Angels acquire Matt Joyce from Tampa Bay for reliever Kevin Jepsen

December 16, 2014

The Angels today made a move to add a quality left-handed bat to their lineup, acquiring outfielder and former 2011 All-Star Matt Joyce from the Tampa Bay Rays in exchange for righty relief pitcher Kevin Jepsen.

Joyce, 30, will likely fill the designated hitter role for the Angels, while also occasionally spelling Josh Hamilton and Kole Calhoun in the outfield.  As a DH, he could end up platooning with C.J. Cron, since Joyce hits well against right-handed pitching, but has struggled with lefties.  Joyce made just one start against a left-handed starting pitcher last season, and had 384 of his 418 at-bats in 2014 come versus right-handed pitching.

Joyce appeared in 140 games for Tampa Bay in 2014, batting .254 with 23 doubles, nine home runs, and 52 RBI.  Additionally, his nine sacrifice flies ranked third in the American League (behind Miguel Cabrera-11 and Mike Trout-10).

Joyce is a patient hitter who knows how to draw a walk.  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. 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.

Jepsen leaves as one of only four relievers in Angels’ history to pitch at least seven seasons with the team, joining Troy Percival (10 seasons), Scot Shields (nine), and Francisco Rodriguez (seven) on that exclusive list.

In 2014, Jepsen, 30, had one of his best seasons, logging 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).

By Staff of and news services

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