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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Angels Deal Jepsen To The Rays

I know, I haven't said much about the many bigger deals — the Angels picking up Andrew Heaney from the Dodgers was likely more important to 2015 — but this one is such a puzzler that even I can't make heads or tails of it. The Angels traded Kevin Jepsen to the Rays for left-handed-hitting outfielder Matt Joyce. Joyce has typically manned the corners for the Rays, and has never surpassed 20 home runs, though he has some decent pop (.383 SLG in 2014, career .441). As expected, he hits righties well (career .261/.356/.463) but is largely powerless against lefties (.189/.258/.316). It seems likely he'll spell Josh Hamilton when he gets injured or is otherwise unable to play.

What's puzzling about this deal is why the Halos would do it when they possess both C.J. Cron and Cole Calhoun. Calhoun, especially, looks superficially like a younger version of Joyce, who still has three years of team control ahead of him and is putting up similar numbers. I expect this means Calhoun may be trade bait, or Cron will find himself optioned back to Salt Lake, whence he will return if Hamilton or Calhoun find themselves on the DL. Depth in the outfield is nice to have, but dropping pitching that has been a mainstay of the bullpen seems like a poor choice.

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