Anthony Rendon was introduced as an Angel on Saturday afternoon and one thing was clear: the Angels are not done this winter. Rendon mentioned that Scott Boras shared with him that the Angels are pursuing additional Boras pitching clients and committed to finding new talent to surround their current players. Eppler mentioned that he had to get back to work on some pitching deals they felt they were close to finishing. Needless to say, the Angels are still looking to add pitching and a catcher.
One of the deals Eppler may have mentioned they were close to completing Saturday afternoon was one with the Indians for Corey Kluber. That deal fell apart as the Indians were reportedly insisting on outfield prospect Brandon Marsh in the trade. Kluber ultimately went to the Texas Rangers on Sunday afternoon, shortly before free agent Madison Bumgarner agreed to a five-year pact with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
The market for starting pitching is strong with Boras clients Dallas Keuchel and Hyun-Jin Ryu looking for homes and the Angels among those connected with both. While those are the top two free agents, there is a slew of other free-agents that would upgrade Angels’ rotation. Among them are Julio Teheran, Wade Miley, Gio Gonzalez, Alex Wood and international free agents Kwang-Hyun Kim and Shun Yamaguchi. There are several other teams looking to decrease their payrolls by moving starters through trades such as the Red Sox with David Price and the Rockies with Jon Gray. Eppler is clearly close on several acquisitions and it would not be a surprise to see the Angels acquire additional pitching talent this week.
The Angels were talking with four to six free agent catchers this past week in addition to having talks with at least two clubs about catchers through trade. The Angels have been connected with free agent Jason Castro and former Angels catcher Martin Maldonado this past week. The Cubs have been rumored to be shopping two-time All-Star catcher Willson Contreras, who would be an outstanding addition to the Angels’ line-up but would cost top prospects in return.
Angels This Week
Los Angeles traded away Zack Cozart and Will Wilson to the Giants last Tuesday. The Giants take on the entire $12 million owed to him in 2020. Will Wilson, the Angels’ first-round pick this year, was sent to San Francisco as a result. The Angels received left-handed pitcher Garrett Williams in return for Cozart and Wilson. Williams made 29 appearances at Double-A Richmond last season, starting 20 of those games. Williams had a 3.60 ERA in 110 innings in which he walked 61 batters and struck out 108. Williams will provide organizational depth at Double-A or Triple-A for Angels in 2020.
The Angels passed on all available players in this past Thursday’s MLB phase of the Rule 5 draft. They also did not have any talent within their organization selected in the draft. Jose Rojas, Leo Rivas, and Oliver Ortega were among the Halos exposed in the draft.
The Angels’ current roster sits at 39 players after the signing of Anthony Rendon with an opening for the next Angels addition. Stay tuned as Billy Eppler is sure to make another move very soon.
Angels Down on the Farm Report
While the Angels weren’t affected by the MLB phase of the Rule 5 draft, they were by the Triple-A phase. The Miami Marlins selected Angels catcher Julian Leon, who has been hitting the ball well for Hermosillo in the Mexican Winter League for the past two months. Leon was at Double-A Mobile last season and figures to get a good look by the Marlins in camp this spring.
The Angels selected a foursome of Latin-born talent that was signed and began their professional careers at 16 or 17. Outfielders Edwin Yon (Cincinnati), Pedro Diaz (Tampa Bay), and catcher Carlos Reina (Cincinnati) were the three position players added. The lone pitcher of the group was Colombian 23-year old, right-handed pitcher Erick Julio from the Rockies. Julio struggled between Rookie-level Grand Junction and High-A Lancaster last season. Julio was pitching better this winter for the Barranquilla Gigantes in Colombia where he was teammates with Angels shortstop Erick Salcedo. Julio could provide some depth at pitching at Burlington or Inland Empire next spring.