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MLB trade rumors: Angels select two players in Rule V draft

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Big splash?

Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

In what has been a slow-brewing winter meetings thus far, Billy Eppler continues to focus on the margins, selecting RH relief pitcher Deolis Guerra from the Pirates and 1B/LF Ji-man Choi from the Mariners.

Guerra, 26, has a 4.68 ERA over 10 minor league seasons, settling in as a reliever in recent years. In his last three seasons in AAA, Deolis struck out roughly a batter an inning while walking about 3 per nine. He made his major league debut last year with Pittsburg, appearing in 16.2 innings, striking out 17 batters but getting roughed up to the tune of a 6.48 ERA, including 5 home runs against. Fangraphs shows him throwing mostly fastballs, change-ups and cutters, sitting around 89-90 MPH. He would presumably compete with Rasmus and Bedrosian - among others - for a spot in the pen. He could very well be insurance in the event the Angels move a reliever for a positional player at some point this offseason, though those options seem to be dwindling by the day.

In Choi, Eppler found a contact hitting, underpowered corner bat, whom I guess will compete with Efren Navarro to be the 25th man on the roster. Between Todd Cunningham, Rafael Ortega and now Craig Gentry, it's hard to see where the switch-hitting Choi fits into the equation, beyond extra insurance against Albert Pujols' rehabbing right foot. As pointed out earlier by TheKingFish, Choi was suspended a year ago for a dirty urine sample, so there is a bit of tarnish to his name. At 24 years-old, Choi is quite a bit younger than Navarro and has posted superior K/BB numbers throughout his minor league career, so this could be seen as a upgrade, much in the way Ortega could be over Cowgill.

Of course, per Rule V guidelines, each of these players would have to spend all year on the major league roster or get returned to their original teams. I would guess Choi would be the frontrunner at the moment to make the cut, but spring training is a long ways away and odds are neither of these guys ever see any action for the Halos. Still, a risk-free proposition in both cases.

In the AAA portion of the draft, the Angels picked 25 year-old RHP Blayne Weller, who's name is even worse than his awful peripherals: 6.0 K/9 and 3.2 BB/9 in AAA Reno (Arizona) last year. To be fair, that was across only 25 innings last season and he holds a career 8.8 K/9 in his minor league career. Most importantly, he's allowed only 0.6 HR/9 over 548.1 minor league innings, so I'd guess he's a ground ball specialist of sorts.

With their second pick in the AAA phase of the draft, they selected RHP D.J. Johnson, who has a much stronger name and apparently a stronger arm to go with it, punching out 9.2 batters per nine over 168 minor league innings. Johnson, 25, was plucked from the Frontier League by Minnesota in 2014, after failed stints with Tampa and Arizona. A definite non-prospect but one that could be a cool story if he eventually claws his way to the majors.