The Los Angeles Angels have acquired right-hander Vinnie Pestano from the Cleveland Indians, according to Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register. In exchange, the Indians will receive minor-league right-hander Michael Clevinger. The Angels also designated infielder Tommy Field for assignment to make room for Pestano on the 40-man roster.
The 29-year-old Pestano was among the best relief pitchers in baseball during the 2011 and 2012 seasons, posting a combined 2.45 ERA, 160 ERA+, 3.07 FIP, 10.9 K/9, 3.3 BB/9, and 4.4 WAR. However, his performance fell off last season, as he put up a 4.08 ERA and 5.03 FIP before being embroiled in a bitter arbitration case over the offseason.
He has been even worse this season, posting a 5.00 ERA in 13 innings pitched, though his 3.47 FIP, 13.0 K/9, 1.0 BB/9, and .458 BABIP all indicate that he has probably been better than the performance level his ERA alludes to. He has been fantastic in 32 appearances at the Triple-A level, owning a 1.78 ERA, 11.0 K/9, and 3.6 BB/9 in 30.1 innings pitched. However, there is further reason to be concerned by his diminished velocity, as his average fastball velocity has fallen from 91.1 MPH in 2013 to 89.6 MPH this season.
Pestano, who isn't eligible for free agency until after the 2017 season, is an Orange County native, born in Newport Beach and attended college at California State University Fullerton. He will report to Triple-A Salt Lake City.
Pestano grew up near Angel Stadium: "I've been in the shadow of that halo for a while, so it'll nice to get back out there."— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) August 7, 2014
Pestano adds to the stockpile of relievers that the Angels have acquired over the past month, including Huston Street, Jason Grilli, and Jason Thatcher. The move likely comes as a reaction to recent injuries to Thatcher and Mike Morin.
The 23-year-old Clevinger was the Angels' fourth round selection in the 2011 draft, and has a 4.29 career minor league ERA, including a 4.31 ERA, 9.6 K/9, and 3.6 BB/9 in 18 starts for Low-A Burlington and High-A Inland Empire this season. A former Tommy John recipient, Clevinger was ranked as the 10th best prospect in the Angels' system by MLB.com in their recent midseason update.
The 27-year-old FIeld is capable of playing second base, third base, and shortstop. He hasn't appeared in the majors this season, but played 15 games with the Angels last season, and in 81 total plate appearances since the start of the 2011 season, he has hit .224/.272/.224. Field has hit .285/.351/.440 in 342 plate appearances at Triple-A Salt Lake this season.