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OC Register: Angels let Jonathan Lucroy go to make room for catcher Max Stassi

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CLEVELAND — Trevor Cahill is the last man standing from the Angels’ most recent free-agent class.

On Friday the Angels designated Jonathan Lucroy for assignment, just as they had done with pitchers Matt Harvey and Cody Allen earlier this summer. Justin Bour is now in the minors.

Although Cahill was demoted from the rotation to the bullpen, he nonetheless is the only player left on the big-league roster among the five major league free agents the Angels signed last winter.

They all signed one-year deals for a combined $34.35 million.

Lucroy went the way of Harvey and Allen after the Angels acquired catcher Max Stassi, who created a roster crunch when joined the team on Friday.

The Angels opted to keep Kevan Smith instead of Lucroy, in large part because Smith remains under control for three more seasons, while Lucroy is a free agent at the end of this season.

Lucroy, 33, hit .242 with seven homers and a .681 OPS. He also had struggled defensively this season, allowing a major league-high 53 extra bases on pitches getting away from him (46 wild pitches and seven passed balls).

Lucroy will now be placed on waivers. If he is claimed, a team would take over the remainder of his $3.35 million contract. If he’s unclaimed, he will become a free agent.

The Angels had a few discussions about trading Lucroy in the days leading up to Wednesday’s deadline, according to a source, but there was not enough interest for another team to make the deal.

The Houston Astros were the only contender that added a catcher at the deadline, and they acquired Martín Maldonado. That deal cleared the way for the Astros to trade Stassi to the Angels in the last hour before the deadline.

Stassi and Smith will now split the catching duties, with the proportion of playing time to be determined, Manager Brad Ausmus said. Stassi started on Friday.

Stassi, coincidentally, was in Cleveland with the Astros when the deal was struck. He was even staying in the same hotel the Angels use, so he didn’t even have to check out of his room.

On Friday he was in the same locker in the visitors’ clubhouse that he’d had a couple of days earlier with the Astros, but trying on red catcher’s equipment.

“I was just hanging out at the hotel for a couple days and walking around,” Stassi said.

The Angels arrived in Cleveland early Thursday morning and on Thursday night Stassi went out to dinner with Angels pitching coach Doug White – who had been the Astros bullpen coach last year – and Angels bullpen coach Andrew Bailey.

They are hoping that the success Stassi had with the Astros’ pitchers can translate to helping the Angels’ pitchers.

“I think I can bring a lot,” Stassi said. “I was around some Hall of Fame-caliber pitchers over there. Those guys pushed me on a daily basis. I told them when I got traded, thanks for teaching me and for all their experiences. It was special to learn from them. I’m ready to help this staff out. We’ve got some younger guys here that I feel I can help out. I’ll just bring what I’ve learned throughout the game.”

Certainly, the Angels also wouldn’t mind if Stassi eventually helps entice one particular Astros pitcher – impending free agent and Orange County native Gerrit Cole – to join him in Anaheim.

“I know G real well,” Stassi said. “When I was on an official visit to go to UCLA, he was my host. We go way back. He’s worked his tail off and he deserves everything he’s achieved.”

Careful not to tamper, since Cole is still under contract with the Astros, Stassi smiled and said: “I think about 29 other teams would love to have him on their staff. He’s a special talent.”


Andrew Heaney threw a 30-pitch bullpen session and had no issues, Ausmus said. The Angels are now trying to decide if Heaney needs a rehab assignment or a simulated game before activating him. …

The promotion of top prospect Jo Adell to Triple-A is not necessarily a guarantee that Adell will be in the majors in September, Ausmus said. “He’s only going to get a month’s worth of Triple-A at-bats, which isn’t a lot,” Ausmus said. The Angels also don’t need to add Adell to the 40-man roster this winter, so they would need to be certain that whatever he gained by coming up in September would be worth the cost of having one less 40-man spot for another player this winter. …

Left-hander Adam McCreery, who was designated for assignment on Wednesday, cleared waivers and was outrighted to Salt Lake.


Angels (Félix Peña, 8-3, 4.66) at Indians (RHP Adam Plutko, 3-2, 4.83), Saturday, 4:10 p.m., Fox Sports West, 830 AM

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