ANAHEIM, CA - The Angels today acquired OF Matt Joyce from the Tampa Bay Rays in exchange for RHP Kevin Jepsen. Today's announcement was made by General Manager Jerry Dipoto.
Joyce, 30, appeared in 140 games (116 starts - 70-LF, 33 DH & 13-RF) for Tampa Bay in 2014, marking his seventh Major League season and sixth with the Rays and batted .254 (106/418) with 23 doubles, nine home runs and 52 RBI. He set a career-high with 62 walks and ranked ninth in the American League averaging a base on balls every 7.95 plate appearances (min. 400 PA). Additionally, his nine sacrifice flies ranked third in the American League (behind Miguel Cabrera-11 and Mike Trout-10). On June 29 at Baltimore, he went 5-for-6 with two home runs, a double and four RBI and tied Tampa Bay club records with five hits and 12 total bases. He also established a Rays' record on April 25 at Chicago (A.L.) by drawing five walks and became the first A.L. player to record five walks without an intentional walk in a nine-inning game since Rickey Henderson did it for Seattle on July 30, 2000 vs. Toronto. He made just one start against a left-handed starting pitcher (May 27 at Toronto vs. Mark Buehrle) and had 384 of his 418 at-bats in 2014 come vs. right-handed pitching.
An A.L. All-Star in 2011, Joyce has compiled a .250 (546/2182) career batting average, with 127 doubles, 88 home runs and 313 RBI across seven Major League seasons with Detroit and Tampa Bay. He batted .290 with 20 doubles, 12 home runs and 41 RBI during the first half of the 2011 campaign to earn his All-Star selection. The Tampa native has made five Opening Day starts for the Rays, which is tied for fourth-most in club history. Only Carl Crawford (8), Evan Longoria (6) and Ben Zobrist (6) have been in Tampa Bay's Opening Day lineup more often than Joyce. Originally drafted by the Tigers in the 12th round of the 2005 amateur draft, Joyce made his Major League debut with Detroit on May 5, 2008. He was acquired by Tampa Bay following the 2008 season in exchange for RHP Edwin Jackson.
2014 marked the seventh big league season with the Angels for Jepsen, one of four relievers in Angels' history to pitch at least seven seasons with the Club, joining Troy Percival (10 seasons), Scot Shields (nine) and Francisco Rodriguez (seven). In 2014, the reliever logged an 0-2 record and 2.63 ERA (65 IP - 19 ER) with two saves in 74 appearances. He established career highs with 74 games, 65 innings pitched, 75 strikeouts and his 2.63 ERA was lowest single season total of career. His 65 scoreless appearances were third most in the Majors behind the Pirates' Tony Watson (68) and teammate Joe Smith (67).
In franchise history, Jepsen ranks fifth all-time with 315 games pitched and 10th on the Angels' all-time list with an average of 8.69 strikeouts per nine innings (min. 100 games). The veteran is one of eight pitchers to appear in 300+ games for the Halos. Since 2008, he is one of three active A.L. relievers to pitch in 315+ games while only playing for one franchise (also, David Robertson-NYY and Glen Perkins-MIN; through completion of 2014 campaign).
Jepsen, 30, was originally selected by the Angels in the second round of the 2002 Amateur Draft.