ARLINGTON, Texas — Less than 24 hours before Wednesday's 1p.m. PDT nonwaiver trade deadline, rumors were flying about the Angels, who began Tuesday 14 games back in the American League West and in selling mode.
The St. Louis Cardinals, with a surplus of young, high-end pitchers, have reportedly inquired about shortstop Erick Aybar; the Kansas City Royals are hot for second baseman Howie Kendrick, and the Angels are pursuing Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Ian Kennedy.
One person who seemed oblivious to it all before the game was Manager Mike Scioscia, who is not on Twitter, not on Facebook, and not really up to speed on many rumors.
“The one thing I try to reinforce with the players is don't believe what you read in the papers and don't look at all the rumors,” Scioscia said, before asking reporters, “Isn't there a website now just devoted to trade rumors?”
Told that MLBTradeRumors, the industry leader in aggregating rumors and personnel moves from multiple sources, has been in existence for eight years, Scioscia said, “Yeah, and I think we discovered electricity, too.”
The Angels are not expected to trade Aybar or Kendrick unless they can get a front-line major league or major league-ready starting pitcher in return. One problem with Kansas City's pursuit of Kendrick: According to Foxsports.com, the Royals are one of 12 teams on Kendrick's no-trade list.
“I don't even know who's on my no-trade list,” Kendrick said Tuesday. “I would have to ask my agent.”
Kendrick, in the second year of a four-year, $33.5-million contract, has not been the subject of trade speculation for several years, but he was a regular on the rumor mill earlier in his career and is not distracted by the talk.
“I guess it means I'm playing good baseball,” said Kendrick, who is batting .301 and got his 1,000th career hit Tuesday with a two-run single in the eighth. “I try not to focus on it. I just go out and play. If it happens, maybe it will be a good change, but I grew up in this organization, I love playing here, and I'm very happy where I'm at.”
The Angels' pursuit of Kennedy, a former Westminster La Quinta High and USC star, is more of a buy-low, hope-for-high-return venture. The right-hander has a 3-8 record with a 5.23 earned-run average, his worst season in the big leagues, and he probably wouldn't cost the Angels a front-line big league player.
But Kennedy is only two years removed from a 2011 season in which he was 21-4 with a 2.88 ERA, and Angels General Manager Jerry Dipoto, a former Diamondbacks executive, is very familiar with him.
Walk this way
Aybar, never known for his patience at the plate, drew six walks in nine games through Monday night after walking eight times in his first 72 games, but Scioscia couldn't attribute it to a new approach at the plate for Aybar.
"When hitters have a reputation of expanding the zone, pitchers will try to take advantage of that, and sometimes it's a double-edge sword, where they'll expand so much so early in the count, that a hitter will draw a walk," Scioscia said. "And Erick has done that."