Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Rumors

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

West Notes: Nevin, Puig, Iwakuma, Dipoto

The Padres are considering Phil Nevin for their managerial job, tweet Scott Miller of Bleacher Report. Nevin, currently managing for the Diamondbacks Triple-A affiliate, also played for the Padres from 1999 through 2005. Per Miller, he is “among those under consideration.” Miller also says that current interim manager Pat Murphy isn’t expected to return.

  • The Dodgers have reinstated outfielder Yasiel Puig from the disabled list, the team announced via press release. Puig will man right field and bat sixth tonight. The 24-year-old slugger has battled injury this season. The most recent malady was a right hamstring strain. He’s managed just 306 plate appearances this year. His .256/.324/.440 batting line is solid (112 wRC+) but falls well short of expectations. With the playoffs right around the corner, Puig will have two games to tune up. Manager Don Mattingly doesn’t plan to start him tomorrow, but he’ll be available off the bench, per Bill Plunkett of the Orange Country Register (via Twitter).
  • Hisashi Iwakuma looked at yesterday’s start as a normal appearance, writes Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune. Iwakuma, a free agent after the season, says he prefers to remain in Seattle, but he is seeking a multi-year deal. Mariners officials would also like to re-sign him, calling it a priority. Iwakuma had another solid season despite making just 20 starts. He posted a 3.54 ERA with 7.70 K/9 and 1.46 BB/9.
  • Newly installed Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto has a busy offseason ahead of him, writes Dutton. The club’s farm system has failed to produce a top talent in recent seasons. For that reason (and others), industry insiders expect Dipoto to lure Angels assistant GM Scott Servais away L.A. Dipoto also has to make a quick decision about manager Lloyd McClendon and build depth. Lengthening the rotation is a stated goal so an extension for Iwakuma appears likely.

Rosenthal On Eppler, Cherington, Orioles, Black

Here’s the latest from Ken Rosenthal, via a video on FOX Sports:

  • Nothing is official, and it’s hard to tell what Angels owner Arte Moreno might be thinking, but the Yankees still believe assistant GM Billy Eppler will get the open GM job in Anaheim. One possible reason the Angels haven’t yet made the announcement is that they might have to face the Yankees in the AL Wild Card matchup.
  • Former Red Sox GM Ben Cherington isn’t likely to try to get a GM job this offseason, but perhaps the Phillies job could be appealing to him, since he and Phillies owner John Middleton both went to Amherst. If Cherington takes a GM job, he’ll want to work with someone he trusts.
  • The Orioles have extended bench coach John Russell’s contract, but have not done the same for their other coaches, and it looks like changes could be afoot. Pitching coach Dave Wallace appears most likely to head elsewhere (and other teams are already inquiring about his availability). Any potential coaching changes could lead to disagreements between GM Dan Duquette and manager Buck Showalter.
  • The Marlins and Nationals could be potential landing spots for manager Bud Black, and the Braves might also become a possibility at some point, given that he once worked as an assistant to current Braves exec John Hart. The Dodgers might also come into play if they part ways with Don Mattingly.

Heyman’s Latest: Nats, Managers/GMs, Kennedy, Martinez, Beltre, Desmond

While Matt Williams is all but certain to be let go following the season, writes Jon Heyman of CBS Sports in his latest Inside Baseball column, a source close to the situation tells him that Nationals GM/president of baseball ops Mike Rizzo “isn’t going anywhere.” The ill-fated acquisition of Jonathan Papelbon and Rizzo’s backing of Williams has led to some speculation about his job, but Heyman indicates that Washington’s top decision-maker is safe. Heyman focuses on the Nats in a lengthy intro to his column, also notably reporting that the “ship has sailed” on the Cubs‘ interest in Papelbon, making them an unlikely destination in a trade this winter. The Nats will try to unload Papelbon, though finding a trade partner in the wake of recent drama surrounding him will prove exceptionally difficult. Heyman also notes that Tyler Clippard and Gerardo Parra were Rizzo’s top two deadline priorities, but he didn’t have authorization to increase payroll, and thus turned to Papelbon, as the Phillies were willing to include money in the deal.

Some highlights from the rest of the lengthy but informative column…

  • In running down current GM vacancies as well as potential managerial openings, Heyman notes a number of likelihoods. Billy Eppler is expected to be offered the Angels‘ GM position, he hears, but the Halos may go with the increasingly popular two-executive format, meaning Josh Byrnes could be hired as president to work above Eppler. Torey Lovullo’s name could surface as a candidate for the Padres, especially given CEO Mike Dee’s ties to Boston. Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto could have a tough time with Lloyd McClendon, whom one Mariners person described as even more old-school than Mike Scioscia, and Heyman hears that former Rangers bench coach/Angels front office assistant Tim Bogar could get a look.
  • The Indians will be looking for third basemen this winter and could seek upgrades in center field and right field as well.
  • Rockies GM Jeff Bridich is said to be a believer in young right-hander Eddie Butler, a former Top 100 prospect that has struggled mightily in the Majors. Others in the organization aren’t as sold on him.
  • The Tigers will be looking for a closer and at least one setup man this winter, and they could show interest in the RedsAroldis Chapman on the trade market (though he strikes me as a questionable fit with just one year until free agency). Detroit will also be seeking rotation upgrades on the free agent market, and a few players of early interest are Scott Kazmir, Ian Kennedy and Jeff Samardzija. Trades for rotation help are also possible, though Detroit wants to hold onto Daniel Norris and Michael Fulmer.
  • Cuban outfield prospect Eddy Julio Martinez recently worked out for the Royals and had an impressive showing. The Dodgers and Giants remain interested as well, he adds. It’s worth also pointing out that each of those three clubs has already spent heavily enough on international free agents to incur maximum penalties, so the only further repercussion they’d face is further luxury taxation.
  • The Brewers will target rotation help this offseason, and Heyman calls Kennedy a “possibility.” To me, that’d seem like more of the same from recent winters, when Milwaukee added Matt Garza and Kyle Lohse — a pair of mid-range upgrades. Unlike those winters, however, they’re not close enough to contention this time around for me to see the logic in offering Kennedy a four-year deal, especially since he’ll probably end up with a qualifying offer attached to his name. On another Brewers’ note, Heyman writes that the team should listen on Jean Segura, given Orlando Arcia‘s emergence in the minors, though I’m not sure Segura is teeming with trade value following another poor season.
  • Samardzija could be a target for the Yankees, who employ former Cubs GM Jim Hendry in their front office. Hendry was Chicago’s general manager when the team initially signed Samardzija and remains a believer in the right-hander.
  • The D-Backs, Nationals, Tigers, Cubs, Rangers, Yankees and maybe the Braves will all show interest if the Padres decide to move Craig Kimbrel this winter.
  • Adrian Beltre will need to undergo surgery to repair a severe thumb sprain through which he’s been playing for quite some time following the Rangers‘ season.
  • There’s “no chance” that Ian Desmond would accept a one-year qualifying offer, writes Heyman, who presumes that the Nationals will make the offer. Though Desmond’s struggled this year, it shouldn’t be expected that any prime-aged player who isn’t coming off a major injury would accept the offer, in my view. Detractors will state that said player can’t find a similar average annual value on a multi-year deal, and while that may be true, locking in a more sizable payday once free agency is an option tends to be a greater priority. Heyman lists the Mariners, White Sox and Mets as speculative possibilities to enter the shortstop market. Desmond won’t top $100MM, like many once expected, but even with a QO in tow, he’ll be able to handily top $16MM, even at a lower AAV. And, if the offers don’t materialize, he can always sign a one-year deal at or near that rate later in the offseason.

AL West Notes: Scioscia, Crisp, Kazmir

In his introductory press conference with the Mariners yesterday, GM Jerry Dipoto said that he wouldn’t let his split with the Angels define his career, and he also stressed the importance of communication between a manager and a GM. Asked about what he’s learned about communication from the drama, manager Mike Scioscia said the following to reporters (including MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez): “I just know how important communication is, not only with the GM and the manager, but also communication with the people who are controlling your depth chart in the Minor Leagues, getting an evaluation of players. When you have that communication, the decision-making process is very, very clean and we have positive situations on the field.” Dipoto said that the perception of a consistent war between himself and Scioscia was “the furthest thing from the truth,” and Scioscia said that he doesn’t anticipate it’ll be tough to smooth out any communication issues with a new GM. Per Gonzalez, Scioscia would, though, like a larger say in player development and a more direct line to the coaches at the team’s upper minor league levels. Scioscia has an opt-out clause in his contract after this season but is expected to return in 2016, Gonzalez adds.

Here’s more from the AL West…

  • Coco Crisp expects to be the Athletics‘ starting left fielder in 2016, writes John Hickey of the Bay Area News Group, but there’s been no official determination from management. Crisp will sit down with manager Bob Melvin, assistant GM David Forst and GM Billy Beane to discuss the future following the 2015 season. His guaranteed $11MM salary certainly figures to play a role in matters. Said Forst of Crisp: “We’re optimistic that he will be able to play out there next year. He takes care of himself, and we think the (physical) issues can be resolved.”
  • Astros lefty Scott Kazmir feels that poor execution of his pitches has led to his poor month of September, writes Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle. Kazmir acknowledged that it’s unreasonable for thoughts of free agency not to creep into a player’s head this close to reaching the open market, but he doesn’t feel that’s the root of the problem either. There’s no physical issue, per Kazmir, and pitching coach Brent Strom agrees that execution (or lack thereof) is the source of his woes.

Angels Designate Grant Green For Assignment

The Angels have selected the contract of left-hander Jo-Jo Reyes and designated infielder Grant Green for assignment to clear space on the 40-man roster, team director of communications Eric Kay announced (on Twitter).

Green, a former first-round pick of the Athletics and Top 100 prospect, was acquired by the Angels in an intradivision trade that sent Alberto Callaspo to Oakland prior to the 2013 non-waiver trade deadline. Now 28 year of age, Green has been up and down between the Majors and Triple-A over the past three seasons with Anaheim but has failed to translate his considerable minor league success to the big leagues. The USC product has compiled a healthy .311/.354/.474 batting line in the admittedly hitter-friendly Triple-A Pacific Coast League, but he’s struggled to a .263/.299/.353 line in 284 plate appearances with the Angels dating back to that trade.

Green has experience at all four infield positions, though the vast majority of his work there in the Majors has come at second base, and defensive metrics like UZR and DRS haven’t given a ringing endorsement of his work at any position. He’s also logged 127 big league innings in left field. If he goes unclaimed by another team, Green would be outrighted, and he has enough pro experience to qualify for minor league free agency at season’s end, so he could be looking at a new organization in 2016.

As for Reyes, the 30-year-old will be returning to the Majors for the first time since the 2011 season, when he tossed a combined 140 2/3 innings for the Blue Jays and Orioles. Reyes came up with the Braves as a 22-year-old in 2007 and has worked to a 6.05 ERA over the life of 334 2/3 big league frames. He had posted a 4.76 ERA in 68 innings at the Triple-A level this season after enjoying success in the Mexican League earlier in 2015.

AL West Notes: Zito, Smith, Singleton, Gray

Barry Zito will start for the Athletics on Wednesday in what the veteran southpaw hinted would be his last Major League game, John Hickey of the Bay Area News Group reports.  “So maybe I could pitch next year. But I have a son now, and the travel with a family is pretty nuts. I think about it, but I also know that I was pretty at peace with being done during those nine days,” Zito said, referring to the nine days between the end of the Triple-A season and his callup to Oakland.  “There have been so many last starts for me. I would think this would be the last. Anything could happen still. I haven’t come out and said, ‘This is it.’ But that’s something I’ll have to mull over when I’m home-home (that’s Nashville for the next few months) in a week or so.”

Here’s more from around the AL West…

  • Joe Smith is “confident” he’ll be able to pitch again before the end of the season, the reliever told reporters, including MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez.  Smith suffered a sprained ankle on September 19 but has taken part in fielding drills and a bullpen session over the last two days, and he’ll throw another bullpen today.  Smith’s return would be a boost to the Angels relief corps, which has already lost closer Huston Street for at least the rest of the regular season.
  • Jon Singleton signed a five-year, $10MM extension with the Astros before ever playing a Major League game, a deal that at the time was criticized by some current and retired players (including Bud Norris and Mark Mulder) for being far too team-friendly.  Two years into the contract, however, Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle notes that the deal is looking more like a mistake on the Astros’ end as Singleton has both struggled and not even collected all that much service time.  Drellich reports from one source that the Astros wouldn’t have made the deal in hindsight if they’d known how Singleton’s 2015 would unfold.
  • The Astros‘ strategy of offering multi-year deals to players early (or even before) their MLB careers have begun may have backfired in Singleton’s case, though Drellich notes that Houston avoided more commitments when Robbie Grossman and Matt Dominguez both rejected similar extensions.  The Astros may have already ultimately gotten a good return on this strategy since Jose Altuve‘s deal is looking like a bargain, which makes up for other mistakes.
  • The decision to accept or reject such an early-career extension is a fascinating one for any player, as they’re facing possible peer (and union) pressure to “bet on themselves” in hopes of making more in the future, or to accept what’s already a life-changing sum of money and cash in on pure potential.  Drellich speaks to former A’s outfielder Bobby Crosby, who signed a five-year, $12.75MM extension after his Rookie Of The Year season and doesn’t regret signing the deal since his career was hampered by injuries.
  • During an appearance on the MLB Network (video link included), Peter Gammons said he doubts the Athletics will trade Sonny Gray this winter.  This isn’t to say that a deal won’t eventually happen, however, perhaps as soon as the 2016-17 offseason when Gray becomes arbitration-eligible for the first time.  Until then, Gray is one of the game’s biggest bargains, posting top-of-the-rotation numbers at just over a minimum salary.

Minor MLB Transactions: 9/28/15

Here are today’s minor moves from around the league.

  • The Orioles have reached an agreement with 18-year-old Australian lefty Alex Wells, according to MASNsports.com’s Roch Kubatko (on Twitter). Wells will receive $300K, Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun tweets. Wells’ twin brother Lachlan is a prospect in the Twins’ system.
  • The O’s have also signed righty Michael Zouzalik from the St. Paul Saints, CSNmidatlantic.com’s Rich Dubroff tweets. The Rangers originally signed Zouzalik in 2012 after an open tryout, and he pitched for one season in the minors before ending up in independent ball. This season, he had a solid year in St. Paul’s bullpen, posting a 2.06 ERA, 9.2 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9 in 48 innings.
  • No move is yet official, but veteran lefty Jo-Jo Reyes is working out with the Angels, MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez tweets. The 30-year-old pitched 68 innings with the Angels’ Triple-A Salt Lake affiliate this season, posting a 4.76 ERA, 6.0 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9. He’s pitched for the Braves, Blue Jays and Orioles in the past, but hasn’t appeared in the big leagues since 2011. The Angels could be considering adding him to their roster due to the rash of injuries to their pitching staff that also recently led them to sign Mat Latos.

Latest On Angels’ GM Search

Here’s the latest on the Angels’ hunt for a new GM.

  • Mariners farm director Chris Gwynn interviewed last weekend for the job, USA Today’s Bob Nightengale tweets. Gwynn, Tony’s younger brother, played parts of ten seasons with the Dodgers, Royals and Padres as an outfielder, then worked in the Padres’ scouting department for over a decade before taking his current position with the Mariners.
  • Yankees assistant GM Billy Eppler still appears to be the front-runner, MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez writes (Twitter links). The decision might not be officially announced, however, until after the Yankees are eliminated from the postseason. In any case, the Angels seem to be down to a small number of candidates. (In addition to Eppler and Gwynn, other names that have been connected to the position include Rangers assistant Thad Levine, former Diamondbacks and Padres GM Josh Byrnes, former Padres and Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers, Blue Jays assistant Tony LaCava, Indians vice president of player personnel Ross Atkins, Angels director of pro scouting Hal Morris, and current Angels assistants Matt Klentak and Scott Servais.)
  • Regardless of who it is, the team will likely wait until after the season is over to announce their choice, Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times tweets.

Angels Sign Mat Latos

The Angels have signed veteran starter Mat Latos, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register tweets. To clear space for Latos on their 40-man roster, they recalled catcher Rafael Lopez and placed him on the 60-day DL with fractured hand, tweets MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez. Latos will not be eligible for postseason play, but he can pitch for the Angels the rest of the regular season, after which he’ll become a free agent.

Latos began the 2015 season with the Marlins, who traded him to the Dodgers in July. The Dodgers designated him for assignment and then released him earlier this month. Latos is making $9.4MM this season, but most of what’s left of that deal will be paid by the Dodgers (and by the Marlins, who sent the Dodgers an undisclosed amount when they traded him, via Cot’s).

Latos has had an uneven year, posting a 4.95 ERA, 7.7 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9 in 112 2/3 innings. From the Angels’ perspective, though, the precise quality of Latos’ play going forward is probably less important than the fact that he’s a veteran starting pitcher they could acquire quickly and cheaply. His acquisition appears to be merely a short-term move for an Angels team that needs an extra arm, either for its rotation or its bullpen. Jered Weaver has a shoulder injury, Matt Shoemaker has a forearm issue and won’t make his next start, and Huston Street and Joe Smith are dealing with injury as well.

Latest On Angels, Huston Street

On Saturday night, Angels closer Huston Street had to be helped off the field after suffering a groin injury.  The team is still waiting for more information, but manager Mike Scioscia said the early prognosis is “not good,” as Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times writes.  On Sunday, Scioscia added that the injury was “significant” (via Mike DiGiovanna of the L.A. Times on Twitter) and that doesn’t leave a ton of room for optimism as the Angels wait for the MRI results.  Here’s the latest on Street and how the Angels might explore their limited options at this stage of the season…

Newest updates

  • Street told reporters (including Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register) that he suffered a Grade 1 groin strain and will be out for the rest of the regular season.  Since a Grade 1 is the least-serious level of strain, however, there’s still a chance Street could return in the playoffs provided the Angels make it deep enough into the postseason.

Earlier today

  • Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register (on Twitter) hears that there is “absolutely no chance” that 2014 first-round pick Sean Newcomb will come up to the Angels in reaction to the Street injury. The left-hander has worked his way up to Double-A this season. In total, Newcomb has 27 minor league starts to his credit with a 2.38 ERA, 11.1 K/9, and 5.0 BB/9.
  • Fletcher (on Twitter) hears that the Angels are trying to get a reliever from outside the organization to help bolster their bullpen.  However, at this point, they’re unlikely to get anyone of impact.  Furthermore, anyone they did acquire would not be eligible for postseason play.
  • Halos skipper Mike Scioscia confirmed that GM Bill Stoneman is looking “inside and outside the organization” for relief help, as Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times tweets.
  • One possibility from within is Vinnie Pestano, Fletcher tweets. Pestano, who pitched to a 2.10 ERA with 11.0 K/9 and 2.1 BB/9 at Triple-A, is not currently on the 40-man roster.