Angels bolster bullpen by trading for Frieri
Halos send Minor Leaguers Amarista, Roach to Padres
ANAHEIM -- The Angels took a step in hopes of beefing up their beleaguered bullpen on Thursday, sending Minor League infielder Alexi Amarista and Minor League right-hander Donn Roach to the Padres for right-handed reliever Ernesto Frieri.
Frieri has put up a 2.33 ERA, a 1.237 WHIP and 11.4 strikeouts per nine innings in 105 appearances through parts of four years in the big leagues, all of which came in San Diego. In his first full season last year, he posted a 2.71 ERA in 63 innings.
"He misses bats," Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto said. "It's the opportunity to go find a cost-effective, effective-on-the-field part of a solution. I believe he can be a part of what we're doing here, not just now but moving forward. He comes with five years of [team] control and is 26 years old. So, the criteria that we set out for, the pieces that we tried to go out and acquire to improve our bullpen, he hit on all of them."
Frieri will be with the Angels on Friday, though the club has yet to announce its corresponding roster move. David Carpenter (really their only ground-ball pitcher), Kevin Jepsen (charged with eight earned runs in seven innings) and Jordan Walden (taken out of the closer's role to work on slider command) all have options left.
Frieri boasts a low-to-mid 90s fastball with all sorts of movement, a deceptive delivery and a sharp-breaking slider. He does, however, give up a lot of fly balls (though Angel Stadium is a friendly place for that) and tends to have lapses with his control (averaging 4.7 walks per nine innings in his big league career).
"We're going to give him an opportunity to pitch himself into a role," Dipoto said. "What it does right now is it gives us another experienced and effective arm to put down in the bullpen and allow us to create a mix towards the end of the game."
The speedy, slap-hitting, versatile Amarista -- who can play the middle infield and all three outfield spots -- cracked the Angels' Opening Day roster as the 14th position player but was sent down when the club needed a fifth starter on April 15. With Maicer Izturis and Alberto Callaspo on the bench and out of options, and shortstop prospect Jean Segura in the Minors, the 23-year-old was expendable.
Roach posted a 3.97 ERA in 67 games (16 starts) through three seasons in the Angels' Minor League system.
Dipoto has prioritized bullpen additions for most of his tenure, especially since the start of the regular season, as the relief corps has compiled a 5.08 ERA (ranked 27th in the Majors) and six losses (tied for second most).
"Honestly, what we're trying to add is an option," Dipoto said. "It's just an option. Someone who gives you another name or another name you can call on in times of need and go out there and do something very effective."
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his columns and his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.