Aug. 11, 2013; Phoenix, AZ, USA: Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Joe Thatcher against the New York Mets at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Angels Acquire Joe Thatcher


Angels Acquire Joe Thatcher

As expected, the Angels further deepened their bullpen, 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.  He has had a very good year so far, with a 2.63 ERA in 37 games. Looking for a lefty specialist to replace the injured Sean Burnett, the Angels have  found one, and then some. Thatcher 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 depth piece for the outfield, and is only hitting .150/.164/.200 in 61 plate appearances. In four seasons for the Cubs and D’Backs, Campana batted .246/.294/.286 in 239 games. Despite not being all that handy with the bat, Campana is still a speedy outfielder. He has 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.

Tony Campana is in his first year of arbitration eligibility, and will likely serve as outfield depth at AAA.

Update, 3:40 PM: To make room on the Major League roster for Joe Thatcher, the Angels sent right-hander Cory Rasmus to Triple-A Salt Lake. The Halos also designated newly acquired left Rich Hill for assignment, and called up lefty Michael Roth.

 

How Things Began Unfolding

Reports began flowing in late last night, with Ken Rosenthal reporting that the Angels were on 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 would likely be involved.

That proved to not be the case, however. In return for Thatcher and Campana, the Diamondbacks 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 eventually became 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 not replicated that success in 2014, bouncing 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 taken by the Angels in the 12th round of the 2011 draft. 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 this season. Krehbiel has a fastball clocked at 92-95 MPH, and 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 better bullpen depth, particularly veterans at the back end, for a long time. The Halos have been very active, as this is now their third trade for relief help in nine days.  There is still a good chance the Angels are still not done dealing for pitching.

 

Wheeling and Dealing

  • The Angels signed their third-round draft pick, Ole Miss right-hander Chris Ellis. Ellis will receive $575K, slightly less than the bonus pool allotment of $612.8K.
  • First round pick Sean Newcomb is the only Angels draft choice from the first ten rounds who remains unsigned. Latest reports state that no progress has been made with Newcomb, but he should sign before the July 18th deadline.
  • Outfielder Erik Komatsu signed with the Angels, and the team released him shortly after. Komatsu then signed a minor league contract with the Milwaukee Brewers.
  • On June 21, the Angels signed Caleb Clay from the Korean Baseball Organization’s Hanwha Eagles, and assigned him to Triple-A. Clay, 26, was drafted by the Red Sox in 2006, and was 44th overall. During his career, Clay has pitched for the Red Sox and Nationals organizations, but he has never reached the majors. In his first season in Korea, Clay posted a 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, posting a 7.48 ERA. After missing most of 2012 and all of 2013 recovering from shoulder issues, Pineiro was attempting a comeback. Pineiro was released by the Cubs earlier this season.
  • Right after Pineiro was released, however, he was given a 50 game PED suspension by Major League Baseball.

 

Facts and Figures

  • 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 Salas and will check on him again before making a decision to reinstate him. His return would be the equivalent of acquiring another reliever for depth. Salas has a 2.96 ERA in 28 games this season.
  • Albert Pujols was the designated hitter Friday night for the fourth time in seven games. At DH, Pujols is hitting .326 / .379 / 640) with 8 homeruns and 18 RBI in 95 plate appearances. Perhaps he should stay there?
  • Pujols’ home run in the fourth inning of last night’s game gave him 1,550 career RBIs, tying Fred McGriff for 42nd all-time.
  • At 510 homers, Albert also is now 24th on the all-time home run list. 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. That’s right. Not one player is even at zero. They’re all 0.1 or higher. This is a sabermetric case study that will be featured in a later article.
  • Freese is hitting .313 / .394 / .417 since June 1.
  • The Angels are 32-19 since May 9, which is a clear sign that they have the means to overtake the A’s. Just the fact that Billy Beane made the trade he made yesterday shows that even he knows the Angels are dangerous.

Tags: Angels Bullpen Joe Thatcher Ken Rosenthal Los Angeles Angels MLB Tony Campana

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