Dipoto thinks Angels have quietly improved pitching staff

Angels acquire Tampa Rays lefty reliever and Los Angeles native, Cesar Ramos. 

Kim Klement/Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The first Wednesday in November suddenly became a busy one within the Angels organization.

The club announced two trades Wednesday. First, the club dealt local product and backup catcher Hank Conger to Houston for pitcher Nick Tropeano and minor league catcher Carlos Perez.

Soon after, the club announced it acquired former Long Beach State Dirtbag and Los Angeles native, lefty reliever Cesar Ramos from the Tampa Rays for righthander Mark Sappington.

It’s always an arms race to win in October and, with the moves Wednesday, the club feels it bolstered its pitching staff.

"Lo and behold, while nobody was watching we, somehow, managed to come up with a little pitching depth in-house,"  Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto said. "It’s been a slow and arduous process, but we feel like that group of young pitchers has got us pointed in the right direction."

In Tropeano, the Angels get a pitcher who led the Pacific Coast League in ERA (3.03), WHIP (0.99) and opponents batting average (.203) for Triple-A Oklahoma City last season.

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He made four starts for the Astros as a September call-up. In spring training, he will compete for a spot in the Angels’ starting rotation, Dipoto says. The general manager also mentioned Tropeano might be needed to eat up some innings early in the 2015 season in case Garrett Richards, who tore his left patellar tendon in August, isn’t ready for Opening Day. At the time of the injury, Richards was expected to need 6-9 months for recovery.

Perez has thrown out 33 percent of basestealers in his seven seasons in the minors. Dipoto says he will be in the mix to be the backup catcher in 2015 along with Jett Bandy and Jackson Williams, who the team picked up off waivers from the Rockies last month. Williams caught Richards for a season while they were at the University of Oklahoma.

Dipoto describes Ramos as a "utility bullpen guy" who can throw effectively to both lefties and righties.

"Cesar’s done just about everything include starting games," Dipoto said. "This year he was particularly effective against lefties. He was used more in multi-inning relief outings than any pitcher in the league. He’s proving the ability to bounce back to getting multi-inning, to face just the lefties and neutralize them. The one thing that really attracted us to Cesar was the ability to do all those things."

As for Conger, he goes to a team, Dipoto says, that has had an eye on him for "years." Dipoto says he detected the Huntington Beach High School alum was "a little disappointed" when the two spoke Wednesday about the trade.  

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It was similar to the conversation he had with another local product — Mark Trumbo — one year prior. Like Conger, Trumbo also attended high school in Orange County, Villa Park. 

All in all, however, the first Wednesday in November turned out to be a good one for the club. 

"We view this as a really positive day for the Angels organization, really," Dipoto said.