The Los Angeles Angels have acquired shortstop Jose Iglesias from the Baltimore Orioles in exchange for RHP Jean Pinto and RHP Garrett Stallings.
With Andrelton Simmons on his way out via free agency, Iglesias seems like a perfect replacement. For years, Iglesias was a great defender but a pretty bad hitter, while Simmons was an average to below average hitter, but the best defender in baseball. In the last two years, their stocks have gone in opposite directions. Iglesias still has positive defensive value, although his -.2 dWAR in 2020 would suggest otherwise, but he had an elite offensive season in 2020, albeit in 39 games. Simmons\’ defensive stock has very slightly dipped, but it is still higher than just about everyone in baseball, although his hitting has tanked. Iglesias is a cheaper option if the Angels want to go out and get starting pitching, and he has shown that he can hit for average. While they will miss Simmons\’ glove, Iglesias is still above average at his position, and if he can hit remotely close to where he did in 2020, they\’ll be fine offensively. Despite failing to hit the ball hard, Iglesias hit .398 against fastballs last year, and even .326 versus breaking pitches, although his 76.2 mph average exit velocity against them was far from decent. The only prospect ranked in their top 30 by MLB Pipeline is Stallings, who is 23 and yet to appear in a minor league game.
Iglesias, who will be 31 in January, hit three home runs with a .373 average and a .956 OPS in 150 Plate Appearances in 2020. In his MLB career for the Orioles, Cincinnati Reds, Detroit Tigers and Boston Red Sox, Iglesias has hit 35 home runs with 52 stolen bases, a .278 average and a .700 OPS in 3065 Plate Appearances.
The struggling Orioles liked Iglesias enough in 2020 that they decided to exercise their 2021 club option on him and pay him $3.5 million. Now, the Orioles don\’t have to pay him at all, not even a buyout punishment. Plus, they do not expect to be a contender in 2021, so dealing Iglesias entering a contract year, and of the apex of his value, is smart. Stallings was the 21st best prospect in the Angels system, and Pinto is a young Venezuelan with barely any MiLB experience. Combined, these two players have three games played in the minor leagues, and they were all in the Dominican Summer League.
Pinto, 19, had a 2.25 ERA with 19 strikeouts and a 1.250 WHIP in 12 innings for the Angels in the Dominican Summer League in 2019.
Stallings, 23, was a 5th round draft pick in 2019. In 2019 for the University of Tennessee, Stallings had a 3.33 ERA with 106 strikeouts and a 1.227 WHIP in 102.2 innings.