Angels make two trades for pitching and deal away catcher Hank Conger

November 5, 2014

The Angels today acquired right-handed pitcher Nick Tropeano and catcher Carlos Perez from the Houston Astros in exchange for local product and catcher Hank Conger.  In a second deal also executed today, the Angels acquired lefty pitcher Cesar Ramos from the Tampa Bay Rays in exchange for righty pitcher Mark Sappington.  Today’s announcements were made by General Manager Jerry Dipoto.

Conger, 26, completed his fifth season with the Angels in 2014, posting a .221 (51/231) average with 12 doubles, four home runs, and 25 RBI in 80 games.  Halo pitchers fashioned a 3.35 ERA with Conger behind the plate and saw him throw out a career-best 14 would-be base stealers. A former 1st round draft pick by the Halos in 2006 and a local Southern California product, Conger owns a .224 (154/688) average at the Major League level with 17 home runs and 71 RBI.

Tropeano, 24, spent a majority of the 2014 season with Triple-A Oklahoma City before making his Major League debut with Houston on Sept. 10. The right-hander made four starts with the Astros, going 1-3 with a 4.57 ERA (21.2 IP – 11 ER) and tossed at least five innings in each of his starts, including a season-best 6.2 innings against the Rangers on Sept. 22nd.

Prior to his call up, Tropeano appeared in 23 games (20 starts) with Oklahoma City, going 9-5 with a 3.03 ERA (124.2 IP – 42 ER), logged 120 strikeouts, and allowed just 33 walks (3.64 SO/W). The New York native finished the 2014 minor league campaign as the Pacific Coast League’s leader in ERA, WHIP (0.99), and opponents’ average (.203), and also led the RedHawks in wins and strikeouts.

Originally drafted by the Astros in the fifth round of the 2011 draft out of Stony Brook University, Tropeano owns a 31-24 career record at the minor league level (4 seasons) with a 3.26 ERA (124.2 IP – 42 ER) and 479 strikeouts. The right-hander is a two-time Mid-Season All-Star (2012 and 2014), three-time pitcher of the week (all in 2012 with Single-A Lexington) and entered 2014 ranked as the Astros’ No. 18 prospect (10th-best pitcher) by Baseball America.

Perez, 24, appeared in 88 games with Triple-A Oklahoma City in 2014 and batted .259 (78/301) with 16 doubles, six home runs and 34 RBI. In 74 games behind the plate for the RedHawks, he successfully caught 22 of 68 (32%) would-be basestealers which ranked as the fifth-best mark in the Pacific Coast League.

A native of Venezuela, Perez was originally signed by Toronto as an international free agent in 2008 and was traded to Houston as part of a 10-player deal in July of 2012. He was named one of the Blue Jays Top 10 prospects by Baseball America following the 2009 and 2010 seasons. In seven career minor league seasons, he owns a .277 batting average (536/1934) with 111 doubles, 27 triples, 20 home runs and 253 RBI. For his career, he has a caught stealing percentage of 33% (183 CS – 547 attempts) across 458 minor league games as a catcher.

As to the Angels second transaction, Ramos, 30, appeared in 43 games (seven starts) with Tampa Bay in 2014 and posted a 2-6 record and 3.70 ERA (82.2 IP – 34 ER) with 66 strikeouts and 39 walks. As a reliever, he pitched to a 2.92 ERA (52.1 IP – 17 ER), as compared to a 5.04 mark (30.1 IP – 17 ER) as a starter. He led all Rays relievers and ranked tied for seventh in the American League with 13 outings of at least two innings pitched.

Ramos opened the season in the Rays bullpen before being moved to the rotation in mid-April. He returned to the bullpen for the remainder of the season on May 20. In 13 appearances during the months of July and August, he pitched to a 1.56 ERA (17.1 IP – 3 ER) including a stretch in which he allowed just one run from July 11 – August 29.

A Los Angeles native, Ramos was originally drafted by the Padres in the first round (35th overall) in the 2005 amateur draft out of Long Beach State University. While in college, he was a member of a starting rotation that included Angels ace Jered Weaver and former Angels left-hander Jason Vargas. Ramos made his big league debut in 2009 with San Diego and pitched in parts of two seasons for the Padres before being traded to the Rays in December of 2010. In his big league career, Ramos owns a 5-11 record with one save and a 3.90 ERA (246.2 IP – 107 ER) in 186 games (10 starts) across six seasons with San Diego and Tampa Bay.

Sappington 23, spent time with Double-A Arkansas and Single-A Inland Empire in 2014, combining to go 4-11 with a 6.02 ERA (113.2 IP – 76 ER) in 42 games (17 starts). The right-hander began the season with the Travelers, going 1-4 with 6.44 ERA (43.1 IP – 31 ER) in nine starts before being transferred to Single-A on May 22nd.

Over his final 33 appearances with the 66ers, Sappington went 3-7 with a 5.76 ERA (70.1 IP – 45 ER) and logged five saves. The 2005 fifth round draft pick has spent three seasons in the minors, fashioning a 17-17 record with a 4.61 ERA (306.2 IP – 157 ER) in 84 games (56 starts).

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