Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Rumors

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

AL West Notes: Williams, Astros, Angels, Ramirez

Recently-released Astros hurler Jerome Williams has already drawn inquiries from eight clubs, tweets Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN. That does not include the Twins, he notes. Williams’ agent tells MLBTR’s Zach Links (Twitter link) that he believes the veteran righty will get a chance to start on a major league club.

Here’s more from the AL West:

  • The Astros are interested in upgrading the club’s bullpen in both the short and long-term, reports MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart. Owner Jim Crane said that the team’s relief corps has cost the club ballgames, indicating that he hopes to find some solutions during the current season. Nevertheless, any moves would keep an eye firmly on the future: “We’re always looking more long term,” he said, “but we want to try to establish a nucleus this year and win a lot more ballgames than we did last year.”
  • Of course, the Angels‘ bullpen needs are on a much shorter fuse. Even after making several recent acquisitions, club GM Jerry Dipoto says that the team is still browsing the market, according to Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register (via Twitter). Dipoto hopes to form a late-inning nucleus that can record the “last nine outs” of a game. “We will continue to look for a guy who can join that group,” he said.
  • Multiple teams have expressed interest in Mariners righty Erasmo Ramirez, Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune reports on Twitter. The 24-year-old has not had sustained success at the major league level, but does offer plenty of youth and team control. Ramirez would seem to make a useful trade chip in a lower-level deal for Seattle, or as a part of a package in a larger swap.

AL West Notes: Grilli, Angels, Aiken, Morales

In a video interview with ESPN’s Jim Bowden, Angels GM Jerry Dipoto discussed the recent trades his team has made. Regarding the team’s swap of Ernesto Frieri for Jason Grilli, Dipoto tells Bowden that he received a text message from Pittsburgh GM Neal Huntington, and the discussions took “about seven minutes” from start to agreement. The Halos’ interest in Grilli dates all the way back to his most recent run as a free agent, says Dipoto, who adds that the team discussed similar deals to this trade before making the move.

More from Dipoto’s chat with Bowden and the rest of the AL West below…

  • Regarding his acquisition of lefty Joe Thatcher, Dipoto notes “that’s one we’d been looking at for quite a long time.” Dipoto adds that Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers had made his interest in Zach Borenstein, who went to Arizona in the deal, known in the past. Perhaps most interestingly, Dipoto implies that the negotiations on the trade took place with Towers. Previous reports have indicated that some organizations weren’t sure about Arizona’s front office hierarchy now that Tony La Russa is in the mix.
  • Asked by Bowden if the Angels were done shopping, Dipoto replied, “We’ll continue to try to find ways to make the team better. Particularly, I’ve talked about the idea that if we can find one more piece for that bullpen.” Dipoto makes sure to qualify that he’s very pleased with the current mix of relievers but remains open to possible improvements at the back of the ‘pen.
  • Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle spoke with Astros GM Jeff Luhnow, who said he’s hopeful the team can reach an agreement with top pick Brady Aiken, but he won’t handicap it either way (Twitter link). Earlier today, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reported that a ligament issue in Aiken’s elbow has held up negotiations and caused the Astros to drop their bonus offer from $6.5MM to $5MM. Drellich talked to Aiken’s trainer, who claims that the lefty is healthy.
  • With the Twins in Seattle, Kendrys Morales spoke through an interpreter to the Seattle media (including Bob Candotta of the Seattle Times) about his offseason discussions with his former club. Morales said there was a bit of discussion with the Mariners, but as his interpreter says: “…in his heart he just didn’t really want to come back here and be in the same spot. He was taking his chances to see maybe something would get better.”

AL East Notes: Price, Burnett, McCarthy, Breslow

With 10 wins in their last 12 games, the Rays have escaped the AL East basement and added another wrinkle to the David Price trade rumors.  As Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times outlines, it still makes a lot of sense for the Rays to deal Price, given that the club needs to replenish its minor league stock and the Jeff Samardzija/Jason Hammel trade only increases Price’s value as the best starter available.  On the other hand, the Rays have already invested a record payroll into this year’s team and they could still make a comeback in a weak AL East, then wait until the offseason to explore trading Price.

Here’s some more from around the AL East…

  • “The Yankees don’t have a strong interest in” reacquiring A.J. Burnett, George A. King III of the New York Post reports.  Burnett is a logical trade candidate if the Phillies decide to sell, though the veteran has a partial no-trade clause in his contract.
  • Brandon McCarthy‘s tendency to allow home runs and grounders might be a problem given Yankee Stadium’s small dimensions and the Yankees‘ poor infield defense, but Andy Martino of the New York Daily News still feels the Bombers made a good move in acquiring the righty from the Diamondbacks.  McCarthy’s peripherals indicate that he’s due to pitch better in the second half, and even if he’s only average, Martino still considers that an upgrade over the struggling Vidal Nuno.
  • Before dealing for Rich Hill, the Angels showed some interest in acquiring Red Sox reliever Craig Breslow but felt that Breslow’s stuff had declined since last year, ESPN Boston’s Gordon Edes reports.  Breslow posted a 1.81 ERA (though a 4.37 xFIP) over 59 2/3 relief innings for the Sox in 2013 but has struggled this season, managing only a 5.04 ERA and almost as many walks (20) as strikeouts (21) over 30 1/3 innings.  The southpaw is also averaging just 87.8 mph on his fastball, down significantly from his 89.9 mph average last year.
  • Also from Edes’ piece, he lists several Red Sox veterans who could be traded this summer now that Boston is on the brink of falling out of contention.
  • While it may not seem likely Jon Lester and the Red Sox will work out a new contract before Lester hits free agency, Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald reminds us that Cole Hamels and the Phillies were in a similar situation two years ago and agreed on a midseason extension.  Lester has been unwilling to negotiate during the year for fear of distractions, though it was recently reported that he would be open to hearing an offer if it led to a quick signing process.  (One would think he’d be very quick to agree if the Sox presented Lester with the six-year/$144MM deal the Phillies gave Hamels, though I strongly doubt Boston would offer that much.)
  • The Blue Jays have done a poor job of drafting and developing position players over the last decade-plus, Mike Rutsey of the Toronto Sun writes, a problem that has been underscored by the lack of depth available to fill in for several injured Jays regulars.


Angels Designate Rich Hill For Assignment

The Angels have designated left-handed pitcher Rich Hill for assignment, tweets Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times. The move was made to open a spot for left-handed reliever Joe Thatcher, who was recently acquired from the Diamondbacks. The Angels also optioned righty Cory Rasmus and recalled left-hander Michael Roth in subsequent moves (also Shaikin via Twitter). Left-handed relief has been frequently discussed as a problem area for the Angels, although left-handed batters are hitting just .237/.322/.369 against the bullpen.

Hill was recently acquired from the Red Sox in return for cash considerations. Over two appearances with the Angels, Hill faced four batters, allowed one hit, and walked three. He also uncorked a wild pitch. His numbers in 39 innings for the Boston’s Triple-A affiliate were much better including a 3.23 ERA, 10.38 K/9, and 3.92 BB/9. He joins seven other players in DFA limbo: Kenny Wilson (Blue Jays), Nick Buss (A’s), Jeff Francis (A’s), Nolan Reimold (Orioles), Justin Maxwell(Royals), Pedro Ciriaco (Royals), and Jerome Williams (Astros).


Angels Acquire Joe Thatcher, Tony Campana

10:19am: The Diamondbacks will receive outfielder Zach Borenstein and right-hander Joey Krehbiel, tweets Heyman.

Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times notes (via Twitter) Borenstein was the Angels’ minor league player of the year in 2013 (.337/.403/.631 at Class A-Advanced Inland Empire). The 23-year-old (the Angels’ 23rd-round selection in 2011), however, hasn’t been able to replicate those numbers this season while bouncing back and forth between Double-A (.266/.338/.440 in 207 plate appearances) and Triple-A (.256/.279/.342 in 123 plate appearances).

Krehbiel is an interesting bullpen arm with a fastball sitting between 92-95 MPH with a good slider, tweets Piecoro. The 21-year-old (taken in the same draft as Borenstein, but in the 12th round) has compiled a 2.00 ERA, 11.5 K/9, and 3.5 BB/9 with five saves in 17 appearances covering 18 innings this season for Class-A Burlington and Class A-Advanced Inland Empire.

10:00am: Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports (on Twitter) heard last night that the Halos would be giving up a minor league second baseball in a Thatcher deal.  Either Taylor Lindsey or Alex Yarbrough makes sense, according to Passan. 

9:48am: The D’Backs get a few prospects in the deal and one is a high-ranking prospect, tweets Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com.  Arizona is saving about $1.1MM with this deal, Piecoro tweets.

9:33am: The D’Backs are receiving a prospect and another minor leaguer in the deal, tweets Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic.

8:57am: The Angels are set to acquire Joe Thatcher and Tony Campana from the Diamondbacks, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.  The return is not yet known.

Rosenthal reported late last night that the Angels were on the hunt for a left-handed reliever and Thatcher was high on their wish list.  Thatcher, who will be a free agent at season’s end, has a 2.63 ERA with 9.4 K/9 and 1.1 BB/9 through 37 appearances this season.

For his career, the 32-year-old owns a 3.26 ERA with 9.4 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9 across eight seasons with the Padres and Diamondbacks.  Now, he’ll ply his craft for the Halos in what will be his first time outside of the NL West.  Thatcher is a rather inexpensive addition for the Halos as they’re on the hook for the prorated portion of his $2.375MM deal.

Campana, 28, hasn’t done much offensively this season, hitting .150/.164/.200 in 61 plate appearances.   In four years for the Cubs and D’Backs, Campana has hit .246/.294/.286 in 239 total games.  Still, the speedy outfielder has managed to provide value even when he’s not doing much with his bat.  He has 66 career stolen bases and a career 14.6 UZR/150 in the outfield.

Edward Creech contributed to this post.


Angels Close To Trade For Relief Pitcher

The Angels are on the hunt for a left-handed reliever and the Diamondbacks’ Joe Thatcher is on their list, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter).  Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports (on Twitter) hears that the Halos are close to a deal with major league players and also says that they have their eye on relief pitching, specifically lefties.

The Angels have been hunting for a left-hander for some time now and it would make sense for them to try and land one well in advance of the deadline.  Late last month it was reported that the D’Backs were getting ready to sell and Thatcher’s name was amongst those mentioned as possible trade chips.  Thatcher, who will be a free agent at season’s end, has a 2.63 ERA with 9.4 K/9 and 1.1 BB/9 through 37 appearances this season.  Teammate Oliver Perez, who is controlled through 2015, could also be of interest to teams.

Passan (on Twitter) suggests that the Mariners could be a possible match as they’ve been shopping their own relief pitching surplus.


AL West Notes: Dipoto, A’s, Mariners

Here’s the latest from around the AL West…

  • Angels GM Jerry Dipoto is pleased with his starting pitching and doesn’t intend to pursue rotation upgrades, though the bullpen is still “not a finished product,” he tells MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez and Matthew DeFranks.  Sources in the industry tell Gonzalez/DeFranks that the Halos are looking for a situational lefty and another possible closer candidate to bolster current stopper Joe Smith and the newly-acquired Jason Grilli.
  • The Athletics are talking to teams about acquiring a starting pitcher or second baseman, ESPN’s Jim Bowden tweets, and they’re willing to discuss trading any top prospect besides Addison Russell.  Many of Oakland’s other notable farm products are in the low minors, however, and Russell is the only Oakland minor leaguer ranked in preseason top 100 prospects from Baseball America, MLB.com or ESPN’s Keith Law.
  • Several unheralded players are helping the Mariners win, John McGrath of the Tacoma News Tribune writes, from seemingly stalled prospects like James Jones and Roenis Elias to veteran reclamation projects like Chris Young and Joe Beimel.
  • The Mariners seem intent on making an upgrade or two before the deadline, and Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune discusses a few options as part of a reader mailbag.

Central Notes: Frieri, Cubs, Hammel, Twins

As Ernesto Frieri was en route to the Pirates after being traded by the Angels, he ran into a familiar face at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport, writes MLB.com’s Tom Singer. “I’m waiting for my next flight, so I just went to a bathroom to wash my face. First thing, I look at this guy washing his hands next to me,” said Frieri, “and I thought, ‘I think I know this guy.’”  He was right – that guy was Jason Grilli, the reliever for whom he had been traded hours earlier.  Anyone who has been in the colossal O’Hare Airport can appreciate exactly how unlikely this chance meeting was.  Here’s more from the AL and NL Central..

  • A year and one day ago, the Cubs traded Scott Feldman to the Orioles rather than waiting until the July 31st deadline was closer.  This year, while there are plenty of scouts watching the Cubs, General Manager Jed Hoyer isn’t positive that we’ll see a similarly timed move this year. “Last year it really came together,” Hoyer said, according to Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune. “Baltimore was so determined to get a starter. You can always tell when teams have a feel for what we’re looking for. Ultimately, sometimes it takes a deadline to make deals. People get a lot more serious with each day that gets closer to the deadline. It probably works both ways. I don’t think you ever go into July thinking you’re going to make deals early, but sometimes it can come together.”
  • Meanwhile, the Blue Jays have sent at least ten scouts to watch the Cubs since September and several sources tell Gonzales that they have followed Jason Hammel just as closely as they have followed Jeff Samardzija.
  • We saw a bunch of international signings on July 2nd, but Twins VP of player personnel Mike Radcliff says they aren’t in a rush to spend.  “Right now the biggest issue is early committing,” Radcliff said, according to Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press. “It just doesn’t make sense. You’re talking about 15- and 16-year-olds. You’d think you’d want more time to figure it out and have more people see the players, but people are just throwing their money out there and locking them up earlier and earlier. I think we’re all still figuring it out.”

Angels Acquire Rich Hill

1:37pm: The Red Sox announced that they have received cash considerations from the Angels in exchange for Hill.

1:29pm: The Angels announced that they have acquired southpaw Rich Hill from the Red Sox and selected his contract (Twitter link). Michael Kohn has been optioned to Triple-A to create room for Hill on the Major League roster. Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish noted earlier today (on Twitter) that Hill had a July 1 opt-out in his minor league deal with Boston.

The 34-year-old Hill, signed by Boston to a minor league deal this offseason, has pitched well in his time with Boston’s Triple-A affiliate in 2014. In 39 innings for Pawtucket, Hill has posted a 3.23 ERA with 10.4 K/9 and 3.9 BB/9. He’s dominated opposing left-handers, holding them to a .196/.302/.196 batting line, and he’s been tough on righties as well. Opposing right-handers are batting just .211/.296/.274 against Hill this year.

Of course, Hill does come with a spotty track record, as he posted a 6.28 ERA in 38 2/3 innings with the Indians last season and has a lengthy injury history. Since a strong showing with the 2007 Cubs, Hill has had difficulty sticking in the Majors as he’s battled shoulder and elbow problems, including surgery to repair a torn labrum and Tommy John surgery.


Draft Signings: Kam Uter, Chris Ellis

Here are Sunday’s notable mid- to late-round draft signings, with all slot courtesy of Baseball America:

  • The Dodgers have signed 12th-round pick Kam Uter for $200K, MLB.com’s Jim Callis tweets. The Georgia high school pitcher had a commitment to play wide receiver for Wake Forest. Picks from after the 10th round can earn bonuses of up to $100K before they count against the signing team’s pool, so Uter’s signing will cost the Dodgers $100K against their bonus pool.
  • The Angels have signed their third-round selection Ole Miss right-hander Chris Ellis, reports MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez (Twitter links). Callis tweets that Ellis will receive $575K, slightly less than the bonus pool allotment of $612.8K. First-rounder Sean Newcomb (15th overall) is the only Angels’ draft choice from the first ten rounds who remains unsigned. In a separate tweet, Gonzalez notes no progress has been made with Newcomb, but he expects the University of Hartford left-hander to come to terms before the July 18 deadline.

Charlie Wilmoth contributed to this post.