Angels trade Jepsen to Rays for Joyce

The Angels traded homegrown reliever Kevin Jepsen to the Rays for outfielder Matt Joyce, the latest in a string of moves this offseason.

Joyce, a 30-year-old left-handed hitter with experience at both outfield corners, is one year away from free agency and projected to make roughly $5 million. Jepsen was in his third of four arbitration years and projected to make about $2.5 million.

Joyce has batted .252/.341/.428 over the last four years, hitting 63 homers, driving in 233 runs and stealing 26 bases while averaging 136 games in that stretch. On the Angels, Joyce projects as a fifth outfielder who can platoon with the right-handed-hitting C.J. Cron at designated hitter.

Jepsen, originally a second-round Draft pick by the Angels in 2002, is coming off a breakout season, one that saw the 30-year-old right-hander post a 2.63 ERA and strike out 10.4 batters per nine innings in 74 games. But on an Angels team with lots of right-handed-relief depth, Jepsen was no more than a seventh-inning guy, making him expendable in their quest to make up for the loss of Howie Kendrick.

With Jepsen gone, Fernando Salas and Mike Morin look like the leading candidates to take over the seventh inning.

— Alden Gonzalez

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