ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.-The Tampa Bay Rays have acquired right-handed relief pitcher Kevin Jepsen from the Los Angeles Angels for outfielder Matt Joyce.
"Matt was an important part of this team for the last six seasons. We appreciate his many contributions to the Rays on the field, and the professionalism he brought to the ballpark," said Vice President, Baseball Operations Erik Neander. "We're excited about the experience Kevin brings to the bullpen, and his ability to pitch in key moments of the game."
Jepsen, 30, had a career-best 2.63 ERA (65-IP, 19-ER) for the Angels in 2014, establishing career highs in appearances (74, fourth in the American League), innings pitched and strikeouts (75). Of his 74 appearances, 65 were scoreless, which ranked third among major league relief pitchers and second in the AL behind teammate Joe Smith (67). He limited opponents to a .192 (45-for-234) batting average, and right-handed batters hit only .167 (20-for-120). After allowing a career-high five runs on Opening Day, he pitched to a 1.96 ERA (64.1-IP, 14-ER) through the end of the regular season, including two separate scoreless streaks each spanning 19 appearances. Over seven major league seasons, all with the Angels, he is 13-18 with a 3.94 ERA (280.2-IP, 123-ER) and 271 strikeouts.
Joyce, 30, hit .254 (106-for-418) with nine home runs and 52 RBI in 140 games (116 starts; 70-LF, 13-RF, 33-DH) for the Rays in 2014. He led the team and ranked eighth in the AL with a .365 on-base percentage against right-handed pitching, and all but one of his starts came against right-handed starters. The Tampa native was acquired from the Detroit Tigers prior to the 2009 season and has spent the last six years (2009-14) in the Rays organization, batting .250 with 76 home runs, 280 RBI and a .342 on-base percentage at the major league level over that span. Over seven major league seasons, he has hit .250 with 88 home runs and 313 RBI.