MLB Rumors: Los Angeles Angels

Angels shopping Hamilton? 

December, 17, 2014
Dec 17
10:15
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BY trading for outfielder Matt Joyce, the Los Angeles Angels got themselves, as ESPN.com's David Schoenfield writes, "an insurance policy for Josh Hamilton. The team lacked another left-handed hitting outfielder behind Hamilton and Kole Calhoun, so if Hamilton is injured, Joyce can move into a left field platoon with Collin Cowgill."

AL West team-by-team Hot Stove preview 

October, 24, 2014
Oct 24
12:09
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With the World Series under way, there are 28 other teams in the major leagues already looking ahead to 2015 in hopes that they might be playing for a championship next year at this time. Free agency doesn't officially kick in until five days after the champagne has been sprayed, but the rumor mill is already buzzing with potential moves that might help those clubs watching on television this year become the center of attention next October.

Our snapshot of each of the six MLB divisions and what teams might have in the works this offseason continues today with a look at the American League West.


Houston Astros

Big decisions: Naming A.J. Hinch as the team's new manager was likely the biggest move this team will make in the offseason. After having stripped the team down to the barest minimum in payroll back in 2013, Houston's roster simply doesn't have any financial urgency for turnover in the same way franchises with a lot of high-priced veterans do.

Team needs: The Astros could use a little more stability in their outfield, with 10 different players starting in left field at one point or another during the season and Robbie Grossman's .233 batting average being the most turned-to option there. A free agent such as Colby Rasmus could be in their price range, depending on how much money they end up spending on Dexter Fowler's expected arbitration case; he's due a raise from the $7.35 million he made in 2014. … Additionally, as Brian McTaggart of MLB.com writes, "The Astros are going to need at least two proven, healthy arms to add to a bullpen that was last in the American League in ERA and first in blown saves with 25."

Early buzz: Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle notes that owner Jim Crane is open to increasing the team's payroll by another $20 million for 2015, after a similar increase last season, but warns that "the chances of the Astros making a tremendous push this winter, however, seem slim no matter what."


Los Angeles Angels

Big decisions: Making sure C.J. Wilson and Josh Hamilton will both be healthy for next season is a priority, but both players have huge contracts that make them impossible to move even if they were both guaranteed to be at 100 percent strength next April. … The team has a $7 million option on reliever Huston Street that they're likely to exercise, which also probably indicates that free agent Jason Grilli will be allowed to shop his services elsewhere.

Team needs: ESPN.com's Jim Bowden doesn't hesitate when discussing the first move the Angels need to make going forward when he states "there is no doubt Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto's top priority this offseason will be to find an upgrade or two for their starting rotation." He lists Jon Lester, Francisco Liriano and Brandon McCarthy among the options the team should explore.

Early buzz: There's simply not a lot of flexibility for the Angels in both 2015 and beyond, as Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times laments: "On Opening Day 2016, Albert Pujols will be 36, Hamilton 34, Wilson 35, Jered Weaver 33. The Angels have all four under contract for 2016, for a total of $98 million. Add another $40 million for Mike Trout, Erick Aybar and pitchers Garrett Richards and Joe Smith, and there's your core. It is painfully apparent, then, that the Angels are likely to go as far as Trout, Pujols and Hamilton will take them."


Oakland Athletics

Big decisions: Adam Dunn is likely to retire, but the large free-agent exodus that the Athletics will have to prevent against includes a laundry list of names. Jon Lester, Jason Hammel, Luke Gregerson, Geovany Soto and Jonny Gomes are among the many decisions that general manager Billy Beane will have to make once the World Series is over.

Team needs: The A's will pick and choose their holes, based upon which free agents they ultimately choose to keep. However, after trading away top prospect Addison Russell, if they don't come to terms with Jed Lowrie on a new deal -- or if he turns down a potential qualifying offer -- there aren't any real answers currently in the organization at shortstop. As Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle notes, "Prospect Daniel Robertson played at Class A Stockton and is considered a possibility for 2016, and Andy Parrino has not shown he can hit at the big league level."

Early buzz: According to John Hickey of the San Jose Mercury Press, the A's could choose to turn to Cuba for some middle-infield help: "Hector Olivera, 29, is a second baseman who hit .316 with a .412 on-base percentage before leaving Cuba this season. Yoan Moncada, 19, who plays short and second, is a switch-hitter who played in the same Cuban junior leagues as Dodgers star Yasiel Puig. It would be a huge risk to ask a 19-year-old to play in the big leagues, but the A's are not averse to taking chances." … Lester is going to field a ton of offers, and with the New York Yankees likely to get involved in the conversation, the price tag may escalate way beyond what the A's are willing to give him.


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Will Shoemaker pitch in the ALDS? 

September, 30, 2014
Sep 30
4:56
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Los Angeles Angels starter Matt Shoemaker (oblique) hasn't pitched in two weeks, and the question is whether he'll return to the mound at any point during the American League Division Series. Here's the latest out of Anaheim.

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Street to the Angels seems likely 

July, 16, 2014
Jul 16
11:45
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The Los Angeles Angels, after having already dealt away Ernesto Frieri in exchange for Jason Grilli, are still looking for some help in the bullpen. One of the primary targets on their radar appears to be Huston Street of the San Diego Padres.

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After watching their divisional rivals, the Oakland Athletics, make a huge deal to improve their starting rotation, the question on the mind of many observers is if the Los Angeles Angels will follow suit by making a blockbuster deal of their own.

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Next moves for Angels bullpen 

April, 29, 2014
Apr 29
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The Los Angeles Angels called up right-hander Mike Morin from Triple-A over the weekend to help address their shaky bullpen, and Morin could be the first of several minor league arms the team gets a long look at this season.

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Position battle: Angels' fifth starter 

February, 18, 2014
Feb 18
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Improving a rotation that ranked 24th in the majors with a 4.20 ERA was an offseason priority for the Angels. GM Jerry Dipoto had a busy winter, and now has three candidates competing for the final two spots behind Jered Weaver, C.J. Wilson and Garrett Richards. The Halos had hoped that Mark Mulder would be in the mix, but a torn Achilles tendon ended his comeback attempt.

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Size matters for Sandoval, Hamilton 

January, 15, 2014
Jan 15
12:13
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When players report to their respective training facilities each spring after several months left to their own devices, there are always a few who raise some eyebrows when walking through the door due to drastic changes in their weight.

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Can Angels stand pat at pitcher? 

January, 15, 2014
Jan 15
11:20
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Maybe there's a good reason why the Los Angeles Angels have been fairly laid-back in their attitude towards the current free agent starting pitcher market. Perhaps the status quo suits management just fine.

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Are Angels out of Tanaka bidding? 

January, 14, 2014
Jan 14
9:01
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On Sunday, the reports from Japan were that the "finalists" in the race to get Masahiro Tanaka's signature on a contract had been narrowed down to the New York Yankees, Los Angeles Dodgers and Los Angeles Angels. Well, it seems that list might have decreased by one.

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Tanaka's top three? 

January, 12, 2014
Jan 12
10:11
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The Masahiro Tanaka tour of the United States has come to an end, as the free agent pitcher has reportedly returned home to Japan to mull over his options before the January 24 deadline for him to agree to a deal.

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Angels look to strengthen starting staff 

January, 2, 2014
Jan 2
9:42
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Mark Mulder, who has not pitched in the major leagues since 2008 due to issues with his shoulder, is attempting a comeback at the age of 36.

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Monday Roundup: Rollins on market? 

December, 16, 2013
12/16/13
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Just because a team wants to make a big move, that doesn't always mean that the move they have in mind is going to come to pass. For the Philadelphia Phillies, who have nine players on their roster right now making $7 million or more for 2014, getting rid of some of those high-priced players to free up some salary is easier said than done.

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Should Angels stop spending? 

December, 16, 2013
12/16/13
11:41
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The Los Angeles Angels have been very busy this offseason, most notably being involved in a three-way trade that sent Mark Trumbo away while bringing in a pair of pitchers to help fill out their starting rotation. However, they may not be done yet.

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Angels targeting Matt Garza 

December, 10, 2013
12/10/13
6:21
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ESPN Insider Jim Bowden has learned that adding a top starting pitcher remains a top priority for the Los Angeles Angels, and free agent right-hander Matt Garza is their primary target.

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