Angels Leadoff Links: December 5, 2014


There is no better way to start your day than by catching up on all the news that matters most to the Angels from around Major League baseball. The American League West has been creating front-page news the past few days, and the Seattle Mariners in particularly continue to steal headlines. Kick back, pour yourself a cup of coffee, and check out the latest edition of the Leadoff Links.

The past 48-hours has been a busy stretch for the Seattle Mariners. The M’s traded outfielder, Michael Saunders, to the Toronto Blue Jays for southpaw, J.A. Happ, on Wednesday. Mariners’ general manager, Jack Zduriencik, made it clear after the 2014 season concluded that Saunders was a guy they were looking to move. J.A. Happ comes over to the M’s on the heels of his best season as a pro, going 11-11, and posting an ERA of 4.22 across 26 outings. Happ is likely to be the fourth or fifth starter in what has the makings of a very formidable starting rotation. Yesterday, the Mariners made their signing of slugger, Nelson Cruz, official. Cruz was introduced at a press conference at Safeco Field on Thursday, and the M’s brass’ excitement was obvious. Zduriencik made it a priority to land a right-handed power hitter, and in Cruz they have achieved just that. The Mariners have the look of a contender, and the Halos have to be weary of their rivals from the Pacific Northwest.

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The Oakland A’s are continuing to try and move pieces in an effort to re-shape their roster in 2015. Brandon Moss may be the next domino to fall, and according to Paul Hoynes, the Cleveland Indians have emerged as the favorites for Moss’ services. According to Hoynes, the A’s have their eyes set on Indians second base prospect, Joe Wendle. Moss was a key cog in the Athletics success over the past three seasons, clubbing 76 dingers, and batting .254. Moss is most effective as the designated hitter, and after the A’s signed, Billy Butler, Moss does seem rather redundant. A resolution to the Indians-A’s situation is expected within the next 24 hours one-way or the other.

The Los Angeles Dodgers continue to listen to offers on their outfielders, and predictably, Matt Kemp, seems to be drawing the most interest. Last week, it was reported that the San Diego Padres had inquired about Kemp. On Thursday, Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports’ suggested the line of communication remains open between the two clubs. It is believed that the return package for Kemp would include catcher, Yasmani Grandal. The Baltimore Orioles and Seattle Mariners have also been in contact with the Dodgers regarding the availability of Kemp this offseason.

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The Atlanta Braves opted to non-tended starting pitcher, Brandon Beachy, this week. According to Chris Cotillo, he is already generating significant on the open market. Cotillo reports that the 28-year-old right-hander “has multiple offers in hand.” Beachy was one of the most promising prospects in the game a few years back, and his first four seasons were very successful. Beachy has gone 14-11 with a 3.23 ERA, and averaged 9.2 strikeouts per 9 innings over the first 46 starts of his career. Beachy missed the entire 2014 season, and has seen his career derailed by injuries, but the talent is there to potentially rebound. Beachy might be an intriguing pitcher for the Angels to take a flier on this winter.

Chase Headley is the top free agent at his position, and is one of the most sought after players still available. According to Jeff Passan, Headley has received an offer of $65 million over four years from a mystery team. Headley has seen his market expand after fellow third baseman, Pablo Sandoval, signed with the Boston Red Sox last week. The San Francisco Giants are desperate to replace the Kung-Fu Panda, but the Miami Marlins, New York Yankees, and Cleveland Indians have all shown interest in the 30-year-old. Headley is likely to use this offer as leverage against other interested teams in negotiations in the upcoming winter meetings.