Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Rumors

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

Quick Hits: Hamilton, Howard, Otani

The Rangers will activate outfielder Josh Hamilton on Monday, tweets Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. GM Jon Daniels has announced that Hamilton is “physically and game ready” per Wilson (via Twitter). The Angels are on the hook for most of the remaining salary on his contract. Hamilton is hoping to rebound from a couple sub-par seasons by his standards. Statistically, 2013 was his worst season on a rate basis, and he was still five percent better than the average hitter. His rehab work produced mixed results. He battered Double-A pitching (9-for-17), but scuffled in Triple-A action (7-for-29).

  • Ryan Howard has recovered some trade value after a hot month of hitting, writes Corey Seidman of CSN Philly. The Phillies‘ first baseman has hit 10 home runs with 21 RBI and a .303 average over his last 30 games. Seidman identifies three clubs as potential fits for Howard – the Angels, Rays, and Twins. The Angels have struggled mightily against right-handed pitching. They could easily insert Howard into the designated hitter slot to help solve that issue. The Rays and Twins have performed better overall, but both clubs have received poor production from their designated hitters. I happen to agree with Seidman’s analysis and even tabbed Minnesota as a potential fit for Howard earlier this evening.
  • Shohei Otani could be the next Japanese star to transition to the majors, writes Jim Caple of ESPN. The 20-year-old is still three to four seasons from being posted by the Nippon Ham Fighters. He owns a 2.71 ERA with 274 strikeouts in 259 innings. The righty can reach back for 100 mph heat, but he also displays solid ability at the plate. In between starts, he plays about three to four games a week in the field. In 485 plate appearances, he’s hit .253/.303/.445 with 15 home runs. Major league teams will be more interested in his triple-digit heater, but pitchers like Madison Bumgarner can tell you about the value of an offensive presence in the nine-hole.

Rosenthal’s Latest: Papelbon, Marlins, Padres, Angels, Twins

The Marlins showed interest in Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon right around when they fired Mike Redmond, reports Ken Rosenthal in his latest video for FOX Sports. However, it’s unclear if the club will buy after a slow start to the season. Prior to the season they promised Giancarlo Stanton that they will aim to compete, but there may come a point where it makes more sense to trade some of the higher priced mercenaries. Players like Mike Morse, Dan Haren, and Mike Dunn could find themselves on the trade block. Here’s more from Rosenthal.

  • The Padres are scouting the Brewers for a shortstop. They may lack the prospects to acquire Jean Segura, but San Diego GM A.J. Preller is familiar with Luis Sardinas from his days in the Rangers system. The Brewers are also taking calls on right-hander Mike Fiers, but they’re not interested in trading him.
  • The Angels have plenty of starting pitching depth to acquire offensive firepower. They could call upon Andrew Heaney if they trade a major leaguer pitcher. Alternatively, Heaney or Nick Tropeano could be offered in a swap. The Halos also have Tyler Skaggs and Sean Newcomb as long term options. Skaggs is rehabbing from Tommy John surgery. Newcomb is working his way through the system (currently in High-A) after being selected 15th overall last June.
  • The Twins aren’t yet buyers, but they’ll receive reinforcements when Ervin Santana and Casey Fien return to action. Santana is eligible to return from his PED suspension on July 4. Fien is currently on the disabled list. The club has received poor production from center field and designated hitter. They could stick with Aaron Hicks in center with Kennys Vargas as the primary designated hitter, but the addition of a “big bopper” would improve the overall outlook. My own speculation: I wonder if a combination of Ben Revere and Ryan Howard would make sense – assuming the Phillies ate enough cash.

West Notes: Street, Crisp, Athletics, Dodgers

Angels closer Huston Street spoke with Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca about his decision to ink a mid-season extension. Though he ultimately handed off the job of negotiating that deal to agent Alan Hendricks, much of the groundwork was laid by Street himself. He says the process was enjoyable, but noted that he learned from mistakes in how things were relayed to the media this spring. Street spoke at length about the compromises struck to reach the deal, explaining the “interesting crossroad to be fascinated by the money but also to not be driven by it at all.”

  • Athletics outfielder Coco Crisp is still struggling with the same neck issues that bothered him last year, but Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports (links to Twitter) that surgery is off the table. Normally, that’s a good thing, but in this case the issue is that a surgical solution would very likely end Crisp’s playing career. Ultimately, Crisp may need another DL stint but is expected to be able to play with the injury.
  • The Athletics are not interested in dealing catcher Stephen Vogt and are not moving now on pitcher Scott Kazmir, Peter Gammons of GammonsDaily.com reports“I’m not trading Vogt,” said GM Billy Beane. “Period.” As for the veteran lefty Kazmir, Gammons writes that Beane and co. had intended to make him a qualifying offer but could ultimately consider a deal — though they’ve not yet had any action in that area.
  • From the same report, Gammons says that the Dodgers are generating plenty of interest in their younger players from clubs that have pitching to deal. The PhilliesReds, and Athletics, among other teams, are “scouring” the Los Angeles farm, per Gammons. The veteran journalist also adds that some other executives think that L.A. could potentially make a run at Cole Hamels by dangling interesting utilityman Enrique Hernandez, pitchers Zach Lee and Chris Anderson, and catcher Julian Leon to Philadelphia. While Gammons does not make clear whether his sources suggest that package would be enough, it certainly seems at face value that Philly would demand a headliner to top things off.


Phillies Notes: Revere, Utley, Howard, Nola

Ben Revere‘s name has begun to surface in trade rumors, but the speedy outfielder tells Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com that he isn’t fazed by seeing his name floated as a trade candidate. Revere says that the talk isn’t distracting, characterizing it as something that every player has to deal with at some point. (I’d imagine that having been traded once in the past has prepared him somewhat as well.) “This is a business,” Revere says. “When [Cody] Asche and [Domonic Brown] come back we’re going to have a lot of outfielders and someone might be out. I just have to prepare to help my team win whether it’s here or somewhere else. Just bust my tail and try to stay in the lineup.” Salisbury adds that he, like others, hears that the Angels have indeed discussed Revere with the Phillies.

Some more Phillies notes…

  • Continuing to play Ryan Howard and Chase Utley could actually help the Phillies’ rebuild, opines MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki. Zolecki points out that in mid-April, fans wanted Howard to be benched, if not released, but he’s hitting .292/.346/.615 with eight homers in 27 games dating back to April 21. By demonstrating that level of production, Zolecki notes, Howard can only have helped his trade value. The same could eventually be said of Utley, who is struggling badly this year. The Phils have little to lose by continuing to run Utley out there, however, he argues. The club will have plenty of time to see Cesar Hernandez play in the coming years, and Utley isn’t blocking a top-tier prospect. While some are worried about triggering Utley’s vesting option, Zolecki notes that if he’s still hitting well below .200 come July, the team can very easily alter that pace in the second half of the season.
  • General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. and president Pat Gillick were on hand for yesterday’s Double-A Reading game, writes Ryan Lawrence of the Philadelphia Daily News, and the two saw a masterful performance by 2014 first-round pick Aaron Nola. The Phillies’ top decision-makers saw Nola fire seven shutout innings, allowing just four hits and a walk against seven strikeouts in an effort that dropped his ERA to 1.54 through 52 2/3 innings. However, Amaro said that the team is not yet ready to give Nola a look at the Major League level, Lawrence writes. “There are some things he needs to work on still,” said Amaro. “There’s some areas he’s continuing to work on. We continue to discuss and put together a plan for him. We’re in the middle of formulating that plan.” Amaro wouldn’t say what specific areas Nola needed to improve, but the GM did say that it was certainly within the realm of possibility that Nola would pitch in the Major Leagues this season.

AL West Notes: Castillo, Jackson, Parker, Gonzalez, Pujols

Though his role with the Cubs had diminished, Welington Castillo was still “shocked” to learn he’d been traded to the Mariners, he tells Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times“I wasn’t expecting it. Now I’m here. It was a long day yesterday. Now I’m here and ready to go. I’m really excited to be here.” Castillo discusses the sometimes overlooked difficulty of being traded for a catcher, as he’s already been informed that he’ll be behind the dish for Thursday’s matinee, leaving him scarce time to get to know starter J.A. Happ, whom he’ll catch for the first time in his career. “I’m going to go and sit and watch video with him and go over the lineup, ask him, ‘what do you want to do, what do you like to do? What’s your first pitch? What’s your last pitch? What’s the pitch you throw behind in the count for a strike?’” Castillo is excited for the opportunity to play more, as even though he won’t be Seattle’s everyday option at catcher — that honor will still go to Mike Zunino — he should now pick up a couple of starts per week. With the Cubs, Castillo had just 47 plate appearances on the season.

More from the AL West…

  • After speaking with Mariners director of minor league player development Chris Gwynn, Divish also reports that top prospect and 2014 first-rounder Alex Jackson has been shut down with a shoulder issue. According to Gwynn, Jackson hurt his left shoulder in Spring Training while diving for a ball, and the injury has likely hampered his swing this season. That would explain how Jackson, who slashed .280/.344/.476 in his pro debut with the club’s Rookie-level affiliate in 2014, saw his production plummet to .157/.240/.213 with Class-A Clinton in 2015. Jackson will head to extended Spring Training for the time being as he works to rehab the injury.
  • Athletics righty Jarrod Parker underwent successful surgery to repair the fractured medial epicondyle in his right elbow, reports MLB.com’s Jane Lee. The club briefly thought that Parker might need a third Tommy John surgery after he initially sustained the injury, making this operation something of a relief, despite the its generally unfortunate nature. There’s still no timetable on his recovery, however.
  • The Rangers‘ decision to designate Carlos Peguero earlier today opened a spot on the 25-man roster and was likely influenced by the impending return of Josh Hamilton (who will pick up most of Peguero’s at-bats in the corner outfield), but Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram tweets another wrinkle to the move. The open spot on the 40-man roster won’t be filled immediately — Klein was already on the 40-man, as is Hamilton — which could allow the Rangers to give former first-round pick and consensus Top 100 prospect Alex “Chi Chi” Gonzalez a look in the rotation if they wish. Gonzalez hasn’t dazzled in his first taste of Triple-A pitching, but the 23-year-old does have a lifetime 3.14 ERA with 7.0 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9 in the minors.
  • Albert Pujols left the game tonight after being hit by a pitch on the hand, but Angels GM Jerry Dipoto told reporters, including Mike DiGiovanna of the L.A. Times (Twitter link) that there are no fractures. Pujols will be day-to-day with a bruise but shouldn’t miss any significant amount of time.

International Notes: Martinez, Fox, KBO

A few notes on the international prospect front…

  • The Giants were among the clubs to scout 20-year-old Cuban center fielder Eddy Julio Martinez in the Dominican Republic recently, reports MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez (All Twitter links). At this time, the Giants, Yankees, Angels, Blue Jays, Nationals, Rockies, Tigers and Dodgers are all in the mix for Martinez. One scout placed the lofty comp of a young Andruw Jones on Martinez, Sanchez adds, though clearly not every scout will be quite that bullish. Martinez is expected to work out for more clubs this week and is eligible to sign at any time.
  • Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN tweeted recently that the Twins are also among the teams to have scouted Martinez (and other Cuban prospects) as of late. Wolfson hears that as many as 17 teams watched Martinez work out late last week.
  • Sanchez hears that interest in Martinez and in Bahamian shortstop Lucius Fox is picking up (Twitter links). Scouts love Fox’s tools, and the fact that he is already 18 years of age is actually a bonus in this instance, as he comes with more experience than most July 2-eligible prospects. Fox, unlike Martinez, isn’t eligible to sign prior to July 2.
  • Jung Ho Kang‘s early success with the Pirates will help pave the way for hitters from the Korea Baseball Organization to make the jump to Major League Baseball, opines C.J. Nitkowski of FOX Sports (video link). Manager Clint Hurdle recently revealed to Nitkowski that in Spring Training, he had some concerns about whether or not Kang would be able to handle the increased fastball velocity he’d encounter in Major League Baseball. As Nitkowski points out, that hasn’t been an issue for the powerful infielder to this point; Kang has seen 101 fastballs registering at 93 mph or faster, and he’s whiffed on just five of them in addition to going 9-for-18 on those that he’s put into play. Recent reports have indicated that Kang’s former Nexen Heroes teammate, Byung-ho Park, is hoping to jump to MLB himself next season.

Teams Monitoring Ben Revere For Possible Trade

Opposing teams continue to scout Ben Revere for a possible trade, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Revere may be somewhat of an odd man out when both Cody Asche and Domonic Brown return to the club, Rosenthal notes, now that Asche is transitioning to the outfield. Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com hears that the Angels like Revere but are in “exploratory mode” and aren’t rushing in any direction for outfield help (Twitter link).

Revere, 27, was said to be available in a trade shortly before Opening Day, and it would appear that a position change for Asche has made that even more evident. Gonzalez’s mention of the Angels isn’t the first time they’ve been connected to the fleet-footed Revere in recent weeks; the Orange County Register’s Jeff Fletcher also has mentioned Revere as a possibility for the Halos of late.

Through 159 plate appearances this season, Revere’s batting average is down a bit from the .301 mark he’s posted over the past three seasons. However, he’s seen his walk rate jump from a dismal 2.1 percent in 2014 to 5.7 percent in 2015. That, of course, is still below the league average, but the net result of Revere’s efforts at the plate this season is a .268/.314/.356 batting line that could very well improve if his .299 BABIP moves closer to his .319 career mark. Revere isn’t stealing with quite as much frequency as he did in 2014 — he had 12 steals in 14 attempts through 39 games last year — but he’s still chipped in eight steals in 11 tries.

Philadelphia’s usage of Odubel Herrera in center field has shifted Revere to left field, where his limited arm but strong range play a bit better than in center. (The early returns on Revere’s first action in left field since 2012 are positive, per Ultimate Zone Rating and Defensive Runs Saved.) Left field has been arguably the Angels’ greatest deficiency this season, as they’ve received a collective .150/.187/.218 batting line from their left fielders this season.

Revere wouldn’t provide virtually any power for an acquiring club, but he’s a career .290 hitter with a .323 on-base percentage despite his lack of pop and averaged 50 steals per 162 games from 2011-14. That skill-set of speed and contact is undervalued in arbitration, which has kept Revere’s price tag relatively modest. He’s earning $4.1MM this season, meaning that he is owed about $3.1MM through season’s end. As a Super Two player, Revere has two more trips through the arbitration process in his future before becoming eligible for free agency following the 2017 campaign.


Quick Hits: Brown, Martinez, Hamilton

Ollie Brown, known to the San Diego faithful as the “Original Padre” has died of complications from mesothelioma, reports Corey Brock of MLB.com. The outfielder was the first player selected by the Padres in the 1968 Expansion Draft. Brown hit 52 home runs in parts of four seasons with the Padres including 23 blasts in 1970. Brown was 71 and is survived by two brothers, a wife, a daughter, and five grandchildren. We at MLBTR wish to extend our condolences to Brown’s family and friends.

  • Cuban outfielder Eddy Julio Martinez could sign for $10MM, tweets Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports. The 20-year-old is subject to the international spending pool which could affect the bidding. Among the interested teams include the Braves, Giants, Yankees, Cubs, Nationals, and Diamondbacks. New York and Arizona may have an advantage since they’ve already exceeded their bonus pool. Chicago won’t be able to jump into the bidding until July 2nd. It was reported two days ago that Martinez could sign as early as next week.
  • While still with the Angels, Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton repeatedly tried to reach out to owner Arte Moreno, writes Anthony Andro of FOX Sports Southwest. Instead, Hamilton says his efforts were blocked by GM Jerry Dipoto and team President John Carpino. Hamilton attempted to contact Moreno regarding his poor performance last season and again after his offseason relapse. The embattled slugger is currently rehabbing in Double-A and could return to major league action soon. Los Angeles is responsible for most of the remaining $80MM on his contract.

Heyman’s Latest: Tulo, Soriano, Correa, Garza, Segura, Mets

The latest installment of Jon Heyman’s weekly Inside Baseball column is up over at CBS Sports, and Heyman begins by addressing the Troy Tulowitzki trade talk that has once again surfaced. Heyman, like many others, feels the time has arrived for the marriage between Tulo and the Rockies to come to an end, but neither Tulowitzki or owner Dick Monfort wants to appear to be the “bad guy” in the situation. Heyman hears that Tulowitzki would prefer to play for the YankeesGiants, Dodgers or Angels if he is traded, though one person who knows the shortstop well told Heyman that he may ok with the Mets, Cardinals and Red Sox as well. Tulowitzki’s preferred destination is largely a moot point though, as his contract doesn’t have a no-trade clause. Heyman notes that in a year’s time, Tulowitzki will receive 10-and-5 rights, allowing him to veto any deal. That reality only furthers Colorado’s need to move Tulowitzki, Heyman opines. Heyman also lists 11 clubs that he could see making some degree of sense for the face of the Rockies’ franchise.

Some more highlights from a lengthy but always-informative column…

  • The Cubs “may consider” Rafael Soriano at some point as a means of lengthening their bullpen, according to Heyman. I’d note that while the team has looked a bit thin beyond Hector Rondon and Pedro Strop, the Cubs just got Justin Grimm back from the disabled list and likely won’t be without Neil Ramirez for too much longer.
  • Astros top prospect — and arguably the top prospect in all of MLB — Carlos Correa could be up to the Majors within three weeks, one Houston source estimated to Heyman. Also of note on the Astros front, he writes that a pursuit of Cole Hamels would appear to be a long shot, but Scott Kazmir (Houston native) and Clay Buchholz are names to keep an eye on for Houston, should either become available.
  • Kyle Lohse seems like a natural candidate to be traded this offseason, but the Brewers are particularly interested in shedding Matt Garza‘s contract. The right-hander is guaranteed $12.5MM in 2015 and will earn the same rate in each of the following two seasons. Neither pitcher, however, has been particularly impressive for Milwaukee.
  • Jean Segura is one of the players that the Brewers have the least interest in trading, but Heyman hears that the Padres would be interested, should Brewers GM Doug Melvin entertain offers. San Diego likes Alexi Amarista but prefers to use him in a utility role rather than as a starter.
  • Rival teams seriously doubt that the Mets would ever consider parting ways with Noah Syndergaard, but there’s “a little hope” that the team could be persuaded to part with highly touted left-hander Steven Matz in a trade. Heyman adds that the Mets are going to remain patient with Wilmer Flores as their shortstop for the time being.
  • It’s been reported that Yunel Escobar wanted no part of playing with Oakland, and Heyman hears that the reasoning was as simple as the fact that Escobar is very particular when it comes to geographical preferences and wanted to remain on the East coast. A trade to the Nationals accomplished that goal.
  • The clause in Alex Guerrero‘s contract that allows him to opt out of his deal and elect free agency at season’s end, if he is traded, hinders his trade value. That shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, but given the presence of Guerrero and the versatile Justin Turner, Juan Uribe could end up as a summer trade candidate for the Dodgers.
  • In some agency news, Heyman reports that Yankees shortstop Didi Gregorius will now be represented by Casey Close of Excel Sports Management — the agent for Gregorius’ predecessor, Derek Jeter. Gregorius had previously been repped by the Wasserman Media Group.

Quick Hits: Trout, Martinez, Street, Revere

Mike Trout isn’t the only baseball talent in his family, as Grantland’s Ben Lindbergh details in a piece about the Angels superstar’s father.  Jeff Trout was a Twins fifth-round draft pick in 1983 and he put up an impressive .303/.382/.425 slash line in 1575 career minor league at-bats, with three of his four seasons coming at the Double-A level.  The elder Trout chose to retire early, however, partially due to injuries and partially out of some frustration that his career was stalling in the minors.  Here’s some more from around baseball…

  • Cuban outfielder Eddy Julio Martinez could sign with a team as early as next week, MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez reports (Twitter links).  The 20-year-old was seen by scouts and executives from 17 teams during a workout in the Dominican Republic today.  He boasts a 6.4 second time in the 60-yard dash and has two years of experience in Cuba’s Serie Nacional, including hitting .229/.333/.324 over 133 PA as an 18-year-old in 2013.  Martinez is subject to international pool guidelines, and if he does sign during what’s left of the 2014-15 signing period, it will mean the Cubs and Rangers (due to penalties) won’t be able to land him unless he accepts a bonus of $300K or less.  If Martinez doesn’t sign until after the 2015-16 period opens on July 2, the Angels, Rays, Red Sox, Yankees and Diamondbacks will be under those penalties.
  • Huston Street “might have gotten the best deal he could get,” Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times opines about the closer’s two-year, $18MM extension with the Angels.  Shaikin thinks that Street might not have found such a generous deal in free agency given how several teams are becoming more likely to rely on cheap power arms in the ninth inning rather than spend big on veteran closers.  An injury also could’ve hurt Street’s value, which is a significant concern given that he’s spent a notable amount of time on the DL in his career.
  • Ben Revere is no stranger to trade rumors, though the Phillies outfielder is trying to focus on playing rather than speculation that he could be dealt, Ryan Lawrence of the Philadelphia Daily News writes.  “I know it’s a business.  I know we need some guys to help this program out, this organization out,” Revere said.  “If I do [get traded], it’s a part of the game. But the only thing I’m trying to do is help the team win. I’m not worrying about it. If it does happen, it happens. If it doesn’t, I’m going to try to bring some W’s to this team.”