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Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Rumors
Mike Trout is the game’s best player — really, he has been for some time — and he’s still three days shy of his 23rd birthday. That makes it all the more satisfying for the Angels that they have him locked up to a six-year, $144.5MM deal that does not kick in until next year. USA Today’s Glenn Davis explores how those happy circumstances came to pass in an interview with Halos assistant GM Matt Klentak. According to Klentak, Trout is not just immensely talented but also hard-working, detail-oriented, and grounded.
Here’s more on Trout and the game’s western divisions:
- The Angels began thinking long-term extension as early as 2012, when Trout emerged as a force, but did not put the pedal down on talks until this winter. The extension came together in large part, said Klentak, because of “outstanding” communication between both sides, which allowed for multiple concepts to go back and forth before the ultimate framework was established. “Everybody knew where everybody stood, and it was a fairly positive, productive process all the way through,” Klentak explained. “That’s not always the case — I think that’s a credit to Mike, his character, and his family, and to [agent] Craig Landis as well.” The final contract, of course, gives the Halos control over their young superstar for an extended stretch without guaranteeing post-prime seasons, but also allows Trout to hit the open market at a young enough age to land another massive deal.
- Klentak further noted that a major element of the drive to sign Trout, and other homegrown players before him, stems from the direction of owner Arte Moreno. “That’s something that Arte believes in strongly, that our baseball operations group believes in strongly,” said Klentak. “When you know the people as well as you get to know them over a player’s tenure in your organization, you feel more comfortable signing them to longer-term contracts.” Be sure to check out the rest of the piece for more of Klentak’s thoughts on Trout, the club’s overall composition, and the organization’s operating philosophies.
- The Athletics appear to have decided against signing infielder Scott Sizemore despite previously showing interest, tweets Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. Oakland could still have interest in bringing him in next year, Slusser adds.
- As the Padres reach the final stages of deciding on a GM, the club is “focusing most closely” on Yankees assistant GM Billy Eppler, reports Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com, who says Eppler may now be the frontrunner to take over baseball ops in San Diego. Rangers assistant GM A.J. Preller had been said to be leading the final field, which is said to include MLB executive Kim Ng and Red Sox AGM Mike Hazen. Scott Miller of Bleacher Report noted recently that Eppler was still “in the picture” to take on the role.
- As we noted earlier today, Giants starter Matt Cain is scheduled for season-ending surgery to clean up bone chips in his elbow. Alex Pavlovic of the Mercury News provides further details on the problem, which Cain said he has been dealing with in some form for the past decade. “They’ve always been there,” said Cain. “For some reason, they got in a different spot and they got aggravated.” With the problem failing to abate, all decided it was best to have the procedure now so that Cain could be ready for a normal spring ramp-up. San Francisco’s pre-deadline addition of Jake Peavy was connected to the club’s fear that it would be without Cain the rest of the way, Pavlovic adds.
- The Astros felt comfortable dealing away starter Jarred Cosart in large part due to the development of the club’s arms both at the major league and minor league levels, reports MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart. The swap — which followed up on prior trades of Bud Norris and Jordan Lyles — enabled Houston to bolster its outfield corp (with Jake Marisnick) in addition to adding a well-regarded prospect in Colin Moran. “We’ve got guys all the way up and down the system,” said GM Jeff Luhnow. “It’s one of those areas that could very easily, with one or two injuries, go from a strength to a weakness. We’re taking a calculated gamble in this, and it’s the right thing to do.” Of course, as noted earlier today, the deal also cleared two offseason 40-man spots for the Astros, who will have many young players to consider protecting from the winter’s Rule 5 draft.
Diamondbacks slugger Paul Goldschmidt is likely out the rest of the season after being hit in the hand by Pirates reliever Ernesto Frieri, AZCentral.com’s Nick Piecoro tweets. After finishing second in NL MVP balloting in 2013, Goldschmidt was in the midst of a strong follow-up season, batting .300/.396/.542 in 479 plate appearances. Here’s more from the West divisions.
- The Angels were counting on the returning C.J. Wilson to have the same effect as a major trade deadline pickup but that wasn’t the case in his outing last night, writes Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times.
- The A’s could be in need of infield depth after Nick Punto suffered a hamstring injury and Susan Slusser of San Francisco Chronicle hears that they were talking with Scott Sizemore‘s agent even before the injury. Sizemore was released by the Yankees on Friday. Sizemore has seen time in parts of four MLB seasons, with his best work coming in 2011 when he compiled a .245/.342/.399 line through 429 plate appearances with the Tigers and Athletics.
- Despite rumors to the contrary, top Dodgers prospects Joc Pederson, Corey Seager, and Julio Urias stayed put through the trade deadline. “If we didn’t think Joc, Corey or Urias had a chance to be impact players, they’d be out of here,” Dodgers General Manager Ned Colletti said, according to Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times. The Dodgers were linked to several high-end trade candidates, including David Price.
Charlie Wilmoth contributed to this post.
Here are Sunday’s minor moves from around MLB:
- The Rays have released Erik Bedard and Juan Carlos Oviedo, according to MiLB.com. The Rays had designated both pitchers for assignment earlier in the week.
- The Phillies have announced that they’ve re-signed OF Tony Gwynn Jr. to a minor league deal. He will report to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Gwynn hit .163/.281/.204 in 119 plate appearances for the Phillies this season. They released him last week.
- Instead of electing free agency, infielder Tony Abreu has accepted his outright assignment to Triple-A by Giants, tweets Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com. Abreu was designated for assignment Tuesday after appearing in only four games. The 29-year-old owns a .280/.329/.428 slash line in 259 plate appearances this season for Triple-A Fresno.
- The Giants announced infielder Nick Noonan has cleared waivers and will be outrighted to Triple-A Fresno. The 25-year-old was designated for assignment July 25. Noonan, the 32nd overall selection in the 2007 draft, made his MLB debut last season slashing .219/.261/.238 in 111 plate appearances, but has struggled this year with a .239/.281/.302 line in 340 plate appearances between Triple-A Fresno and Class-A Advanced San Jose.
- The Marlins tweeted left-hander Donnie Joseph has been outrighted to Triple-A New Orleans. The 26-year-old was designated for assignment Thursday after the Marlins acquired Jarred Cosart from the Astros. Joseph was picked up from the Royals for cash considerations June 30 and has spent his entire time in the Marlin organization at Triple-A posting an 11.05 ERA, 6.1 K/9, and 9.8 BB/9 in six relief outings covering 7 1/3 innings.
- The Diamondbacks have acquired outfielder Blake Tekotte from the White Sox for cash, per the MLB.com transactions page. Tekotte, who made 36 plate appearances for the White Sox in 2013 good for a slash of .226/.306/.355, will report to Triple-A Reno. The 27-year-old posted a .251/.324/.438 line in 318 plate appearances for the White Sox’s Triple-A affiliate.
- The Padres have released right-hander Billy Buckner from their Triple-A affiliate, according to the Pacific Coast League’s transactions page. The 30-year-old made one spot start for the Padres on May 24 allowing three runs on six hits in 5 2/3 innings. In 15 appearances (14 starts) for Triple-A El Paso, Buckner has posted a 5.80 ERA, 6.2 K/9, and 4.7 BB/9 in 63 2/3 innings.
- Also from the PCL transactions page, the Angels have released catcher Luis Martinez from their Triple-A affiliate. The 29-year-old, whose last MLB action was with the Rangers in 2012, hit .262/.329/.403 in 212 plate appearances for Salt Lake this season.
- Martinez didn’t stay unemployed very long as he was signed by the A’s and assigned to Triple-A Sacramento. The roster causality is catcher Luis Exposito, despite producing at a .303/.410/.394 clip since Oakland signed him June 26 after being released by the Tigers.
- Ten players find themselves in DFA limbo, as tracked by MLBTR’s DFA Tracker: Dan Uggla and Tyler Colvin (Giants), Jeff Francis and Brian Roberts (Yankees), Josh Wall and Dean Anna (Pirates), Ryan Feierabend (Rangers), David Carpenter (Angels), Nick Christiani (Reds), and Pedro Hernandez (Rockies).
Charlie Wilmoth contributed to this post.
Full Story | Comments | Categories: Arizona Diamondbacks | Billy Buckner | Chicago White Sox | Donnie Joseph | Erik Bedard | Juan Carlos Oviedo | Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim | Luis Exposito | Luis Martinez | Miami Marlins | Nick Noonan | Oakland Athletics | Philadelphia Phillies | San Diego Padres | San Francisco Giants | Tampa Bay Rays | Tony Abreu | Tony Gwynn Jr. | Transactions
As we explained yesterday, the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline does not spell the end of wheeling and dealing. Several teams are expected to continue shopping over the coming month as well. Here are some notes that relate to the upcoming August trade period:
- Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer could miss much of the rest of the regular season with a stress fracture of his right hand, tweets Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star. Though he is expected to avoid surgery, Hosmer could be out for up to six weeks. It would not be surprising to see the club look to add a first baseman to hold down the fort in his absence.
- Paul Maholm of the Dodgers has suffered a torn ACL and will miss the rest of the season, Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports ( Twitter links). That only serves to increase the team’s need for rotation depth; though Maholm was operating out of the pen, he had been perhaps the likeliest option to step into a starting role if the struggling Dan Haren was demoted.
- Angels hurler Tyler Skaggs left in the middle of a no-hit bid Thursday with a flexor tendon strain in his left forearm, as Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times explains. Skaggs has already been placed on the 15-day DL, and the team will surely exercise caution with the young starter, as forearm strains have been linked to more significant elbow injuries. Though the Halos can fill his spot in the immediate term by keeping Hector Santiago in the rotation, the injury leaves even more questions about the team’s overall starting pitching depth. With a two-month pennant race still to come, Los Angeles will likely take a hard look at the market for arms.
- Before he was dealt to the Nationals, the Orioles made an effort to acquire Indians infielder Asdrubal Cabrera, reports Roch Kubatko of MASN.com. Presumably, Baltimore would have utilized him as the Nationals will, at second base, which indicates some likelihood of the club exploring an alternative over the coming month.
- Similarly, the Athletics opened pre-deadline conversations with the Phillies regarding Jimmy Rollins, but talks did not progress, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets. Like the O’s, the A’s could still be looking for a middle-infield addition.
- After making several deadline deals, the Diamondbacks expect to have more work to do in the coming month, reports Zach Buchanan of the Arizona Republic. While he is not sure if any deals will be consummated, GM Kevin Towers says he anticipates that claims will be made on several players. Among the possible chips left in Arizona are second baseman Aaron Hill and several relievers, though Towers says it will take an “overpay” to pry loose any of the club’s pen arms, as Jack Magruder of FOX Sports Arizona reports.
- The Red Sox remain interested in Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo despite adding Yoenis Cespedes and Allen Craig at the trade deadline, reports WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford. While the club is expected to face stiff competition in the bidding, it just held a private workout for Castillo. If he goes to the non-contending Red Sox, it would certainly increase market demand for some of the pricey outfielders who stayed put at the deadline (such as Alex Rios of the Rangers and Marlon Byrd of the Phillies).
Carpenter is a 26-year-old reliever who saw just one relief appearance this season. He had a more extended tryout back in 2012, but 39 2/3 innings of 4.76 ERA ball were not enough to hold down a permanent spot in the Halos’ pen. Through 48 innings at Triple-A this year, Carpenter has a 2.28 ERA with 8.6 K/9 against 3.9 BB/9.
Wheeler, 26, has seen limited MLB action in each of the last three years. His cumulative line, over 225 plate appearances, stands at .223/.280/.335. Though he’s put up big numbers in the upper minors in years past, Wheeler is slashing just .243/.293/.343 despite playing half his games in hitter-friendly Colorado Springs.
We’ve got recaps in the books for the AL Central, NL Central, AL East and NL East, which means its time to turn our focus westward. We’ll start with the AL West, which had no shortage of interesting moves.
- Acquired righty Huston Street, righty Trevor Gott from Padres in exchange for infielder Taylor Lindsey, righty R.J. Alvarez, shortstop Jose Rondon, righty Elliot Morris
- Acquired lefty Joe Thatcher, outfielder Tony Campana from Diamondbacks in exchange for outfielder Zach Borenstein, righty Joey Krehbiel
- Acquired lefty Rich Hill from Red Sox for cash
- Acquired righty Jason Grilli from Pirates in exchange for righty Ernesto Frieri
- Acquired third baseman Colin Moran, outfielder Jake Marisnick, righty Francis Martes, and comp pick from Marlins in exchange for righty Jarred Cosart, infielder/outfielder Enrique Hernandez, and outfielderAustin Wates
- Acquired lefty Jon Lester, outfielder Jonny Gomes, and cash from Red Sox in exchange for outfielder Yoenis Cespedes and comp pick
- Acquired outfielder Sam Fuld from Twins in exchange for lefty Tommy Milone
- Acquired righty Deck McGuire from Blue Jays for cash
- Acquired righty Jeff Samardzija, righty Jason Hammel from Cubs in exchange for shortstop Addison Russell, outfielder Billy McKinney, righty Dan Straily
- Acquired righty Rodolfo Fernandez from Brewers for international bonus slot
- Acquired outfielder Austin Jackson from Tigers (in three-team deal that included Rays) in exchange for infielder Nick Franklin
- Acquired outfielder Chris Denorfia from Padres in exchange for outfielder Abraham Almonte, righty Stephen Kohlscheen
- Acquired first baseman/DH Kendrys Morales from Twins in exchange for righty Stephen Pryor
- Acquired righty Jake Thompson, righty Corey Knebel from Tigers in exchange for righty Joakim Soria
- Acquired righty Spencer Patton from Royals in exchange for righty Jason Frasor
The arms race was on in the AL West, with the three teams at the of the division shifting resources into present production and the two at the bottom looking to the future. Somewhat interestingly, the three buyers each had a key area that they addressed with multiple trades.
For a Halos club that is closing in on Oakland for the best record in baseball, the focus was clearly on the bullpen. GM Jerry Dipoto added four relievers (counting the since-released Hill), headlined by Street. It took a good portion of the club’s much-maligned young talent to make these deals. Street, in particular, required a fairly substantial return given his short, reasonably-priced contract. It bears noting that Grilli, added in a change-of-scenery swap for the former closer Frieri, has been lights out since coming to Anaheim (2 earned runs, 19 strikeouts, 3 walks in 14 1/3 innings). While the pen now looks to be in good shape, it will be interesting to see if (and if so, how) Dipoto adds depth to a rotation that now looks especially thin after an injury to Tyler Skaggs.
“Bold” seems too weak a descriptor to capture GM Billy Beane’s moves. He gave up the organization’s best-know player in Cespedes and its best prospect in Russell to get Lester (a tested, rented gun for the rest of the year), Samardzija (who has thrown like a top-line starter this year and comes with another season of control), and Hammel (an innings-eating, back-of-the-rotation arm who will soon be a free agent). The club sacrificed a lot of future value upside, though Cespedes’s is more limited than might be expected because he comes with just one more year of control and cannot be made a qualifying offer. But that is what it took to re-make the club’s rotation, which will obviously play a key role as Oakland looks to fend off the Angels in the division and ultimately make an extended postseason run.
Of course, Beane also had an eye on a crafty means of replacing the lost production of Cespedes. By adding Gomes in the Lester swap, the A’s will be able to utilize him in a promising platoon with Stephen Vogt. And Fuld will offer the team plenty of flexibility as well, with injuries clouding the outlook for regular center fielder Coco Crisp and reserve Craig Gentry, though the club surely would have preferred not to give up the useful Milone.
Seattle’s additions flew under the radar a bit, but nevertheless seemed very well-conceived. With a long-term second baseman at the MLB level and tons of bullpen arms, it did not hurt much at this point to move Franklin and Pryor. In return, the team added an above-average MLB center fielder (Jackson, controllable through arbitration next year) and a much-needed bat (Morales, whose path this season has been no less strange than that of Stephen Drew). Denorfia, too, looks to be a solid bench piece. Oft-doubted GM Jack Zduriencik deserves credit, especially for managing to insert Seattle into the David Price deal and coming away with Jackson as the prize for making the pieces fit for Tampa and Detroit.
Finally, we come to the sellers. Texas had more of the look of a traditional seller, with several veterans on expiring contracts that were of little use to a team that was obliterated by injuries. But the club elected not to make any of the really major moves that some imagined possible beforehand (Adrian Beltre, Elvis Andrus, etc.), and even chose not to take a substandard return for outfielder Alex Rios (who remains an August trade candidate). The prospect haul for Soria looks solid, especially given the team’s need for arms in the mid-term, while Frasor brought back a player that looks like a younger, cheaper, longer-controlled version of himself. We don’t know what GM Jon Daniels could have achieved for the team’s more desirable players, but the lack of such moves seems to indicate that the club will seek to contend next year. It will certainly be fascinating to see how he goes about re-constructing a contender.
Houston, meanwhile, did not have many veteran pieces at all, let alone ones that figured to draw much interest. The team decided not to move closer Chad Qualls, a non-move which drew some jeers but might well have made sense if (as is likely) he was not going to bring much back anyway. The same holds true of resurgent southpaw Tony Sipp, who will be a cheap piece for the ‘Stros next year. Instead, GM Jeff Luhnow announced that he would consider moving some of the team’s young arms, and then sat back and waited to be overwhelmed. That apparently happened, as he pulled the trigger to move a talented-but-questioned arm in Cosart (along with the reasonably valuable Hernandez) in exchange for a few prospects who had no place (Marisnick) or had disappointed (Moran) in the Miami organization. Baseball Prospectus calls this a sell-low swap, and it looks that way from here as well. It’s certainly an interesting deal from the two teams that ended last year at the very bottom of baseball’s cellar. While the results will take years to tally, the deal could (but might not) have rather substantial effects on the trajectory of these two organizations.
3:00pm: The Indians are indeed interested in Lackey, tweets Rosenthal. Two teams that aren’t in play, he adds, are the Angels and Brewers.
12:01pm: There’s now a “very good chance” that the Red Sox will trade John Lackey as well as Jon Lester, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports (via Twitter). Lackey has been known to be available for days, but there had also been speculation that Boston could work out some form of extension with the right-hander.
Lackey’s five-year, $82.5MM contract with the Red Sox contained a clause that gave Boston a 2015 club option at the league minimum in the event that he missed significant time with an elbow injury. A torn ulnar collateral ligament that required Tommy John surgery triggered that clause, making Lackey a highly appealing trade chip even to teams with the most modest of payrolls.
Lackey will likely want an extension regardless of where he ends up, Rosenthal adds (Twitter links), but that’s not necessarily an unappealing concept for teams in search of a starter that can be controlled beyond 2014. Rosenthal lists the Indians and Marlins as two such clubs.
The Dodgers and Royals have shown interest in Lackey already, and reports yesterday indicated that the Marlins may prefer Lackey to Lester, as the asking price could be lesser. However, the asking price on Lackey isn’t exactly tame, as ESPN’s Jayson Stark reported yesterday that Boston wants an established big league starter in return (presumably, one with team control beyond 2015). Indeed, as Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald tweets, the BoSox aren’t likely to move both Lackey and Lester without getting starting pitching in return.
In 326 2/3 innings dating back to last season, Lackey has reestablished himself as a solid big league starter. He’s posted a 3.55 ERA with 7.6 K/9 and 2.0 BB/9, averaging nearly 6 2/3 innings per outing.
Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik has exasperated many trade partners with his negotiating style, executives tell Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. Those execs say the M’s frequently inquire on a number of players, only to shift direction when a deal appears within reach. That’s not unusual for teams to do, but rival officials say Jack Z has become one of the most difficult GMs in the sport with whom to do business. In a lengthy email to FOX Sports, the Mariners GM responded by saying that the in-and-out nature of his trade conversations are typical of those that occur throughout the industry. Meanwhile, other teams are confused by the club’s recent acquisition of Kendrys Morales given the way Zduriencik has intimated that the club has limited financial breathing room. Here’s more out of the AL and NL West..
- If the Angels do add a starting pitcher, a rental probably makes more sense for them, tweets Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com. The Mike Trout extension counts towards their competitive balance tax payroll next season, so they won’t have much wiggle room. Meanwhile, one industry source sees the Angels as more of a player for a starter in August when they take take advantage of available money without dealing prospects (link). The Angels have $15MM in breathing room before they surpass the tax threshold, but they are hesitant to deal more prospects after dealing six to land Joe Thatcher and Huston Street (link).
- Tom Krasovic of U-T San Diego looks at Padres GM candidates A.J. Preller and Billy Eppler. Preller, an assistant GM with the Rangers, isn’t afraid to go against the grain with one exec referring to him as “eccentric.” Preller also has a rep as a grinder though his aggressiveness in signing talent from Latin America has rankled some competitors.
- The Dodgers shouldn’t trade for David Price or Jon Lester, argues Dave Cameron of Fangraphs. The Dodgers already have a strong mathematical likelihood of making the postseason and it doesn’t appear that the cost to land either of the star pitchers would be worth it for them, in Cameron’s view.
- The Giants‘ interest in Ben Zobrist of the Rays could be deepening, writes Chris Haft of MLB.com. The Giants’ pickup of Dan Uggla hasn’t moved the needle so far and Marco Scutaro is unable to play everyday due to his lingering back issues.
Here are today’s minor league transactions from around baseball, with the newest moves at the top of the post…
- The Dodgers have signed Barry Enright to a minor league deal, tweets Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish (on Twitter). Across four big league seasons, Enright has made 26 starts and five relief appearances, posting a 5.57 ERA with 4.6 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9 for the D’Backs and Angels.
- Veteran outfielder Andres Torres left the Triple-A Pawtucket Red Sox and is looking for an opportunity with a National League team, SB Nation’s Joon Lee reports (Twitter link). Torres enacted an out clause in his minor league deal with Boston, MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes reports (via Twitter). Torres ended up making 95 PA in the Sox system, hitting .275/.298/.473.
- The Royals released catcher Jesus Flores, according to the Pacific Coast League website’s transactions page. Flores inked a minor league deal with K.C. in March and posted a .698 OPS over 150 PA with Triple-A Omaha this season. The 29-year-old appeared in 311 games with the Nationals from 2007-12 and spent last season in the Dodgers’ and Rays’ farm systems.
- The Angels released southpaw Justin Thomas, who has signed a $160K contract with KIA Tigers of the Korean Baseball Organization (hat tip to Dan Kurtz of MyKBO.net). This is Thomas’ second taste of international baseball, as he made three starts last year for the Nippon Ham Fighters in Japan. Thomas posted a 5.99 ERA over 20 starts for Triple-A Salt Lake City after signing a minor league deal with the Angels in January.
- The Dodgers released right-hander Juan Abreu, the team announced. Abreu posted a 7.11 ERA over 6 1/3 relief innings at Triple-A this season after signing a minor league pact with L.A. during the offseason. The righty has 6 2/3 Major League innings to his name (with a 2.70 ERA and 12 strikeouts), all with the Astros in 2011.
- The Nationals released right-hander Ryan Perry, the club announced. Picked 21st overall by the Tigers in the 2008 draft, Perry posted a 4.36 ERA and 132 strikeouts (against 84 walks) over 169 1/3 relief innings with Detroit and Washington from 2009-12.
Zach Links contributed to this post.