Results tagged ‘ Howie Kendrick ’
Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto picked up closer Huston Street’s $7 million club option for 2015 shortly after the World Series and may explore a contract extension with the 31-year-old right-hander before Opening Day.
Those talks, however, won’t occur until the start of Spring Training.
“In picking up his option for 2015, I told him we can talk about it when we get to Spring Training,” Dipoto told MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert from the General Managers Meetings in Phoenix on Tuesday. “We’ve made a habit out of whatever we’re doing for the coming season we’ll take care of after the New Year once we get to Spring Training and everybody is face-to-face rather than trying to piece things together over an offseason. And if something works out, great. If nothing works out, I’m sure he’s going to do just fine in the free market in 2016.”
Street, who features a plus changeup, has posted a 1.97 ERA, a 0.92 WHIP and a 3.85 strikeout-to-walk ratio while converting 97 of his 103 save chances over the last three years. Another season like 2014 — 1.37 ERA, 0.94 WHIP, 41 saves and an invitation to the All-Star Game — and Street could fetch major dollars on the free-agent market, which is why the Angels would love to lock him up before then.
After the 2015 season, the Angels will free up some money under the luxury-tax threshold with second baseman Howie Kendrick, catcher Chris Iannetta, third baseman David Freese and infielder Gordon Beckham headed for free agency. The Angels aren’t expected to engage in extension talks with any of those four players before the 2015 season. Kendrick and Freese are getting shopped this winter, and Beckham could be non-tendered in early December.
— Alden Gonzalez
That’s the big question after the Angels attained some much-desired cost-controlled starting pitching by using backup catcher Hank Conger to get 24-year-old right-hander Nick Tropeano (and Minor League catcher Carlos Perez) from the Astros.
Howie Kendrick’s name has been thrown around quite a bit this month, similar to what took place around this time last year. Last week, Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reporting before the trade that the Angels are “likely” to trade Kendrick, along with third baseman and fellow walking free agent David Freese. And on Thursday, Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca wrote that the Blue Jays have “placed multiple calls” on Kendrick.
The Blue Jays, Mets, Marlins and Rays are reportedly the four teams Kendrick can block trades to this offseason, and it remains to be seen how aggressively the Angels will continue to shop the 31-year-old right-handed hitter.
Kendrick has been one of the best second basemen in baseball in recent years, posting a .288/.332/.420 slash line since 2010 while compiling a Wins Above Replacement score of 18.7 (according to Baseball-Reference). He’s only got one year left on his contract — at $9.5 million — and second base is the Angels’ deepest position organizationally. Trading him can, at the very least, free up some payroll space, with Grant Green potentially taking over.
But the Angels tried to shop Kendrick for cost-controlled starting pitching last winter and couldn’t get much value in return, ultimately having to use Mark Trumbo to get Tyler Skaggs and Hector Santiago. And the acquisition of Tropeano at the very least lessens the urgency to part ways with more Major League position players in pursuit of pitching.
“The team that you saw at the end of the season is probably something similar to what you’ll see at the start of the next, as far as our everyday players go,” Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto said after Wednesday’s trade. “There could be a subtle change here and there, but we don’t anticipate anything dramatic at this point.”
— Alden Gonzalez
Mark Trumbo is “in play” for clubs looking to add right-handed power at the Winter Meetings, FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal reported via Twitter on Monday.
His availability, however, could greatly hinge on how the Angels can bolster their rotation via free agency.
Matt Garza is perceivably at the top of their list in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., because he’s 30 years old, isn’t tied to Draft-pick compensation, is from Southern California and has posted a 3.76 ERA while averaging 175 innings over the last six innings. If the Angels can work something out with the Nez Balelo client — who also represents the already-signed Jason Vargas and Phil Hughes — they’re in good shape, with a front four of Jered Weaver-C.J. Wilson-Garza-Garrett Richards.
If they can’t, they may have to get creative.
The free-agent market after Garza could drop considerably. Consider: The Angels haven’t shown a willingness to sign anyone tied to Draft-pick compensation, which eliminates Ubaldo Jimenez and Ervin Santana; they’ve expressed interest in Bronson Arroyo, as the right-hander reiterated to MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon earlier today, but are less willing to overpay for a 36-year-old; they aren’t interested in Bartolo Colon, who’s 40 years old and has a history of PED suspensions; A.J. Burnett has previously had trepidations about pitching in the West coast; and Masahiro Tanaka, who is expected to be posted this week, remains a long shot.
Once you get past those guys, and Garza, you have to move on to the likes of Jason Hammel, Mike Pelfrey, Chris Capuano and Paul Maholm. That’s a big drop.
Howie Kendrick continues to be available, and the Angels could look to part ways with a catcher (Hank Conger or Chris Iannetta) and a reliever (Michael Kohn, Dane De La Rosa, Kevin Jepsen among them). If Garza signs elsewhere, though, Trumbo and potentially shortstop Erick Aybar could join that list.
— Alden Gonzalez
They could sign two moderately-priced free-agent starters, they could sign one high-priced free-agent starter and leave the fifth spot open for competition, or they could sign one free-agent starter and trade for another. The latter remains the most likely scenario, but with three days left before the Winter Meetings, the Angels are keeping their options open as they try to patch up the two holes remaining in their rotation.
Matt Garza, who’s 30 years old, is from Southern California and isn’t tied to Draft pick compensation, is a target. But they could turn to the next tier down — guys like Jason Hammel, Chris Capuano, Mike Pelfrey and Paul Maholm — if his price tag remains too high. The Angels aren’t particularly interested in Bronson Arroyo or Bartolo Colon at this time, and they still have no plans to sign any of the three starters tied to Draft pick compensation (Ubaldo Jimenez, Ervin Santana or Hiroki Kuroda, who’s almost surely returning to the Yankees).
Howie Kendrick continues to be dangled, with shortstop Erick Aybar and outfielder/first baseman Mark Trumbo still unlikely to be dealt (that, however, can change if the Angels don’t like what’s available to them in the free-agent market). The Angels also have flexibility in their bullpen, allowing them to dangle the likes of Michael Kohn, Kevin Jepsen and Dane De La Rosa. Catchers Chris Iannetta and Hank Conger could also be made available in a package for starting pitching.
The Angels really like Masahiro Tanaka. But with a proposed maximum bid of $20 million, the Japanese star may not be posted by his current team, the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles, and if he is, most of if not all teams will throw their hat in the ring (the proposed agreement between Major League Baseball and Nippon Professional Baseball allows the posted player to negotiate with any teams that are tied for the highest bid).
— Alden Gonzalez
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
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.”
— Alden Gonzalez
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 …
- 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.
- 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
With one hour and 25 minutes left before the 1 p.m. PT non-waiver Trade Deadline, it looked like Howie Kendrick will not be switching teams.
Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com first reported that the Angels are “likely to keep Kendrick” because they can’t find the right match for a starting pitcher, and a source familiar with the team’s thinking echoed that sentiment to MLB.com, saying it “appears” the veteran second baseman will stay put for the time being.
Kendrick’s agent, Larry Reynolds, said at 11:44 a.m. PT that he has not heard a word from the Angels about a potential trade or waiving his no-trade clause (Kendrick’s deal allows him to block a trade to 12 teams in 2013).
But (and this is worth repeating often) things change very quickly this time of year, and the Angels are definitely interested in using Kendrick as a chip to attain cost-controlled starting pitching. The Dodgers, Royals and Blue Jays were linked to Kendrick by ESPN’s Jim Bowden on Wednesday.
If not now, they’ll likely try again in the offseason.
— Alden Gonzalez
The Angels have expressed mild interest in acquiring D-backs starter Ian Kennedy for the last couple weeks, and reports on Tuesday suggested they may be closing in on the 28-year-old right-hander.
The Padres are also interested in Kennedy, MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert reported.
Kennedy has had a rough year, going 3-7 with a 5.22 ERA, but Angels like him in a buy-low deal. As one exec said, “That’s when those guys are available.” Acquiring Kennedy wouldn’t cost the Angels Howie Kendrick or Erick Aybar, the two guys who are basically considered their best trade assets right now. Likely prospects, as they try to make room to add another starting pitcher.
“Stuff is still good,” one scout in charge of NL West teams said.
According to MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart, the D-backs are interested in adding Bud Norris, who was scratched from his Tuesday start with the Astros.
Kennedy went 10-12 with a 3.55 ERA in 624 1/3 innings, and Jerry Dipoto is very familiar with him from his days in the D-backs front office. He’s owed $1.4 million through the remainder of this season and would be under club control through 2015 as an arbitration-eligible player.
— Alden Gonzalez
The Angels — 14 games out of first place and eight games below .500 — have been fielding a lot of phone calls in the last couple of days, with a multitude of teams gauging their interest in parting ways with some of their position players. One person familiar with the team’s thinking said Tuesday afternoon that the chances they strike a deal before Wednesday’s 1 p.m. PT non-waiver Trade Deadline are “better than 50/50.”
“Vultures appear to be circling,” the source said.
Howie Kendrick and Erick Aybar appear to be the most likely to be traded, given how solid they’ve been on both sides of the field and the team-friendly extensions they signed last year. The Royals — with Chris Getz, Elliot Johnson and Miguel Tejada — are looking for a second baseman with offense and would be willing to include veteran starter Bruce Chen or Luke Hochevar, who’s been effective out of the bullpen but hasn’t started all year, in a deal. They also have two top guys in the Minors in Danny Duffy and Yordano Ventura, but Royals reporter Dick Kaegel doesn’t believe they’ll be included in a deal.
And according to FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal, the Royals are one of the 12 teams Kendrick could block a trade to this season.
Aybar, however, has no such no-trade protection in his contract. And if Jhonny Peralta gets suspended as part of the Biogenesis investigation, perhaps they get interested. So far, though, they’ve shown no signs of being on the lookout for a shortstop, per Tigers reporter Jason Beck.
So, we’ll see. There can be a lot of surprises this time of year, especially in the final hours. But there’s definitely incentive for the Angels to wait until the offseason to swap a position player for cost-controlled starting pitching. More teams can get involved, and plenty more time permits.
Early on Monday, the Angels traded veteran lefty reliever Scott Downs to the Braves in exchange for Minor League reliever Cory Rasmus.
— Alden Gonzalez