Angels make a minor move
Reliever Hernandez is traded to Diamondbacks for Madero, a 20-year-old right-handed prospect.
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.
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.
DAVID HERNANDEZ, right, pitched well for the Angels, compiling a 2.23 ERA in 36 1⁄3 innings of relief, with 37 strikeouts.