LA Angels News

LA Angels Spring Training News and Notes 2/15: A New Reliever, Rehabbing Pitchers, and Free Agent Rumors

By Vincent Page
ANAHEIM, CA - JUNE 06: Mike Moustakas #8 scores on an RBI single by Alex Gordon #4 of the Kansas City Royals as Martin Maldonado #12 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim looks on during the fourth inning of a game at Angel Stadium on June 6, 2018 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
ANAHEIM, CA - JUNE 06: Mike Moustakas #8 scores on an RBI single by Alex Gordon #4 of the Kansas City Royals as Martin Maldonado #12 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim looks on during the fourth inning of a game at Angel Stadium on June 6, 2018 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /
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The LA Angels are into full Spring Training mode as of Friday, with pitchers and catchers getting used to the Tempe air. Position players reporting is right around the corner, and Friday, in a good way, was a relatively slow day for the Angels.

Billy Eppler Adds New Reliever

When Billy Eppler traded left-handed specialist José Alvarez earlier this offseason for flamethrower Luis Garcia, fans were questioning the move. However, Eppler silenced any critics of the trade today with the signing of relief pitcher Dan Jennings.

Jennings has posted a 2.96 ERA over the course of his 7-year career, and was signed to a minor league contract by the Angels. He has been rather reliable, and had a solid season for the Milwaukee Brewers last season. The Brewers ultimately non-tendered Jennings, who the Angels will pay $1 million should he make the roster.

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In the bullpen, Williams Jerez is the only left-handed candidate, and he has minimal experience. While each of the right-handed bullpen candidates have their positives, Jennings has an inside track to being apart of the Opening Day squad given the need for at least one lefty. Jerez, his only real competition, only has 15 career innings pitched.

JC Ramirez Takes Big Step in Rehab

For the first time since undergoing Tommy John surgery last year, starting pitcher JC Ramirez threw to a squatted catcher during a bullpen on Friday. He threw 45 total pitches, with the final 30 to a catcher in his stance. No batter was standing in.

While it may seem minor, throwing to a squatted catcher is a jump in rehab, given the downward slope the ball travels on. Ramirez did not throw off the mound and is still not throwing off the mound, but he is progressing at a rate solid enough that his target date for return in June is still reasonable.

Angels Once Again Linked to Mike Moustakas

Per reports this morning, the Angels have had discussions with free agent infielder Mike Moustakas. The Angels were connected with Moustakas last offseason as well, where there was mutual interest. However, those talks faded once the team brought in Zack Cozart to take over third base.

Moustakas, a California native, is a corner infielder and had a solid role for the Brewers during their playoff run last season. Given Cozart’s versatility, Moustakas could be brought in and give the Angels more options for platooning with his left-handed bat.

However, Billy Eppler stated he had to ask permission from owner Arte Moreno to stretch the budget when the team signed closer Cody Allen last month. So, with the Halos obviously tight with their budget, any signing would be difficult and likely need Moreno’s nod of approval.

While Moustakas would be a welcome addition to the Angels’ bench as they push for the playoffs this season, it would also cap third base prospect Taylor Ward‘s potential role this season. Eppler has put an emphasis on the farm system, but if he doesn’t feel Ward is ready for a role off the bench, a Moustakas signing could be made all the more likely.

Next. Should the Halos Have Gone Star Chasing this Winter?

More News and Notes from Day Four of Spring Training

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