The Los Angeles Angels are making some late season moves to try to bolster their postseason chances.
Thursday night, Justin Upton from the Tigers, the Halos reportedly reached an agreement to acquire Brandon Phillips from the Braves for minor league catcher Tony Sanchez. The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal initially reported the deal, which the Braves confirmed Thursday night.
The Braves have traded INF Brandon Phillips and cash considerations to the Angels in exchange for C Tony Sanchez.— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) September 1, 2017
Phillips had to waive his no-trade clause to join the Angels, and that was no formality. He used his no-trade clause to block several potential deals while with the Reds. It wasn't until he was traded to the Braves -- Phillips lives in Georgia -- that he agreed to leave Cincinnati. This time he chose to leave home to join a team in the race.
The Angels are 69-65 this season and are 1 1/2 games back of the Twins for the second wild card spot. They're only 2 1/2 games back of the Yankees for the first wild card spot. Phillips is no longer the hitter he was in his prime, but he represents a massive upgrade for the Angels at second base:
- Angels second basemen in 2017: .196/.271/.319 (58 OPS+) with 12 home runs
- Phillips: .291/.329/.423 (96 OPS+) and 11 home runs
Phillips will make $14 million this season, though the Reds are paying $13 million of that, so the financial commitment for the Angels is minimal. It's a substantial upgrade at basically zero cost.
As for the Braves, they add a depth catcher in the journeyman Sanchez, who is hitting .272/.355/.374 with four home runs in 70 Triple-A games this year. They also build up some goodwill with Phillips by trading him to a contender. Atlanta will consider re-signing him in the offseason too:
Between adding Upton and Phillips on Thursday, the Angels made two pretty significant upgrades to their lineup just in time for the stretch run. And because both players were acquired before 11:59 p.m. ET on August 31, they will both be eligible for the postseason roster should the Angels qualify.