Angels Acquire Ernesto Frieri From Padres

The Angels were known to be looking for bullpen help and they have addressed that need in the form of Ernesto Frieri.  The Angels acquired the right-handed reliever from the Padres in exchange for right-hander Donn Roach and infielder Alexi Amarista.  The Padres first announced the move on their official Twitter feed.

Frieri has been one of the game's more underrated relievers during his four Major League seasons.  Frieri has a 2.33 ERA, a 2.45 K/BB ratio, an 11.4 K/9 rate and 0.6 HR/9 over 105 career appearances, with 137 strikeouts in 108 1/3 innings.  As Padres broadcaster Andy Masur points out (Twitter link), Frieri had been the longest-tenured player in the San Diego organization, originally signing with the team in January 2003 at age 17.  Frieri turns 27 in July and has virtually identical home/away splits for his career, indicating he isn't a creation of Petco Park's pitcher-friendly dimensions.  Frieri is represented by Matt Colleran and is under team control through 2016.

Though the Angels' closing situation is currently in flux with Scott Downs stepping in for Jordan Walden, it's probably unlikely that Frieri would immediately be thrust into the closing mix or even necessarily a setup role in Los Angeles.  Frieri pitched in relatively few high-leverage situations in San Diego, though the Padres' deep bullpens of recent years didn't necessarily require Frieri to be used in a larger role.

In Amarista and Roach, the Padres pick up two young players ranked by as the 12th and 16th-best prospects, respectively, in the Angels' system.  Amarista has a .313/.370/.441 career slash line in six minor league seasons, including a .776 OPS at the Triple-A level.  The 23-year-old second baseman helps fill the Padres' big organizational need for middle infielders, though Amarista also has experience at third, shortstop and the corner outfield positions.  Amarista was probably expendable in Anaheim given the long-term deals recently given to Erick Aybar and Howie Kendrick, not to mention highly-touted prospect Jean Segura, who ranked as the Angels' second-best prospect (behind only Mike Trout).

Roach, 22, was taken by the Angels in the third round of the 2010 amateur draft.  The right-hander's numbers have gotten progressively better over his three minor league seasons, and Roach has a 2.16 ERA and a 9.67 K/BB ratio in six starts at high A-ball in 2012.

This is the first trade between Angels GM Jerry Dipoto and Padres GM Josh Byrnes.  Dipoto worked under Byrnes in Arizona and took over as the Diamondbacks' interim GM when Byrnes was fired as the Snakes' general manager in July 2010. 

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