TEMPE, Ariz. — It has been 14 years since the Angels carried a Rule 5 pick on their major league roster — the last was reliever Derrick Turnbow in 2000 — but left-hander Brian Moran could break that streak.
Toronto selected Moran, 25, from Seattle in December’s Rule 5 draft and traded him to the Angels for a $244,000 international draft slot. If Moran is not on the opening-day roster and he clears waivers, the Mariners would likely re-acquire him for $25,000.
Moran, a 6-foot-3, 210-pounder, went 2-5 with a 3.45 earned run average for triple-A Tacoma last season, striking out 85 in 63 innings and limiting left-handers to a .235 average, .272 on-base percentage and .322 slugging percentage.
He has a below-average fastball, but his funky delivery helped him hold lefties to a .591 on-base-plus-slugging percentage (OPS) in 2013. But he struggles to retire right-handers, who had an .894 OPS against him.
Moran will compete with veteran left-handed specialist Clay Rapada and minor league signee Robert Carson to give the Angels a second left-handed bullpen option behind Sean Burnett, who is rehabilitating from elbow surgery and is not a lock to be ready by opening day.
With the American League West filled with powerful left-handed bats, Moran could be called on to help neutralize hitters such as Prince Fielder (Texas), Robinson Cano and Shin-Soo Choo (Texas).
“He’s annihilated left-handed hitters in triple-A,” Angels General Manager Jerry Dipoto said. “He’s got a history of missing bats, particularly of left-handed hitters. He has a good breaking ball he can throw for a strike. He’s 6-3, but he strides as if he were 6-8, and the fastball tends to play firmer than it looks on the gun.”
Manager Mike Scioscia said he would not carry a second left-hander in the bullpen “at the expense of losing a good right-handed arm,” but he admitted he was intrigued by the possibility of carrying Moran.
“I don’t think he’s going to wow you with a lot of his stuff, but there’s no doubt he has been very effective against left-handers,” Scioscia said. “Everything we’ve seen on videotape and everything we’ve seen statistically really puts him in the mix to make our club.”