Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Rumors

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

Players Avoiding Arbitration: Thursday

As we approach tomorrow’s deadline for exchanging filing numbers, the volume of arb deals will increase. All arb agreements can be monitored using MLBTR’s 2015 Arbitration Tracker, but here are today’s smaller agreements, with all projections referring to those of MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz:

  • The Indians have avoided arbitration with third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall and agreed to a one-year, $2.25MM deal, CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports (Twitter link).  It’s a slight bump over Chisenhall’s projected $2.2MM salary.  Chisenhall hit .280/.343/.427 with 13 homers in 533 PA with the Tribe last season.
  • The Indians and left-hander Marc Rzepczynski have agreed to a one-year, $2.4MM contract to avoid arbitration, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (Twitter link).  Rzepczynski surpassed his projected salary with the contract, as he was pegged to earn $1.9MM next season.  The southpaw posted a 2.74 ERA, 2.42 K/BB rate and an even 46 strikeouts over 46 innings out of Cleveland’s bullpen last season.
  • The Nationals and catcher Jose Lobaton will avoid arbitration after agreeing to a deal, CSN Washington’s Mark Zuckerman reports.  Lobaton will earn $1.2MM, FOX Sports’ Jon Paul Morosi tweets, which exactly matches his projected 2015 salary.  Lobaton hit .234/.287/.304 over 230 PA in backup duty for the Nats last season.
  • The Athletics and outfielder Craig Gentry agreed to a one-year, $1.6MM deal to avoid arbitration, FOX Sports’ Jon Paul Morosi tweets.  Gentry was projected to earn $1.5MM.  After posting a .759 OPS over 556 PA in 2012-13, Gentry took a step back at the plate last season, slashing just .254/.319/.289 over 258 plate appearances but still providing tremendous defense (a +16 UZR/150).
  • The Nationals have avoided arbitration with second baseman Danny Espinosa, agreeing to a one-year, $1.8MM contract, James Wagner of the Washington Post reports.  This deal falls below Espinosa’s projected $2.3MM contract, though Espinosa hit .219/.283/.351 in 364 plate appearances for the Nats last season and managed only a .465 OPS in 167 PA in 2013.
  • The Indians agreed to a one-year, $2.337MM deal with right-hander Carlos Carrasco, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports (via Twitter).  This figure is a significant increase over the $1.4MM contract that was projected for Carrasco in his first arb-eligible year.  The righty enjoyed a breakout 2014 season, posting a 2.55 ERA, 9.4 K/9 and 4.83 K/BB rate over 134 innings with the Tribe.  Carrasco pitched mostly out of the bullpen but also delivered several quality starts down the stretch.
  • The Dodgers and outfielder Chris Heisey agreed to a one-year deal worth $2.16MM to avoid arbitration, CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman tweets.  This is slightly less than the $2.2MM Heisey was projected to earn.  Heisey is coming off a .222/.265/.378 slash line over 299 PA with the Reds last season and was dealt to L.A. last month.
  • The Angels inked catcher Drew Butera to a one-year, $987.5K deal to avoid arbitration, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports.  Butera was projected to earn $900K next season.  The catcher posted a .555 OPS in 192 PA with the Dodgers last season and was dealt to the Halos last month.
  • The Nationals agreed to a one-year, $2.25MM contract with Craig Stammen, avoiding arbitration with the right-hander, CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports (via Twitter).  This figure slightly tops Stammen’s projected $2.1MM contract.  Stammen posted a 3.84 ERA, 6.9 K/9 and a 4.00 K/BB rate over 72 2/3 innings out of Washington’s bullpen last season.
  • The Cardinals agreed to a one-year, $1.65MM deal with outfielder Peter Bourjos to avoid arbitration, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.  Bourjos was projected to earn $1.6MM.  Bourjos displayed his usual top-shelf defense with the Cards last season but only hit .231/.294/.348 over 294 PA.

(more…)


Minor Moves: Goebbert, McCutchen, Mattheus, Anderson, Schlereth

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

  • Padres outfielder/first baseman Jake Goebbert has cleared waivers after being designated for assignment and was outrighted to Triple-A, tweets Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune. Goebbert, who was acquired this past May in the Kyle Blanks trade with Oakland, hit .218/.313/.317 in 115 PA with the Padres.
  • Also from Lin, the Padres have signed right-hander Daniel McCutchen to a minor league contract. The 32-year-old made one appearance with the Rangers last season, yielding a pair of earned runs in 2 1/3 innings. That marked McCutchen’s first big league action since 2012 with the Pirates, for whom he played parts of four seasons (2009-12). The former 13th-round pick owns a career 4.47 ERA with 7.0 K/9 and 2.0 BB/9 in 527 2/3 innings at Triple-A.
  • The Angels have signed right-hander Ryan Mattheus to a minor league deal and invited him to big league Spring Training, reports James Wagner of the Washington Post. The 31-year-old Mattheus was a vital cog in Washington’s division-winning club back in 2012, but he struggled in 35 1/3 innings in 2013, posting a 6.37 ERA. Mattheus suffered through a pair of rib injuries last season that limited him to 8 2/3 innings in the Majors, where he allowed just one run. However, he did struggle to a 5.80 ERA in Triple-A while dealing with his injuries. Overall, Mattheus has a 3.60 ERA in 142 1/3 big league innings with 5.0 K/9 and 3.4 BB/9.
  • The White Sox have signed their former first-round pick, Brian Anderson, to a minor league deal, tweets Bruce Levine of 670thescore.com. Anderson, who doesn’t receive a camp invite, has been out of pro ball since 2012 but has a .273/.337/.454 batting line at Triple-A and also dabbled with pitching from 2010-12, totaling 31 innings with a 1.74 ERA between the minor leagues and independent ball.
  • Lefty Daniel Schlereth is back with the Tigers on a minor league deal, per the team’s transactions page. The 28-year-old notched a 3.98 ERA with a 69-to-46 K/BB ratio with the Tigers’ bullpen from 2010-12 after coming over in the Max Scherzer/Curtis Granderson/Ian Kennedy blockbuster. He split last season between the Triple-A affiliates for the Pirates and Tigers, battling his control (7.1 BB/9) en route to a 5.89 ERA in 36 2/3 innings.

Minor Moves: Krauss, Peguero, Rodriguez, Lerud

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

  • First baseman/outfielder Marc Krauss, who was designated for assignment by the Angels last week, has cleared waivers and been outrighted to Triple-A, tweets Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times. Krauss hit .194/.279/.323 with six homers in 208 PAs for the Astros last season but was designated to clear room on the 40-man roster when the Halos acquired Kyle Kubitza from the Braves.
  • The Rangers have signed both Carlos Peguero to a minor league deal with an invite to Spring Training, executive VP of communications John Blake announced (Twitter link). Peguero, 28 next month, had an excellent season with the Royals’ Triple-A affiliate in 2014, hitting .266/.349/.563 with 30 homers. The former Mariners prospect has shown huge power throughout his minor league career but hasn’t been able to carry his success over to the Majors, where he’s hit .196/.245/.379 and fanned in nearly 39 percent of his 229 PAs.
  • The Rangers also re-signed Guilder Rodriguez to a minor league deal, tweets Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. The 31-year-old infielder was a nice story in an otherwise dreadful Rangers season in 2014, as he reached the Majors for the first time after 13 minor league seasons and collected a pair of hits in 12 at-bats. Rodriguez hit .260/.340/.290 in 284 PAs at Triple-A.
  • Catcher Steven Lerud has signed a minor league deal with the Nationals that contains an invite to big league camp, tweets Mark Zuckerman of CSN Washington. The former Pirates third-rounder (2003) saw a bit of Major League time with the Phillies in 2012-13, but the 30-year-old has never received a prolonged look in the bigs. He’s a lifetime .225/.361/.337 hitter at Triple-A and has caught an excellent 34 percent of attempted thieves on the basepaths over the life of his career.


Minor Moves: Red Sox, Pirates, Rodriguez, Rangers

Here are some minor moves from around the league to kick off your Friday morning…

  • Among the Red Sox players signing minor league deals with spring invites, in addition to the previously-reported Mitchell Boggs, are middle infielder Jeff Bianchi and catcher Luke Montz, the club announced (via Jason Mastrodonato of MassLive.com, on Twitter). Bianchi is a 28-year-old who has struggled in limited MLB action over the last three years with the Brewers, but has slashed .299/.349/.428 at Triple-A over parts of three seasons. Montz, 31, has seen even more limited time in the majors but owns a solid .232/.318/.456 slash over 781 career plate appearances at Triple-A.
  • The Pirates have added righty Wilfredo Boscan and lefty Charlie Leesman to their slate of non-roster invitees to MLB camp after signing the duo to minor league deals, the team announced. Boscan, a 25-year-old out of Venezuela, has yet to appear at the MLB level and has worked as a swingman in recent years in the upper minors. The 27-year-old Leesman has seen very minimal time with the White Sox but has logged plenty of innings out of that organization’s Triple-A rotation, working to a cumulative 3.27 ERA over 291 1/3 innings.
  • Catcher Arturo Rodriguez has signed with the Marlins, per the Mexican League website (on MiLB.com). The 23-year-old slashed an impressive .379/.421/.618 and hit 15 long balls in 359 plate appearances last year in his nation’s top league.
  • The Rangers announced yesterday that they have signed first baseman Mike McDade and right-hander Mason Tobin to minor league contracts with invitations to Major League Spring Training. McDade, a 25-year-old switch-hitter, spent the first six seasons of his pro career with the Blue Jays and returned to Toronto in 2014 after spending a season with the Indians and White Sox organizations. He struggled in 326 plate appearances between Double-A and Triple-A, slashing .242/.298/.349.
  • As for Tobin, if he sounds familiar to Rangers fans, it’s because he broke camp with the club in 2011 and pitched 5 1/3 innings for Texas that season before requiring a second Tommy John operation. The 27-year-old hasn’t been in the bigs since. He’s spent the past two seasons with San Francisco’s Triple-A affiliate, posting a combined 4.74 ERA with a 50-to-35 K/BB ratio in 68 1/3 innings.
  • The Angels have signed right-hander Steven Hensley to a minor league contract without a Spring Training invite, tweets MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez. Hensley, who turned 28 in December, posted a 2.09 ERA with 8.5 K/9 and 4.0 BB/9 in 60 1/3 innings with the Orioles’ Double-A affiliate last year, though he was obviously quite a bit more experienced than much of his competition. Perhaps of more interest to Halos fans is that Gonzalez adds that we should look for the Angels to continue to add relievers. Anaheim added another minor league relief arm yesterday, acquiring righty Nate Hyatt along with third baseman Kyle Kubitza in a trade of minor leaguers that sent high-upside lefty Ricardo Sanchez to Atlanta.

Quick Hits: Dipoto, Mariners, Stubbs, Mets

The latest edition of the MLBTR Podcast focuses on the Padres‘ busy offseason, as Jeff Todd speaks with MLB.com’s Padres beat writer Corey Brock about all of San Diego’s transactions.  Jeff also spends a few minutes on how the five NL West teams’ winter moves have created a varied set of expectations around the division.  Here’s the latest from around the baseball world…

  • The Angels weren’t eager to part with Ricardo Sanchez, but GM Jerry Dipoto told reporters (including MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez) that the club’s young pitching depth made it easier to deal Sanchez to the Braves for third baseman Kyle Kubitza and reliever Nate Hyatt.  “What we’ve done, in our draft or in the trades the way we’ve gathered players, is really focus these last three years on adding pitching,” Dipoto said. “Part of what I have talked to our guys about is, ‘If you tap into the pitching, you have the key to get the other things we need.’ “
  • Dipoto also reiterated that Kubitza’s acquisition doesn’t necessarily spell the end of David Freese (a free agent next winter) in Anaheim.  “David Freese is our third baseman; we’re not in a rush to move David Freese out.  But we do feel like now we have someone we can build with,” Dipoto said.
  • The Angels aren’t seriously exploring adding a notable starting pitcher since they expect Garrett Richards to be ready by “some point” in April, FOX Sports’ Jon Morosi tweets.
  • Also from Morosi, Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik said that his team is “always open” to the possibility of more moves, including another trade for a hitter.
  • Endy Chavez or Franklin Gutierrez could potentially fit as candidates to return to the Mariners as minor league outfield depth, MLB.com’s Greg Johns writes as part of a reader mailbag.
  • Rockies GM Jeff Bridich recently confirmed that he’d taken some calls about Drew Stubbs, MLB.com’s Thomas Harding writes.  “In general, there has been interest in Drew from teams looking for very specific fits in their outfield,” Bridich said.  “Teams see him as a fit, but he’s a fit for us as well.”  While Bridich didn’t give the impression that any trade was close or even being discussed, it was reported last month that the Rockies had spoken to the Orioles about a possible Stubbs deal.
  • The Mets expect interest in their starting pitching to perk up, a team source tells Mike Puma of the New York Post, with Dillon Gee the likeliest candidate to be dealt.  Without a trade, the Mets are prepared to use one of their starters out of the bullpen, as the source says a six-man rotation is “unlikely.”
  • Also from Puma, Mets GM Sandy Alderson didn’t sound optimistic about his team’s chances of a shortstop upgrade.  “We’ve continued to have conversations, but nothing is likely to occur,” Alderson said. “There is currently nothing imminent. I still believe at this point that we will go into spring training with what we have at shortstop.”  The Mets never came close to a deal for Troy Tulowitzki, Puma writes, though they talked with Colorado during the Winter Meetings.

Angels Designate Marc Krauss For Assignment

The Angels have designated outfielder/first baseman Marc Krauss for assignment, Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports (Twitter link).  The transaction opens up a spot on the Halos’ 40-man roster for the newly-acquired Kyle Kubitza.

Originally selected in the second round of the 2009 draft by the Diamondbacks, Krauss was dealt to the Astros as part of the Chris Johnson trade in 2012.  Krauss hit .200/.274/.341 with 10 homers over 354 plate appearances for the Astros during the 2013-14 seasons.  Los Angeles claimed him off waivers from Houston last month.  Krauss, 27, has an impressive .278/.375/.479 slash line and 78 homers over 2262 minor league PA.

Krauss is one of 10 players currently residing in “DFA Limbo,” as per the MLB Trade Rumors DFA Tracker.


Angels, Braves Swap Minor Leaguers

5:57pm: The Braves announced that they have traded Kubitza and right-hander Nate Hyatt to the Angels in exchange for left-hander Ricardo Sanchez.

4:49pm: The Angels are close to acquiring third base prospect Kyle Kubitza from the Braves, reports MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez (Twitter links). Per Gonzalez, the Halos will land Kubitza without parting with anyone on their Major League roster. Earlier today, Gonzalez reported that the Halos were prioritizing adding a third base prospect in trades.

Kubitza, 24, ranks 10th among Braves prospects, per Baseball America and 16th according to MLB.com’s Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo. In 529 plate appearances at Double-A last season, Kubitza batted .295/.405/.470 with eight homers and 21 stolen bases.

Baseball America describes Kubitza as a “fiery” player with a smooth line-drive stroke, some of the best plate discipline in the Braves organization and one of the strongest infield arms in the game. Both MLB.com and BA note that Kubitza’s swing can get a bit long, which leads to a high strikeout rate and prevents him from fully realizing his power potential in a game setting. His acquisition is significant for the Angels not necessarily for their 2015 club, but for their long-term future, as David Freese is a free agent next offseason and former top prospect Kaleb Cowart‘s development appears to have stalled.

Hyatt, also 24, was a 13th-round pick in 2012 and repeated Class-A Advanced this past season with much-improved results the second time around. After posting a 3.86 ERA with 10.6 K/9 but a troublesome 5.8 BB/9 in 2013, Hyatt dropped his ERA to 2.71 and posted a similar strikeout rate (10.4 K/9) with markedly better control (3.9 BB/9) in 63 innings. He’s a pure reliever, never having started a game as a professional.

In Sanchez, the Braves have acquired a player that ranked second among Halos farmhands, according to BA, but is years away from contributing at the Major League level. Sanchez is just 17 and spent last season pitching in the Arizona Rookie League, posting a 3.49 ERA with a 43-to-22 K/BB ratio in 38 2/3 innings (nine starts, three relief appearances). The Angels signed him for a $580K bonus out of Venezuela in July 2013.

BA and MLB.com both praise Sanchez’s smooth, effortless delivery and note that his curveball is his best pitch, projecting to be a plus offering. Despite his age, Sanchez’s fastball is in the 94 to 95 mph range, and he already appears to have a feel for a changeup, based on the pair of scouting reports. Fangraphs’ Kiley McDaniel tweets that Sanchez has the most future value of any player in this trade and calls it a nice acquisition for an improving Braves farm system.

Sanchez is a high-ceiling acquisition, but his age is yet another indicator that the Braves do indeed appear to be focusing on 2017, when their new Cobb County stadium will open. The Angels, meanwhile, acquire a player in Kubitza that can step into the lineup in 2016, if not sooner in the event of an injury in the infield this season.


Free Agent Notes: Beachy, Scherzer, Angels, Beckham, Toritani

Right-hander Brandon Beachy is mulling over six offers and hopes to make a decision by Friday of this week, reports SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo (Twitter link). Beachy has thrown for seven teams over the past 10 days, according to Cotillo. Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN tweets that the Twins are not one of the teams with an offer out. The 28-year-old Beachy was non-tendered by the Braves in December due to the fact that he underwent his second Tommy John surgery last spring. Any club that signs Beachy to a one-year deal would have the right to control him via arbitration, though a team certainly could offer a second year option or even two guaranteed years as a means of enticing him. In 267 2/3 innings at the Major League level, Beachy has a 3.23 ERA with 9.2 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9 (all with the Braves).

Here are some more notes on free agents, including the top name on the market…

  • There’s no timetable on a decision for Max Scherzer, agent Scott Boras tells MLB.com’s Jason Beck. Boras told Beck that Scherzer is an ownership-level decision, and as Beck points out, Boras has worked out deals with Tigers owner Mike Ilitch for both Prince Fielder and Johnny Damon in years past — both of which came late in the offseason. Nonetheless, Detroit appears to have a full rotation, and their long-term payroll outlook is already questionable. I personally have a hard time envisioning a reunion between the two sides.
  • Angels GM Jerry Dipoto told reporters tonight, including Mike DiGiovanna of the L.A. Times (Twitter link), that he isn’t pursuing any free agent pitchers, and that includes both Scherzer and James Shields. The Halos have speculatively been mentioned as fits for both, although as we’ve pointed out here in the past, that seems to be a stretch given their desire to stay beneath the luxury tax threshold.
  • DiGiovanna also notes (Twitter link) that a reunion with Gordon Beckham now looks unlikely for the Angels“We’ve built up quite a bit of infield depth,” Dipoto told reporters. Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register was also on hand, and he tweets that Dipoto said the team is “playing it by ear” regarding Beckham. Fletcher, too, feels that Beckham will sign elsewhere.
  • Japanese shortstop Takashi Toritani was on the Mets‘ radar briefly last month, but the team no longer has any intention of pursuing him, tweets Mike Puma of the New York Post. This report only further support the widespread belief that Wilmer Flores is ticketed for the Amazins’ Opening Day shortstop gig. As for Toritani, he’s been connected to the Blue Jays and Padres as well, though neither seems to have particularly serious interest at this juncture.

Angels Sign Cuban Infielder Roberto Baldoquin For $8MM Bonus

JANUARY 6: The Angels tonight officially announced the signing of Baldoquin.

DECEMBER 20: Baldoquin has passed his physical. The deal is done, reports Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com (via Twitter). Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register (also Twitter) adds that there is still some paperwork to be filed before the deal is official.

DECEMBER 9: Baldoquin has arrived in the United States, Angels GM Jerry Dipoto told reporters (including Bill Shaikin of the L.A. Times).  The team hopes to have Baldoquin’s physical completed and the signing finalized by next week.

NOVEMBER 4: The Angels have reached an agreement with 20-year-old Cuban infielder Roberto Baldoquin on a record-setting $8MM bonus, reports MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez. The agreement is pending a physical and the $8MM bonus is the most ever for an amateur player under the current international signing rules.

Baldoquin called his agreement a “dream come true” in speaking to Sanchez, going on to state, “I’ve made a lot of sacrifices to get to this point. I’m ready for the next part of my journey.”

Baldoquin has three seasons of professional experience playing with Las Tunas in Serie Nacional, Sanchez writes, and he also appeared on the Cuban National 16-and-under team when he was eligible. Baldoquin left Cuba in February and has been training in the Dominican Republic. He can play both third base and the outfield, Sanchez adds.

Because Baldoquin was subject to the international signing bonus, the Angels have now clearly shattered their international bonus pool. By adding Baldoquin, the Halos are subjecting themselves to a 100 percent luxury tax on any dollars spent over their $2.383MM bonus pool, and they will also be ineligible to sign any player for more than $300K in either of the next two international signing periods. They can, however, spend as aggressively as they wish for the remainder of this signing period, which runs through mid-June. At this point, because they’ll already have been hit with the max penalties, the only further penalties they will incur will be the 100 percent on any further dollars that are spent on international free agents.

Information on Baldoquin is sparse, but Sanchez lists him at 5’10”, and interested fans can take a look at this 10-minute video compilation from YouTube that shows the right-handed hitter taking batting practice, fielding grounders, throwing across the diamond from third base and turning double plays as a shortstop with the help of a few workout partners.

At just 20 years of age and with only three seasons of experience in Serie Nacional, Baldoquin seems like a clear candidate to begin his Angels career in the minor leagues, even though the team has traded Howie Kendrick this offseason. Grant Green and Josh Rutledge are likely to man second base in Anaheim barring a further trade, though neither has a track record of much success in the Majors. Should one of them establish himself as an everyday option at second, another spot for Baldoquin could open in the near future anyway; David Freese are controlled only through the following season, while Erick Aybar is controlled through 2016.


Details On Ryan Howard’s No-Trade Clause

That the Phillies are interested in dealing away first baseman Ryan Howard and some portion of his contract is well-known. Howard, of course, is in the middle of a huge extension that still includes two years and a guaranteed $60MM (including a $10MM buyout of a $23MM club option in 2017). That contract includes a “most favored nation” clause that allows Howard to match the no-trade terms in Cliff Lee‘s deal, under which the player is permitted to designate all but nine clubs for no-trade protection.

ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick reports the details on Howard’s current list of competitors. The nine teams to which Howard cannot prevent a trade are the Tigers, Royals, Angels, Mariners, Yankees, Rangers, Rays, Orioles, and Red Sox. Crasnick suggests that the teams listed are not particularly strong potential suitors for Howard, as most are either small-payroll clubs and/or lack a present need for a player of Howard’s ilk.

The list seems curious from a strategic perspective, in my view, since it includes only American League clubs. The prevailing sentiment around Howard seems to be that he might have some limited trade value as a designated hitter and left-handed bench bat, but it appears exceedingly unlikely that any National League team would have interest in adding him as a regular first baseman. And payroll is not likely to prevent any teams from pursuing Howard, as Philadelphia is expected to eat most or all of his remaining salary regardless of where he is dealt.

If anything, it could be that the list is simply made up of the American League teams that Howard would most like to play for. His money is earned, after all, and it is unlikely that he would be able to exert enough leverage to convince an acquiring team to provide him with some added benefit in exchange for waiving his no-trade protection. (The notion of demanding a guarantee of his option, for instance, seems far-fetched.) Rather than using the NTC as a means of opening the door to extracting concessions, then, the reported list seems to suggest that Howard is open to being dealt to a place where he is wanted and where he would like to play.

Reading the tea leaves for intent is only so possible and so useful, of course. And the bottom line remains the same: nine of the fifteen A.L. clubs can add Howard without receiving his permission.