Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Rumors

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

AL West Notes: Gregerson, Astros, Beckham, Wilson

Luke Gregerson could be a sensible addition to the Astros‘ bullpen, Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle writes. The former Athletics reliever doesn’t have a significant track record as a closer, but he worked with new Astros manager A.J. Hinch when both were with the Padres, and he might only require a three-year deal, as opposed to four for David Robertson. While Andrew Miller‘s new deal with the Yankees took deals for non-closer relievers, Drellich expects that Gregerson’s contract will be much more manageable. Here’s more on the AL West.

  • The Angels would like for recently non-tendered infielder Gordon Beckham to return next season, Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times tweets. Beckham, however, would like to see if he can find a starting job elsewhere before taking a backup infield job with the Angels.
  • The Angels are expecting a quiet Winter Meetings, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register writes. Their $8MM deal for infielder Roberto Baldoquin figures to be their largest expenditure this offseason. They also traded catcher Hank Conger to the Astros for pitcher Nick Tropeano and catcher Carlos Perez in another low-profile move. “I understand the fan base isn’t thrilled because they never heard of Nick Tropeano, but this time last year, they weren’t thrilled with what we did to shuffle the roster either,” says GM Jerry Dipoto.
  • The Angels do reportedly have C.J. Wilson on the trading block, but don’t expect the Rangers to bring him back, Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram tweets. C.J. Wilson was a fixture in the Rangers’ bullpen for parts of five seasons before emerging as a top starting pitcher there in 2010 and 2011.

West Notes: Kemp, Cabrera, Kendrick, Upton

With the Winter Meetings beginning in San Diego, this could be the week the Dodgers finally deal from their glut of outfielders, writes Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times. The Dodgers would prefer to hang onto Matt Kemp, according to Shaikin, but Major League players are not being offered for either Andre Ethier or Carl Crawford.

Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune reports the Mariners were close to a deal for Kemp with Seattle paying roughly half of the $107 million remaining on his salary over the next five years, but things fell apart when the Dodgers insisted on the inclusion of either Taijuan Walker or James Paxton. In a second article, Dutton lists the Padres and the Orioles as the Mariners’ primary competition for Kemp, with Shaikin adding the Giants are a possibility, if they fail to sign Chase Headley. With Nelson Cruz now in Seattle, Dutton opines the Mariners’ interest in Kemp will depend on what other offers the Dodgers receive. Those other offers may not be to the Dodgers’ liking, as Shaikin notes the Braves (Justin Upton and Evan Gattis), Red Sox (Yoenis Cespedes and Allen Craig), and Phillies (Marlon Byrd) also have right-handed power bats available to trade.

Elsewhere in baseball’s West divisions:

  • Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman says the constant rumors that come with running a major market team are “comical,” but he doesn’t necessarily mind it, writes Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register. “Misinformation can be a powerful tool,” Friedman said.
  • The Mariners are reluctant to part with their young pitching to acquire an outfield bat, according to Dutton. “That’s a little bit of a dangerous road,” said GM Jack Zduriencik. “You look at our pitching staff, and when you analyze it, a couple of those young starters didn’t pitch a lot of innings last year.
  • Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets the Mariners are very serious about their pursuit of Melky Cabrera. Last week, it was reported the M’s are believed to be willing to offer something similar to the four-year, $57MM deal that they used to sign Cruz.
  • In a separate tweet, Rosenthal posits the Angels are reluctant to trade second baseman Howie Kendrick because of offensive concerns including uncertainity about Josh Hamilton, an unsettled DH situation, and no clear backup catcher.
  • Sources tell ESPN’s Buster Olney (via Twitter) the Giants and Reds are great fits for Justin Upton, but neither match up well with the Braves and may need to involve a third team to swing a deal.
  • Olney also tweets the Astros continue to pursue closer David Robertson and his most lucrative offer might come from Houston.
  • Rockies GM Jeff Bridich tells Patrick Saunders of The Denver Post there has been interest in catcher Wilin Rosario, but Colorado “could very easily go into the season with Wilin.

Heyman On Wilson, Tulowitzki, Drew

The latest from Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com..

  • Rival GMs tell tell Heyman that the Angels have made left-hander C.J. Wilson available, causing some to wonder if they might be trying to set up a run at a bigger pitcher via free agency or trade.  The Angels have suggested they aren’t inclined to eat any of his $18MM annual salary and it’s pretty hard to see a deal coming together if they stick to that position.  If they’re able to move Wilson, however, that could open the door for the likes of James Shields or Max Scherzer.
  • People familiar with Troy Tulowitzki‘s thinking believe that he’d only have interest in leaving the Rockies for about a half-dozen clubs, writes Heyman.  That list is believed to include the Yankees (who filled their shortstop need last week), Dodgers, Angels, Giants, possibly the Cardinals, and one or two others.  Still, owner Dick Monfort has suggested to inquiring teams that 30-year-old is not available.
  • The Braves have interest in Stephen Drew as a possibility at second base, according to Heyman.  The Yankees, Mets and A’s are among other teams that have been tied to the 31-year-old, though the Bombers now seem less likely after acquiring Didi Gregorius.


Minor Moves: Ramirez, Pena, De La Torre, Hood, Sanabia

We’ve already covered quite a few minor moves today, but Matt Eddy of Baseball America has plenty more to consider. Here’s the latest on the minor league front:

  • The Diamondbacks signed pitcher J.C. Ramirez and re-signed catcher Blake Lalli. The 26-year-old Ramirez pitched 24 innings for Philadelphia in 2013, but performed poorly. He spent 2014 in the Indians system. Scouts like his 94 mph fastball, but he struggles with command and control as evidenced by a 5.63 BB/9 in his major league sample. Lalli, 32 next season, hit .275/.340/.373 in 2014 at the Triple-A level. He briefly appeared in the majors for the Cubs and Brewers during the 2012 and 2013 seasons.
  • Utility infielder Ramiro Pena has elected free agency after the Braves outrighted him off the 40 man roster. Pena owns a career .244/.288/.330 line over 610 plate appearances in parts of six seasons. Capable of playing shortstop, second, and third base, the 29-year-old offers plenty of flexibility. He’s spent his entire career with the Yankees and Braves.
  • The Reds signed pitchers Jose De La Torre, Marcus Walden, and utility infielder Irving Falu. De La Torre, 29, offers big strikeout stuff with control issues out of the bullpen. He appeared briefly for the Red Sox in 2013. Walden is less flashy than De La Torre, and he has spent most of his minor league career in the rotation. The 26-year-old has posted a 3.92 ERA, 5.4 K/9, and 3.1 BB/9 over 622 minor league innings. His results in the upper minors have been markedly worse. Falu, 32 next season, has appeared briefly for the Royals, Brewers, and Padres over the past two years.
  • The Indians have signed outfielder Destin Hood. Possibly one of the gems of the minor league market, Hood hit .298/.348/.460 across three levels last season – mostly with the Nationals Triple-A affiliate. The former second round pick struggled prior to the 2014 campaign, which is probably why the Nationals did not add him to their 40 man roster. As Eddy notes, Hood hit .315 and slugged .556 against left-handed pitching last season, making him a good fit for a lefty heavy Cleveland lineup. He’s 25 next season.
  • The Angels signed 26-year-old pitcher Alex Sanabia. The former Marlin has 138 major league innings to his name with a 4.15 ERA, 5.58 K/9, and 2.86 BB/9. The righty should serve as rotation depth.
  • The Marlins signed pitcher Chris Narveson and outfielder Cole Gillespie. Narveson, a former Brewer and Cardinal, has a 4.65 ERA over 396 innings. He pitched in Japan last season with similar results. He’ll turn 33 later this month. Gillespie, once a prospect with the Diamondbacks, has bounced around the league. He’s briefly appeared with five major league clubs and owns a .230/.295/.329 batting line in 270 plate appearances. He’s 31 next season.
  • The Padres have re-signed left-handed pitcher Jason Lane. The former Astros outfielder reached the majors as a pitcher last season and performed well in 10 and one-third innings. He allowed just one run on a home run, struck out six, and walked none in his age 37 season.
  • The Mariners signed 32-year-old pitcher Justin Germano. The soft-tossing righty is best used as minor league depth, although he’s appeared with eight major league clubs over nine seasons. He owns a 5.40 ERA, 5.70 K/9, and 2.92 BB/9 in 330 career innings. His fastball averaged 85.5 mph last season.

Quick Hits: McClellan, Aoki, Young, Robertson

Former Cardinals and Rangers reliever Kyle McClellan has officially announced his retirement.  In a message on his Facebook page, McClellan explained that he was told that his shoulder simply hadn’t recovered well enough following surgery, so he decided to hang up his glove after six Major League seasons.  McClellan posted a 3.79 ERA over 387 1/3 career innings from 2008-13, spending five seasons with St. Louis (winning a World Series ring in 2011) and one in Texas.  We at MLBTR wish McClellan all the best in his retirement and congratulations on a nice career.

Here’s some news from around the baseball world…

  • The Orioles have “limited” interest in Nori Aoki, a source tells MASNsports.com’s Roch Kubatko.  With the O’s linked to such bigger-name free agent and trade targets as Melky Cabrera, Justin Upton and Matt Kemp, it’s safe to presume that Aoki could be more of a backup plan for the Orioles if they can’t land any of those other outfielders.
  • The Mariners‘ acquisition of J.A. Happ from the Blue Jays probably ends any chance of Chris Young returning to Seattle’s rotation, MLB.com’s Greg Johns writes as part of a reader mailbag.
  • An increasing number of agents are privately saying that they would’ve advised David Robertson to accept the Yankees’ qualifying offer, ESPN’s Buster Olney tweets.  I can’t say I agree with the agents’ opinions, since it’s not like the draft pick compensation tied to Robertson via the QO has hurt his market; the closer has reportedly already received a three-year, $39MM offer and several executives think he’ll find a deal in the four-year, $50MM range.
  • Florida high schooler Brendan Rodgers holds the #1 spot on MLB.com’s rankings of the top 50 2015 draft prospects, MLB.com’s Jim Callis writes.  Rodgers, a shortstop, heads a class that still contains a lot of question marks, according to one AL scouting executive.  “It’s just wide open right now, especially at the top.  There are some nice players, but there’s a lot of gray area. There are just no elite guys who completely stand out. There’s not as much upside at the top as the past few drafts,” the executive said.
  • Former big leaguer Rico Brogna is now working as the Angels‘ quality control coach, somewhat of a troubleshooting position he tells Fangraphs’ David Laurila combines both traditional scouting analysis with advanced metrics to give his team a complete overview of a player’s strengths and weaknesses.
  • Will Middlebrooks doesn’t have an obvious role on the 2015 Red Sox roster, but the third baseman tells Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald that he’s working to get healthy and wants to stay with the Sox.  “I understand the moves they had to make,” Middlebrooks said.  “For the organization we are, we have to win next year. Everyone knows that. They had to make some moves. I was hurt, been hurt a lot. You can’t rely on that.”

Minor Moves: Maxwell, Gearrin, Turley, Tigers

Here are the latest minor league transactions from around baseball….

  • The Giants signed outfielder Justin Maxwell, righty Cory Gearrin and lefty Nik Turley to minor league contracts, Baseball America’s Matt Eddy reports (Twitter link).  Maxwell received significant playing time with the Astros and Royals in 2012-13, but he posted only a .397 OPS over 45 PA in 2014 as Kansas City moved on to other outfield options.  He elected to become a free agent in October.  Gearrin posted a 4.28 ERA, 8.8 K/9, and 2.06 K/BB rate in 69 1/3 IP out of the Braves bullpen from 2011-13 and missed all of 2014 due to Tommy John surgery.  Turley, a 50th-round draft pick for the Yankees in 2008, has a 3.41 ERA, 8.3 K/9 and 2.1 K/BB rate over 551 1/3 career minor league innings in New York’s system.
  • Also from Eddy, the Tigers signed right-handers Rafael Dolis and Alberto Cabrera to minor league contracts.  The two righties are both 26 years old, both originally signed amateur contracts out of the Dominican Republic with the Cubs and both last pitched in the majors in 2013.  Cabrera has a 5.20 ERA over 27 2/3 IP in the bigs, while Dolis has a 5.48 ERA over 44 1/3 IP.  (Dolis spent last season with the Giants’ Triple-A affiliate.)
  • The Rockies signed left-hander Buddy Boshers to a minor league deal with an invitation to Spring Training, MLB.com’s Thomas Harding reports.  Boshers’ Major League resume consists of 15 1/3 relief innings for the Angels in 2013, and the 2008 fourth-rounder has a 3.67 ERA, 2.43 K/BB rate and 448 strikeouts over 446 1/3 IP over seven seasons in the Angels’ farm system.
  • Right-hander Anthony Bass has elected to become a free agent, Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle reports (Twitter link).  Bass was outrighted off the Astros’ 40-man roster last month.  As Drellich notes, Bass was hampered by an intercostal strain in 2014 and only pitched 27 innings for the Astros, posting a 6.33 ERA and an equal amount of strikeouts (seven) and walks.
  • The Indians signed catcher Adam Moore to a minor league deal that contains a Spring Training invitation, SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo reports (Twitter link).  Moore appeared in 60 games with the Mariners in 2010 but has since appeared in only 20 Major League games scattered over the last four seasons with Seattle, Kansas City and San Diego.  The Padres outrighted Moore off their 40-man roster last month.
  • The Angels signed left-handers Adam Wilk and Edgar Ibarra, the team announced (via Twitter).  Wilk, 26, appeared in eight games with the Tigers in 2011-12 and has since pitched in South Korea and for the Pirates’ Triple-A affiliate.  Ibarra is only 25 years old but already has nine years of pro experience, posting a 4.13 ERA, 2.03 K/BB and 7.8 K/9 over 654 innings in the Twins’ minor league system.

Orioles Receiving Interest In Wei-Yin Chen, Discussed Trade With Angels

The Orioles feel trade interest in left-hander Wei-Yin Chen is “very high,” as they’ve received more calls about Chen than any other player on their 25-man roster, Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun reports.

The O’s are listening to offers since Chen is a free agent after the 2015 season, though they’re not shopping the southpaw.  In fact, Connolly notes that Chen (after Chris Tillman and Kevin Gausman) is the least-likeliest Oriole starter to be traded since he is coming off a strong season and is the rotation’s only lefty.  Though Chen only comes with one year of control, the Orioles could acquire “a healthy return of either prospects or immediate major league help,” one talent evaluator tells Connolly.

The Angels were one team that had particular interest in Chen, and they discussed a deal with the O’s that would’ve seen second baseman Howie Kendrick go to Baltimore.  The Orioles ultimately rejected the offer and talks between the two sides appear to be finished, Connolly reports, as the Halos are apparently no longer looking to deal Kendrick for pitching depth.

In October, the O’s made the easy call to exercise their $4.75MM option on Chen’s services for 2015.  Chen posted a 3.54 ERA, 3.89 K/BB and 6.6 K/9 over 185 2/3 IP for Baltimore, and he’s been a solid contributor in all three of his seasons with the Orioles, amassing 6.7 fWAR/6.2 rWAR in that span.  Another good year could put the 29-year-old in position for a nice multiyear contract in free agency next offseason, which could put Chen out of Baltimore’s price range, especially since he’s represented by Scott Boras.

Bud Norris has also received some trade interest, Connolly reports, and it’s safe to assume the Orioles would be much more open to dealing Norris than Chen.  While Norris is also coming off a solid season, he hasn’t been as consistent as Chen over the last three seasons, plus he’s much pricier — MLBTR’s Matt Swartz projects Norris for an $8.7MM salary via arbitration this winter.


Minor Moves: Beavan, Herrera, Sitton, Kohn, Carrera, Obispo

Here are the latest minor moves …

  • The Diamondbacks have signed righty Blake Beavan to a minor league deal, via the MLB.com transactions page. The former first-round pick was outrighted by the Marines back in August.
  • The Cubs inked second baseman Jonathan Herrera, per the same source. Herrera lost his roster spot with the Red Sox a month ago after a fairly disappointing campaign in Boston.
  • The Angels re-signed righty Yoslan Herrera on a minor league deal with a Spring Training invite, Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com reports on Twitter. Herrera had been non-tendered yesterday.
  • Likewise, southpaw Kraig Sitton has re-signed with the Rockies on a minor league deal a day after being non-tendered, the club announced via Twitter. Sitton posted a 3.68 ERA last year at the Double-A level.
  • Righty Michael Kohn has gone to the Braves on a minor league deal with a big league camp invite, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports on Twitter. Kohn originally signed with the Rays but was designated off the 40-man roster.
  • The Blue Jays announced the signing of outfielder Ezequiel Carrera to a minor league deal. Carrera was designated recently to clear space for the Tigers’ claim of Josh Zeid.
  • The Brewers have signed righty Wirfin Obispo, the club’s player development account tweeted. Obispo, 30, spent last year with the Braves and Pirates organizations and worked to a 4.12 ERA over 48 Triple-A frames.

Angels Non-Tender Gordon Beckham, Wade LeBlanc, Yoslan Herrera

The Angels have non-tendered a trio of players led by infielder Gordon Beckham, the club announced via Twitter. With lefty Wade LeBlanc and righty Yoslan Herrera also being shown the door, Los Angeles now has three open 40-man spots.

All said, the moves clear a solid bit of salary capacity for a Halos club that has looked to get creative in adding talent with an already-hefty payroll. Beckham was projected by MLBTR and contributor Matt Swartz to earn $5MM, making up most of the savings. But LeBlanc projected to earn $800K, which may be a few hundred thousand more than the club would like to pay him. Both moves were widely expected, while

Herrera, 33, put together a nice run for the Angels last year, working 16 2/3 frames of 2.70 ERA ball from the pen. But that represented his first MLB action since way back in 2008, and it appears that Los Angeles was not interested in holding a roster spot for him at this point.


Pen Notes: Robertson, Romo, Miller, Beimel, Burnett

Here’s the latest on the market for bullpen arms:

  • As the Jays look to make bullpen improvements that will align with the team’s other significant additions, the club has not ruled out a run at David Robertson, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (via Twitter). MLBTR’s Steve Adams predicted that Robertson would score a four-year deal that exceeds $50MM, and he seems within range of achieving that contract if he can push the bidding up to that fourth year.
  • If the Astros don’t land Robertson, the team could shift its sights to Sergio Romo, Heyman tweets. The 31-year-old had a down year, but still delivers strong strikeout numbers while holding free passes to a minimum.
  • The Astros also have interest in the market’s other top option, lefty Andrew Miller, per Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle. He could be an alternative to Robertson as a closer target, the report indicates.
  • Another team with interest in Miller is the Yankees, with Joel Sherman of the New York Post confirming (via Twitter) the report from ESPN.com’s Buster Olney earlier today. As Sherman notes, New York has thus far declined to push into the four-year territory for Robertson, but may have to do so for Miller if the club hopes to be competitive. New York is also poking around the trade market for late-inning arms, per George A. King III of the New York Post.
  • Though the Mets have had at least some interest in lefty Joe Beimel in past years, he is not presently being considered, according to a tweet from Mike Puma of the New York Post. New York is one of many teams with at least one opening for a left-handed reliever.
  • Rehabbing southpaw Sean Burnett will not sign over the winter, Chris Cotillo of SB Nation tweets. The once-excellent Burnett has struggled through two injury-plagued campaigns with the Angels. He will target a return to the practice hill this spring, per the report, and hopes to be ready to sign during the upcoming season.