UPDATE: Angels’ general manager Jerry Dipoto told Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com that Abreu hasn’t personally issued an ultimatum to him or manager Mike Scioscia:
“I spoke to Bobby a little more than a week ago, I’d say — a week, 10 days ago — and walked through his current situation, and Mike has had very similar conversations,” Dipoto said. “So, Bobby is aware of the circumstances, he’s aware of the people on the roster. We do see a fit for Bobby on this club, he’s aware of where that fit is. It’s not something that we’re going to play it [out] in the media. … Whether it’s an ultimatum that’s been issued, he has no right to do that.”
7:20 PM: Bobby Abreu’s potential role with the Angels this season will depend on the health of Kendrys Morales and Mark Trumbo, but he told Enrique Rojas of ESPNDeportesLosAngeles.com today that he will request a trade if he’s not an everyday player.
“I’m an everyday player. I can still be in the lineup for a Major League team,” said Abreu from his native Venezuela. “I will not be on the bench knowing that I can play.
“If the Angels don’t have a position for me, then the best thing is to trade me. It would be the correct (thing) to do. I won’t be able to do nothing sitting in the bench.”
Abreu turns 38 next month and is coming off a disappointing season in which he batted .253/.353/.365 with eight homers and a .717 OPS, so if both Morales and Trumbo are ready for Opening Day, the log jam would undoubtedly force him into a part-time role.
Morales, who missed all of last season following a second surgery on his left ankle, said over the weekend that he “feels a lot better” than he did last spring and that he “should be ready” for Opening Day. Meanwhile, Trumbo is already hitting and fielding following a stress fracture in his right foot and hopes to be cleared next week to begin running at full speed.
We’ve heard chatter about the Angels shopping Abreu for a while now and they nearly found a match with the Yankees recently, but right-hander A.J. Burnett nixed the deal by invoking his no-trade clause. Abreu is owed $9 million this season, so the Angels would likely have to cover a chunk of his remaining salary in order to make a trade palatable for someone.
It was only a matter of time before Mike Trout courted another all-time record, and on Saturday, he found himself in elite company with his 25th and 26th home runs of the season. He put the Angels on the board with a 429-foot blast in the first inning, depositing an 0-1 fastball from the Orioles’ Kevin Gausman into the left field bleachers:
In the third inning, with the Angels up 2-1, Trout returned to tack on another insurance run. He targeted Gausman’s slider for his second solo shot of the evening and cleared the center field fence with a 418-footer to bring his total to 26 home runs on the year.
Trout has mashed at a staggering .339/.471/.596 clip since his return from the disabled list last month, and Saturday’s totals helped mark his sixth consecutive season with at least 25 home runs. That’s a record few have matched before their age-26 season; in fact, only Hall of Fame sluggers Eddie Mathews and Frank Robinson have ever pulled it off.
Assuming he continues to rake in hits and plate appearances over the last six weeks of the regular season — and there’s nothing to indicate that he won’t — Trout is in line to join elite company of a different kind. The 26-year-old entered Saturday’s game with a 206 OPS+ (park-adjusted on-base plus slugging). According to MLB.com’s Matt Kelly, that means Trout’s hitting at a better clip than the average Major League player by a full 106 percent. Should he finish the year with a 200 OPS+ and 502 plate appearances or better, he’ll be the first player to do so since Barry Bonds obliterated the competition with his 263 OPS+ in 2004.
The Blue Jays acquired right-hander Tom Koehler from the Marlins in exchange for minor league right-hander Osman Gutierrez and cash considerations, the clubs announced Saturday. Koehler is in his sixth year with the Marlins and stands to make $5.75 million in 2017. He’ll be arbitration eligible in 2018 and is set to enter free agency by 2019.
The 31-year-old right-hander struggled to a 7.92 ERA, 4.7 BB/9 and 7.1 SO/9 over 55 2/3 innings with Miami in 2017. He was optioned to Triple-A New Orleans in late July, where he rebounded with a 1-1 record in seven starts and whittled his ERA down to a 1.67 mark. The Blue Jays have yet to establish Koehler’s role within their organization, but are hoping to see a turnaround from the righty when he breaks back into the big leagues.
Gutierrez, 22, was assigned to Single-A Greensboro on Saturday. He has yet to find his footing in the minors, and exited a 78-inning stint with Single-A Lansing after racking up a career-worst 7.85 ERA and 8.2 SO/9. His lack of control is particularly alarming, with a 6.2 BB/9 that dwarfs the 2.0+ BB/9 of seasons past, but he still has plenty of time to figure out his mechanics before reaching the Show.