Angels Respond to A's Blockbuster By Going All Out: Tony Campana and Joe Thatcher (UPDATES)

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Angels Respond to A’s Blockbuster By Going All Out: Tony Campana and Joe Thatcher (UPDATES)

Chicago Cubs

In the wake of the Oakland A’s move to distance themselves from the rest of the AL West – and AL as a whole – by picking up both Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel, the Anaheim Angels have immediately responded, according to Ken Rosenthal:

Game over. Shut it down. A’s are toast.

I joke, of course, because of the inclusion of outfielder Tony Campana, legendary for all of the wrong reasons among Cubs fans, who was traded by the Cubs to the Diamondbacks before last season. Although he was a nice complementary piece for the Dbacks last year, his usage has fallen off precipitously. On a playoff contender like the Angels, though, Campana can probably do some helpful things. He’s not a difference-maker, but he’s a decent bench piece.

I mention this trade here not because of Campana, however.

The Angels have picked up Thatcher, a lefty, which may end their search for a lefty bullpen arm. In recent weeks, the Angels had been vaguely attached to the Cubs as a possible trading partner, given the Cubs’ presumed willingness to deal either of their lefties, James Russell and Wesley Wright. Thatcher is a pretty solid lefty, which could take the Angels out of the relief market altogether.

It’ll be interesting to see what kind of return the Dbacks got on these guys, as Thatcher probably has similar value to guys like Russell and Wright (though Thatcher is a free agent after this season, while Russell and Wright have arb years left).

UPDATE: Jon Heyman hints at the return:

Thatcher’s a lefty, obviously – that was just a typo. A top-ranked Angels prospect is not necessarily a huge piece, but, still – a quality return here is a nice signal.

UPDATE 2: Jeff Passan offers names:

Neither is a top prospect, but each is a legit guy you’d like to have in your system. If this deal is for one of those guys, it sets a nice market rate for short-term, mid-tier relievers and complementary bench pieces.

UPDATE 3: Jon Heyman’s got the names:

Krehbiel is a 21-year-old righty at High-A with incredible numbers in relief in his career (but low-level reliever). Borenstein is a 23 (almost 24)-year-old outfielder with crazy huge numbers last year at High-A (but Cal League, and college bat), who has reached AAA this year. He was on most pre-season top prospects lists for the Angels in the 10ish range, while Krehbiel was generally unranked.

Would you be happy to get those guys for, say, James Russell and Ryan Kalish (not that the Cubs are trading him; just approximating the type)? I say yes, even though the warts are obvious. If this is the approximate market, then I’m pretty intrigued. You were never going to see the Cubs get a top prospect for a lefty reliever, but if they can get guys who are actually relevant? That’s all you hope to see.

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Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.