Results tagged ‘ Jerry DiPoto ’

Angels continue to search for relievers

Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto said after signing Ryan Madson that he’s not done addressing the bullpen “by any stretch.” And that search has intensified at the Winter Meetings here in Nashville, Tenn., where the Angels are focused on adding one starting pitcher but are keeping their ears open for additional bullpen options.

The Angels, a source confirmed, are one of several teams with a keen interest in former Nats left-hander Sean Burnett, who has posted a 2.76 ERA and a 1.23 WHIP in 176 1/3 innings from 2010-12, averaging 7.8 strikeouts and 2.7 walks per nine innings. Acquiring Burnett would give the Angels a second lefty to complement Scott Downs, who has been reliable the last few years but struggled in the second half of 2012.

It would also let the young Nick Maronde start full-time in the Minor Leagues. Some in the organization, however, believe his future is as a reliever anyway.

Another option for the Angels is right-hander Mike Adams, who posted a 1.60 ERA and a .92 WHIP from 2010-11. The 34-year-old Adams finished last season with a 3.27 ERA with the Rangers, the highest since his rookie year in 2004, due in large part to a rough September that ended with him being shut down due to a right shoulder ailment.

The Angels checked in on Joakim Soria at the General Managers Meetings, but Soria’s preference is to sign somewhere he can close — and with Madson on board, that’s no longer a selling point for Dipoto.

Burnett, Adams and Soria are sure to use the three-year deals signed by Jeremy Affeldt ($18 million), Brandon League ($22.5 million) and Jonathan Broxton ($21 million) as a starting point. That means signing one of them would almost certainly take the Angels out of the Zack Greinke sweepstakes, though a source said they’re “not closing the door on anything.” According to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com, the Angels have checked in on the two starting pitchers a tier below Greinke — Anibal Sanchez and Kyle Lohse.

Alden Gonzalez

Angels, Madson close on one-year deal

UPDATE, WEDNESDAY, 10:46 A.M. PT: Madson finalized his contract with the Angels. It’s for a base salary of $3.5 million and can be valued up to $7 million. There’s up to $2.5 million based on time on the active roster, and $1 million for amount of games finished.

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The Angels’ desire to upgrade the bullpen has seemingly taken them to Ryan Madson, who missed last season with Tommy John surgery but could be a big addition if he reverts back to form next year.

A source confirmed to MLB.com on Tuesday morning that the Angels and Madson are closing in on a one-year contract, following an initial report by CBSSports.com. Details are still being ironed out and the team hasn’t commented on the deal, which wouldn’t be official until Madson passes a physical.

A Madson-Angels pairing would in many ways be ideal, given Jerry Dipoto’s aspirations to add to the ‘pen but also balance that with the need for starting pitching, particularly Zack Greinke. Madson’s new contract is expected to be low in base salary and high in incentives, perhaps mainly based on games finished.

Madson, represented by Scott Boras, was born and raised in Southern California, currently lives in Temecula, Calif., and rehabbed from Tommy John surgery in Anaheim under the watch of Angels doctors. He had a base salary of $6 million during his lost season with the Reds in 2011, then declined his half of the $11 million mutual option for 2013 in order to get the $2.5 million buyout (the Reds would’ve declined their half anyway).

The Angels ranked fourth with a $159 million payroll last season, but cleared a lot of it by not resigning fan favorite Torii Hunter – quickly signed to a two-year, $26 million deal by the Tigers – paying $3.5 million to buy out Dan Haren’s option and sending more than 90 percent of Ervin Santana’s 2013 contract to the Royals.

With the remaining money, the Angels hope to fill two spots in their rotation and strengthen a bullpen that has totaled an American League-leading 47 blown saves the last two years.

If this deal gets finalized, and Madson bounces back, they can perhaps scratch that last part off their list.

– Alden Gonzalez 

Fujikawa meets with Angels, among others

UPDATE, MONDAY, 1:30 P.M. PT: Fujikawa did indeed meet with Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto this weekend, a source confirmed to MLB.com, with Mike DiGiovanna of the LA Times specifying that it took place Saturday and Mike Scioscia was also in attendance.

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Right-hander Kyuji Fujikawa, the top closer in Japan for nearly a decade, is a free agent now, has begun meeting with Major League clubs and is slated to stop by the Angels’ facility, according to a recent report in The Dallas Morning News, which added that the 32-year-old had already visited with the D-backs and Cubs and was also slated to meet with the Dodgers. The Rangers are also believed to have interest.

Since he’s a free agent, Fujikawa won’t have to go through the expensive posting system, where teams bid on the rights to simply negotiate with a player. Fujikawa, who mixes a mid-90s fastball with a split-finger and slider, has gone 42-25 with a 1.77 ERA, a 0.96 WHIP, 914 strikeouts and 220 saves in 692 1/3 career innings for the Hanshin Tigers. In 2012, he posted a 1.24 ERA and 41 saves in 56 games.

Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto likes him, but he’s among several free agents the club is looking at in hopes of improving the bullpen.

“I have seen Fujikawa; we have up-to-date scouting reports on him,” Dipoto said. “We have scouted him, as have the 29 other Major League clubs. He’s no secret in the industry. Everyone has seen him. He’s been a premier closer in Japan for the last half-dozen, seven years, and it remains to be seen where he winds up. But he’s one of the available free agents, and therefore he’s a name that we, like everybody else, have considered.”

Alden Gonzalez

Interest piling up for Torii Hunter

As the offseason ensues, and the chances of Torii Hunter returning to the Angels continues to look awfully bleak, the list of potential suitors for the veteran right fielder continues to grow.

On Monday, CBSSports.com reported that as many as 13-14 teams have checked in on Hunter, with the Tigers, Rangers and Braves being the most aggressive. The Dodgers are out on Hunter, according to ESPNLosAngeles.com, which said Hunter will make a decision on his 2013 destination within the next couple weeks.

As for the Angels? They haven’t offered Hunter anything more than a one-year, $5 million contract since mid-September, a source said, because they have plenty of depth in their outfield and need to allocate funds to shore up their pitching — specifically a rotation that has only two 2012 members guaranteed to return and a bullpen that blew 22 saves.

General manager Jerry Dipoto previously admitted that it’s “not likely” Hunter returns, and Hunter’s agent, Larry Reynolds, echoed those same thoughts. They could free up more money for Hunter if they get something back on the $42 million owed to Vernon Wells over the next two seasons, but that doesn’t seem favorable right now, either.

Hunter, 37, batted a career-high .313 with 16 homers and 92 RBIs in 2012. His production, health and athleticism at this stage in his career, coupled with his leadership and character, make him an appealing, affordable free agent. So does not having to give up a Draft pick to sign him, since the Angels didn’t tender a $13.3 million qualifying offer to Hunter.

“My plan is to win no matter what, and of course I’m going to try to get with a ballclub that’s trying to win,” Hunter recently told MLB.com. “That’s the plan.”

 — Alden Gonzalez

Angels’ chances of landing SP ‘below average’

The non-waiver Trade Deadline is now only five days away, and the Angels continue to work diligently to find a reliable starter for their rotation or an additional weapon for their bullpen, or both.

Can first-year general manager Jerry Dipoto work his magic to shore up some glaring holes on the Angels’ staff?

The chips are stacked against him, it seems.

A source with knowledge of the team’s thinking described the Angels’ chances of acquiring a starter as “below average and diminishing” on Thursday. The asking prices are too high, the competition for pitching is too intense – largely due to the additional Wild Card that has more teams in the hunt than ever – and the Angels don’t have an abundance of intriguing prospects to offer up.

That, and a $155 million payroll with little wiggle room, has made the Angels’ search for a starter “an uphill task,” the source said – before adding, “But don’t underestimate Jerry.”

The Angels continue to search for additional bullpen pieces, particularly a cost-controlled lefty. But it’s starting pitching – the one area that seemed rock solid at the start of the year – that seems most necessary considering the struggles of Ervin Santana and the recent back troubles of Dan Haren.

But how many feasible upgrades are out there?

Cole Hamels has agreed to a lucrative extension to stay in Philadelphia, the Marlins seem unwilling to part ways with Josh Johnson, Wandy Rodriguez has moved on to the Pirates, Matt Garza has some elbow issues, Ryan Dempster seemingly only wants to pitch for the Dodgers and Francisco Liriano is fresh off giving up seven runs in 2 2/3 innings, putting his ERA at 5.31.

That makes the competition for the likes of James Shields (signed pretty affordably through 2014) and Zack Greinke (free-agent-to-be) quite fierce.

It would be a shock, a source said, if the Angels were to move Garrett Richards, who’s 24, cost-controlled for five more seasons and boasts a ton of upside. Young center fielder Peter Bourjos, a reserve with Mike Trout now in the fold, is perhaps their biggest chip – though Dipoto has publicly said he’s unwilling to trade him because he’s still a big part of their future. Then there are prospects like middle infielder Jean Segura, catcher Hank Conger, first baseman C.J. Cron and pitcher John Hellweg, among others, who could be expendable in the right package.

More on Angels.com soon.

Alden Gonzalez

Angels in a bit of a holding pattern

The closer July 31 gets, the more vulnerable the Angels’ starting rotation looks, making the need and desire for outside help seem that much more prominent.

With 12 days left until the non-waiver Trade Deadline, though, everyone seems to be in a holding pattern.

The Angels themselves are waiting to see if Dan Haren can regain form after dealing with lingering back stiffness, which could have a major say in how willing they are to trade for a premium starter. And the trade market in general could be slowed by two wrinkles in the new Collective Bargaining Agreement – the extra wild card and the diminishing Draft-pick compensation.

But general manager Jerry Dipoto doesn’t anticipate pitching being any more difficult to come by this year.

“I think there are different dynamics at play that are creating a little bit of a drag on the market, but I don’t think it’s moving at any quicker or slower pace, or there’s any more or less players that are available at the right price,” he said. “I just don’t know that we’ve determined, as an industry, what the appropriate value for those players might be.”

Some of that has to do with Cole Hamels and Zack Greinke – two starters the Angels have been linked to all month.

The Phillies, CBSSports.com reported on Tuesday, are preparing to offer Hamels a six-year extension worth $130 million. If he doesn’t accept, they’ll have little chance but to shop him. But until that’s finalized, those talks won’t intensify.

And then there’s Greinke, who’s slumping through July and did not pitch as scheduled this week, with the Brewers trying to get him back on track while still deciding whether they’re going to be buyers or sellers – or neither – at the Deadline.

Until the situations surrounding the two most coveted starting pitchers are decided, little movement can take place.

One thing’s for sure: The Angles are keeping their ears open.

With a 5.28 rotation ERA in July, and several uncertainties up and down their staff, they need to.

“Our starters just before the [All-Star] break started struggling with some stuff,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said after his club’s 5-1 loss to the Tigers on Thursday, which saw Jerome Williams give up five runs in six innings. “[Jered Weaver] is obviously pitching well, C.J. [Wilson] has given us a couple good looks here and there, Ervin [Santana] did a couple nights ago. But outside of that, we’re just not getting the ball to a certain point in the game. That also affects how your bullpen is going to do.”

Alden Gonzalez

Dipoto: Bourjos not being dangled

Pretty much since he took the job over the offseason, Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto has viciously tried to fend off rumors that the club considers center fielder Peter Bourjos — currently without an everyday role — a trade chip.

That took place again on Wednesday, in the midst of a couple of reports — from Jon Heyman and Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com — saying that Bourjos is available for the right deal. Dipoto publicly denied that once again, saying: “At no point have we offered Peter Bourjos for anyone, starter or reliever.”

The Angels are indeed looking for pitching, for the bullpen and rotation, and they’ve been linked to a bevy of player, like Francisco Liriano, Jonathan Broxton and, of course, Zack Greinke and Cole Hamels. But you can probably throw out 50 other names that the Angels have considered, tabled, had talks about and sent advanced scouts to watch. The Angels have been looking to upgrade the bullpen — particularly with another left-hander — for a while now.

As for starting pitching? The health of Dan Haren could go a long way in deciding how aggressive they get in that pursuit — and, perhaps, whether Bourjos is in fact dealt.

Here’s what Dipoto said when asked about how important the next week, with Haren returning and Ervin Santana making a couple of tough starts, is to their starting-pitching pursuit …

“We just want to get [Haren] back 100 percent healthy to compete. And we feel, and I’ve been very forthright with that, that he’s the best addition we can make. We anticipate that that’s the case. And in Ervin’s case, it’s not as simple as just determining where he is in the next two starts. Ervin’s got a history of being a better second-half performer than first. It’s the way it looks from last year. I’m just looking at his track record, what he does. And we’re not two starts away from kicking Ervin Santana out the door. Ervin’s going to be in our rotation. The Ervin component is not going to have any effect on what we do at all.”

The Royals had a scout at Comerica Park on Tuesday, and word is Kansas City is interested in designated hitter Kendrys Morales — despite the presence of Eric Hosmer and Billy Butler.

“We have nothing significant or imminent at this time,” Dipoto said. “Like everybody is, we’re just doing our due diligence.”

Alden Gonzalez

Big week for Angels & their search for a starter

The Angels want to add a starter. It’s more likely that they don’t have the chips to acquire a premium one, but they’re doing their due diligence anyway.

This week could be a big one with regards to that pursuit.

This is the week when the erratic Ervin Santana will make two tough starts (against the Tigers on Monday and against the Rangers on Saturday), this is the week more will be known about the health of Dan Haren (he’ll make a rehab outing today, and if all goes well, he could start against Texas on Sunday), and this may be the week that dictates how aggressive Jerry Dipoto is in his pursuit of another rotation arm.

We’re now 15 days away from the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline. And the more time passes, the less likely it seems that the Angels can acquire a guy like Zack Greinke or Cole Hamels.

First, there’s the fact each of their teams would like to resign them. The Phillies, Paul Hagen writes, are entering a critical stage with Hamels. The Brewers, according to Adam McCalvy, pushed back the struggling Greinke to give him a blow (making him less appealing on the trade market and more likely to be retained, perhaps?).

Second, there’s the whole “assets” thing. The Angels don’t have a lot of that to give up. As one executive said, if they’re going up against the Rangers for a starter (T.R. Sullivan says Roy Oswalt’s effectiveness could determine how aggressive they get) it would be “like taking a butter knife to a gunfight.” The only heavy artillery the Angels carry is Peter Bourjos, the high-upside center fielder who’s without an everyday role but is a big part of their long-term plans. Dipoto has continued to stress that the Angels will not trade Bourjos, but things can certainly change. The only way I see them giving him up is if it’s for a starting pitcher they can resign — not one who’s going to walk away in two months and leave them with nothing.

And that brings me to the third reason — the new CBA. The extra Wild Card has put more teams in the race for the playoffs, making less of them sellers in July. But a bigger reason for a possibly slow market could be that the only players who bring back Draft pick compensation upon signing with another club are those who spent the previous full season with the same team. For example, if a team trades for Hamels and he signs elsewhere, that team gets no additional Draft picks in 2013. If he stays with the Phillies and he signs elsewhere, the Phils do get the compensation. One scout said the trade market so far is “extra quiet” and “not much is happening” yet. No surprise there.

Of course, there are other, more-attainable starters out there (Wandy Rodriguez and Ryan Dempster come to mind). Will the Angels go outside of themselves to add another front-line guy?

It may depend on how this week goes.

– Alden Gonzalez

No long-term deal for Angels’ Aybar — yet

UPDATE, 12:22 P.M. PT: Reached by phone, Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto said today’s one-year agreement with shortstop Erick Aybar means nothing with regards to their quest to sign him to a long-term deal. In fact, the two sides continue to move forward in those negotiations.

“We’ll just have to let it take care of itself,” Dipoto said. “Obviously, it’s something that we’re interested in, something Erick’s interested in, and we’ll just let the negotiations and conversations take place as they will. There is no line in the sand right now on when we have to be done with it. Today’s agreement with Erick does nothing to keep us from moving the ball forward in that regard.”

If an extension does happen, the new deal would kick in for the 2013 season now, not 2012.

More will be up on Angels.com soon.

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The good news is the Angels have taken care of all their arbitration-eligible players before sides were even scheduled to exchange figures.

The bad news is shortstop Erick Aybar didn’t get his long-term deal. At least not yet.

Aybar and the Angels agreed instead to a one-year, $5.075 million contract on Tuesday, meaning he’ll be eligible for free agency after the 2012 season if the two sides can’t agree to something more long-term before then.

Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto had recently opened up extension talks with Aybar, probably in hopes of signing him to a deal similar to the one second baseman Howie Kendrick agreed to on Jan. 7 – a four-year, $33.5 million contract.

Aybar, like Kendrick, was drafted by the Angels in 2002. And like Kendrick, he’s coming off a career year, one that saw him win his first Gold Glove while batting .279 with a .322 on-base percentage and setting personal bests in home runs (10), RBIs (59) and stolen bases (30).

– Alden Gonzalez 

Angels, Kendrys avoid arbitration

The Angels avoided arbitration with recovering first baseman Kendrys Morales by agreeing on a one-year contract Wednesday. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Morales was expected to get about $3 million via arbitration.

Since batting .306 with 34 homers and 108 RBIs in ’09, Morales has missed the last 1 1/2 seasons with a broken left ankle, which he suffered while stomping on home plate after a game-winning home run in May 2010 and has since had two procedures on.

Morales’ signing leaves infielders Erick Aybar, who general manager Jerry Dipoto has begun extension talks with, and Alberto Callaspo as their lone remaining arbitration-eligible players. Aybar is one season away from free agency, while Callaspo – like Morales was – has two years left before hitting the open market.

– Alden Gonzalez

 

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