Aaron Gleeman


Angels acquire Cesar Ramos from Rays for Mark Sappington


Shortly after trading catcher Hank Conger to the Astros the Angels have made another move, acquiring left-hander Cesar Ramos from the Rays in exchange for right-hander Mark Sappington.

Ramos has been part of Tampa Bay’s bullpen for the past four seasons, posting a 3.66 ERA and 179/96 K/BB ratio in 223 innings. At age 30 and with a raise coming via arbitration he didn’t have a ton of value, but he’ll likely work middle relief for the Angels.

Sappington struggled to throw strikes as a starter, but fared well after shifting to the bullpen around midseason and has some upside as a late-inning reliever. He posted a 3.38 ERA and 49/10 K/BB ratio in 32 innings as a reliever at Triple-A, which was enough for the 23-year-old to get the Rays’ attention.

Troy Patton suspended 80 games for amphetamines

Troy Patton

Free agent reliever Troy Patton, who spent this season with the Orioles and Padres, has been suspended 80 games by MLB following a positive amphetamine test.

That length of suspension means this is the third such positive test for Patton, because the first test is a warning and the second test is a 25-game suspension which he served at the beginning of the year.

He had a nice three-year run in the Orioles’ bullpen from 2011-2013, throwing 142 innings with a 3.05 ERA and 113/33 K/BB ratio, but Patton struggled this season and was traded to the Padres in May for Nick Hundley. San Diego dropped him from the 40-man roster in September.

His previous positive test was for Adderall, which many players use thanks to exemptions granted by MLB. Orioles slugger Chris Davis was suspended after failing to renew his exemption.

Astros acquire catcher Hank Conger from Angels

Hank Conger

Once upon a time Hank Conger was viewed as the Angels’ long-term answer behind the plate, but the 2006 first-round draft pick never emerged as more than a backup for manager Mike Scioscia and now they’ve traded him to the Astros.

Chris Iannetta’s presence as a full-time catcher allows the Angels to painlessly part ways with Conger and in return they get catcher Carlos Perez and right-hander Nick Tropeano.

Tropeano made his MLB debut in September, starting four games for the Astros after tossing 125 innings with a 3.03 ERA and 120/33 K/BB ratio at Triple-A as a 23-year-old. He has the potential be a middle-of-the-rotation starter, but may wind up in the bullpen.

Perez is 24 years old and has spent the past two seasons at Triple-A, hitting .264 with eight homers and a .692 OPS. He looks like a backup at most.

And that’s really all Conger looks to be at this point, despite some good numbers in the minors. He’ll turn 27 years old in January and has played 251 games in the majors, hitting just .224 with a .648 OPS. He has some power and can draw a walk, which along with good pitch-framing numbers is no doubt why the Astros felt like taking a flier on him.

Brett Gardner undergoes abdominal surgery

brett gardner getty

Brett Gardner played most of September with an abdominal injury, hitting just .167 in 19 games, and the Yankees left fielder revealed during a radio interview that he underwent “core muscle” surgery last month.

It’s said to be a minor procedure, so there’s currently no worry that Gardner will be behind come spring training.

At the time there was some fear that he had a hernia, but it was later diagnosed as an abdominal strain. He hit .283 with an .816 OPS through the end of July, but then hit .193 during the final two months.

Ryan Theriot is laughing at the Dodgers’ new front office

San Francisco Giants Photo Day

Ryan Theriot, who played eight seasons in the majors for four different teams as a light-hitting infielder, has some strong opinions about the Dodgers rebuilding their front office around Andrew Friedman and Farhan Zaidi.

I hopefully don’t need to point out how silly this is.

Many of the best general managers now and throughout baseball history either didn’t play in the majors at all or didn’t play well in the majors. And many of the best players who go on to become general managers fare poorly in a front office role. Same thing goes for good hitting and pitching coaches not being good hitters and pitchers themselves. And on and on and on.

Some might even suggest that Ryan Theriot having played eight seasons in the majors doesn’t seem to have helped him form worthwhile opinions about baseball.