After 2 trades, Heaney likes chance with LA Angels
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Andrew Heaney envisions a long, prosperous future with the Los Angeles Angels. Even if he has already peaked as a tweeter.
The promising left-hander had a hilarious response to getting traded twice in about five hours at the winter meetings earlier this week, going from the Miami Marlins to the Dodgers to the Angels. Heaney never even got a phone call from the Dodgers before getting flipped again.
“Well, @Dodgers we had a good run! Great to be part of such a storied franchise,” he tweeted, adding “thanksforthememories” as a hashtag.
The Angels have big plans for Heaney, and he’s more comfortable with enormous expectations on the mound than on Twitter.
“Now everybody expects me to be this really funny guy, and I’m like, ‘I don’t know, I don’t think I’m that funny,’” Heaney said Friday in a phone interview. “All of those new followers that I picked up are probably going to be disappointed.”
Once his future was settled in Orange County, the 23-year-old Heaney grew excited about the prospect of playing for the majors’ best regular-season team last season alongside Mike Trout, Albert Pujols and right-hander Garrett Richards — a fellow native Oklahoman who cashed in on his own huge potential last year.
The Angels traded second baseman Howie Kendrick to get Heaney, giving up a major veteran contributor from their lineup for a skinny left-hander who still doesn’t have his first major league victory.
To Heaney, that’s a welcome vote of confidence after the Marlins gave him up in a seven-player deal to land Dee Gordon from the Dodgers.
“Personally I don’t see what anybody could be negative about or be worried about,” Heaney said. “I’m excited. I feel like any time you get traded, the team that’s getting you sees something. Especially for a guy like Howie Kendrick that’s been here 12 years, they value what you can bring to the team.”
While Kendrick has just one year left on his contract, Heaney is under the Angels’ control for the next six seasons.
Heaney is hoping to live up to his potential after his major league career got off to a sputtering start. The Marlins’ top pitching prospect went 0-3 with a 5.83 ERA in his debut last season despite doing solid work at times in five starts and seven total appearances.
“I unfortunately learned a lot more of what not to do than to do,” Heaney said, citing lessons about holding runners on base and keeping his pitches down to major-league hitters.
“I didn’t feel like I was at my best at the time, but I’m a little bit glad,” he added. “I think being a little bit humbled or having disappointments can be good for you.”
Just a few months after the Angels had almost no organizational depth in starting pitchers, general manager Jerry Dipoto has addressed the problem impressively.
The rotation still features Jered Weaver, Richards, C.J. Wilson and Matt Shoemaker, and the Angels now have an array of interesting options to fill it out. Los Angeles acquired touted right-hander Nick Tropeano from Houston earlier in the offseason, while left-hander Hector Santiago will get another chance to keep a rotation spot after an inconsistent 2014. Los Angeles also still has left-hander Tyler Skaggs, who will miss 2015 after elbow ligament replacement surgery.
The club will have an intense competition in spring training for the fifth spot in its rotation — or possibly the final two spots, since manager Mike Scioscia no longer expects Richards to be back from knee surgery by opening day.
After one tumultuous day, Heaney looks forward to steady growth into a major-league role, hopefully starting this spring.
“I hope to get in there with a guy like Richards and then Weaver and really be able to pick their brains,” Heaney said. “Any advantage I can get moving forward to be a more productive pitcher in the big leagues is exciting for me. I’m excited to learn more about what they do.”