New Angel Huston Street a short reliever with long-term aspirations

New Angel Huston Street a short reliever with long-term aspirations
Huston Street made his debut with the Angels on Saturday night against the Seattle Mariners. Street gave up one hit and had one strike out in the ninth inning. (Stephen Dunn / Getty Images)

New Angels closer Huston Street is in the final year of a five-year, $36-million contract that includes a $7-million team option for next season, but he does not view himself as a temporary solution for a club that has had trouble locking down the ninth inning in recent years.

Asked before Saturday night's game against the Seattle Mariners if he envisions himself remaining in Anaheim beyond 2015, the 30-year-old right-hander didn't hesitate.


"Absolutely," said Street, who was acquired Friday night in a six-player trade with San Diego. "I told the Padres that this was a place I would welcome going to because you have a good chance to win a championship."

But securing a long-term extension is by no means a given, even for a seasoned closer who has converted 109 of 117 save opportunities since 2011, a 93.2% success rate that is the best among all relievers over that span.

"I have to be successful first. I have to do my job," Street said. "It's something I want, to be in a place you enjoy being, especially as a closer, where your job is predicated on winning. We need to play eight innings of good baseball for me to even have a chance to matter.

"But I have to earn that again, to prove to this team, which is in middle of something serious, trying to catch the A's and move into first place, that I'm worthy of that."

The Angels are betting he is, so much so that they gave up three of their top prospects in an already-thin farm system — triple-A second baseman Taylor Lindsey, double-A reliever R.J. Alvarez and Class-A shortstop Jose Rondon — to acquire Street.

"It's always painful giving up young players we believe are going to play in the big leagues," General Manager Jerry Dipoto said. "But we feel good about the return. Huston has been one of the more consistent closers in baseball for a long time, and we feel very strongly about his character and what he brings to the clubhouse."

That character was evident Saturday when Street sought out Joe Smith, who yielded the closer role to Street despite having converted his last 10 save opportunities and allowed just one hit in 11 innings entering Saturday.

Smith, who is 3-0 with a 2.27 ERA and 15 saves in 45 games, made it clear Friday that he welcomed Street, saying, "If they think he can help this club, bring it on." But the new guy wanted to assure the guy whose job he was taking that supporting teammates is a two-way Street.

"He's my teammate — I'm going to pull for him, and I expect him to pull for me," Street said. "He did an unbelievable job. Sometimes it's the business of baseball. We'll be open with each other. 'If it's me [pitching the ninth], it's me, if it's you, it's you, but let's just pull together and try to win a championship, because I promise, that's going to feel better than anything.'"

Street, a 10-year veteran who has a 35-27 career record, 2.87 ERA and 258 saves in 300 opportunities, is not overpowering, but he delivers a 90-mph fastball, slider and changeup from a deceptive three-quarters arm slot.

"He has good command, he uses all of his pitches, and the X factor is how competitive he is on the mound," said Angels catcher Chris Iannetta, a Colorado teammate of Street from 2009-2011. "Any time you add a veteran closer who has done well in both leagues, that's awesome."

Street last played in the American League for Oakland in 2008, but he expects the transition from the National League to be smooth.

"A lot of it is trusting your catcher, trusting the scouting report," Street said. "Down and away is still down and away; locating a slider is the same. I've never been a guy who tries to trick people. I'm also not a guy who just blows people away. Move the ball in, out, around. So much of what I do is trusting my stuff."

Follow Mike DiGiovanna on Twitter @MikeDiGiovanna