Victorino goes 1-for-4 with a bunt single in Halos debut
By Alden Gonzalez
HOUSTON -- The Angels acquired left-handed-hitting outfielders David Murphy and David DeJesus on Tuesday, one day after trading for right-handed-hitting outfielder Shane Victorino. The moves -- made without parting with any premium starting-pitching prospects -- give Angels manager Mike Scioscia the ability to platoon in left field and designated hitter, the two most troubled spots of his lineup.
Rather than splurge on a premium bat in what continued to be a tough buyers' market for offense, the Angels opted for volume.
"The results will show up on the field, but I feel a lot better getting some guys who can play left, feel a whole lot better about our chances," interim general manager Bill Stoneman said on a conference call. "I especially like that we got some veteran guys who have been around."
For Murphy, the Angels sent Double-A shortstop Eric Stamets to the Indians. For DeJesus, rookie-level starter Eduar Lopez went to the Rays. Triple-A relievers Vinnie Pestano and Jeremy McBryde were designated for assignment to create room on the 40-man roster, and the Angels will announce corresponding moves to put Murphy and DeJesus on the active roster on Wednesday.
DeJesus and Victorino -- acquired from the Red Sox for Triple-A shortstop Josh Rutledge on Monday -- are expected to platoon in left field, while Murphy platoons with right-handed power hitter C.J. Cron at designated hitter. Fellow left-handed-hitting outfielder Matt Joyce -- batting .178 and currently on the seven-day concussion disabled list -- seemingly no longer has a role, but he will remain on the team for now.
DeJesus ($5 million) and Murphy ($7 million) both have affordable club options for next season.
"It's going to give us a little more balance," Scioscia said. "Both those guys have been hitting right-handed pitching well this year, so they'll definitely help out."
Murphy -- with experience at both outfield corners -- batted .271/.333/.429 from 2008-14, averaging 13 homers, 58 RBIs and 130 games per season with the Rangers and Indians. The 33-year-old has a career .801 OPS against righties and was batting .296/.344/.437 in Cleveland this season, with five homers and 27 RBIs.
The Angels could use Murphy to bat fifth against righties, behind Albert Pujols.
"I'm not very particular about what I play," Murphy said. "I'm just happy to be part of a great team and great lineup. I'm ready to be used however they want to use me."
DeJesus has batted .276/.350/.415 since 2005, averaging eight homers and five stolen bases with the Royals, A's, Cubs, Nationals and Rays. The 35-year-old can play all three outfield spots and has spent most of his time in left field this season, while batting .259/.323/.375 with five homers and 26 RBIs.
"To go over to a first-place team, a great team, a tough team, that's playing well again this year and can go deep into the playoffs -- that's awesome," said DeJesus, with a career .803 OPS against righties. "My family actually moved out that way [to Southern California], to live there in the offseason, so that's even better. I get to be around my son and my wife a lot more."
Victorino, limited to 63 games because of a slew of injuries the past two years, started in left field and batted eighth in the Angels' 10-5 loss to the Astros on Tuesday, going 1-for-4 with a bunt single. The 34-year-old has played in three World Series, winning two of them. He was an integral part of the Red Sox championship run as recently as 2013.
He's looking forward to another pennant race before free agency.
"I definitely relish it," Victorino said. "I'm definitely excited. If there's any other chance or possibility of being in the postseason, that's what you play this game for. I've had that opportunity, been blessed to have that opportunity, and hope to have more of them."
Stamets, who was ranked 22nd in the Angels' system before the trade, is a standout defensive player who has yet to develop offensively. The 23-year-old right-handed hitter was batting .248/.306/.360 in Double-A.
Lopez has a 3.39 ERA and a 1.33 WHIP in 191 1/3 innings in the Angels' system, walking 5.0 batters and striking out 11.9 per nine innings. The 20-year-old right-hander was signed out of the Dominican Republic and has yet to advance past rookie ball.
The Indians sent cash considerations for Murphy, but there's no word on the amount.
The Angels are still open to adding a reliever who could potentially pitch the seventh inning, but they're probably done addressing the lineup.
"We're open to anything that helps make the club better," Stoneman said, "no matter what it is."