Less than 24 hours after releasing left-handed reliever Dan Jennings and declaring that left fielder Justin Upton would begin the season on the injured list, the Angels plugged those holes by signing left-hander Sam Freeman to a minor league contract and claiming outfielder Brian Goodwin off waivers from the Kansas City Royals.
Goodwin, 28, split last year between the Washington Nationals and the Kansas City Royals. He only played 75 games and batted .239 with six home runs, six doubles and 57 strikeouts. He’s a left-handed hitter with a career .318 on-base percentage who can drive the ball. He’s athletic and can provide speed in the outfield, which would make him a suitable backup to Peter Bourjos, Mike Trout and Kole Calhoun until Upton’s toe injury heals.
The Nationals selected Goodwin out of Miami Dade Community College in the first round of the 2011 draft. He stalled in the upper minors. Upon arriving in the big leagues, he found himself shuttling between the Nationals’ triple-A affiliate and their major league team for three straight seasons.
Goodwin, who had a wrist injury early last season, rode the bench in Kansas City before a left groin strain ended his season. It was his second groin injury in as many years. He came to camp in better shape, but the Royals were left wanting more offensive production. Goodwin batted only .116 (5 for 43) with a double, a triple and a home run and 13 strikeouts. He was out of minor league options, so the Royals designated him for assignment on Sunday. He is under club control 2022.
The Angels, again, have taken a flier on upside. Baseball America’s scouting reports lauded his arm strength as he climbed through the Nationals’ farm system, where he batted .253 in 565 games. Goodwin, who played one season at North Carolina before a suspension for violating university policy prompted a transfer, has also always been known for his athleticism and patient approach at the plate.
Freeman, 32, was released by the Atlanta Braves last week after allowing four earned runs, one homer and four walks in eight innings this spring. He has a 3.61 ERA for his career, which spans seven years and four clubs. Freeman stumbled in the first half, when he yielded 21 earned runs in 37 1/3 innings, spent time on the disabled list because of left shoulder inflammation. Upon his return, he had a 2.08 ERA and struck 18 batters in 13 innings. Freeman, who threw a 95-mph four-seam fastball and sinker, and an 86-mph splitter last year, did not make the Braves’ postseason roster.
To make room for Goodwin on the 40-man roster, which is full, the Angels designated for assignment minor league pitcher Jesus Castillo. The Angels, who don’t have a left-handed reliever on the major league roster, must make another corresponding move if they choose to select Freeman’s contract.