Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Rumors

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

Angels Acquire Gordon Beckham

6:01pm: The Angels initially claimed Beckham off waivers, according to Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com (on Twitter).

5:07pm: Kay clarifies that the Angels will send a PTBNL or cash considerations to the White Sox in exchange for Beckham, not both, as he initially announced (Twitter link).

4:35pm: Angels director of communications Eric Kay announced today that the team has acquired second baseman Gordon Beckham from the White Sox in exchange for a player to be named later and cash considerations (Twitter link). The Angels can clear a 40-man roster spot for Beckham by placing the injured Garrett Richards on the 60-day disabled list. The team announced earlier today that Richards is out six to nine months due a torn patellar tendon in his left knee that will require surgery.

"<strong

Beckham, 27, has struggled this season with the White Sox, hitting just .221/.263/.336 in 390 plate appearances. The former No. 8 overall draft pick hasn’t panned out the way the White Sox hoped back in 2008 as he is a lifetime .244/.306/.374 batter despite playing the majority of his games in the very hitter-friendly U.S. Cellular Field.

Park-adjusted metrics such as OPS+ (83) and wRC+ (82) suggest that Beckham has been about 17 to 18 percent worse than a league-average hitter over the course of his career, although the offensive bar for a middle infielder is considerably lower than that of a corner infielder/outfielder. While he’s hit lefties at a .309/.349/.454 clip in a small sample this season, his career split — .245/.313/.375 — is pretty even with his career mark against right-handed pitching.

Beckham will bring some degree defensive versatility to the Angels, and Jeff Fletcher of the O.C. Register tweets that he will come off the bench. Beckham has played primarily second base for the Pale Hose in his career, but he broke into the Majors primarily as a third baseman back in 2009 and was initially drafted as a shortstop out of the University of Georgia. Defensive metrics such as Ultimate Zone Rating and Defensive Runs Saved have pegged Beckham’s glove as roughly average over the past four seasons.

The Angels will have control of Beckham through the 2015 season if they wish, as he is arbitration eligible for the final time this offseason. Beckham’s agents at Relativity Sports avoided arbitration with the White Sox by securing a one-year, $4.18MM contract this winter. He is owed roughly $913K of that figure from now through season’s end. Despite the down performance in 2014, Beckham will be in line for a slight raise, making him a non-tender candidate following the season.

That Gordon reached the Angels means he either cleared waivers earlier this month or went unclaimed by every other team in the American League, as Anaheim currently possesses the best record in the Majors.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.


Garrett Richards Out Six To Nine Months For Knee Surgery

Angels right-hander Garrett Richards has been diagnosed with a torn patellar tendon in his left knee and will undergo surgery that will come with a recovery time of six to nine months, the Angels announced (Twitter links). Given the length of the recovery period, it’s possible that the Halos’ breakout star could miss the beginning of the 2015 season as well.

Richards is the second young pitcher that the Angels have lost this month, as they also received the news that lefty Tyler Skaggs required Tommy John surgery. If there’s a slight silver lining for Angels fans, it’s that Richards will almost certainly be able to contribute next season, whereas Skaggs is unlikely to do so.

Nonetheless, it’s a crucial blow to an Angels team that is in a close race with the Athletics for the AL West division title. The 26-year-old Richards has been an anchor for manager Mike Scioscia’s rotation this season, pitching to a 2.61 ERA with 8.8 K/9, 2.7 BB/9 and a 50.9 percent ground-ball rate in 168 2/3 innings of work.

The Angels will now lean even more heavily on Jered Weaver and C.J. Wilson atop their rotation, with likely contributions from Matt Shoemaker, Hector Santiago and perhaps Wade LeBlanc at the back of the starting five. LeBlanc was recalled from Triple-A Salt Lake today after posting a 4.00 ERA with 8.4 K/9 and 2.7 BB/9 in 123 2/3 innings this season, but the 30-year-old veteran hasn’t seen consistent time in a  big league rotation since 2011 with the Padres. He has a career 4.56 ERA with 6.0 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9 in 424 1/3 Major League innings.

The Richards injury will only further speculation that the Halos could look outside the organization to add an arm for the stretch drive. Reports yesterday indicated that Mets right-hander Bartolo Colon has yet to hit the waiver wire, and he would be a logical target for the Angels if he reaches them (a team like the Mariners, however, could block their division rivals by placing a claim). MLBTR’s list of players that have reportedly cleared revocable waivers does include a few pitchers, but it seems highly unlikely that any of Yu Darvish, Jon Niese or Gio Gonzalez would truly be available. Hypothetically speaking, Niese is the most realistic option, as the Mets aren’t contending. However, the Angels’ depleted farm system likely doesn’t have the necessary chips to make such an acquisition.

Richards’ injury could also have an impact on GM Jerry Dipoto’s offseason strategy, as it likely increases the importance of adding veteran pitching depth — even on minor league deals. Of course, for the time being, Dipoto and his lieutenants will be focused on the next two months as they hope to make a postseason appearance, which would be their first since 2009.


Quick Hits: Colon, Angels, Cardinals, Stanton, Cashner

The Mets have not yet tried sending Bartolo Colon through revocable waivers, FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal tweets. One reason this is significant is because Colon would represent one possible upgrade for an Angels team that just lost Garrett Richards to what appears to be a significant knee injury. It’s unclear whether Colon would be claimed by another team before getting to the Angels. He’s pitched fairly well this year, despite his age, and he’s set to make a reasonable salary of $11MM in 2015. Here are more notes from around the big leagues.

  • At least so far, the David Freese / Peter Bourjos trade has worked out fairly well for the Angels, MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez writes. Freese got off to a slow start but has hit well since June, while Fernando Salas has been steady out of the Angels’ bullpen. Meanwhile, Bourjos hasn’t hit well in a part-time role with the Cardinals (although he continues to provide defensive value), and outfield prospect Randal Grichuk has spent most of the season at Triple-A.
  • Calls for the Marlins to trade Giancarlo Stanton may have been premature, writes Rosenthal. Next season, Stanton will still only be 25 and under control through 2016, and the Marlins will have a healthy Jose Fernandez. They might also get more help from young hitters Christian Yelich and Marcell Ozuna, so they could contend in 2015. While they likely won’t be able to sign Stanton long term before he becomes eligible for free agency following the 2016 season, they might be able to simply wait to trade him, perhaps for established players rather than prospects.
  • Padres pitcher Andrew Cashner will make his first start since June 18 on Saturday in Arizona, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune tweets. On his way back from a shoulder injury, Cashner pitched five innings in a rehab start for Triple-A El Paso Monday. Cashner has emerged as one of the top starters in the National League in the past two seasons, and he had a 2.76 ERA with 7.0 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9 in 76 1/3 innings this year before he got hurt.


Extension Candidate: Kole Calhoun

The Angels’ farm system hasn’t won much praise recently, but it seems to have produced a hit in Kole Calhoun. The outfielder sped through the minors despite a relatively modest pedigree (he was an eighth-round pick as a college senior in 2010), skipping Double-A and making it to the big leagues in two years. Last season, in his first extended shot in the Majors, he hit .282/.347/.462 in 222 plate appearances, and this year he’s proven that was no fluke, hitting .294/.349/.485 so far. Offensively, Calhoun combines high batting averages with good power, and he also provides reasonable baserunning and corner outfield defense.

Since he’s already nearly 27, Calhoun’s opportunities to cash in on his early-career success might be somewhat limited. He can’t become a free agent until the 2019-2020 offseason, by which point he’ll be 32. With so much time remaining before free agency, and after receiving a very modest $36K signing bonus out of college, it would probably behoove Calhoun to consider the security of a long-term deal. A pre-free agency extension might represent the best chance for Calhoun and his agent, Page Odle, to land a big contract.

USATSI_8000156_154513410_lowresGiven that the Angels already control what are likely to be Calhoun’s prime years, an extension need not be such a priority for them. And since he isn’t exceptionally athletic and already plays corner outfield, betting on him continuing to be productive well into his thirties seems excessive, from the Angels’ perspective. Signing Calhoun to an extension would, however, have the benefit of controlling his arbitration salaries while possibly also giving the Angels options to control a year or two more than they do now.

Extensions for players with between one and two years of service time used to be somewhat rare, but they’ve become increasingly common since Paul Goldschmidt and Anthony Rizzo signed deals in Spring 2013. Via MLBTR’s Extension Tracker, seven players with between one and two years of service have agreed to extensions this year: Julio Teheran, Andrelton Simmons, Jose Quintana, Starling Marte, Yan Gomes, Jedd Gyorko and Sean Doolittle.

Since Marte is an outfielder, his six-year, $31MM deal (which also includes two options) is the most obvious precedent that might guide a long-term deal for Calhoun. Before that, the last extensions for outfielders with between one and two years of service time were those of Jose Tabata (2011) and Denard Span (2010). Both contracts are now too ancient to really matter, with contracts for players like Simmons and Freddie Freeman reshaping the extension landscape since then.

The problem with using Marte’s deal as a precedent, though, is that a Calhoun contract would have a slightly different purpose. Marte was a toolsy, high-upside 25-year-old at the time of his deal, so for the Pirates, his contract was about retaining him long term. Calhoun is older and may have already reached his upside. On the other hand, his offense-heavy profile is more likely than Marte’s was to get him paid in arbitration. Therefore, we might expect a Calhoun contract to be a bit shorter than Marte’s, and perhaps a bit less option-heavy. We might also expect Calhoun to make more than Marte in his seasons of arbitration eligibility.

The possibility of Calhoun becoming a Super Two player following the 2015 season is also a factor. Calhoun entered the 2014 season with 130 days of service. This year’s projected Super Two threshold is two years and 128 days of service time, which means Calhoun could end up on either side of the line. Quintana had one year and 133 days of service when he signed his extension before the season, and his contract with the White Sox contains a clause that pays him an extra $5.5MM if he becomes Super Two eligible. Perhaps a Calhoun extension could include a similar clause.

Of course, Super Two eligibility would not affect Calhoun’s free agency timeline. A five-year deal (beginning in 2015) with one team option might make sense for both Calhoun and the Angels — such a deal would buy out all of Calhoun’s pre-free-agency seasons while giving the Angels the rights to his first season of free agency eligibility. Calhoun would become eligible for free agency as a 33-year-old at the latest, potentially giving him another shot at a multi-year deal if he continued to hit.

Given that the Angels already control one or perhaps two of those five years at the league minimum, the total guaranteed figure for a Calhoun extension need not be huge. Marte will make $21MM over the course of his contract if one leaves aside the last guaranteed year (including his signing bonus and a $2MM buyout on his option in 2020). Calhoun might get a little more than that guaranteed over a five-year deal if he is not Super Two eligible (including a buyout on the Angels’ option for a sixth year), perhaps with a clause bumping his contract to $27MM-$30MM if it turns out he is.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.


AL West Notes: Richards, Altuve, Athletics

Angels pitcher Garrett Richards suffered what appeared to be a significant knee injury while trying to make a play at first in the second inning of a game against the Red Sox Wednesday. He fell while still running to first and spent several minutes on the ground in obvious pain before being removed on a stretcher. There’s no word yet on the severity of the injury (which the Angels described as a “left knee/patellar injury“) but if it’s as serious as it appears to be, it would be a big blow to the Angels. Entering tonight’s game, Richards had posted a 2.53 ERA with 8.8 K/9 and 2.7 BB/9 in 167 innings this season, and the Angels are currently fighting the Athletics for first place in the AL West. Here are more notes from the division.

  • Diminutive Astros star Jose Altuve has made it big despite his size, writes Tyler Kepner of the New York Times. “He’s an anomaly,” says Astros assistant GM David Stearns. “He’s tough to explain, other than the fact he works as hard or harder than anyone, he’s got freakish hand-eye skills, he loves baseball and he wants to be great.” History indicates that Altuve is, in fact, very unusual, Kepner writes — there isn’t anyone in the Hall of Fame listed at 5-foot-6 or shorter who debuted in the Majors since the early 1940s. Altuve signed for just $15K as an amateur out of Venezuela.
  • The Athletics have struggled since their surprising trade of Yoenis Cespedes and a draft pick for Jon Lester and Jonny Gomes, John Branch of the New York Times notes. It’s not clear that the trade is to blame, however. “We were struggling some before the trade as well, and we haven’t been as good offensively as we have been for the better part of a season,” says manager Bob Melvin. “But I expect us to get much better offensively because we still do have a very deep lineup.”

AL Notes: Hamilton, Twins, Dunn, Yankees

Angels skipper Mike Scioscia is less-than-thrilled with Josh Hamilton and feels that he’s not quite the player he was when he was with the Rangers, writes Gerry Fraley of The Dallas Morning News.  “Josh is not the same that we saw when we were looking at the other dugout,” Scioscia said. “He’s not in the batter’s box with the confidence we know he has. He’s not attacking the ball like he can. He’s working hard to try to find it …but we need him to do what he’s capable of doing, or close to that.” More out of the American league..

  • The Brewers and other clubs are looking for relievers, but a Twins official tells Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN (on Twitter) that another August deal is doubtful.
  • White Sox skipper Robin Ventura knows that Adam Dunn has a tough decision on his hands as he considers retirement after the 2014 season, writes Dan Hayes of CSNChicago.com.  “That’s always a tough decision for guys,” Ventura said. “When they get where he’s at and Paul and all those guys that are of age, you get close and you might see the end. You don’t know. It’s a tough decision. This is something he’s done most of his adult life. It’s important. It’s still fun. You just never know. I’ve also heard guys talk that way and end up playing five more years.”
  • In case there was any doubt about his intentions, George A. King of the New York Post writes that Alex Rodriguez has been spotted working out at the University of Miami, where the baseball stadium is named after him, and at UCLA in Los Angeles.  The 39-year-old former MVP has three years and $61MM remaining on his contract with the Yankees.
  • The Yankees aren’t rushing Masahiro Tanaka back, but they are favoring an approach more proactive than protective, writes Brendan Kuty of the Star-Ledger.  “I think it’s important that we know he is healthy,” manager Joe Girardi said, “and the only way to find out is to get him in games.”  The Yankees’ $175MM investment threw fastballs from flat ground last week.

Injury Updates: Skaggs, Darvish, Tanaka, Fife

Angels manager Mike Scioscia announced to reporters today that Tyler Skaggs underwent successful Tommy John surgery this afternoon. News of Skaggs’ injury first broke on Sunday afternoon. While the Halos have yet to make a move to address the void in their rotation, it wouldn’t be surprising to see them make some kind of waiver transaction in the next two to three weeks. Skaggs is expected to be out until 2016, Scioscia said on Sunday.

Here’s more on some injury notes from around the league…

  • The Rangers announced tonight that ace Yu Darvish has been placed on the 15-day disabled list (retroactive to Sunday) due to inflammation in his right elbow. Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News writes that Darvish will undergo further testing in the next day or two. Darvish apparently felt tightness when playing catch on Monday, and the discomfort failed to dissipate prior to a scheduled bullpen session on Tuesday. GM Jon Daniels tells reporters, including Grant (Twitter link), that doctors do not believe there is any ligament damage in the elbow. Anthony Andro of FOX Sports Southwest tweets that team doctor Keith Meister feels that Darvish may be suffering from pronator flexor tendinitis. Darvish will undergo an MRI tomorrow, and in the meantime, the Rangers have selected the contract of right-hander Alex Claudio to take his roster spot. Daniels says the team is hopeful that Darvish will only miss two starts.
  • Injured Yankees ace Masahiro Tanaka threw fastballs from flat ground today — a step forward from playing catch — tweets MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch. Tanaka feels that he still has a chance to pitch in a Major League game again this season. Skipper Joe Girardi told reporters, including Brendan Prunty of the Star-Ledger, that the team also has hope that Tanaka is not lost for the year.
  • Yet another pitcher has fallen prey to the Tommy John scourge, as Bill Shaikin of the L.A. Times tweets that Dodgers righty Stephen Fife will undergo the procedure. Fife, who started 10 games for the Dodgers last year and one this season, has a 3.66 ERA in 91 Major League innings over the past three seasons. It seems likely that the 27-year-old would miss most, if not all of the 2015 campaign.

Angels Outright Caleb Clay

The Angels announced that right-hander Caleb Clay has cleared outright waivers and been removed from the 40-man roster (Twitter link). The Halos signed Clay away from the Korea Baseball Organization’s Hanwha Eagles back in June.

Clay, 26, was a supplemental-round draft pick (44th overall) by the Red Sox back in the 2006 draft. He struggled a great deal in Korea this season, pitching to an 8.32 ERA, but he seems to have righted the ship in eight starts for Anaheim’s Triple-A affiliate. In 52 1/3 innings at Salt Lake, he’s posted a 3.78 ERA with 5.8 K/9 and 1.7 BB/9. He has, however, been homer-prone in that time, serving up eight long balls in that relatively small sample size.


Pirates Claim Tommy Field Off Waivers

The Pirates have announced they have claimed infielder Tommy Field off waivers from the Angels. Field, who was designated for assignment Thursday, has been optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis.

The 27-year-old has spent the entire season at Triple-A Salt Lake slashing .285/.351/.440 in 382 plate appearances. Defensively, he is primarily a shortstop, but has also seen time at second and third base for the Bees. Field did appear in 15 games with the Angels in 2013 posting a line of .154/.185/.154 over 27 plate appearances – his most extensive action since making his MLB debut with the Rockies in 2011 (.271/.314/.271 in 51 plate appearances).

The Pirates’ 40-man roster is now full.


Tyler Skaggs To Undergo Tommy John Surgery

The Angels have received devastating news on injured Tyler Skaggs; the promising left-hander is out for the season and all of 2015, as he will undergo Tommy John surgery Wednesday, reports the Orange County Register’s Jeff FletcherThe rehab time for Tommy John surgery is 12-18 months and Angels GM Jerry Dipoto told reporters the club won’t rush Skaggs back until 2016 because “the great likelihood is if you remain conservative, you make better decisions.” 

The Angels were already known to be pursuing rotation help on the waiver wire, but presumably, the definitive loss of their No. 4 starter for roughly one calendar year will cause their search to accelerate. Dipoto, however, says that pursuit will focus on back-end starters.

I don’t know too many circumstances where your young starters gets hurt and you are compelled to go chase the top of the market. We’ll stay focused on the type of model we set up. We do feel like we have enough depth to absorb the loss right now.

The Halos selected Skaggs with the 40th overall pick in the 2009 draft but eventually traded him to the D’Backs in a trade for Dan Haren, only to reacquire him this offseason in the Mark Trumbo trade (Dipoto was on the acquiring end of both of those deals, as he was Arizona’s interim GM for the Haren deal).

Skaggs, who only recently turned 23, was enjoying his return to the Angels organization. In 113 innings of work this season, the top prospect had begun to deliver on his potential, posting a 4.30 ERA with 6.9 K/9, 2.4 BB/9 and  a 50.1 percent ground-ball rate. ERA estimators such as FIP (3.55), xFIP (3.67) and SIERA (3.75) all felt that Skaggs was better than his ERA.

Skaggs had emerged as a solid fourth option behind Garrett Richards, Jered Weaver and C.J. Wilson, with Matt Shoemaker and Hector Santiago serving as internal options for the fifth spot. Those five arms will now comprise Scioscia’s primary rotation now, however, and given Wilson’s tremendous struggles of late, that creates a great deal of uncertainty. At this point, I’d be surprised if the Angels didn’t acquire an additional arm to add some stability to the middle or back of the rotation.

Edward Creech contributed to this post.