Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Rumors

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

Minor MLB Transactions: 8/4/2015

We’ll track the day’s minor moves here:

  • The Giants announced today that infielder Joaquin Arias has accepted an outright assignment to Triple-A (Twitter link). The versatile 30-year-old hit just .207/.207/.276 in 59 plate appearances in 2015 — the second season of a two-year, $2.6MM contract he signed to avoid arbitration following the 2013 season.
  • Left-hander Aaron Laffey has cleared waivers and been assigned outright to Triple-A, tweets MLB.com’s Dargan Southard. Lackey will have the option to reject the assignment in favor of free agency. The veteran lefty pitched 7 1/3 innings for the Rockies this season, allowing three runs on eight hits and three walks with three strikeouts.

Earlier Updates

  • Red Sox infielder Jemile WeeksAngels righty Vinnie Pestano, and Cubs outfielder Mike Baxter have all accepted their outright assignments rather than electing to test the free agent waters, Chris Cotillo of SB Nation reports (Twitter links). The trio of players were all designated for assignment recently as their clubs looked to free roster space for deadline acquisitions. Weeks, 28, has seen only a smattering of big league action since playing as a full-timer in 2011-12. Pestano has been a solid reliever over several full seasons, but has struggled mightily with his control this year. The 30-year-old Baxter will also head to the upper minors to serve as depth after putting up a .246/.348/.263 slash over 66 plate appearances with Chicago.

Reactions To The Tigers’ Front Office Changes

The Tigers shook up their front office earlier today, shocking many by announcing that Dave Dombrowski would no longer serve as the team’s general manager and that long-time Dombrowski lieutenant Al Avila would assume the role of executive vice president and general manager. Said Tigers owner Mike Ilitch in today’s press release: “I’ve decided to release Dave from his contract in order to afford him the time to pursue other career opportunities.”

Some more details on the decision, reactions to the move and a few rumors as to where Dombrowski may or may not end up…

  • Yahoo’s Jeff Passan writes that Dombrowski has become the biggest free agent on the market, and his contract, wherever he signs, should begin the trend of correcting the undervalued nature of executives. Dombrowski was earning roughly $3MM per season, but Passan wonders why the top minds tasked with overseeing a Major League team, six minor league clubs, domestic and international scouting departments, and much more earn just a fraction of what a back-of-the-rotation starter would earn on the free agent market. Passan notes that while Andrew Friedman’s reported five-year, $35MM contract with the Dodgers was a step toward correcting that inefficiency, the coming payday for Dombrowski should serve as a further benchmark for the future salaries of executives. Passan lists the Red Sox, Blue Jays, Angels, Mariners and Brewers as speculative landing spots for Dombrowski, adding that the Blue Jays have considered him over the past year while seeking a replacement for retiring CEO Paul Beeston.
  • USA Today’s Bob Nightengale writes that Dombrowski was seeking a raise, but the specific reasons for the split between the two sides remain unknown. Nightengale opines that the Red Sox make the most sense for Dombrowski, though he speculatively lists the same teams as Passan did, adding in the Orioles (which would make sense if GM Dan Duquette does end up taking a higher position with another team this winter). Nightengale writes that Dombrowski’s trade deadline actions spoke volumes about his integrity, as he knew that his departure could be imminent but still found a way to convince Ilitch to authorize the trades of David Price, Yoenis Cespedes and Joakim Soria to create a brighter future for Detroit, even if he wouldn’t be around to be a part of it.
  • At today’s press conference, Avila said that Brad Ausmus will continue to serve as the Tigers manager for the rest of the season, writes MLive.com’s Chris Iott“[Ausmus] is our manager for the rest of this season for sure,” said Avila. “I have all the confidence in him. I think he’s done a good job. Just like everything else from here on out, everything will be evaluated. Our staff will be evaluated. Our major-league club will be evaluated as we have done in years past.”
  • In a second piece, Iott writes that Avila acknowledged being in an “awkward” position by inheriting the job as GM of the team for which his son, Alex Avila, plays. The newly minted GM recants the story of the 2008 draft, when he asked that the organization not draft his son. He says now that the organization made the right call when looking at the body of work his son has compiled, but he made it clear that there won’t be any nepotism at play when deciding the team’s future. “You know how you go back to Little League and the dad used to be the coach and his son always played and was the fourth batter?” the elder Avila rhetorically asked reporters. “That ain’t gonna happen here.”
  • The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo writes that Dombrowski’s sudden free agency places him “on a silver platter” before the Red Sox, who could use a set of eyes to oversee GM Ben Cherington. Team sources tell Cafardo that Cherington isn’t going anywhere, but adding someone of Dombrowski’s caliber to oversee the baseball operations department and help in the trading department — where Dombrowski has long excelled — would be a boost to the organization. Cafardo also spoke to Yankees GM Brian Cashman about the news. Cashman told Cafardo that he was “shocked” to hear of it, adding that Dombrowski could get a job “any place he wants.”
  • There figures to be plenty of speculation as to where Dombrowski lands, but for the time being, the Red Sox may not be that place, writes Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com. Edes cites a Red Sox source in stating that the team is not pursuing Dombrowski for an executive role.
  • Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald cites a Major League source in writing that the Red Sox do plan to reach out to Dombrowski, but a match looks “iffy.” Any conversations with Dombrowski would be due diligence, but Silverman says there’s “informed speculation within baseball circles” that Dombrowski could be Toronto-bound, and he also notes that Dombrowski’s philosophies don’t necessarily line up with the strong analytical tendencies of the Boston front office.
  • Suffice it to say, there are conflicting reports and opinions when it comes to the Red Sox and Dombrowski, as ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick tweets that he’s heard rumblings that Dombrowski could indeed be in the mix for the Red Sox.
  • ESPN’s Jayson Stark tweets that there’s buzz in the industry that Dombrowski will end up as the new president of the Blue Jays, though despite those rumblings, today’s news was unexpected.
  • Bill Shaikin of the L.A. Times tweeted shortly after the news of Dombrowski’s departure that Angels sources to whom he spoke didn’t envision Dombrowski landing in Anaheim.

AL Notes: McCullers, Red Sox Front Office, Wilson

The Astros will option righty Lance McCullers Jr. to Triple-A after his rough outing last night, Jose de Jesus Ortiz of the Houston Chronicle reported on Twitter and the team later announced. Manager A.J. Hinch says that the team is hoping to provide a break to the rookie, who may not even take the hill while he’s down, as Ortiz adds (Twitter links). McCullers has been outstanding since receiving an aggressive promotion to the big leagues at age 21, putting up 76 2/3 innings of 3.17 ERA pitching with 9.3 K/9 against 3.3 BB/9, but that line looked even better prior to yesterday’s dud, in which McCullers allowed seven hits and six earned runs while recording only one out. That’s just one game, of course, and McCullers still surely features in the team’s plans the rest of the way. But Houston does need to manage his innings, as he’s already exceeded his prior career high for a single campaign, so it could be that the club will use this as an opportunity to save some bullets. There could be down-the-line implications as well, though it’s not likely a driving consideration since the team needs a fully available staff. McCullers has only picked up 78 days of service on the year thus far, and will be held under 130 total days even if he comes back right after the minimum ten day stay on optional assignment. That makes him a somewhat marginal future Super Two candidate, with any further time away from the big leagues decreasing his odds.

  • It was time for the Red Sox to nudge departing President and CEO Larry Lucchino out the door, writes Steve Buckley of the Boston Herald, who says that undertones in the recent announcement suggest that ownership decided upon a change in direction. Buckley does credit Lucchino with a huge amount of credit for Boston’s successes (on and off the field) over his tenure.
  • With Lucchino heading out, there could be more changes in store for the Red Sox front office, the Herald’s Michael Silverman writes. The baseball operations department is unlikely to carry forward without at least some modifications, says Silverman, who reports that a new executive could well be placed on top of or alongside GM Ben Cherington.
  • While Angels lefty C.J. Wilson will seek a second opinion on his left elbow, MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez reports, but it seems unlikely at this point that he’ll decide against season-ending surgery. Though the team has floated the idea of a rehab plan that could get him back in action late in the year, says Gonzalez, Wilson does not seem favorably disposed toward that option after battling with bone chips all year. “In the meantime, I’m working out and staying in shape, just in case they come up with some other magical course of action,” Wilson said. “But it seems more like a Hail Mary at this point. I want to pitch — that’s why I’ve pitched this whole time.”

Minor MLB Transactions: 8/3/2015

Here are the day’s minor moves:

  • The Blue Jays have outrighted outfielder Ezequiel Carrera to Triple-A, Ben Nicholson-Smith reports on Twitter. The 28-year-old was recently designated for assignment after seeing his role taken by trade acquisition Ben Revere. Over 164 plate appearances for Toronto this season, Carrera owns a solid .279/.327/.374 with three home runs and two stolen bases. That represents his most significant big league action since his rookie campaign.
  • Angels reliever Vinnie Pestano has also cleared waivers and been outrighted, MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez tweets. The recently-designated, 30-year-old righty has tossed 11 2/3 innings of 5.40 ERA pitching on the year, though he has had more success in the past. Over 202 2/3 career frames, he’s allowed just under three earned per nine. While he’s continued to strike out better than ten batters per nine, control issues (6.2 BB/9) have limited Pestano’s effectiveness this season.

Minor Moves: Cards, Carpenter, Murphy, Clemens

Here are today’s minor league transactions from around baseball, with the newest moves at the top of the post…

  • The Cardinals outrighted right-hander Marcus Hatley and first baseman Dan Johnson off the 40-man roster and sent them to Triple-A, according to the club’s official transactions page.  Both players were designated for assignment earlier in the week.
  • Braves right-hander David Carpenter has accepted his outright assignment to Triple-A, SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo tweets.  Carpenter was designated for assignment last week and had the option of becoming a free agent, which he declined to stay in the Braves organization.  Carpenter has only appeared in four games for Atlanta this season, posting a 7.36 ERA over his 3 2/3 innings of work.
  • The Brewers released infielder Donnie Murphy, as per the Pacific Coast League’s transactions page.  Murphy signed a minor league contract with Milwaukee in February and had a .257/.352/.371 line over 162 PA at Triple-A Colorado Springs.  The 32-year-old Murphy has appeared in parts of nine Major League seasons with five different teams since 2004.
  • The Royals signed righty Paul Clemens to a minor league deal, according to MLB.com’s transactions page.  Clemens posted a 5.51 ERA over 98 innings with the Astros in 2013-14 and a 5.54 ERA over 26 innings in the Phillies’ minor league system this season.  He was released by the Phils in June.
  • Chris Capuano has accepted his outright assignment from the Yankees and reported to Triple-A, SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo tweets.  The veteran southpaw had the option of becoming a free agent, though doing so would’ve forfeited the roughly $1.7MM still owed to him on his Yankees contract for the rest of the season.
  • Angels right-hander Jeremy McBryde has cleared waivers and been outrighted to Triple-A, the club’s communications department tweets.  McBryde was designated for assignment earlier in the week.  McBryde has a 4.07 ERA over 659 1/3 career minor league innings, though he’s struggled to a 5.63 ERA in 46 1/3 relief frames for the Halos’ Triple-A affiliate this season.
  • While McBryde’s case has been settled, over 20 players are still in DFA limbo.  Check out the MLB Trade Rumors DFA Tracker for a full accounting of the players still awaiting their next assignment.

Cubs May Pursue Chase Utley

The Cubs may pursue Phillies second baseman Chase Utley prior to the August trade deadline, writes Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times. Utley will begin a rehab assignment tomorrow. He would need 251 plate appearances to activate a 2016 option, an exceedingly unlikely event. The former star has struggled this season with a .179/.257/.275 slash. However, a .186 BABIP suggests a rebound is possible. He’s owed about $5MM over the rest of the season. The Cubs would look to have the Phillies cover part of his salary.

An Utley acquisition would provide depth to existing middle infielders like Starlin Castro, Addison Russell, and Javier Baez. If the club lost patience with Castro, they could opt to use Russell at shortstop with Utley filling in at second base. The interest could also be purely for his veteran leadership. The Angels and at least one other team are also considering Utley per Wittenmyer.

C.J. Wilson Likely Out For Season

Angels starter C.J. Wilson believes he might be out for the season, MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez (Twitter links). The Angels had previously announced that the results of a recent MRI showed left elbow impingement secondary to arthritis. Wilson says he has bone spurs in his elbow that have expanded. As Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times tweets, the bone spurs have been an issue for several months, but Wilson is now opting for surgery because of a decreased range of motion and an increased risk of injury to his shoulder.

Wilson had similar surgery following the 2012 season and returned to pitch 212 1/3 good innings in 2013. (He also had surgery for the issue late in 2008.) Still, the news is unfortunate for the Angels. Shaikin tweets that Wilson informed the Angels before the trade deadline that he would likely need surgery, so they had enough time to make a deal if they wanted to. They did not, however, perhaps figuring that they already had enough depth — they currently have Garrett Richards, Matt Shoemaker, Hector Santiago and Andrew Heaney in their rotation, with Jered Weaver set to return soon from a hip injury.

The 34-year-old Wilson has had an effective season with the Angels, with a 3.89 ERA, 7.5 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9 in 132 innings. He’s making $18MM in 2015 and will make $20MM next year before the expiration of the five-year, $77MM deal he signed prior to the 2012 season.

Angels Sign Wesley Wright To Minor League Deal

The Angels have signed left-hander Wesley Wright to a minor league contract, according to a tweet from Wright’s representatives at Reynolds Sports Management. The veteran reliever will report to Triple-A Salt Lake for the time being.

Wright, 30, began the season with the Orioles after agreeing to a one-year, $1.7MM free agent contract. He spent the 2014 season with the Cubs and enjoyed good success as a member of the Chicago bullpen, making him a somewhat surprising non-tender. Last year, Wright pitched to a 3.17 ERA with 6.9 K/9, 3.5 BB/9 and a 52.1 percent ground-ball rate while holding opposing lefties to a .273/.321/.273 batting line.

In 2015, though, Wright has been plagued by a strain and inflammation in his left shoulder. He spent three months on the disabled list before being activated and promptly designated for assignment. Wright tossed just 1 2/3 innings for the Orioles this year but has been a reasonably effective relief pitcher for much of his career.

Dating back to 2011, Wright has a 3.27 ERA with 8.4 K/9 against 3.2 BB/9 in 168 innings of relief between the Astros, Cubs, Rays and Orioles. He could emerge as a left-handed relief option for the Angels, who currently have lefties Cesar Ramos and Jose Alvarez pitching well in the bullpen.

Pitching Notes: Leake, Astros, Pirates, Angels, Johnson, Royals

The sudden availability of David Price will shake up the starting pitching market, of course, but there are plenty of less significant, but still notable developments to cover. Let’s take a look in at a few notes on the pitching market.

  • Reds starter Mike Leake is among the many pitchers still being considered by the Blue Jays, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets. Per Rosenthal, the club is looking at a variety of arms at a similar level of ability, with the hope of getting the best value out of a deal.
  • The Astros are “monitoring” the market for bullpen pieces, ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick tweets. They have given at least some thought to quality arms like Craig Kimbrel, Joaquin Benoit, and Francisco Rodriguez. Houston is also still involved on Cole Hamels, though it still doesn’t seem that they are terribly likely to get him, Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle tweets.
  • The Pirates, meanwhile, seem to be looking more at middle relief options, per MLB.com’s Tom Singer. And the Angels are also looking to add another arm to their pen, MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez reports on Twitter. Los Angeles is looking for something on the order of last year’s addition of Jason Grilli says Gonzalez. Presumably, the same holds for Pittsburgh, which sent Grilli out west last summer in exchange for Ernesto Frieri.
  • With many teams (including those just noted) looking to add arms, the Braves are “getting lots of play” on righty Jim Johnson, Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com tweets. Johnson isn’t too expensive, has been solid this year, and has obviously spent a lot of time in high-leverage situations, so it stands to reason that he’ll be moved to a contender looking to build out their stable of relief arms.
  • The Royals asked the Tigers about Price before acquiring Johnny Cueto, but moved on to the righty when they learned that Price was not yet being marketed, Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star tweets.
  • Wondering who the teams listed above could target? MLBTR recently listed the starters and relievers most likely to be available at this year’s trade deadline.

Angels Designate Vinnie Pestano For Assignment

The Angels announced that they’ve designated right-hander Vinnie Pestano for assignment in order to clear a roster spot for newly acquired outfielder David Murphy.

Pestano, who was acquired from the Indians in a minor swap last August, now finds himself designated for assignment to make room for a former teammate. The 30-year-old Pestano appeared in 19 games for the Halos this season and totaled 11 2/3 innings with a 5.40 ERA.

Pestano at one point looked to be emerging as a key piece of the Indians’ bullpen, totaling 132 innings with a 2.45 ERA, 10.9 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9 from 2011-12, but he began to struggle in 2013 and fell out of the team’s plans in 2014. He’s pitched just 30 1/3 innings in the big leagues over the past two seasons.