Angels acquire reliever Dominic Leone as focus turns to postseason push

Mets relief pitcher Dominic Leone celebrates after a game against the Brewers on June 27.
(Frank Franklin II / Associated Press)
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The Angels made one last addition as the trade deadline came and went, adding another bullpen piece in New York Mets right-hander Dominic Leone, the team announced.

Leone, 31,was acquired for Jeremiah Jackson, a utility player who was the Angels’ No. 9-rated prospect in their farm system. Leone had a 4.40 earned-run average in 31 games in his first season with the Mets. Jackson was hitting .248 with 15 homers and 56 RBIs in 82 games for double-A Rocket City. The Angels also received cash considerations from the Mets, and reliever Sam Bachman was transferred to the 60-day injured list to make room on the 40-man roster.

“It’s tough to lose all these young players,” general manager Perry Minasian said. “But at the end of the day, you have to give to get.”


The deal, made official less than 20 minutes before first pitch of Tuesday’s 5-1 loss at Atlanta, capped a busy summer of trades for the Angels, who began by acquiring Eduardo Escobar from the Mets and Mike Moustakas from the Colorado Rockies in June. The Angels traded for pitchers Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo López from the Chicago White Sox last week and Randal Grichuk and C.J. Cron were brought over from the Rockies on Sunday. Earlier Tuesday, the Angels traded reliever Tucker Davidson to the Kansas City Royals for cash.

“Like I said over the last week when we got Giolito and López: different, little buzz in there,” manager Phil Nevin said before the last move was made. “The same when we got Croney and Grichuk. Just shoring up the roster and giving us a chance.

“We all appreciate the faith in us to get this done.”

Randal Grichuk, acquired by the Angels on Sunday, is one of three players who hit home runs in a 4-1 victory over the Atlanta Braves.

July 31, 2023

Grichuk and Cron had key hits in the Angels’ 4-1 win over the Braves on Monday, Grichuk with a solo home run and Cron an RBI single. López had a five-out save, his fastball topping out at 101 mph. Giolito pitched decently in his first start with the Angels on Friday night at Toronto, giving up three earned runs over 5⅓ innings, and will take the mound again Wednesday afternoon in the series finale in Atlanta.

Minasian said that in the hours before Tuesday’s deadline, he focused on making an improvement to the bullpen for the right fit and price. Leone was their answer. Their new reliever was expected to join the team soon, though whether he would be available for Wednesday’s day game was not certain.

The new roster, supplemented by the return of key players recovering from injuries, will try to carry the club to its first playoff appearance since 2014.

“We’ve made some improvements,” Minasian said after his last deadline pickup, “and I want to thank ownership first and foremost, for making the investment. ... We were able to make the team better and that was the goal from Day 1.”


The Angels entered Tuesday three games behind Toronto for the final American League wild-card spot and 4½ games out of first place in the AL West thanks to an 11-5 push since the All-Star break.

Asked whether he was satisfied with his moves, Minasian said: “You always wanna do more. … I think we achieved our goal which was to make the club better with the players we were able to acquire. It’s not just on the field, I think it’s off the field too; it just improves the clubhouse.”

In the last five weeks, the Angels have made several moves to improve their roster and, they hope, show Shohei Ohtani that they are serious about winning.

July 30, 2023

The trades were not the only moves that brought in different faces. The Angels selected the contract of outfield prospect Jordyn Adams on Tuesday, needing another outfielder with Mickey Moniak playing with a bruised foot after fouling a pitch off it.

“Really need another outfielder, good outfielder that can play the defense and Jordyn brings that,” Nevin said of Adams, who was hitting .264 with an .816 on-base-plus-slugging rate with 13 home runs and 60 RBIs over 89 games in triple A. “Heck of an athlete, can really go get it any outfield spot you put him in and swinging the bat better. Dynamic baserunner like when I put [Andrew Velazquez] in the game.”

And pitching prospect Victor Mederos was called back up with Griffin Canning put on the 15-day injured list because of right calf tightness. Nevertheless, the Angels’ outlook remains promising. Brandon Drury (shoulder bruise) started his rehab assignment, playing second base and getting at-bats with triple A on Tuesday with a possible return on Thursday. Mike Trout (wrist surgery) said he felt good coming out of his first day of taking dry swings.

“Better than expected for sure,” Trout said of how he felt. “First time you get the bat in your hand after what happened and how it was a feeling the last couple of weeks, it’s very positive.”


“Perry’s making things happen in the trade world,” Trout added, “and you saw it last night. I think everyone he brought in … contributed. It’s fun to be a part of.”