Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Rumors

Los Angeles Angels trade and free agent rumors from MLBTradeRumors.com.

Angels Release Shawn O’Malley

Today’s minor moves..

  • The Angels announced that they have requested release waivers for infielder Shawn O’Malley, to make room on the 40-man roster for the newly-acquired Johnny Giavotella.  O’Malley saw time in eleven games for the Halos last season, notching three hits in 16 plate appearances.  In parts of two seasons at the Triple-A level, the soon-to-be 27-year-old hit .296/.369/.408.

Angels Acquire Johnny Giavotella From Royals

1:57pm: The Angels formally announced the deal.  Right-hander Brian Broderick will be sent to the Royals to complete the transaction.

Broderick, 28, has just 11 big league appearances to his credit with all of them coming in 2011.  He was recently signed out of the Mexican League by KC.

1:55pm: The Angels are close to acquiring second baseman Johnny Giavotella, according to Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com (on Twitter).  Giavotella was recently designated for assignment by the Royals.  It’s not clear who is going to Kansas City in the deal, but it figures to be a minor trade (link).  Gonzalez adds that the deal could be announced today.

Giavotella, 27, received a fairly lengthy look at second base for the Royals in both 2011 and 2012 but combined to bat just .242/.271/.340 in 376 plate appearances. He’s received shorter call-ups in each of the subsequent seasons but hasn’t fared much better at the plate; overall, Giavotella is a lifetime .238/.277/.344 hitter in the Majors.

A second-round pick out of the University of New Orleans in 2008, Giavotella does carry with him quite an impressive track record at the Triple-A level. In 1840 plate appearances there, he’s slashed .315/.384/.451. It should be noted, however, that those numbers have come in the very hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League.


Angels, Dodgers Complete Drew Butera Trade

The Dodgers announced today that they have acquired infielder/outfielder Matt Long from the Angels to complete last week’s Drew Butera trade. However, the team also announced that it has has immediately flipped Long and left-hander Jarret Martin to the Brewers in exchange for catcher Shawn Zarraga, essentially making the entire sequence into a minor three-team trade.

A 2009 30th-round draft pick, Long has never appeared on an Angels Top 30 prospect list (per Baseball America), but he does have a solid minor league track record. The 27-year-old has yet to reach the Majors but owns a nice career slash line of .279/.358/.442 in 1102 plate appearances at the Triple-A level.

The 25-year-old Martin was previously designated for assignment and outrighted this past offseason. He spent the 2014 campaign with Double-A Chattanooga where he posted a strong 3.29 ERA in 54 2/3 innings of relief. While Martin’s 64 strikeouts in that time were impressive, he also walked a very troublesome 48 hitters. Control problems have long been an issue for Martin, who has averaged 6.1 walks per nine innings since being selected in the 18th round of the 2009 draft.

Zarraga is a 25-year-old catcher that was born in Aruba but attended high school in Florida and was selected in the 44th round by the Brewers in 2007. Zarraga was excellent at Double-A this past season, hitting .330/.440/.419 in 267 plate appearances, but he batted just .213/.304/.255 in 57 PA at Triple-A — his first crack at that level.



AL Notes: Hamilton, Cabrera, Toritani

The Angels have discussed potential trades involving Josh Hamilton with the Rangers and Padres this offseason, FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reports. That might not mean much right now — MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez tweets that the conversation between the Angels and Rangers lasted two minutes, and today’s Wil Myers deal would seem to rule out the possibility of a trade sending Hamilton to San Diego. Rosenthal himself describes recent Hamilton trade talks as merely “exploratory,” and quotes Angels GM Jerry Dipoto asserting his faith in Hamilton. “We do believe in Josh,” says Dipoto. “We’ve seen him hit balls that humans shouldn’t hit. What he does, 99 percent of the players can’t do.” There’s also, obviously, the problem of Hamilton’s trade value being down significantly right now after a mediocre 2014 season. But the possibility of the Angels trading Hamilton (who has a full no-trade clause and is owed $83MM over the next three years) could be worth keeping an eye on in the coming years. Here are more notes from the American League.

  • The White Sox are “comfortable” with Melky Cabrera‘s past troubles with PEDs, J.J. Stankevitz of CSNChicago.com writes. “Obviously we’re aware of what happened in the past and no one condones what he did,” says GM Rick Hahn. “But we are talking about an instance where there was a mistake he made and took ownership for and showed honest remorse.” Another PED suspension would cost the White Sox an entire year of Cabrera’s three-year deal, but the White Sox are confident that Cabrera’s PED issues are in the past.
  • GM Alex Anthopoulos confirms that the Blue Jays have interest in Japanese infielder Takashi Toritani, Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca writes. “We’ve scouted him quite a bit,” Anthopoulos said to Jeff Blair on Sportsnet 590 The FAN. “We have some scouts that like him and he’s someone that we’ve certainly talked about internally. Beyond that I probably wouldn’t get into anything else, but certainly a guy like that would fit.” The 33-year-old Toritani, who hit .303/.406/.415 for Hanshin in 2014, could be an option at second base for the Jays.

Angels, Rays Swap Kevin Jepsen, Matt Joyce

The Angels have sent reliever Kevin Jepsen to the Rays in exchange for outfielder Matt Joyce, Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports reports on Twitter. The teams have already announced the move, making it official.

In adding Joyce, 30, the Halos have picked up a left-handed bat that has steadily delivered above-average offensive production. While Joyce’s offensive lines over the last three years (.243/.339/.410) have fallen well shy of the two that came before it (.265/.351/.478), he nevertheless is strong against righties.

It must be noted, however, that the Rays have done an excellent job of drastically limiting Joyce’s exposure to same-handed pitching, against whom he owns a lifetime .573 OPS. Joyce is entering his final year of arbitration eligibility, with MLBTR and Matt Swartz projecting a $4.9MM salary. For Los Angeles, he will presumably slot in both in the outfield and at DH, perhaps sharing time with the right-handed-hitting C.J. Cron.

As for the 30-year-old Jepsen, he bolsters the back of a pen that just learned it will be without Jake McGee for at least some time to start the season, with elbow surgery shelving the player who ended last year as the team’s closer. Jepsen tossed 65 innings of 2.63 ERA ball last year with 10.4 K/9 against 3.2 BB/9, by far his most productive season as a pro. His projected arbitration salary is $2.6MM, offering Tampa some savings against the Joyce contract, and he will be controllable for an additional year.


Winter Meetings Rumors: Giants, Santana, Marlins, Morneau, Dodgers, Angels

Needless to say, it was a frenetic end to the Winter Meetings. Over the course of the morning, several forward-looking reports emerged. We’ll round those up here:

  • The Giants are focused on free agent starter James Shields, according to Alex Pavlovic of the Mercury News (via Twitter). San Francisco is alive on both Shields and Ervin Santana, John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle adds on Twitter. The club met with Shields in San Diego, as Chris Cotillo of SB Nation reported yesterday (Twitter link).
  • The Twins are still trying to land Santana, tweets Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com, who adds that the GiantsRoyals, and Yankees have also expressed interest in the free agent righty.
  • The Marlins are still looking hard at the free agent and trade market for a first baseman, Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reports on Twitter. A deal could come at any time, Spencer adds.
  • Attempts by the Marlins to deal for Justin Morneau of the Rockies have fallen apart, tweets MLB.com’s Tom Singer. He hears that Miami could rekindle talks with the Pirates regarding a Pedro Alvarez-for-Nathan Eovaldi swap.
  • Communications between the Marlins and Rockies regarding Morneau will continue, MLB.com’s Thomas Harding reports on Twitter, though Harding’s source says he is not sure if the potential match “has legs.”
  • The Dodgers did not make their moves as a prelude to dealing away Zack Greinke or dealing for Cole Hamels, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports on Twitter. Los Angeles has already done its heavy lifting with yesterday’s series of moves, says Sherman.
  • After trading away second baseman Howie Kendrick, the Angels are “open to opportunities” for additions at the position, GM Jerry Dipoto tells Mike DiGiovanna of MLB.com (Twitter link). The Halos are not interested in free agents Jed Lowrie and Stephen Drew, per Dipoto. Of course, the team just added Josh Rutledge to join in-house option Grant Green in the current mix.

Minor Moves: Morgan, Snodgress, Cubs

Here are some minor moves from around baseball…

  • Nyjer Morgan has signed a contract with the Hanwha Eagles of the Korean Baseball Organization, as per a report from Naver Sports (hat tip to Dan Kurtz of MyKBO.net).  Morgan played in Japan in 2013 before signing a minor league deal with the Indians last offseason.  He was only able to play in 15 games for the Tribe due to injury, however, and was released in August.
  • The Angels signed left-hander Scott Snodgress to a minor league deal with an invite to Spring Training, SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo reports.  Snodgress was non-tendered by the White Sox last week.  The 25-year-old lefty made his Major League debut in 2014, pitching 2 1/3 innings over four games for Chicago.
  • On Thursday, the Cubs, Red Sox and Athletics will complete some business left over from two trades from last summer, ESPN Chicago’s Jesse Rogers tweets.  The A’s will send a player to be named later to the Cubs to complete the deal that sent Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel to Oakland.  The Cubs will then send another PTBNL to the Sox to complete the two clubs’ deal for Felix Doubront.

Dodgers Acquire Howie Kendrick

The Dodgers have announced that they’ve acquired second baseman Howie Kendrick from the Angels, for southpaw Andrew Heaney, who was just acquired by the Dodgers from the Marlins earlier today. No money is changing hands in the deal, so the Dodgers will pay all of the $9.5MM Kendrick is owed in 2015.

Kendrick replaces Dee Gordon at second base, as Gordon was part of the package that went to Miami for Heaney as part of this incredible day of transactions for the Dodgers.  Kendrick represents both an offensive and defensive upgrade over Gordon, and the 31-year-old hit .293/.347/.397 over 674 PA last season.MLB: Los Angeles Angels at Oakland Athletics

Kendrick has been a subject of trade rumors for much of the offseason, with teams such as the Orioles, Yankees and Blue Jays all connected to the veteran second baseman at various times.  In the end, however, Kendrick will move down the highway to Los Angeles’ other team.  This isn’t the first time that Kendrick has been pursued by the Dodgers, as the two L.A. clubs discussed a trade in the summer of 2013.

Payroll was primarily the reason why the Halos were willing to move Kendrick or David Freese this offseason.  Kendrick will earn $9.5MM in the last year of his contract, and getting that salary off the books will give the Angels some flexibility for further moves.  The Angels have been aggressively looking for utility infielders, and presumably whomever they acquire will now be in line for some regular playing time alongside Grant Green at second base.

The Angels were said to be targeting young pitching for much of the offseason, and they’ve now landed one of the game’s top prospects in Heaney.  The lefty was named both the Marlins’ top prospect and the #30 prospect in the sport by Baseball America in their 2014 preseason rankings.  He has a 2.77 ERA, 9.1 K/9, and 3.85 K/BB rate over 259 2/3 minor league innings, and he threw 29 1/3 innings for Miami this season in his first taste of the bigs.

Heaney is 23 years and controllable through the 2020 season, and presumably he’ll get every opportunity to win a job in the Angels’ rotation.  Jered Weaver, C.J. Wilson and Matt Shoemaker are the only starters guaranteed for jobs on Opening Day, as Garrett Richards may start the season on the DL.  Heaney joins Tyler Skaggs, Nick Tropeano, Hector Santiago and Cory Rasmus in battling it out for rotation jobs in Spring Training.

MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick initially reported that the Dodgers would acquire Kendrick (on Twitter). FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal tweeted that the Angels would receive Heaney in return. The Los Angeles Times’ Bill Shaikin tweeted that the Dodgers would take on Kendrick’s entire salary.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.


Angels Acquire Josh Rutledge

The Angels have acquired infielder Josh Rutledge from the Rockies in exchange for right-hander Jairo Diaz, the team announced. The Angels (via the Orange County Register’s Jeff Fletcher on Twitter) say Rutledge will compete with Grant Green for the Angels’ second base job, which was vacated when the team traded Howie Kendrick to the Dodgers for Andrew Heaney.

Rutledge, 25, hit .269/.323/.405 in 342 plate appearances for Colorado this season. He graded as below average defensively (and has in all three of his big-league seasons), however, so that hitting line in Coors Field put him below replacement level overall. He hit for good averages as a minor leaguer, however, and might possess a bit more offensive upside than he’s shown so far. Also, using him at second base, rather than shortstop (where he spent the bulk of his time in 2014) might help him defensively. He can become eligible for arbitration after the 2015 season.

Diaz, 23, spent most of the 2014 season pitching in the bullpens of Class A+ Inland Empire and Double-A Arkansas, combining for a 3.48 ERA with an impressive 11.8 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9 in 64 2/3 innings. He pitched in five games in the big leagues in September and relied heavily on his fastball, which averaged 97.2 MPH. He did not rank in MLB.com’s list of the top 20 Angels prospect, but with his fastball and strikeout numbers, the Rockies likely feel he has significant upside for a reliever.


Dodgers Notes: Haren, Shields, Santana, Peavy

There has been much speculation about Dan Haren‘s role in the impending six-player trade between the Dodgers and Marlins, as Haren has openly said that he’d rather retire than pitch anywhere but for one of the two Los Angeles teams.  Angels GM Jerry Dipoto shot down speculation that the Marlins could flip Haren to his team, telling reporters (including Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register) that his team wasn’t trading for Haren.

As we wait for either of today’s two blockbuster Dodgers trades to be finalized, here’s some more news from Chavez Ravine…

  • There are rumors around the Winter Meetings that the Dodgers are making these big moves to position themselves to sign James Shields, ESPN Los Angeles’ Mark Saxon reports (Twitter link).
  • The rumored Andre Ethier-for-Miguel Montero swap with the Diamondbacks fell apart because of how much money the Dodgers would have had to pay, Saxon reports (via Twitter).  Arizona ended up dealing Montero to the Cubs yesterday.
  • Also from Saxon, the Dodgers haven’t made any inquiries about Ervin Santana.
  • The Dodgers have been talking to other free agent pitchers, however, including Jake Peavy, FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal tweets.
  • Rumors of a Matt Kemp deal to the Padres “has legs,” a source tells Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.  The two sides have made some progress but nothing is official yet.  Yasmani Grandal would be the main piece coming back from San Diego and Heyman hears the Dodgers have also asked for pitchers Joe Ross and Zach Eflin (though Heyman isn’t sure if both would be included if the deal happened.)