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Angels acquire veteran reliever Ramos from Rays

Lefty could be used in specialist role; Sappington sent to Tampa Bay

ANAHEIM -- The Angels sent pitching prospect Mark Sappington to the Rays in exchange for veteran reliever Cesar Ramos on Wednesday, a deal announced moments after the club finalized a three-player trade with the Astros.

Ramos -- a teammate of Jered Weaver and Jason Vargas at Long Beach State University -- could potentially fill the Angels' need for a lefty specialist, but he hasn't been used in that role throughout his career.

Prospect acquired by Rays
Mark Sappington, RHP: A fifth-round pick of the Angels in the 2012 Draft, Sappington was the No. 11 prospect on the Angels' Top 20 at the time of the trade. The big right-hander had a huge first full season, reaching Double-A in 2013. He struggled to repeat the performance in 2014, though a move to the bullpen seemed to help him get headed back in the right direction. He was adding some innings in the Arizona Fall League when the deal was announced. He has the fastball-slider combination, as well as the aggressive mentality on the mound, to excel in a short-relief role. He's been up to 97 mph in the past, and his hard-tilting breaking ball can miss bats as well. His changeup and his command were his enemies in 2014, which won't be as big of a problem if he's coming out of the bullpen.
Top 20 Prospects: Rays | Angels
-- Jonathan Mayo

The 30-year-old southpaw has posted a 3.90 ERA in 186 appearances spanning six seasons in the Majors, the first two of which came with the Astros. Ramos made 43 appearances (seven starts) for the Rays this past season, posting a 3.70 ERA, a 1.36 WHIP and a 1.69 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 82 2/3 innings.

Sappington, a fifth-round pick by the Angels in the 2012 First-Year Player Draft, posted a 7.05 ERA in 17 starts to begin the 2014 season, then found success upon being moved to the bullpen. The 23-year-old power right-hander had a 3.38 ERA in 25 relief appearances in Double-A and Class A Advanced down the stretch, posting a 1.09 WHIP and striking out 13.8 batters per nine innings.

"The Angels have been the most amazing organization and I appreciate the opportunity," Sappington said after making an appearance in the Arizona Fall League.

"They're a first-class organization. They've done so many things and given me so many opportunities. It's been great, and I'm looking forward to a new opportunity with the Rays. I'm going to miss everybody. I love a lot of people with the Angels and I can't wait to meet my new teammates."

Earlier on Wednesday, the Angels sent backup catcher Hank Conger to the Astros for young starter Nick Tropeano and Minor League catcher Carlos Perez.

Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. Will Boor contributed to this report.
Read More: Los Angeles Angels, Cesar Ramos, Mark Sappington