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Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Rumors
The Dodgers have announced that they’ve acquired second baseman Howie Kendrick from the Angels, for southpaw Andrew Heaney, who was just acquired by the Dodgers from the Marlins earlier today. No money is changing hands in the deal, so the Dodgers will pay all of the $9.5MM Kendrick is owed in 2015.
Kendrick replaces Dee Gordon at second base, as Gordon was part of the package that went to Miami for Heaney as part of this incredible day of transactions for the Dodgers. Kendrick represents both an offensive and defensive upgrade over Gordon, and the 31-year-old hit .293/.347/.397 over 674 PA last season.
Kendrick has been a subject of trade rumors for much of the offseason, with teams such as the Orioles, Yankees and Blue Jays all connected to the veteran second baseman at various times. In the end, however, Kendrick will move down the highway to Los Angeles’ other team. This isn’t the first time that Kendrick has been pursued by the Dodgers, as the two L.A. clubs discussed a trade in the summer of 2013.
Payroll was primarily the reason why the Halos were willing to move Kendrick or David Freese this offseason. Kendrick will earn $9.5MM in the last year of his contract, and getting that salary off the books will give the Angels some flexibility for further moves. The Angels have been aggressively looking for utility infielders, and presumably whomever they acquire will now be in line for some regular playing time alongside Grant Green at second base.
The Angels were said to be targeting young pitching for much of the offseason, and they’ve now landed one of the game’s top prospects in Heaney. The lefty was named both the Marlins’ top prospect and the #30 prospect in the sport by Baseball America in their 2014 preseason rankings. He has a 2.77 ERA, 9.1 K/9, and 3.85 K/BB rate over 259 2/3 minor league innings, and he threw 29 1/3 innings for Miami this season in his first taste of the bigs.
Heaney is 23 years and controllable through the 2020 season, and presumably he’ll get every opportunity to win a job in the Angels’ rotation. Jered Weaver, C.J. Wilson and Matt Shoemaker are the only starters guaranteed for jobs on Opening Day, as Garrett Richards may start the season on the DL. Heaney joins Tyler Skaggs, Nick Tropeano, Hector Santiago and Cory Rasmus in battling it out for rotation jobs in Spring Training.
MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick initially reported that the Dodgers would acquire Kendrick (on Twitter). FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal tweeted that the Angels would receive Heaney in return. The Los Angeles Times’ Bill Shaikin tweeted that the Dodgers would take on Kendrick’s entire salary.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
The Angels have acquired infielder Josh Rutledge from the Rockies in exchange for right-hander Jairo Diaz, the team announced. The Angels (via the Orange County Register’s Jeff Fletcher on Twitter) say Rutledge will compete with Grant Green for the Angels’ second base job, which was vacated when the team traded Howie Kendrick to the Dodgers for Andrew Heaney.
Rutledge, 25, hit .269/.323/.405 in 342 plate appearances for Colorado this season. He graded as below average defensively (and has in all three of his big-league seasons), however, so that hitting line in Coors Field put him below replacement level overall. He hit for good averages as a minor leaguer, however, and might possess a bit more offensive upside than he’s shown so far. Also, using him at second base, rather than shortstop (where he spent the bulk of his time in 2014) might help him defensively. He can become eligible for arbitration after the 2015 season.
Diaz, 23, spent most of the 2014 season pitching in the bullpens of Class A+ Inland Empire and Double-A Arkansas, combining for a 3.48 ERA with an impressive 11.8 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9 in 64 2/3 innings. He pitched in five games in the big leagues in September and relied heavily on his fastball, which averaged 97.2 MPH. He did not rank in MLB.com’s list of the top 20 Angels prospect, but with his fastball and strikeout numbers, the Rockies likely feel he has significant upside for a reliever.
There has been much speculation about Dan Haren‘s role in the impending six-player trade between the Dodgers and Marlins, as Haren has openly said that he’d rather retire than pitch anywhere but for one of the two Los Angeles teams. Angels GM Jerry Dipoto shot down speculation that the Marlins could flip Haren to his team, telling reporters (including Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register) that his team wasn’t trading for Haren.
As we wait for either of today’s two blockbuster Dodgers trades to be finalized, here’s some more news from Chavez Ravine…
- There are rumors around the Winter Meetings that the Dodgers are making these big moves to position themselves to sign James Shields, ESPN Los Angeles’ Mark Saxon reports (Twitter link).
- The rumored Andre Ethier-for-Miguel Montero swap with the Diamondbacks fell apart because of how much money the Dodgers would have had to pay, Saxon reports (via Twitter). Arizona ended up dealing Montero to the Cubs yesterday.
- Also from Saxon, the Dodgers haven’t made any inquiries about Ervin Santana.
- The Dodgers have been talking to other free agent pitchers, however, including Jake Peavy, FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal tweets.
- Rumors of a Matt Kemp deal to the Padres “has legs,” a source tells Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. The two sides have made some progress but nothing is official yet. Yasmani Grandal would be the main piece coming back from San Diego and Heyman hears the Dodgers have also asked for pitchers Joe Ross and Zach Eflin (though Heyman isn’t sure if both would be included if the deal happened.)
Major names are appearing in plenty of reports, but those are not the only players whose fates could be determined in San Diego. We’ve just looked in at some of the less flashy free agents available, as well as the latest on the Rule 5 draft, and now we’ll do the same with regard to the trade market:
- There is a sense in the Orioles front office that a trade of some kind will be completed at the Winter Meetings, tweets Britt Ghiroli of MLB.com. But Ghiroli cautions that it will likely not be a major move.
- The Angels are continuing to explore their trade options for a utility infielder, and there is a good chance that a deal will be struck today, MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez reports on Twitter. One player that could be on the move is out-of-options reliever Kevin Jepsen, per Gonzalez.
- Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos says his club is looking more closely at the trade than the free agent market as it seeks to bolster its relief corps, Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca reports (Twitter links). Toronto is still willing to listen on catcher Dioner Navarro but otherwise is disinclined to move any of its MLB-ready arms or other active roster players, Anthopoulos added.
The latest from the NL West..
- The Giants are looking for left field help but they’re not focused on Michael Morse, according to Alex Pavlovic of the Mercury News (via Twitter). SF loved what Morse did for them, but defense is a big concern for the club at the moment. Both the Orioles and Marlins are known to have interest in the 32-year-old (33 by Opening Day).
- A number of teams, mostly AL clubs, have inquired on Wilin Rosario and the Rangers appear to be the frontrunners, writes Patrick Saunders of The Denver Post. Texas has relievers that interest the Rockies, including right-handers Roman Mendez, Jon Edwards, Shawn Tolleson, Phil Kleinand Spencer Patton, as well as lefty Robbie Ross Jr.
- If the Rockies and Angels get serious about a Josh Rutledge deal, Saunders writes that Colorado could target right-handers Vinnie Pestano and Fernando Salas. As of last night, the two teams were only talking and had yet to exchange proposals.
- The Padres are now among the teams that are kicking the tires on Mets pitchers Dillon Gee and/or Jonathon Niese, a source told Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com.
- The Dodgers were said to be among the finalists for Andrew Miller but it turns out they never even made an offer, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (via Twitter).
A reunion between Max Scherzer and the Tigers is “not happening,” a club official tells Peter Gammons (via Twitter). What Detroit might do, however, is trade right-hander Rick Porcello to the Red Sox for a package of Yoenis Cespedes and Rubby De La Rosa. Rumors of a Porcello/Cespedes deal arose a few days ago but talks between the two sides were “not hot” according to Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald. Here’s some more from around the AL Central…
- The Angels are searching for middle infield help and the Twins‘ Eduardo Escobar is on their list of targets, MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez tweets. Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press (also via Twitter) thinks the Halos could offer Minnesota a reliever in return, with Vinnie Pestano being “one name to watch.”
- Also from Berardino (on Twitter), the Twins haven’t yet talked to free agent starter Ervin Santana. The right-hander’s representatives are open to hearing from Minnesota, however, with a source telling Berardino that Santana “loves pitching in the cold.”
- Pat Neshek‘s agent Barry Meister tells Berardino that he had a “social discussion” with Twins GM Terry Ryan but the two sides “haven’t had any substantive discussions at all” about the reliever rejoining the club. Meister said that there has been “substantial interest“ from around the league in Neshek and another top reliever client, Sergio Romo.
- The White Sox are telling teams that Dayan Viciedo is available, USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reports (Twitter link). It’s no surprise that Viciedo is being shopped given that the Sox have been rumored to be exploring such outfield replacements as Melky Cabrera. Viciedo hit .231/.281/.405 with 21 homers in 563 PA last season, providing below-replacement level value with -0.9 rWAR.
Here’s the latest from Angel Stadium…
- The Angels are targeting the Rockies‘ Josh Rutledge, the Astros‘ Marwin Gonzalez, the Tigers‘ Eugenio Suarez and the Cardinals‘ Pete Kozma in their search for middle infield depth, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports. Rutledge would require the most back in return since he has experience in an everyday role.
- Also from Fletcher’s Twitter account, he reports that the Angels aren’t interested in Brandon Beachy or Kris Medlen. Both starters underwent Tommy John surgery last year and were recently non-tendered by the Braves.
- GM Jerry Dipoto told reporters (including MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez and Bill Shaikin of the L.A. Times) that his team is “probably not” going to pursue more international players during the 2014-15 signing period, though “we’re open to it.” The Halos have already far exceeded their bonus pool for the 2014-15 period thanks to their $8MM expenditure on Roberto Baldoquin, an overage that will prevent them from spending any significant money when the 2015-16 international market opens.
- The player most often asked about by other teams is catcher Carlos Perez, Dipoto said.
2:22pm: The Dodgers announced that they will receive a player to be named later or cash considerations for the catcher.
2:14pm: The Angels have acquired Drew Butera from the Dodgers, according to Chris Cotillo of SB Nation (via Twitter). Jim Bowden of ESPN.com (via Twitter) first reported that the Halos were close to acquiring Butera.
Halos GM Jerry Dipoto said that he was on the verge of landing a backup catcher just minutes ago (via Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com on Twitter) and it turned out to be Butera. The 31-year-old isn’t much of a hitter – he boasts a career .183/.239/.268 slash line across parts of five big league seasons – but he’s known for solid defensive play. That reputation behind the plate was enough for him to get a combined 733 plate appearances between the Twins and Dodgers.
The Dodgers designated Butera for assignment last week after claiming Ryan Lavarnway off waivers.
The Angels have at least a little interest in Red Sox infielder Brock Holt, Gordon Edes of ESPN Boston tweets. After non-tendering Gordon Beckham, the Angels are on the lookout for a backup infielder, and GM Jerry Dipoto has said that a trade for one is a possibility. Holt would be a good get for the Angels — he hit a solid .281/.331/.381 last season while playing seven positions. Here’s more from the American League.
- Rays GM Matt Silverman told reporters, including Roger Mooney of the Tampa Tribune (via Twitter), that clubs are calling about outfielders. Now that some of the notable free agents have signed, demand has increased.
- The Rays are in active search mode for a second catcher, tweets Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. According to Silverman, the club is active on both the free agent and trade front. They’re remaining open-minded about both veterans and youngsters. Tampa currently has Ryan Hanigan, Curt Casali, and Justin O’Conner on the 40-man roster.
- The Mariners are keeping their eyes on former outfielder Franklin Gutierrez, who they could bring back on a minor-league deal, MLB.com’s Greg Johns writes. Gutierrez spent the 2014 season on the restricted list while dealing with a nerve condition, but he’s currently playing winter ball in Venezuela. “I have not talked to him myself,” says GM Jack Zduriencik. “I plan to, but I’ve not done that yet. He missed a whole year, so we’ll see. I don’t know where he is physically or mentally.” Gutierrez’s exceptional defense once made him very valuable, but the 31-year-old struggled with injuries even before the 2014 season.
Here’s the latest on the Halos:
- It was reported over the weekend that the Angels have C.J. Wilson on the trade block, but GM Jerry Dipoto denies that’s the case, according to Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times (via Twitter). Dipoto said that he has not made a call nor has he received a call on the pitcher.
- Dipoto added that he has not engaged any free agents, aside from Gordon Beckham, according to Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register (via Twitter).
- Dipoto indicated that a trade for a backup infielder is also a possibility, according to Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com (on Twitter).
- It sounds like the Angels will be signing a left-handed reliever to a minor league deal this week, according to Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register (via Twitter).