Following the blockbuster trade that brought shortstop Andrelton Simmons to town, the Los Angeles Angels have made their first free agent move of the offseason. The Angels announced today that they have signed infielder Cliff Pennington to a two-year contract worth approximately four million in total.
According to ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick, Pennington will make $1.5 and $2.25 million in base salaries for the two years as well as possible performance bonuses.
Cliff Pennington will be turning 32 years old this season and will be entering his ninth big league season. Pennington was drafted in the first round by the Oakland Athletics in the 2005 Amateur Draft and spent the first five seasons of his career there. At the conclusion of the 2012 season, Pennington was traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks.
He spent the next two-and-a-half years with the D’backs before being traded once more to the Toronto Blue Jays last year. Pennington ended up playing in thirty-three regular season games with the Jays last season, as well as the postseason, finishing the year batting .160 with two home runs and eleven RBIs with the Blue Jays. Pennington was a member of the Jays playoff roster, but only in a secondary role behind Ryan Goins. Pennington did notably become the first position player to pitch in a playoff game this October.
At first glance this seems like a logical signing for the Angels. Pennington can provide depth at either second base or third base, depending on if the Angels end up re-signing David Freese or bringing someone else aboard, or he could start if no other infielders are signed. Given his past performance in a full-time capacity, and the fact that his best season came in 2010 with Oakland, Pennington is hardly a suitable full-time player. This scenario appears quite unlikely and it seems Pennington was mainly brought aboard to be a bench piece for the Halos over the next two seasons. After a surprising season from second baseman Johnny Giavotella, Pennington would likely be a backup option for him at second base and also for whoever is brought in at third base.