintana, Kyle Hendricks, and Tyler Chatwood going into 2020. While Quintana and Chatwood head into the final years of their contracts, either may be expendable. Quintana is a player the Cubs are likely to keep but Chatwood could be a player the Cubs would move in the right deal.  


Chatwood, originally drafted and developed by the Angels, is in the final year of his ill-fated three-year deal with the Cubs and is owed $13 million. If the Angels were willing to take him and his full contract on in a deal for Contreras, it would clear close to $18 million for Cubs in 2020. The Cubs are lacking the depth of young starting pitching to join and replace aging staff. Adbert Alzolay is the only Cubs starting pitching prospect close to contributing in the next two seasons. 

The Angels could offer a pair of MLB-ready starters such as Patrick Sandoval, Jose Suarez, or Jaime Barria, as well as infielder Luis Rengifo. On top of that, they can add one or two additional lower level top 10 prospects not named Adell or Marsh. 

This deal would give the Cubs immediate salary relief, two young starting pitchers to replenish their aging MLB rotation and infield depth. The Angels would receive a further enhancement to their lineup, fill a huge hole at the catcher position for the next three years, and an additional starter with one-year of team control. Tyler Chatwood would get an opportunity to reunite with Joe Maddon and a new pitching coach in Mickey Callaway, and would also have a chance to fight for a spot in the Angels rotation. If he doesn’t make the cut, he can provide necessary bullpen depth instead.

In review, Angels trade two of pitchers Patrick Sandoval, Jaime Barria, or Juan Suarez, infield Luis Rengifo and another one or two Top 3-10 prospects (which excludes Adell and Marsh) to Chicago Cubs.

Chicago sends Willson Contreras and Tyler Chatwood to Angels and clears $18 million in payroll.  

Angels This Week 

The Angels signed pitcher Neil Ramirez to a minor league contract and invitation to spring training. Ramirez pitched for Angels manager Joe Maddon for two seasons in Chicago and owns a 4.46 ERA in 185 games across six MLB seasons. Ramirez split last season pitching 22 games with Cleveland and Toronto posting 5.40 ERA, striking out 24 batters in 25 innings. Ramirez provides organizational depth to the Angels bullpen and will be allowed to make Angels staff this spring. 

Mike Trout was named The Sporting News “MLB Athlete of the Decade” last week by the publication. What makes the honor remarkable is that Trout’s rookie season was 2012 and he was only active for eight of the ten years in the decade. Trout enters the new decade with .305 career batting average, 285 home runs, and 200 stolen bases having earned his third career AL MVP this past season. 

The City of Anaheim voted this week to approve the sale of Angel Stadium and the surrounding land to Angels owner Arte Moreno for $325 million. The sale was passed by a 4-2 vote Friday evening and includes a team commitment to remain in Anaheim through 2050 with another 25 years of extension that could lead to Angels’ 100th anniversary in the city in 2066. 

Angels Down on the Farm Report 

Greg Mahle was drafted out of UC-Santa Barbara by the Angels in 2014 and quickly moved his way to the Angels making his debut in 2016. Mahle appeared in 24 games for the Halos that season but has since spent the past three years in the Angels minor league system. Last week he reached an agreement with Toros de Tijuana of the Mexican Baseball League ending his tenure with the Angels. 

Minor-league infielder Elliot Soto was signed to a minor league contract and an invitation to spring training by the Angels last week. Soto was originally drafted and developed by the Chicago Cubs in 2010 but has spent the past two seasons playing in the Colorado Rockies system at Triple-A Alburquerque. Soto has played 10 seasons in the minor leagues and the 30-year old infielder has yet to make his MLB debut.

Last season, Soto hit .305 with 10 home runs and 50 RBI for the Isotopes, playing the majority of games at shortstop in addition to third base and second base. Soto, along with the acquisition of Arismendy Alcantara, will give the Angels middle infield depth at Triple-A and the MLB level going into spring training.  


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