Results tagged ‘ Jerry DiPoto ’

Extension with Huston Street possible …

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

Jerome Williams an intriguing dilemma …

UPDATE, 4:53 P.M. PT: Williams has been non-tendered.

——-

As of 3 p.m. PT — six hours before the deadline — Jerome Williams’ agent hadn’t heard from the Angels on whether or not they’ll tender his client a contract. It’s possible that they haven’t told him anything because it’s a no-brainer that they will, but far more likely that they simply hadn’t made up their minds just yet.

Williams represents a very interesting dilemma for the Angels.

On one hand, they need to allocate as much money as possible to address their rotation, where at least two starting pitchers are needed, and can’t afford the luxury of paying about $4 million — what Williams would get in his final season of arbitration — for a sixth starter/long reliever.

On the other, $4 million for Williams may be a bargain if he were a free agent in this year’s class, especially after seeing Scott Kazmir get two years and $22 million from the A’s. If nothing else, the Angels may be able to keep him on the roster and then trade him for something else.

Williams’ agent Larry O’Brien said he’d be “very, very surprised” if Williams were non-tendered, but he isn’t sure.

“If he isn’t worth four to five million bucks, the guys that are getting paid multi-year, guaranteed deals out there – really? Tender him and trade him,” said O’Brien, part of Full Circle Sports Management. “It kind of baffles me, but they can do whatever they want to do. I think the guy can start for a number of teams and be a fourth or fifth starter and get 32 starts and let the chips fall where they may.”

Williams seems like the only big question for the Angels prior to the 8:59 p.m. PT non-tender deadline.

Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto said Monday that Kevin Jepsen will be tendered a contract, saying he “never thought it would be an assumption he wouldn’t be.” Mark Trumbo, Ernesto Frieri, David Freese and Fernando Salas are also expected to be tendered. Tommy Hanson and Chris Nelson, meanwhile, seem like locks to be non-tendered.

If Williams isn’t tendered, O’Brien sees it as an opportunity for his client to potentially get a job as a full-time starting pitcher.

“Jerome loves the Angels,” O’Brien said. “He has a house in Mission Viejo, he’d love to pitch for them. I know deep down he’d love to start. And I don’t get it. I don’t know why everybody writes that the Angels need two more starters and blah-blah-blah, and they don’t talk about Jerome Williams. Why don’t you go out and give the guy the ball for 32 starts and see how he does? I just don’t quite get why they don’t have that confidence. But it is what it is. All I can tell you is that it’s not a big concern of mine either way. I’d be very, very surprised if they don’t tender him, but that’s their call.

“We’ll just see what happens. If they tender him, great. He’ll compete for the job, and if they want to use him as a swing man or do whatever they want to do, then that’s their right. And if they don’t, then we move on. I wish him the best, I’m sure they’d wish him the best, and it’d be a blessing in disguise.”

Alden Gonzalez

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

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

Is there still room on the Angels’ 2013 payroll?

The acquisition of Josh Hamilton was, in many ways, a two-for-one signing because it also allows general manager Jerry Dipoto to trade a suddenly-expendable player for another starting pitcher.

Question is: Can the Angels take on more payroll in the process?

Hamilton’s five-year, $125 million contract will pay him $17 million in 2013 ($15 million in salary, plus a $10 million signing bonus that’s dispersed evenly over the course of his five-year contract). That, in addition to arbitration projections and minimum contracts, puts the Angels’ 2013 payroll at roughly $159 million, which is about where they finished at last year.

Asked about expanding it further in case of adding a pricey arm, Angels president John Carpino basically said it would be considered on a case-by-case basis.

“Instead of putting [the payroll] at a place where it’s, ‘This is where we’re at,’ it’s, ‘What’s the opportunity cost of doing it?’” Carpino said at Hamilton’s Saturday news conference. “So, if something became available that’s an opportunity cost, it just comes down to wanting to win. But it also has to make sense fiscally.”

Teams are a lot more willing to give up a would-be free agent than a cost-controlled arm, of course.

That’s why, with R.A. Dickey off the board, names like Ricky Nolasco of the Marlins ($11.5 million in his walk year), Gavin Floyd of the White Sox ($9.5 million in his walk year) and Matt Garza of the Cubs (projected $10 million in his final arbitration year) seem to be the most feasible. Rick Porcello of the Tigers (projected $4.7 million in his second arbitration year) has also been mentioned.

Peter Bourjos, who’s still a year away from arbitration and will make about $500,000 in 2013, appeals to many teams. Kendrys Morales, Vernon Wells and — seemingly to a lesser extent — Mark Trumbo can also be made available.

The Angels’ preference would be to acquire a young, pre-arbitration starter who won’t add to the budget (Jeremy Hellickson and Matt Moore of the Rays comes to mind). But whether or not that situation presents itself remains to be seen.

– Alden Gonzalez

Angels positioning themselves for big move?

UPDATE, 11:24 AM PT: Josh Hamilton is headed to the Angels, a source told MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan. According to ESPNDallas.com, Hamilton signed a five-year deal.

——-

It seemed like the Angels were mostly done for the offseason, after acquiring two starting pitchers (Tommy Hanson and Joe Blanton) and two back-end relievers (Ryan Madson and Sean Burnett) to push their payroll to about $140 million.

But maybe that has changed.

ESPN.com’s Buster Olney wrote via Twitter on Thursday that the Angels are “positioning themselves for a big strike in the market,” speculating that high-priced free-agent outfielder Josh Hamilton could be the target. Joe McDonnell of FOXSportsWest.com attributed a Major League source in tweeting that the Angels are in serious negotiations with Hamilton.

On Wednesday, when the four new pitchers were introduced at the ESPN Zone in Downtown Disney, Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto said: “I don’t feel like anything else is imminent, I don’t feel like anything else is pressing and I don’t think anything else is required.” And a source told MLB.com that if the Angels do make another signing, it’d probably be in January if the market dries up on a starting pitcher, prompting him to take much lower than expected.

But has owner Arte Moreno suddenly decided to stretch out the budget once more, like he did last offseason to acquire Albert Pujols? And is it a reaction to the big-ticket moves made by the Dodgers, as Olney speculated?

Perhaps.

– Alden Gonzalez

Dipoto satisfied with pitching staff after Meetings

Since they’re both pending physicals, Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto couldn’t speak very candidly on the agreed-upon two-year deals for starter Joe Blanton and reliever Sean Burnett.

But speaking from the lobby of the Gaylord Opryland Hotel on Thursday morning, minutes after the Rule 5 Draft and just as he boarded a flight back to Southern California, the second-year GM sounded like a man who’s satisfied with the pitching depth and isn’t looking to make any other significant free-agent signings.

“Sometimes,” Dipoto said, “the smartest moves you can do is just make practical decisions.”

The likes of Anibal Sanchez, Kyle Lohse, Ryan Dempster, Edwin Jackson and Brandon McCarthy will probably sign elsewhere now. Dipoto wouldn’t flatly say that they’re out on Zack Greinke, who’s expected to command a $150 million contract, but of course they are. “We’re prepared to,” he said. “You have to make smart decisions.”

In fact, if the Angels do make any other addition to their Major League roster, it would probably be to one more low-tier free agent — probably a reliever, but perhaps another starter.

Dipoto talked all offseason about building “one-through-12 pitching depth.” With Jered Weaver, C.J. Wilson, Tommy Hanson, Blanton, Garrett Richards and Jerome Williams as starters, and Ryan Madson, Burnett, Ernesto Frieri, Kevin Jepsen and Scott Downs as relievers, he feels he has “11 men in place on our Major League pitching staff, and every one of the 11 guys, when they take the field, is a competitive Major League pitcher and the innings are going to grow.”

Asked if he’d be satisfied if this were the same pitching staff that arrives in Tempe, Ariz., this spring, Dipoto said, “Oh yeah.”

The Angels’ payroll was never expected to be at $159 million like it was last season. The most likely scenario was that it would be somewhere between $140 and $145 million. Right now, it’s at roughly $140 million — and it may not go much higher than that.

“We’ve made a handful of decisions that we think are best for the club,” Dipoto added. “I can tell you there’s not another move coming today; I can’t tell you that there won’t be an addition to the club at some point. You’re always looking to get better. But I think what we did in the last few days is we put ourselves in a position where we’re stable. We’re not going to have to make further additions to be a competitive club.

“Right now, on paper, we have 11 guys that slot into Major League roles, and if the chance exists to better our club in some way, that makes sense for the Angels, we’ll take a look at it. But we have nothing imminent, we have nothing that I think is a certainty – nothing we have to do.”

– Alden Gonzalez

Angels still not sounding confident on Greinke

The Angels continue to sound like a club that isn’t counting on resigning Zack Greinke.

Obviously, things can change very quickly, and Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto has a recent track record of being very coy about his pursuit of big-name free agents (see: 2011 Winter Meetings). But the price tags continue to be sky high — with Dan Haren signing for $13 million and Shane Victorino reportedly getting a three-year, $39 million deal from the Red Sox — and the Angels continue to seem content with simply adding one middle-tier starter and one back-end reliever.

On Tuesday afternoon, Day 2 of the Winter Meetings from the Gaylord Opryland Hotel, FOXSports.com’s Jon Morosi tweeted that the Dodgers “have become [the] clear favorite to land Greinke,” echoing a sentiment that has been widely reported/speculated for most of the offseason. The Angels, who continue to be portrayed as a dark horse, want to avoid what happened last season, when they committed a lot of money to the rotation and were essentially tapped out in August, unable to add to a bullpen that badly needed an upgrade.

The Nationals dropped out on Greinke with the Haren signing, seemingly making it a three-team race. If Greinke’s price gets to $150 million, the Angels are likely out. If he’s willing to settle for something less, they have a chance.

But this is still the most likely scenario for Dipoto: Sign one No. 3 starter to slot between Jered Weaver and C.J. Wilson, and Tommy Hanson and Garrett Richards/Jerome Williams (Ryan Dempster, Edwin Jackson, Brandon McCarthy, etc.); sign one more back-end reliever to complement Ryan Madson, Ernesto Frieri, Scott Downs and Kevin Jepsen (Mike Adams, Sean Burnett, Koji Uehara, etc.).

Dipoto wouldn’t go into much detail in his daily briefing with local reporters on Tuesday, but he did re-iterate that he’s “100 percent” only looking at pitchers and that free agency — not the trade market — is almost his sole focus. The Angels did circle back with Haren, talking to him as recently as Monday, and a source said they improved on their original offer (one-year at $4 million with an $8 million vesting option) before buying out his contract.

Asked whether he was close on any pitchers, Dipoto said …

“Can’t say for certain that I’m getting warm on anything, but again, we’ve picked up the targets that we’re most interested in, we’ve had great discussions — in some cases multiple layers. We’re making progress, the extent of which I can’t tell you. I don’t know if anything gets done today, tomorrow, or post-[Winter Meetings], but I am certain that we’ll line up with a team on the field, and time will make the proper decision.”

– Alden Gonzalez

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