The LA Angels made another trade with the future in mind as they sent current closer and seven-year major league veteran Fernando Salas to the New York Mets for Single-A pitcher Erik Manoah Wednesday afternoon.
The LA Angels have now traded two key pieces from their bullpen in the last month dealing Joe Smith to the Cubs at the end of July. Salas has been both a set-up man and a closer for the Angels over his three seasons with the Angels.
Recently when both closer Huston Street and closer-in-waiting Cam Bedrosian went down with injuries Salas has filled in as the closer saving four games during the last two weeks. Salas for the season is 3-6 with a 4.47 ERA and six saves. Since the All-Star Break he has pitched much better sporting a 2.93 ERA in 15.1 innings pitched striking out 15 batters and allowing only five runs.
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In return for Salas the Angels get Single-A pitcher Erik Manoah who is a starting pitcher for the Mets Brooklyn Cyclones of the New York-Penn League. Manoah went 5-5 with a 5.37 ERA in 13 games with the Cyclones this season. Manoah pitched 62 innings with 63 strikeouts. His career numbers in 2.5 minor league seasons is a 9-10 record with a 5.13 ERA with 139 strikeouts in 153 innings pitched.
Manoah was drafted by the Mets in the 13th round of the 2014 Amateur Draft out of South Dade High School in Homestead, Florida. He will finish the rest of the season in Low Class A Burlington.
Salas should help bolster the Mets bullpen for the stretch run of the pennant race as the Mets are currently in 3rd place in the Wild Card race 1.5 games behind the St. Louis Cardinals. Salas is no stranger to the National League as he pitched his first four seasons for the Cardinals from 2010 to 2013. Salas’ career numbers showed him with a 19-21 record with a 3.71 ERA and 30 saves.
As for the Angels, who will now assume the closer role? Most likely manager Mike Scioscia do it with a closer-by-committee format. However, the odds on candidate to get the first crack at closer is pitcher J.C. Ramirez who has pitched very well since he was picked up off of waivers in July. Ramirez is 1-0 with a 3.34 ERA since coming to the Angels pitching in 31 games and a total of 32.1 innings allowing 12 runs while striking out 23. Mike Morin, Jose Alvarez, and Deolis Guerra also may get opportunities to close games in September.
Salas was not nearly as popular as Joe Smith was mainly due to his inconsistency during his time with the Angels. However, his veteran presence will be missed as the Angels bullpen is getting younger by the minute with Smith and Salas being traded and Huston Street on the DL. We will see how much affect it has on the team down the stretch in September.