Angels Add Another Bullpen Arm
With their third trade in nine days, the Angels further strengthened their bullpen by acquiring lefty reliever Joe Thatcher and outfielder Tony Campana from the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Thatcher, 32, holds a career 3.26 ERA, with a 9.4 K/9 and a 3.0 BB/9 in eight seasons with the Padres and Diamondbacks. In 2014, the lefty has a 2.63 ERA in 37 games, and is nearly split across the board with his batting average against: .241 against lefties as well as .256 batting average against righties.
Thatcher is in his third year of arbitration, will be a free agent after the season, and is making $2.375 million this year.
Campana, 28, is a nice depth piece. With Arizona, the young outfielder is hitting .150/.164/.200 in 61 plate appearances, and in four seasons for the Cubs and D’Backs, Campana has batted .246/.294/.286 in 239 games. Campana is a speedy outfielder with 66 career stolen bases, and a career 14.6 UZR/150 in the outfield. At the time of the trade, Campana was at Triple-A Reno, where he hit .288 and stole 8 bases.
Campana is in his first year of arbitration eligibility, and will likely serve as outfield depth at AAA.
Reports began coming in late last night, with Ken Rosenthal reporting that the Angels were in the hunt for a left-handed reliever, and that Thatcher was high on their wish list. The trade was made early this morning, with initial reports stating that Angels prospects Taylor Lindsey or Alex Yarbrough could be involved. The Diamondbacks eventually received top outfield prospect Zach Borenstein and right-handed pitching prospect Joey Krehbiel.
Borenstein, 23, was the Angels’ 23rd-round selection in 2011, and was ranked as the organization’s ninth-best prospect by MLB.com. He was then the Angels’ Minor League Player of the Year in 2013, as well as the California League’s Most Valuable Player Award, batting .337/.403/.631 for the Class A Inland Empire 66ers. In 2014, however, Borenstein has bounced back and forth between Double-A (.266/.338/.440) and Triple-A (.256/.279/.342).
Krehbiel, 21, is a sleeper relief pitching prospect, who was picked by the Angels in the 12th round of the 2011 draft. In 2014, between Class-A Burlington and Class A-Advanced Inland Empire, he has a 2.00 ERA, 11.5 K/9, a 3.5 BB/9 with five saves in 18 innings. Krehbiel's fastball is clocked at 92-95 MPH, and he has a good slider. He can easily provide extra depth for any team he plays for in the future.
The Angels have been in dire need of veterans at the beck end of their bullpen for a long time, and they are finally addressing those needs. And there is still a good chance the Angels are still not done dealing for pitching.
Update, 3:37 PM: To make room on the Major League roster for Thatcher, the Angels sent Cory Rasmus to Triple-A Salt Lake. The team also designated newly acquired left Rich Hill for assignment, and called up lefty Michael Roth.
Angels Insider News
- The Angels signed right-hander Chris Ellis, who was their third-round draft pick from Ole Miss. Ellis will receive $575,000, slightly less than the bonus pool allotment of $612,800.
- Sean Newcomb, the Halos' first round pick, is the only Angels’ draft choice from the first ten rounds who remains unsigned. Apparently no progress has been made, but Newcomb should sign before the July 18 deadline.
- Outfielder Erik Komatsu signed a minor league deal with the Angels, and then the team released him shortly after. Komatsu then signed another minor league contract with the Milwaukee Brewers.
- On June 21, the Angels signed pitcher Caleb Clay from the Korean Baseball Organization’s Hanwha Eagles. The team assigned him to Triple-A Salt Lake. Clay, 26, was a 44th overall draft pick by the Red Sox in 2006. Clay has pitched for the Red Sox and Nationals organizations, but has never reached the majors. In his first season in Korea, Clay posted an 8.33 ERA, 4.50 K/9, and 5.63 BB/9.
- On June 30, the Angels released right-hander Joel Pineiro after signing him to a minor league deal earlier in June. Pineiro struggled in four starts with Triple-A Salt Lake, with a bloated 7.48 ERA. This was Pineiro's second stint with the Angels. After missing most of the 2012 and all of 2013 seasons because of shoulder issues, Pineiro was attempting a comeback to the Majors. Pineiro was released by the Cubs earlier this season.
- Shortly after Pineiro was released, he was hit with a 50 game PED suspension.
- Fernando Salas started his rehab assignment Friday night with Class-A Inland Empire. On the disabled list since June 15, the right-hander pitched one inning of scoreless relief with one strikeout. The team is keeping a close eye on the right-hander, and will evaluate him again before making a decision to reinstate him. Salas has a 2.96 ERA in 28 games this season, and would be the equivalent of acquiring yet another reliever.
- For the fourth time in seven games, Albert Pujols started as the designated hitter in Friday night's 7-6 victory over the Houston Astros. At DH, Pujols is hitting .326 / .379 / 640) with 8 homeruns and 18 RBI in 95 plate appearances. Maybe he should stay there.
- With his eighteenth homerun in the fourth inning of last night's game, Pujols reached 1,550 career RBIs, tying Fred McGriff for 42nd all-time.
- At 510 homers, Albert also is now 24th all-time. Next on the list: Mel Ott.
- With the release of Raul Ibanez, the trade of Ernesto Frieri, and David Freese swinging a hot bat, now every player on the Angels’ active roster has a positive WAR. Yes, you heard me right. Not one player is even has a WAR of zero. Every player, including the pitching staff, on the active roster is at 0.1 or higher. This can be used as a sabermetric case study.
- Freese is hitting .313 / .394 / .417 since June 1.
- The Angels are 32-19 since May 9, which is a clear indication the team has the means to overtake the A’s. Just the fact that Billy Beane made his trade with the Cubs yesterday shows that even he knows his A's are not indestructible, and that the Angels should be taken seriously.