The Angels announced Tuesday evening that they’ve acquired right-handed reliever John Curtiss from the Twins in exchange for minor league infielder Daniel Ozoria. Minnesota designated Curtiss for assignment yesterday upon signing former Angels righty Blake Parker. In order to open space on the roster for Curtiss, the Halos have designated righty Parker Bridwell for assignment.
A sixth-round pick by the Twins back in 2014, Curtiss was considered one of the organization’s more promising relief prospects for much of the past few seasons but hasn’t found big league success to date — albeit it in a tiny sample of work. Through 15 MLB frames, Curtiss has a 7.20 ERA but a more promising 17-to-6 K/BB ratio. Curtiss’ velocity dipped a bit in 2018, and he’s also posted an alarmingly low 18.6 percent ground-ball rate in the big leagues, though he’s previously posted considerably higher marks in the minors. He does bring a career 2.49 ERA at the Triple-A level to the table and has a pair of minor league options remaining, making him an intriguing ’pen option for the Angels.
Bridwell, 27, is only a season removed from 121 innings of 3.64 ERA ball with the 2017 Angels, though his secondary metrics never made that output appear sustainable. Bridwell averaged just 5.4 strikeouts per nine innings pitched that season and stranded nearly 80 percent of the runners allowed — neither of which are conducive to long-term success. This past season, Bridwell pitched just 6 2/3 innings at the Major League level and clobbered for 13 runs on 14 hits — including five home runs. His Triple-A work wasn’t much better, as injuries limited him to 28 innings and he was barely able to keep his ERA south of 9.00 in that time. He’s out of minor league options, so any team that acquires him will need to expose him to waivers once again before being able to send him to the minors. If he clears, he’ll be outrighted to Triple-A and presumably head to camp with the Angels as a non-roster invitee.
In Ozoria, the Twins will add an 18-year-old with minimal professional experience under his belt. The Dominincan-born infielder has experience at shortstop, second base and third base, but he’s yet to demonstrate any power with the Angels’ Rookie-level affiliates and struggled in particular across two levels in 2018. Ozoria has been playing against considerably older and more experienced competition to this point in his young career, but he’s mustered a meek .222/.293/.263 slash through 468 plate appearances. As one would expect for a player with that type of offensive output, Ozoria wasn’t considered among the Angels’ top prospects.
In some respects, the series of transactions can effectively be viewed as the Twins trading Curtiss in exchange for Parker and Ozoria, though they’ll have the benefit of controlling Parker at a lower rate than he’d have earned had Minnesota actually traded for him. The $1.8MM guarantee to which Parker agreed checked in south of the $3.1MM he’d been projected to earn in arbitration before being non-tendered by the Angels.