Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Rumors

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

AL West Notes: Wilhelmsen, Crane, Angels

The Mariners officially demoted Tom Wilhelmsen to Triple-A prior to today’s game in the wake of the right-hander’s recent struggles.  Wilhelmsen has been a fixture in Seattle’s bullpen for the last five seasons and served as closer prior to Fernando Rodney‘s acquisition, yet he had allowed nine runs over his last 6 2/3 innings of work (over seven games).  Wilhelmsen has a 4.68 ERA, 10.1 K/9 and 2.55 K/BB over 25 IP this season, though a .413 BABIP may explain why is ERA is so much higher than his indicators (2.68 FIP, 3.50 xFIP, 3.32 SIERA).  Here’s some more from around the AL West…

  • Astros owner Jim Crane tells MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart that GM Jeff Luhnow and his staff is “working hard” to find rotation help.  “If we can get the right move, I’m sure Jeff will pull the trigger.  He has the ability to do that if he wants to do it,” Crane said.  “It will depend on what kind of contract it is and how long it is and who it is and what we need, but I know it’s something a lot of teams are looking at right now.”
  • The conflict between Mike Scioscia’s coaching staff and Jerry Dipoto’s front office was “no clash of Ivy League nerds vs. old-school baseball men,” Grantland’s Jonah Keri writes.  Dipoto, assistant GM Scott Servais and pro scouting director Hal Morris were all long-time MLB veterans.  Keri suspects Servais could also soon leave the Angels given his issues with Scioscia and the coaches.  Keri’s piece outlines some of the disagreements between the Angels’ executives and coaches, including (as FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal initially reported earlier in the week) seemingly routine team matters as how scouting information was being presented to the players.
  • In other AL West news from earlier today, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported on some Angels/Brewers trade talks and speculation that Bud Black could be a favorite to be Anaheim’s new general manager.

Cafardo’s Latest: Revere, Kennedy, Hamels, Jays

The Angels were first linked to Ben Revere in trade rumors in May but the rumors almost became a reality.  Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reports that the Phillies and Angels came close a few weeks ago on a trade that would’ve sent Revere to Anaheim for right-hander Trevor Gott.  The Phils thought the deal was done but the Halos “pulled out of the deal at the last minute and tried to redirect the Phillies toward a starting pitching prospect.”  Talks fell through after that.  Here’s some more from Cafardo’s weekly notes column, with a particular focus on news from Toronto…

  • Ian Kennedy has a 2.31 ERA over his last six starts and the Padres right-hander has begun to generate some trade interest in his services.  Kennedy had an ugly 7.15 ERA over his first eight starts and owns a 4.86 ERA for the season, though his peripherals (8.51 K/9, 3.04 K/BB rate, 3.74 xFIP, 3.70 SIERA) are are pretty solid, aside from a 22.1% homer rate that more than double his career average.  Kennedy is a free agent this winter and would be a natural trade chip for San Diego if the Friars decided to sell.
  • Cole Hamels has publicly said he’s willing to consider deals to any team but is reportedly unlikely to waive his no-trade clause if he’s dealt to the Astros or Blue Jays.  Cafardo wonders if Hamels would remain adamant against a move to Houston or Toronto, however, if those were the only deals on the table and his only avenues away from the rebuilding Phillies.
  • Attracting free agents north of the border has long been an issue for the Blue Jays, as Cafardo cites higher taxes, customs delays and the Rogers Centre’s artificial surface as factors that can sometimes make Toronto a tough sell.  (Josh Donaldson and Jose Reyes both praised their city, though Reyes admitted he isn’t a fan of the turf.)  The bigger problem for the Jays, however, is that they have barely contended since their last playoff appearance in 1993.  “It just seems GM Alex Anthopoulos has to go through corporate layers to OK big expenditures, slowing the process considerably,” Cafardo writes.  “Players always want to know that their ownership is doing all it can to produce a winner.”
  • Braves closer Jason Grilli is one of the Blue Jays‘ targets as the team looks for bullpen help.  Grilli would cost less in both salary and trade chips than Jonathan Papelbon or Francisco Rodriguez, two closers who have also been connected to the Jays this summer.  Atlanta isn’t yet looking to move Grilli, however, as the team is still in the race.
  • Other have asked the Blue Jays about several players in trade talks, including young talent like Miguel Castro, Daniel Norris, Roberto Osuna, Kevin Pillar, Dalton Pompey, Aaron Sanchez and Devon Travis.
  • “Every indication is that” R.A. Dickey is in his last year with the Blue Jays, as the team will either use their $1MM buyout of Dickey’s $12MM club option for 2016 or Dickey may just retire.  The 40-year-old knuckleballer had a tough start today against the Tigers and now owns a 5.02 ERA over 107 2/3 innings this season.
  • Jeff Samardzija “may be the first starting pitcher moved ahead of the trading deadline” since “scouts are constantly at his games,” Cafardo writes.  The White Sox aren’t ready to start selling yet, but they’ll find a strong market for Samardzija’s services that includes the Royals, Astros and Tigers.  (Cafardo cited several more teams in the Samardzija market in his column last week.
  • Nobody knows what the Red Sox are going to do because they don’t know what they’re going to do,” one NL executive said.  Boston has played modestly better as of late, winning 10 of its last 16 games, though the Sox are still just 38-45 on the season.  Koji Uehara is cited by the executive as one of “a few players teams would want” if the Red Sox decided to start selling.  The team is known to be looking for young pitching on the trade market.

Rosenthal On Angels, Black, Parra, Samardzija

FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal shares several hot stove items in his weekly “Full Count” video

  • Ex-Padres skipper Bud Black is well-liked by Angels owner Arte Moreno, manager Mike Scioscia and interim GM Bill Stoneman, and there has been “rampant” industry speculation that the Halos want Black as their next full-time general manager.  Several of Black’s friends, however, think he wants to manage again rather than run a front office.
  • Prior to Jerry Dipoto’s resignation, the Angels and Brewers were discussing Gerardo Parra and Adam Lind in trade talks.  No deal was ever close for Parra, however, and “ideally” the Angels want to add a bigger bat to the lineup.  Parra entered the day with a strong .303/.337/.466 line over 271 PA with Milwaukee, though he is known more for his defense than his bat (a .274/.326/.395 career slash line prior to this season).
  • Rosenthal describes Jeff Samardzija as “a perfect fit” for the Yankees.  Samardzija’s wife is from the New York area, Jim Hendry (the former Cubs GM who signed Samardzija) is in the Yankees front office, and Rosenthal feels the righty’s personality would thrive in the Bronx.  Acquiring Samardzija now would also presumably give the Yankees an edge in pursuing him as a free agent this winter.  This being said, Rosenthal notes that the White Sox haven’t decided to start selling yet and there haven’t been any talks between the two sides.
  • The Dodgers are looking for starting pitching depth and “don’t be surprised if they add multiple starters.”  Brett Anderson‘s long injury history makes him a question mark to last the entire season, while Mike Bolsinger and Carlos Frias are better fits as depth options rather than regular members of the rotation (though Bolsinger has pitched well).  Even getting a mid-rotation starter would help L.A., though “in a perfect world” the Dodgers would land an ace like Johnny Cueto.


Angels Acquire Rafael Lopez From Cubs

3:12pm: Chicago will receive the 120th slot, which carries $149,700 in spending capacity, Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com tweets.

1:56pm: The Angels and Cubs have agreed to a trade that will send minor league catcher Rafael Lopez to Anaheim in exchange for an international bonus slot and left-handed pitching prospect Manuel Rondon, the teams announced. Chicago had designated Lopez for assignment last week.

The 27-year-old Lopez debuted with the Cubs in 2014 and received 14 plate appearances. Lopez picked up a pair of hits in that brief cup of coffee, and he’s had a reasonable amount of success in the upper minors. In 107 games/410 plate appearances at the Triple-A level, Lopez is a .281/.359/.333 hitter and has caught 30 percent of attempted base stealers.  With Miguel Montero projecting as the team’s catcher for the foreseeable future and David Ross signed to a two-year deal, though, there was little hope of Lopez carving out a significant role in the Majors anytime soon. He was on the Cubs’ 40-man roster and has subsequently been added to the Halos’ 40-man roster as well. The Angels announced that Lopez has been optioned to Triple-A Salt Lake.

Rondon, 20, is a left-handed pitcher out of Venezuela that has spent the past two seasons pitching for the Angels’ affiliate in the Dominican Summer League. He worked to a 2.50 ERA with 8.0 K/9 against 3.8 BB/9 in 108 innings at that level over the past two seasons, though he’s not particularly young for the league. This season, Rondon has moved up to he Rookie league in Arizona, where he’s struggled in a small 8 1/3-inning sample, yielding eight runs on 13 hits and four walks with seven strikeouts. He will not turn 21 until next March.

In the past 24 hours, the Angels have added Lopez and right-handers Gaither Bumgardner and Jason Hoppe in exchange for international bonus slots. The Angels are restricted from signing any international amateur for more than $300K after blowing past their budget to sign Roberto Baldoquin last winter, rendering the slots largely inconsequential to them.


Mets Acquire International Bonus Slot From Angels

The Mets have acquired an international bonus slot from the Angels in exchange for minor league right-hander Gaither Bumgardner, the teams announced. MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez tweets that the Mets will add $239,400 to their pool with this move.

Bumgardner was the Mets’ 23rd-round pick back in 2013. Though he’s 24 years of age, Bumgardner has progressed to just the Class-A level. The South Carolina native has tossed 65 2/3 innings as a pro, working to a 3.84 ERA with 7.7 K/9 and 4.4 BB/9. He did not find himself ranked among the Mets’ top prospects entering the year.

The Mets entered this signing period with a bonus pool of $2,531,300, per Baseball America, and they reportedly have agreements in place totaling $2.7MM. Adding this bonus slot from the Angels will allow the Mets to stay within the confines of their now-$2.77MM bonus pool. As for the Angels, the team went well over its 2014-15 bonus pool to give Cuban infielder Roberto Baldoquin an $8MM signing bonus, so they’re restricted from spending more than $300K on an international amateur anyhow.


Rangers Acquire International Slot Money From Angels

4:34pm: Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com reports that the Rangers are receiving two international bonus slots from the Angels, which are worth a combined total of $879,500 (Twitter link).

3:15pm: The Rangers have acquired an international bonus slot from the Angels in exchange for minor league right-hander Jason Hoppe, executive VP of communications John Blake announced (on Twitter).

Toppe, 23, was the Rangers’ 27th-round pick in last year’s draft out of Minnesota State University. He debuted with the club’s short-season Class-A affiliate in 2014 and has returned to that level to begin the 2015 season. The Minnesota native has a 4.97 ERA with a 38-to-10 K/BB ratio in 38 professional innings to this point. He didn’t rank among Texas’ top prospects.

The Rangers have a $4,586,600 bonus pool this year, per Baseball America, and have already agreed to $2.6MM worth of bonuses with Leodys Taveras and Miguel Aparicio earlier today. The Halos blew past last year’s international spending cap in order to sign Cuban infielder Roberto Baldoquin, so the team won’t be able to sign an international free agent for more than $300K anyhow. As such, it’s logical that they’re exploring trades with their international slots.


Angels Name Bill Stoneman Interim GM

9:09pm: The Angels have officially announced that Dipoto has resigned as the team’s GM and that Stoneman will serve as the GM for the remainder of the season. The team also confirmed that Klentak and fellow assistant GM Scott Servais will remain with the team in their previous roles while assisting Stoneman.

5:54pm: The Angels will name senior advisor of baseball operations Bill Stoneman as their interim GM, following Jerry Dipoto’s sudden resignation, reports MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez (Twitter links). Assistant GM Matt Klentak will act as Stoneman’s No. 2 in the new arrangement, per Gonzalez, who adds that a full search for a permanent replacement will begin in the offseason. Promoting Klentak is also an option, according to Gonzalez.

Stoneman, 71, has a lengthy track record in front offices, including within the Angels front office. He served as the team’s general manager from the 1999 through 2007 seasons prior to stepping down and ceding the role to Tony Reagins. Stoneman oversaw the construction of the Angels’ 2002 World Series roster and has been working in front offices dating back to 1984, when he was a member of the Expos’ front office. He, of course, is also the GM that initially hired manager Mike Scioscia, whose reported refusal to utilize data provided by the team’s analytics staff served as a catalyst for Dipoto’s decision to resign.

Stoneman and the young Klentak (34) will run point on the team’s baseball operations decisions as the trade deadline looms. While Klentak himself seems likely to be a consideration for the permanent GM’s chair, he’s also been speculatively mentioned as a candidate to join the Phillies’ front office in some capacity. Klentak has a strong relationship with new Phillies president Andy MacPhail, who gave him a prominent role in the Orioles’ front office back in 2008. Those looking to learn more about Klentak can check out an early episode of the MLBTR Podcast, where Klentak joined to discuss the Angels’ offseason goals with host Jeff Todd.


Angels GM Jerry Dipoto To Resign

Jerry Dipoto has made “a final decision” to resign as the Angels GM, Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com reports on Twitter. That appeared to be where things were headed last night, though a report indicated that the club’s owner and president were attempting to convince Dipoto to stay on.

February 21, 2012; Tempe, AZ, USA; Los Angeles Angels manager Mike Scioscia (left) talks to general manager Jerry Dipoto (right) during spring training at Tempe Diablo Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

While not unexpected at this point, the overall situation is rather stunning. The Angels are facing some tough decisions over the next month as the team tries to keep up with the Astros in the AL West after opening play today four games back. All said, it’s rather an inopportune time to be making such significant changes in the front office. It remains to be seen how the team will fill the void left in Dipoto’s wake.

The base cause for the signing appears, by all accounts, to be an authority struggle between Dipoto and skipper Mike Scioscia. Prior differences seemed to have been resolved with ownership intervention, and the organization had already exercised Dipoto’s option for the 2016 campaign. But tensions re-emerged over the last several days, according to reports. Without rehashing all the information that has come out, suffice to say that Angels owner Arte Moreno was ultimately unable to maintain a workable allocation of power between the pair of key baseball men.

Dipoto took the GM seat for Los Angeles in the fall of 2011 after the firing of predecessor Tony Reagins. He oversaw major free agent acquisitions, including Albert Pujols, Josh Hamilton, and C.J. Wilson, although those major outlays have often been connected to Moreno’s involvement.

More recently, Dipoto has looked to build the team’s pitching staff through the trade market. He shipped away starting second baseman Howie Kendrick to acquire young lefty Andrew Heaney this offseason after moving slugger Mark Trumbo to acquire Tyler Skaggs and Hector Santiago.

Dipoto also bolstered last year’s club with relievers Joe Smith (signed to a three-year pact) and Huston Street (added in a summer trade). Street ultimately agreed to an extension recently, with the team getting two more years of his services, plus an option year, for a seemingly reasonable $18MM commitment.

But the crowning achievement of Dipoto’s transactional history with the Halos is probably the Mike Trout extension. Having already established himself as the game’s very best player at just 22 years of age, Trout signed on to a six-year, $144.5MM deal. It’s a significant commitment, to be sure, but that money pales in comparison to the overall cash later promised by the Marlins to Giancarlo Stanton. Notably, Stanton was in a much different situation given his service time. But the Trout contract looks to be rather an incredible bargain, given that the club is committed only through his peak prime years with relatively little overall risk.

The Dipoto-constructed Angels had some disappointments along the way, missing the post-season in his first two seasons at the helm despite the major free agent signings. But the club put up 98 wins and an AL West title last year before running into the Royals buzzsaw in the playoffs.

Los Angeles has had its issues this year, with the team’s overall offensive production sagging despite big seasons from Trout and Pujols. Offseason acquisition Matt Joyce has simply not hit, and the club was backed into an awkward situation with Hamilton that ultimately saw him shipped to the Rangers for some salary savings.

Despite the turmoil, however, the club is as noted still very much in the thick of things heading into trade deadline season. As good as Houston has been, putting up an AL-leading 46 wins at the start of the day, the Angels have every opportunity to take another division crown. That’s especially true, perhaps, given that the club reportedly reserved payroll capacity to be deployed over the summer. Now, the question is not only how it will put those funds to use, but who’ll make that decision.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images


East Notes: Encarnacion, Jays, Yankees, Niese

Blue Jays slugger Edwin Encarnacion achieved ten-and-five rights yesterday, Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca reports. It once seemed quite unlikely that the now-32-year-old would ever establish himself enough to earn a no-trade clause, as Davidi explains. Toronto can control Encarnacion next season with a $10MM club option, but his future beyond that remains unclear. “I like this city, I’d love to stay here but it’s not my choice,” said Encarnacion. “They have to decide what they’re going to do, if they’re going to sign me or not. I’m open to be here and to stay here in Toronto.”

Here’s more from Toronto and the rest of the east:

  • All indications are that Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos “has been busy trying to make something happen for a while now,” writes Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca. Toronto may be willing to give significant value for a truly high-quality player that makes a perfect fit for the club’s overall situation, says Davidi, much as it did in signing Russell Martin and trading for Josh Donaldson. That being said, it seems unlikely that Anthopoulos and Co. will part with its best young talent for a pure rental, the report suggests.
  • Anthopoulos tells reporters that the Blue Jays nearly pulled off two trades in May, but has not come as close since, as Brendan Kennedy of the Toronto Star reports (Twitter links). The GM added that he’ll consider moving prospects for rentals if the price is right, noting that he discussed a deal last summer involving young players Kevin Pillar and Sean Nolin.
  • he Yankees are in a solid position right now, but need to address three pressing questions, Joel Sherman of the New York Post argues. First, the club need to decide whether and when it will pull the struggling CC Sabathia from the rotation, and whether it will replace him with an outside addition (Sherman suggests Jeff Samardzija as a viable option). Another veteran, outfielder Carlos Beltran, has produced at the plate but not in the field, and Sherman wonders whether he could be a trade option for the Angels to plug in at DH. And New York must also decide how much it is willing to cough up to add the versatile Ben Zobrist, per the piece, if and when he’s made available by the A’s.
  • Meanwhile, across town, the Mets are in no rush to deal Jon Niese, writes Newsday’s David Lennon, who explains that the club still needs innings from him given limitations on its younger starters. Of course, Niese (and his salary) could ultimately be part of a deal — whether to add a bat or future assets. But as things stand, it does not appear that there is much momentum towards any kind of trade. Indeed, per Lennon, the Mets have not even had “serious conversations with two teams (Cubs, Dodgers) that reportedly have interest in the lefty.

Angels Attempting To Keep Jerry Dipoto As GM

11:54am: If Dipoto ultimately leaves, there are some indications that assistant GM Matt Klentak would be handed the reigns, according to ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick (via Twitter).

If you’re interested in getting some more insight on Klentak, give a listen to his appearance on the MLBTR Podcast back in October.

10:36am: The Angels are attempting to keep GM Jerry Dipoto in his position, Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reports on Twitter. Club owner Arte Moreno and president John Carpino are “trying to broker a peace” between Dipoto and skipper Mike Scioscia, per the report.

Numerous reports suggested that Dipoto cleaned out his office and informed at least some personnel that he planned to resign last night. It seemed that we were but an announcement away from learning that the Halos would need a new general manager, and while that still may be the case, it seems that the club’s top leadership is not interested in replacing Dipoto.

Whatever the long-term prospects are for Dipoto and Scioscia to deliver harmonious and successful leadership for the Angels, it is obvious that this is not an opportune time to make a change in the GM seat. Los Angeles is just four games back in the AL West despite a somewhat tepid start, and has some obvious roster holes to fill over the coming month.