TEMPE, Ariz. -- The Detroit Tigers needed help at shortstop, and the Angels took advantage of that need to fortify their pitching depth.
The Angels acquired left-hander Jose Alvarez from the Tigers on Friday for shortstop Andrew Romine. Angels General Manager Jerry Dipoto said Alvarez would join the team Sunday and could emerge as a minor league starter or major league swingman.
Romine, 28, was out of options and unlikely to make the Angels. Tigers General Manager Dave Dombrowski told reporters that the switch-hitting Romine could be the left-handed batter in a platoon to replace the injured Jose Iglesias.
"I'm pumped," Romine said. "Obviously, it's a great team. You can't argue that. They're going to be going for a world championship every year."
Alvarez, 24, the Tigers' minor league pitcher of the year last season, went 8-6 with a 2.40 earned-run average in 21 games at triple-A Toledo and 1-5 with a 5.82 ERA in 14 games for the Tigers.
Dipoto said the trade addressed the Angels' "much-discussed depth" issue among starting pitchers. He cited Alvarez, Wade LeBlanc and Matt Shoemaker as options beyond the five starters in the rotation -- omitting the name of Joe Blanton, who is set for what appears to be a showcase start Saturday.
The Angels consider Alvarez a potential back-end starter, with a fastball in the 88-90 mph range and a solid changeup.
John McDonald, 39, like Romine an excellent defender with a weak bat, appears to have won the backup middle infield job.
Among the Angels' other non-roster invitees, infielders Carlos Pena and Chad Tracy, and catcher Yorvit Torrealba can opt out of their minor league contracts on Sunday. Outfielder Brennan Boesch can do the same on March 30.
Romine, a fifth-round draft choice in 2007, played for the Angels in parts of the last four seasons. He attended Trabuco Hills High and lives in Lake Forest, and he said the excitement of the Detroit opportunity was tempered by leaving his hometown team, and his friends in the only organization he has ever known.
He was not startled by the trade, but he was startled by how he found out. Dipoto pulled him off the field during batting practice.
"Jerry ran out on the field," Romine said. "We're like, 'What is Jerry doing on the field?' "Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun