ANAHEIM, Calif. — The Los Angeles Angels acquired veteran shortstop Jose Iglesias from the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday in a trade for minor league right-handers Garrett Stallings and Jean Pinto.
Iglesias batted .373 with three homers and 17 RBIs in 39 games with the Orioles last season. He struggled with injuries, but posted the highest average in the majors among players with at least 100 plate appearances.
New Angels general manager Perry Minasian expects Iglesias to be an everyday player next season as the long-struggling Angels attempt to return to the playoffs for the first time since 2014.
“We feel really confident that he’s a starting-caliber shortstop that’s going to bring a lot to the table both in the clubhouse and on the field,” Minasian said. “I think he’s really come into his own over the last couple of years. He had an outstanding season for Baltimore. He’s an outstanding defender, and he puts the ball in play.”
The Angels picked the 23-year-old Stallings in the fifth round of the 2019 draft, but he has yet to make his professional debut. Los Angeles signed the 19-year-old Pinto as an international free agent in May 2019.
Orioles general manager Mike Elias said the trade of his most consistent offensive player in 2020 was part of the club’s continuing rebuild, even if the deal means Baltimore is currently quite thin at shortstop.
“He was an exceptional part of the club last year and turned into a really key acquisition,” Elias said. “But we continue to view the accumulation of talent as a priority. I think that we got two quality arms from the Angels. We’re sad to see Iggy go, but this is the business of getting this organization into a long-term period of stability.”
Baltimore exercised its $3.5 million option on Iglesias for 2021 last month. He is joining his fifth big league club after nine seasons spent with Boston, Detroit – where he made the All-Star team in 2015 – Cincinnati and Baltimore.
Instead of paying much more to re-sign Andrelton Simmons, the Angels believe Iglesias’ fairly small contract will free up resources to restock their roster elsewhere. Minasian has plenty of work to do on the mound, where the Halos’ starters ranked 29th in the majors in ERA last season and the bullpen is about to get a significant reboot after blowing a major league-leading 14 saves last season.
“Obviously (Iglesias) is a talented player who brings things on both sides of the ball, and the contract was appealing,” Minasian said. “This was a really good fit for us from a talent standpoint, from a contract standpoint, and we couldn’t be more excited to have this type of player in the organization.”
Iglesias’ arrival all but confirms the departure of Simmons, who spent the past five seasons playing the position in Anaheim. Minasian said Iglesias will play alongside David Fletcher, a former shortstop who has played second base in the majors when Simmons was healthy.
“I spoke to David earlier today, and he’s an outstanding individual, and the organization views him as a Gold Glove-caliber second baseman,” Minasian said.
Iglesias is the Angels’ second prominent pickup from Baltimore in two years. Last winter, Los Angeles swung a deal for right-hander Dylan Bundy, who went 6-3 with a 3.29 ERA in 11 mostly stellar starts for the Angels and finished ninth in the AL Cy Young Award voting.
The Angels also confirmed a major upheaval for their bullpen in new Minasian’s first offseason, announcing they did not tender contracts to five relievers from last season’s roster: left-hander Hoby Milner and right-handers Justin Anderson, Matt Andriese, Keynan Middleton and Hansel Robles. Los Angeles already waived right-hander Cam Bedrosian.
Robles, Middleton and Bedrosian are all former Angels closers who lost the job due to ineffectiveness, with Robles having a particularly dismal 2020 season. Anderson had Tommy John surgery in July, while Milner struggled last season with an 8.10 ERA.