On Friday, the Los Angeles Angels acquired Joe Thatcher and Tony Campana from the Arizona Diamondbacks in return for minor leaguers Zach Borenstein and Joey Krehbiel. In Thatcher, the Angels gained the left-handed reliever they have been searching for. The 32-year old southpaw is currently pitching in his eighth major league season and his second for the Diamondbacks. His 2.63 ERA and 25 strikeouts bode well for the Halo bullpen, whose other lefty reliever option is the inexperienced Michael Roth. Although Thatcher will fill a hole in the Angel roster, in the long run, the Diamondbacks might have been the better bargainers.
In addition to Thatcher, the Angels picked up Tony Campana. The 28-year old outfielder has split time between the big league club and its Triple-A affiliate this season. In Phoenix, he was batting .150 before he packed his bags for Southern California. His minor league numbers suggest that his average would improve with more major league at bats, but it is unclear whether or not the Angels will provide him with this opportunity. The current roster already shows depth at the outfield positions, particularly with the reinstatement of Grant Green, who can play left field. Green and outfielders Kole Calhoun, Josh Hamilton, Mike Trout and Collin Cowgill are all healthy and performing well this season, leaving little room for Campana.
The Diamondbacks, on the other hand, will eventually get great use out of their new acquisitions. Both prospects were highly regarded in the Angel system, and their abilities will likely improve with age.
Left fielder Zach Borenstein was named the Angels’ top minor league player in 2013, as well as the most valuable player of the Single-A California league. This season, he has played 30 games at the Triple-A level and 48 games at the Double-A level. Combined, he is batting .262 with seven home runs and 50 runs batted in. Just 23 years old, Borenstein will likely develop more power over the next couple of years and become a valuable option for the Diamondbacks in the outfield. If they have no use for him at that time, he could be traded for a player more suited to their needs.
Joining Borenstein in the Diamondback system is Joey Krehbiel, a 21-year old pitcher from Seminole, Florida. The righty struggled through two years in the rookie league before coming into his own in Single-A. In 2014, he has a 2.00 ERA and five saves for Single-A Burlington and Single-A Advanced Inland Empire. Krehbiel’s 92 to 95-mile per hour fastball and average curveball have been effective against righties, but he will need to learn how to locate his pitches against lefties if he wants to make an impact in the majors. If he can figure this out, he could be a great reliever for the Diamondbacks in a year or two.
The All-Star break is now in sight, and the Angels have a lefty specialist in their bullpen and an extra outfielder, just for good measure. These pieces could potentially help the Halos catch the Oakland Athletics in the AL West standings, but the Diamondbacks now have two youngsters, who could help them for years to come.