An­gels make a mi­nor move

Re­liever Her­nan­dez is traded to Di­a­mond­backs for Madero, a 20-year-old right-handed prospect.

Los Angeles Times - - SPORTS - By Pe­dro Moura pe­dro.moura@la­times.com Twit­ter: @pe­dro­moura

The club ac­quires a young prospect for re­liever David Her­nan­dez.

While other teams shaped splashy last-minute block­busters Mon­day, the An­gels made one mi­nor trade: They sent vet­eran re­liever David Her­nan­dez to the Ari­zona Di­a­mond­backs for mi­nor league right-han­der Luis Madero.

An­gels gen­eral man­ager Billy Ep­pler said that he en­gaged in sub­stan­tive con­ver­sa­tions about mul­ti­ple play­ers who would have re­mained with the team af­ter this year. Those talks did not pro­duce deals and the rental play­ers the An­gels might have wanted to trade away did not gen­er­ate sat­is­fac­tory of­fers to jus­tify the cost to the club of mov­ing them.

“It did not make sense, from our van­tage point, to have an es­tate sale,” Ep­pler said.

As sup­port for his po­si­tion, he cited the An­gels’ ar­ray of in­jured play­ers who could re­turn be­fore sea­son’s end, among them out­field­ers Cameron May­bin and Kole Cal­houn and start­ing pitch­ers Tyler Skaggs, Matt Shoe­maker, An­drew Heaney and Gar­rett Richards.

“We can still see May­bin, Skaggs, Cal­houn right down the block, and we know that Shoe, Heaney, Gar­rett, they still sound like they’re in our neigh­bor­hood,” Ep­pler said, us­ing real es­tate metaphors. “We weren’t try­ing to put ev­ery­thing on the front lawn.”

Madero, 20, was not con­sid­ered one of the Di­a­mond­backs’ top prospects. In parts of four sea­sons, most re­cently at low Class A, he has pitched 233 in­nings and posted a 4.13 earned-run av­er­age.

Car­los Gomez, the An­gels’ in­ter­na­tional scout­ing di­rec­tor, saw a teenage Madero as an am­a­teur in Venezuela.

Her­nan­dez, 32, spent the bulk of his ca­reer in Ari­zona. Ac­quired from the At­lanta Braves’ triple-A af­fil­i­ate for cash in April, he pitched bet­ter than ever for the An­gels. He had a 2.23 ERA in 361⁄3 in­nings, with 37 strike­outs and eight walks. His ca­reer-long plague had been giv­ing up home runs, but he has yielded none this sea­son.

The An­gels also made fel­low 32year-old re­liev­ers Bud Nor­ris and Yus­meiro Petit avail­able for ac­qui­si­tion but could not find suit­ors be­fore Mon­day’s 1 p.m. PDT non­waiver trade dead­line.

Petit, signed to a mi­nor league con­tract in Fe­bru­ary, is sec­ond in the ma­jor leagues with 562⁄3 re­lief in­nings. He has a 2.52 ERA, more than a run bet­ter than his ca­reer best.

Nor­ris has twice been traded near the dead­line, to the Bal­ti­more Ori­oles in 2013 and the Dodgers last year. He was a start­ing pitcher then but is a re­liever now.

He as­cended to the An­gels’ closer role af­ter ear­lier oc­cu­pants suf­fered in­juries.

For most of the year, he ex­celled. Within the last week, he gave up two walk-off grand slams — half of all the walk-off grand slams hit in the ma­jors this sea­son.

His earned-run av­er­age rose to 3.89, and his walk rate to 4.5 per nine in­nings.

Af­ter Mon­day's dead­line, MLB teams can trade only play­ers who first clear waivers. That pro­vi­sion makes it un­likely that low-cost op­tions such as Petit and Nor­ris would be traded, but the An­gels could still try to move re­liever Hus­ton Street, if he re­turns from a groin in­jury soon and pitches well. He’s mak­ing $9 mil­lion this sea­son.

The An­gels (51-55) started Mon­day six games out of an Amer­i­can League play­off po­si­tion, a steep climb con­sid­er­ing the num­ber of teams in front of them. The Texas Rangers, who had the same .481 win­ning per­cent­age to start the day, were sell­ers. They dis­patched ace Yu Darvish to the Dodgers for three prospects.

Ep­pler and his staff saw their po­si­tion dif­fer­ently. “We feel we have plenty of games to make it in­ter­est­ing,” he said.

Short hops

Cal­houn is day-to-day be­cause of a small strain in his right ham­string. He prob­a­bly will be side­lined for a cou­ple of days but won’t be put on the dis­abled list . ... In­fielder Nick Franklin cleared waivers and was out­righted to triple-A Salt Lake. … Skaggs, re­cov­er­ing from an oblique strain, started Mon­day for Salt Lake. Heaney, com­ing back from el­bow liga­ment re­place­ment surgery, is sched­uled to start Tues­day. Skaggs is on track to start Satur­day, which is when the An­gels next need a fifth starter. They turned to Petit last time.

Joe Scar­nici Getty Images

DAVID HER­NAN­DEZ, right, pitched well for the An­gels, com­pil­ing a 2.23 ERA in 36 1⁄3 in­nings of re­lief, with 37 strike­outs.

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