Results tagged ‘ angels ’

11/23 Roundup

The Yankees stole the Hot Stove headlines on Saturday, when they filled their void at catcher by agreeing to a five-year contract with free agent Brian McCann. In a deal first reported by The Dallas Morning News, New York committed to paying McCann $85 million, with a $15 million vesting option for 2019.

 The Yankees clearly needed more offense behind the plate, after their catchers combined for a .587 OPS last season. McCann comes in with seven All-Star appearances, five Silver Slugger Awards and a career .823 OPS.

In other news from around the league:

  • The Cardinals apparently have found their shortstop, with ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick breaking the news that St. Louis is close to an agreement with free agent Jhonny Peralta.
  • The Angels will bolster their bullpen by signing free-agent right-hander Joe Smith to a three-year contract worth roughly $15 million.
  • Free-agent right-hander Colby Lewis, who missed the 2013 season due to injury, re-signed with the Rangers on a one-year Minor League deal that includes an invitation to Major League camp. Lewis went 32-29 with a 3.93 ERA over 80 starts with Texas from 2010-12 but hasn’t pitched in the Majors since July of ‘12.
  • In his morning (Insider-only) column, ESPN’s Buster Olney said some executives, “see the Mariners as the great sleeping giant in baseball,” because of their potential financial clout, lack of long-term contract commitments outside of Felix Hernandez, and solid stable of young players. Olney wonders if the Mariners could go after top free agents Robinson Cano and Jacoby Ellsbury.
  • The Cubs have generated a lot of interest in right-hander Jeff Samardzija, with the Blue Jays one of those trying to pry him away, according to Bruce Levine of ESPN Chicago and ESPN Radio 1000.
  • There was speculation on Friday that Cano was in Detroit to visit the Tigers. A deal between the two parties would seem to be a longshot considering the club just acquired Ian Kinsler, as FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal tweeted.
  • The market for free-agent closers is locked in a “staring contest,” tweets FOX Sports’ Jon Morosi.

– Andrew Simon

Angels, Cards swap Freese, Bourjos …

UPDATE, 11:50 A.M. PT: The trade has been finalized. The Angels also get right-handed reliever Fernando Salas and the Cardinals get outfield prospect Randal Grichuk.

——-

The Angels traded center fielder Peter Bourjos to the Cardinals in exchange for third baseman David Freese, a source told MLB.com on Friday.

The deal, still awaiting finalization and likely involving prospects, fills a need for both clubs.

Freese, under club control for two more years, batted .262/.340/.381 in 138 games for the Cardinals last season. Prior to acquiring Freese, the Angels had uncertainty at third base, with Chris Nelson, Luis Jimenez, Andrew Romine and Grant Green among the internal options.

Bourjos, heading into his first year of arbitration, is a premium defensive center fielder who battled injury last season and has combined for only 391 plate appearances the last two seasons. In 2011, though, the 26-year-old batted .271 with 12 homers, 11 triples and 22 stolen bases.

In St. Louis, Bourjos figures to form somewhat of a platoon with the left-handed-hitting Jon Jay.

With Bourjos moved, the Angels project a 2014 outfield of Josh Hamilton in left, Mike Trout in center and Kole Calhoun in right, with Mark Trumbo at designated hitter.

Alden Gonzalez

11/21 Roundup

The Royals made the biggest move of the day on Thursday, bolstering their starting rotation by signing free-agent left-hander Jason Vargas to a four-year, $32 million contract. Vargas, who will turn 31 in February, went 9-8 with a 4.02 ERA last season for the Angels, who now have another hole to fill on their staff.

Meanwhile, Wednesday night’s big trade between the Rangers and Tigers continued to hold the baseball world’s attention. The swap of Ian Kinsler and Prince Fielder could have far-reaching implications. Among them:

  • The trade gives the Tigers additional financial flexibility they could use to pursue contract extensions for Max Scherzer and/or Miguel Cabrera, writes our Jason Beck. There also is the issue of how Detroit will adjust defensively, with Cabrera likely shifting to first and opening up a spot at third that could be filled by top prospect Nick Castellanos.
  • The ripple effects from the deal could surface in Cincinnati, says our Mark Sheldon,  impacting the Reds’ potential plans to move second baseman Brandon Phillips.
  • Kinsler’s departure from Texas likely eliminates the possibility of the Rangers parting with Elvis Andrus. That gives the Cardinals one fewer option in their pursuit of a shortstop, as our Jenifer Langosch explains.

In other news from around the league on Thursday:

  • The Tigers moved quickly to their next order of business, re-signing lefty Phil Coke to a one-year deal to avoid arbitration.
  • The Giants have agreed to a deal to keep left-handed specialist Javier Lopez in San Francisco, with multiple reports indicating he will receive a three-year contract.
  • The Angels and Cardinals have discussed a swap that would send third baseman David Freese to Anaheim in exchange for an outfielder, such as Peter Bourjos.
  • After adding Josh Johnson to their starting rotation, the Padres will return their focus to acquiring a left-handed hitter, tweets our Corey Brock.
  • Our Adam McCalvy writes that the Brewers aren’t likely to trade Ryan Braun but could move him from left field to right.
  • Ike Davis tells our Anthony DiComo that while he would like to stay with the Mets, he understands that there is a significant chance the club could deal him this offseason.
  • Lance Berkman’s agent told Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that his client is leaning toward retirement. The 15-year veteran, who turns 38 in February, posted a .700 OPS for the Rangers last season, and injuries have limited him to 105 games over the past two years.
  • The agent for free-agent catcher Brian McCann told Alex Speier of Boston’s WEEI that his client is willing to spend some time at first base and designated hitter with a new team.
  • The Rays are working toward a two-year deal to retain the services of catcher Jose Molina, according to ESPN’s Buster Olney.
  • The Dodgers and Giants have free-agent right-hander Dan Haren among their targets as they look to add pitching, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports and MLB Network.
  • Although outfielder Curtis Granderson became a free agent when he rejected the Yankees’ qualifying offer, the club remains interested in bringing him back, reports the New York Post.

– Andrew Simon

Angels lose Jason Vargas to Royals …

The Angels’ hopes of resigning free-agent starting pitcher Jason Vargas were squashed on Thursday, when the Royals announced they have signed the veteran left-hander to a four-year contract.

The average annual value of Vargas’ new deal, a reported $32 million, is $8 million. The Angels were willing to give him that much, but they weren’t willing to go four years (it would’ve been hard for them to even give him a third year).

And so, the Angels still have at least two holes to fill in their rotation.

Jered Weaver, C.J. Wilson and Garrett Richards are returning, Tommy Hanson is likely to get non-tendered in December and Joe Blanton — if not released this offseason — will not go into the season as a guaranteed member of the rotation. General manager Jerry Dipoto did not tender the $14.1 million qualifying offer to Vargas because he was almost certain Vargas would accept it, and by accepting it the Angels would already be dangerously close to the luxury tax threshold of $189 million.

Vargas was acquired in a one-for-one deal with the Mariners that sent Kendrys Morales to Seattle last December. In his first year in Southern California, where he grew up and briefly attended Long Beach State University, Vargas went 9-8 with a 4.02 ERA in 150 innings in a season that saw him miss two months with a blood clot.

The Angels are expected to use the trade market to bolster a rotation that ranked 11th in the American League in ERA last season, but they may also turn to other free agents to fill Vargas’ void. And while they aren’t expected to go after the likes of Ubaldo Jimenez, Ricky Nolasco or Ervin Santana, names like Phil Hughes, Dan Haren, Bronson Arroyo, etc., etc., could be enticing.

Alden Gonzalez

Angels, Cards discussing Freese trade …

UPDATE, FRIDAY A.M.: The Angels and Cardinals were deep in talks on a deal that would send David Freese to the Angels as of late Thursday night. Peter Bourjos would be the one expected to go to the Cardinals in exchange, but other players, and perhaps money, could also be involved. Talks are ongoing.

——-

The Angels and Cardinals have discussed a trade that would involve third baseman David Freese going to Anaheim to fill a void at the hot corner, FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal reported on Thursday morning. In return, Rosenthal added, the Cardinals would seek outfield depth.

The Angels can easily part ways with outfielders without really affecting their everyday lineup, with the trio of Peter Bourjos, Kole Calhoun and J.B. Shuck all being expendable. The Cardinals need a shortstop, but Rosenthal said Erick Aybar is not on the table, which makes sense, since the Angels likely wouldn’t move Aybar — who plays a premium position they would have to fill externally — without getting some pitching in return.

The Angels are expected to use the trade market to acquire cost-controlled starting pitching, but also have a desperate need at third base, with several questionable internal candidates — including Luis Jimenez, Chris Nelson, Andrew Romine and Grant Green — and a weak free-agent market to supplement it. They could kill two birds with one stone if they can also snatch some cost-controlled starting pitching from the Cardinals.

St. Louis has become a hub for cost-controlled pitching, with eight pre-arbitration pitchers — Michael Wacha, Shelby Miller, Lance Lynn, Joe Kelly, Carlos Martinez, Trevor Rosenthal, Seth Maness and Kevin Siegrist — making big contributions in a pennant-winning season.

Alden Gonzalez

Joe Nathan loves Tigers, but preaching patience

The good news for the Tigers is that Joe Nathan is going on national radio professing his love for them. The bad news is that it doesn’t sound like he’s signing a contract anywhere quite yet, or at least for a little while until the Yankees and perhaps some other teams begin making moves.

From the conversation he had with Jim Bowden and Casey Stern on MLB Network Radio on Monday, it sounded very much like a waiting game.

“Right now,” he said, “it’s just waiting to see how what options are going to be out there, what teams are really going to be interested and then take those phone calls and try to make the best decision we can as far as what location we’re looking for and what team we feel can be a good fit and most importantly what team can have the best chance we feel to go into a postseason.”

As he talked, he pointed out a mutual benefit to that approach.

“I think the fortunate thing is I think a lot of teams are going to try to figure out what they’re going to do with guys as far as arbitration and other pieces that they’ve got to figure out, as far as are they going to try and trade somebody and do this and do that, free up money,” Nathan said. “So I think there are going to be a lot of teams that this process kind of allows me to patient [with], so it gives me a chance to see what clubs are trying to do. So it’ll be nice. I think that helps with the Yankees situation and gives us a sense of what they’re going to do.”

Bowden earlier presented Nathan with three teams he saw as fits for him, starting with the Tigers and then including the Angels and Yankees. As the above quote showed, he sounds willing to wait out the Yankees and see how their roster and payroll shake out.

“I think that’s one of the good things that this has been a slow process and we do have the ability to be patient and kind of watch how this thing plays out, because we do know the Yankees have a lot of pieces to try to fix and a lot of pieces to fill in and the Yankees do obviously go out there and make moves,” he continued. “So It’ll be interesting to see how they try to piece their team together and fill in some of the holes that they have. … It’ll be nice to be patient and see how this thing plays out, but again, it’s fun and just knowing that there are going to be teams out there that have a chance to go to the postseason is exciting for us.”

On the Tigers, it doesn’t sound like patience is a huge motive.

“I definitely love the Tigers, know them very well, having competed against that squad for so many years when I was with the Twins, knowing some of the guys over there, knowing how deep they are, rotation deep,” Nathan said. “Their lineup and offense obviously are impressive. I think one of the things is that their defense has definitely improved. It’s a good ballpark to play in, a good crowd to play in front of. Detroit’s definitely a very appealing and attractive team to look at, I think.”

One of the guys he knows, of course, is his old Twins teammate, Torii Hunter, who has apparently started his recruiting effort.

“With the way the game is today, that is one of the fortunate things that we have,” Nathan said. “Most of the time you know somebody that plays for the club that’s trying to get you over there, so you can kind of already get a sense of how things work, how it is inside the clubhouse, how the teammates are, how the guys are around there, how the staff is, basically how they like to do things in the organization. Fortunately I was able to have a quick little text with Torii Hunter, and obviously he was trying to make sure I was keeping Detroit in my sights and see if I can come over there and join their club.”

The Yankees don’t necessarily have that. What they have is location; Nathan went to high school and college in New York, the latter at Stony Brook University on Long Island. That said, Nathan downplayed the location factor in general.

“Location does play a factor,” he said, “but I think it definitely takes a back seat to whether the team can win and whether the team has a chance to seriously contend, not just to get to the postseason but contend to get to where we ultimately want to be, and that’s the World Series.”

Bottom line, the interview doesn’t do anything to change the view that the Tigers and Nathan are a fit. But it also makes clear that Nathan is willing to wait and see what kind of fit the Yankees can create financially and competitively.

– Jason Beck

Arroyo: Angels among interested teams …

Former Reds starter Bronson Arroyo went on MLB Network Radio on Monday and mentioned the Angels among the teams that have expressed interest in the early portion of his free agency.

In addition to the Angels, Arroyo, entering his age-37 season, said the Phillies, Dodgers, Giants, Twins and (maybe) Orioles have reached out to his agent, but no teams have tendered any offers just yet. The Twins and Giants, who just signed Tim Hudson to a two-year, $23 million deal but need more starting pitching, have been in touch more than once, Arroyo said.

Arroyo, who did not get a $14.1 million qualifying offer from the Reds, seeks a three-year deal, though that may be very difficult to come by — even for someone like Arroyo, who has a great health record.

Over the last two years, while pitching mainly at the hitter-friendly Great American Ball Park, Arroyo has put up almost identical seasons, compiling a 3.76 ERA, a 1.18 WHIP and a 3.67 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 404 innings. The veteran right-hander has averaged 207 innings over the last 10 years, doing so with a 4.10 ERA.

The Angels could turn to Arroyo as a fallback option if they can’t resign Jason Vargas, but Arroyo will probably be more expensive — at least with regards to average annual value.

“I feel like I’ve proven myself in the game, I feel like I’ve given any team that I’ve ever played for their money’s worth,” Arroyo told MLB Network Radio. “And so I really would like somebody to come further than two years and give me a three-year deal. I feel like I’ve got plenty left in the tank for that.

“I feel as good now as I did when I was 25, other than a few days in the weight room when your knees hurt a little bit squatting. My repertoire of pitching is without question better than it’s ever been, my mind is better than it’s ever been. That just comes with experience and learning your body and knowing how to get hitters out with what you have. So I don’t feel like I’m going downhill at all.”

Alden Gonzalez

Dipoto: ‘Fair amount’ of interest in his hitters

The Angels front office is in Orlando, Fla., at the General Managers’ Meetings, and their main focus is to gauge the interest level of other teams in their pursuit of starting pitching.

Mark Trumbo, Howie Kendrick, Erick Aybar, Peter Bourjos and Kole Calhoun — maybe others — will be dangled by GM Jerry Dipoto, who’s trying to bolster the starting rotation with a depleted farm system and few available funds. Speaking to reporters (including our own Ken Gurnick), Dipoto said there has been “a fair amount” of interest in his hitters so far.

“We’ve got a talented group,” Dipoto said. “Our offensive players are fairly accomplished, some at a very young age. There have been a lot of inquiries on a lot of them. We’ve not predetermined to move any of them. We are open to solve our needs that are more on the pitching side than the offensive side.”

More here.

Alden Gonzalez

Can the Angels be a fit for David Price? …

In August 2009, the Angels acquired Scott Kazmir from the Rays in a four-player trade.

In July 2012, Peter Bourjos was so close to being dealt to the Rays — presumably for James Shields, but that part is unconfirmed — that they basically had his uniform ready in St. Petersburg.

This offseason, perhaps the two can come together again — this time for ace pitcher David Price.

The two haven’t been linked heavily in trade talks — yet — but it’s a pairing that would seem to make sense for both sides. The Rays are believed throughout the industry to be shopping Price this winter. It’s the kind of thing they’d do. The starting-pitching market is thin, which would maximize Price’s value; the 28-year-old left-hander is projected to make about $13 million in his second year of arbitration; and Tampa Bay has a gluttony of young, cost-controlled starting pitching, which could free the front office up to trade Price for the offense that may finally balance out their roster.

Meet the Angels. They’ll spend all offseason looking for pitching via the trade market and are more than willing to dangle offensive pieces to get it. Price only comes with two years of control, which doesn’t exactly meet the profile of cost-controlled arms that Jerry Dipoto specifically targets. But here’s the thing: The Angels don’t just have to improve the rotation. They have to get a lot better. Their staff ranked 11th in the American League in ERA last year, Jered Weaver basically loses a tick or two off his fastball every season, C.J. Wilson can drive you nuts every five days, Garrett Richards is still developing and Jason Vargas (if resigned) is 64th in ERA over the last four years.

This rotation looks a whole lot better if you slide Price at the top and move everyone down a spot.

Heck, it may rival some of the best in the league.

Will it happen? Maybe; most likely not, given how difficult it is to pull off trades this big. But it’s an interesting one to think about at this point. (Even a little fun, no?) Who would the Angels have to give up to get Price, you ask? One guy the Rays may really want — perhaps even demand — is Richards, and I can see that being the difference between real dialogue taking place or this being nothing more than a pipe dream. Besides Richards, Mark Trumbo — who you’d hate to lose, but would probably be willing to give up if it means getting someone this good — is probably a guy who would go to Tampa Bay, since he’d be a perfect fit in the middle of their lineup and first baseman James Loney is now a free agent. Maybe Bourjos gets thrown in there again, perhaps second baseman Howie Kendrick — born and raised in nearby Jacksonville — gets added to the mix, maybe some prospects, maybe all of them.

Two things are certain …

  1. The Angels would face a whole lot of competition, especially if Japanese sensation Masahiro Tanaka isn’t posted. And the Rays will seek a significant return since they don’t really have to trade Price this offseason.
  2. The Angels may have to take on money, since a big reason the Rays would do it in the first place is to free up some payroll flexibility. (I estimate that the Angels have something in the neighborhood of $15 million of wiggle room for 2014. Parting ways with Trumbo saves about $6 million for next season, while Kendrick saves about $9 million and Bourjos saves about $1.5 million.)

More on the Angels’ offseason search for pitching here.

– Alden Gonzalez 

Angels remain interested in Vargas …

Jason Vargas is officially a free agent, with no ties to Draft-pick compensation, and the Angels will face some stiff competition.

They’ve made it clear to Vargas for quite some time that they’d like to bring him back, but the remaining holes on their roster and the lack of wiggle-room on their payroll give them little desire to overpay.

And Vargas – as most free agents tend to do – opted to wait out the five-day, exclusive negotiating window to delve into a thin free-agent class of starters, all of whom were free to talk with other teams as of 9:01 p.m. PT on Monday.

“We obviously have interest in having Jason back,” Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto said when reached by phone Monday night, though he opted not to go into further details. “This is the process, and it’s playing itself out, and we’ll honor that. Obviously Jason earned the right to see what was out there in free agency. We’ll maintain a rhetoric with him and do have interest in him returning. I think it’s a mutual interest.”

In the end, it may come down to one element: The third year.

MLBTradeRumors.com predicted a three-year, $28.5 million contract for Vargas. But the Angels are hesitant to go a third year and at this point don’t seem willing to approach an average annual value of $10 million with the 30-year-old left-hander, considering he projects as a fourth starter in their rotation.

Vargas will no doubt hold out for something better. But keep in mind that just last season, only five starting pitchers – Zack Greinke, Anibal Sanchez, Edwin Jackson, Kyle Lohse and Jeremy Guthrie – garnered extensions longer that two years. And while Vargas has been a steady, mid-rotation starter over the last four season, he isn’t considered among the top handful of available arms despite a thin free-agent class.

The Angels didn’t tender Vargas the one-year, $14.1 million qualifying offer because there was little doubt in their mind that he would accept it, and they’d be too close to the luxury-tax threshold if he did.

More info here.

Alden Gonzalez

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