During a conference call to discuss the Angels' trade for All-Star slugger Justin Upton on Thursday, general manager Billy Eppler left open the possibility of making more moves ahead of the 8:59 p.m. PT deadline for teams to add postseason-eligible players to their rosters.
Hours later, the Angels pulled off their second big move of the day, acquiring second baseman Brandon Phillips from the Braves after the veteran infielder agreed to waive his partial no-trade clause to join the Halos' postseason push.
"Right now, my No. 1 goal is to get a ring and play for the Angels," Phillips said. "I didn't want to leave here, but a team called me. They want me to come out there and help them win. Hopefully, I can do that."
In exchange for Phillips, the Angels sent Minor League catcher Tony Sanchez to the Braves.
Phillips, 36, hit .291 with 11 home runs, 52 RBIs and a .753 OPS in 120 games for the Braves this season. He is in the final year of his contract and will be a free agent at the end of the season. Phillips is earning $14 million this year, but the Reds are paying $13 million of his salary. The Angels are only on the hook for Phillips' $500,000 reassignment bonus and about $200,000 of his remaining $1 million salary.
Phillips, who was raised in suburban Atlanta, said it was difficult for him to agree to leave his hometown team, but his family convinced him to accept the opportunity to play for a contender down the stretch. At 69-65, the Angels are 1 1/2 games behind the Twins for the second American League Wild Card spot with 28 games left to play.
"I let my family make a decision for me," Phillips said. "I didn't want to leave my family. It was fun playing for the Braves. Hopefully, I can come back next year, or whatever is in the future for me. It was really tough leaving the team I grew up watching. This decision was harder than leaving the Reds, honestly."
Second base has been a season-long hole for the Angels, who have received an MLB-worst .589 OPS from players at the position. They tried to fill the void during the offseason by acquiring Danny Espinosa from the Nationals, but Espinosa hit .162 in 77 games and was released in late July. Since then, Kaleb Cowart and Cliff Pennington had been splitting time at second for the Angels.
Upton and Phillips will likely join the Halos in Arlington on Friday for their series opener against the Rangers, and should help revamp the Angels' offense, which has the worst OPS (.713) in the AL.
"We're in such congestion around this Wild Card," Eppler said. "For everybody, there's some schedule running out. We needed to take full advantage of this opportunity presenting itself."
• To clear a spot on the 40-man roster for Phillips, the Angels transferred right-hander Andrew Bailey to the 60-day disabled list.
• The Angels announced Thursday that they added right-hander Noel Salas to their Major League roster. Salas, 32, spent three years in Anaheim before being traded to the Mets last summer. He logged a 6.00 ERA over 45 innings with the Mets this year, and was released in August. He returned to the Angels on a Minor League deal, and worked three scoreless innings over three appearances for Triple-A Salt Lake.
Right-hander Alex Meyer was transferred to the 60-day disabled list to clear a roster spot for Salas.