UPDATE: Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com says it’s a done deal, with the Padres sending Street and an undisclosed minor leaguer to the Angels for a four-prospect package headlined by Triple-A infielder Taylor Lindsey.
Padres closer Huston Street has been linked to the Angels for a while now and Jim Bowden of ESPN.com reports that the two sides are “close to finalizing a deal” for the All-Star right-hander.
Bullpen problems have plagued the Angels, who recently traded former closers with the Pirates by swapping Ernesto Friero for Jason Grilli and have also used longtime setup man Joe Smith in the closer role.
By getting Street they’d been leaving no question about the ninth-inning role, as he’s saved 258 games since debuting for the A’s in 2005, including 23 saves with a 1.09 ERA for the Padres this season.
Street has never been particularly durable and occasionally has trouble keeping the ball in the ballpark, but he’s never had an ERA above 4.00, boasts a 2.87 ERA in 565 career innings, and has a 2.03 mark with a 127/32 K/BB ratio in 129 innings for the Padres since 2012.
Street is making $7 million this season and his contract contains a $7 team option for 2015 that the Angels would almost surely be interested in exercising following a trade for the 30-year-old.
On Tuesday, the Angels received lefty Rich Hill from the Red Sox for cash considerations. Hill made his 2014 debut that day in the first game of a doubleheader against the White Sox, loading the bases on a single and two walks before being replaced by Joe Smith, who allowed an inherited run to score on a ground ball double play. Hill pitched again in the second half of the doubleheader, walking the only batter he faced.
The Angels have ended the Rich Hill experiment, as the club announced that the 34-year-old lefty has been designated for assignment to make room for the recently-acquired Joe Thatcher. The Angels made two additional moves as well, optioning Cory Rasmus to Triple-A Salt Lake, and selecting the contract of Michael Roth from Double-A Arkansas.
Mike Scioscia has gone back and forth between Joe Smith and Ernesto Frieri as closer this year — and had a fun little detour experimenting with Cam Bedrosian once last week — but now he’s back on Smith:
Makes sense as Smith has been better than Frieri. Still, it does sound like Scioscia is determined to give Frieri every opportunity — maybe too many opportunities — to get back to the closer’s role.
A lot of the times I’m sorta “meh” on who’s closing, but the Angels look like a playoff team at the moment — they lead the Wild Card race in the AL and are only four games back of the best team in baseball for the division lead — so ironing out the bullpen is going to be pretty important for them. It’s nice that they have a couple games cushion at the moment with which to do it.
Angels manager Mike Scioscia gave Ernesto Frieri a vote of confidence over the weekend, but he made it clear today that he’s looking at other options to close games.
After Albert Pujols delivered a two-run double in the top of the 10th inning against the Indians this afternoon, most expected that Frieri would come out for the bottom half of the inning, especially since Joe Smith already pitched the ninth inning. However, Scioscia threw everyone for a loop by turning to rookie Cam Bedrosian. The decision quickly backfired, as Bedrosian walked two and gave up a double before Frieri was brought in to put out the fire. Frieri got David Murphy to fly out for the second out of the inning, but he then gave up a walk-off grand slam to Nick Swisher. Disaster complete.
After the game, Scioscia told Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com that he has no set closer and wanted to give Bedrosian an opportunity against a team who had never seen him before.
“I don’t think it’s any different from what we talked about,” Scioscia said when asked if Frieri is his closer. “What’s different from matching up like we talked about?”
It was a questionable decision for many reasons, most notably that Bedrosian has been far from lights out since coming up to the majors. And if Scioscia didn’t have faith in Frieri to start the inning, it’s a bit of a head-scratcher why he turned to him once Bedrosian got into trouble. Talk about your mixed messages. There’s no excuse for Frieri giving up the grand slam, as he still has to execute, but the margin for error was razor thin and Scioscia essentially set him up to fail. The Angels own the fifth-best record in the American League right now, but the back-end of their bullpen is a mess.
Rays reliever Josh Lueke served up a two-run home run to Marcell Ozuna Friday night’s game, extending the Marlins’ lead from three runs to five runs. That was the last straw for the Rays with Lueke. Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times reports that the club has designated the right-hander for assignment and recalled Kirby Yates from Triple-A Durham.
Yates, 27, posted an impressive 0.36 ERA with a 35/9 K/BB ratio in 25 innings at Triple-A.
Lueke was ineffective on the mound. He posted a 5.64 ERA, allowing seven home runs in only 30 1/3 innings of work, and he had trouble missing bats. Overall, Lueke has a 6.16 ERA in 87 2/3 innings in his career.
Lueke also continued to be a lightning rod for criticism surrounding an incident during his minor league career in which he was charged with raping a woman in Bakersfield, California. Lueke lied to the police by saying he had no contact with the victim, then later pled down to lesser charges.