LA Angels News

LA Angels swap lefty-reliever Jerez for RHP Chris Stratton

By Ryan Falla
GLENDALE, ARIZONA - MARCH 11: Chris Stratton #34 of the San Francisco Giants delivers a first inning pitch during a spring training game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Camelback Ranch on March 11, 2019 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
GLENDALE, ARIZONA - MARCH 11: Chris Stratton #34 of the San Francisco Giants delivers a first inning pitch during a spring training game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Camelback Ranch on March 11, 2019 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images) /
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The LA Angels pulled off a quiet deal last night that involved sending lefty pitcher Williams Jerez to San Francisco in exchange for the former first round pick Chris Stratton. Jerez was obtained late last season in a trade that sent short-lived Angel Ian Kinsler to Boston for Ty Buttrey and Jerez.

The LA Angels have opted to seek versatility over left-handed relief by sending Williams Jerez to the Giants for Chris Stratton. Despite a poor 2018 season Williams Jerez has had a fantastic Spring as of late as a much-needed left-handed option out of the bullpen for the Angels.

His 2018 saw him pitch 15 innings of 6 ERA baseball and saw 3 HR’s and 17 hits allowed off the lefty. Throughout the 2019 Spring Training we’ve seen Jerez pitch 7.1 IP of 2.45 ERA baseball with 6 strikeouts to 6 walks.

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Chris Stratton is a former first-rounder who just finished his age 27 season in which he posted a 5.09 ERA in 145 IP with 112 K’s and 54 BB’s. Meanwhile he’s pitched solid enough in Spring Training with 15.2 IP with a 4.60 ERA with 15 K’s to 3 BB’s.

As of now his role with the club is unclear regarding his bullpen/starting status, but from what Angels GM Billy Eppler has stated it seems he’s being brought in for his versatility. He can start if needed or pitch multiple innings out of the bullpen which is something the Angels need to be prepared for.

Command has been an issue for Jerez and Stratton as well as each have posted a BB/9 above 3 in their 2018 campaigns. Stratton doesn’t make up for his walk issues with strike out ability either as his career average K/9 rate sits at 7.1 and on top of that he’s very hit prone.

However, there is upside here as Stratton has posted stretches of success in the Majors (1 CG Shutout in 2018) and is the owner of some eye-popping, well above average spin rates within his repertoire of pitches. There is a lot of upside for Stratton, one could argue more so than Jerez, but it will take some shrewd management as well as a resurgent mentality from Stratton. The risk for break-down on Stratton ends hovers just as strongly as his lingering upside.

This may look like a questionable move, but at the same time Billy Eppler has covered two holes in the Angels roster as opposed to just the one that Jerez covered. Now the Angels have the opportunity to work Stratton around as a starter/reliever/opener, essentially he’ll be playing the role of Swiss Army Knife for the LA Angels. The only real question is how sharp his various tools will be coming into the 2019 season.

Is this a bad trade? A good trade? It can’t be specified just yet, but what we can call it right now is a logical trade. Billy Eppler worked to move a one inning lefty-reliever for a right-hander who can play the wildcard and fill multiple roles as needed. Only time will tell if Stratton fails to provide value in any of the roles he pitches in, but for right now as a roster shore-up move it rates decently enough.

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The Angels will be wrapping up a three game set against the Dodgers today at 7 PM sharp on Fox Sports West. With any luck we’ll get to see Stratton make his Angels debut and get a better idea of the value he’ll bring to the team.

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