The Los Angeles Angels are beginning to fill holes in their lineup, and went to the one they needed least first. Tuesday afternoon, the team announced the signing of utility infielder, Cliff Pennington.
Pennington, 31, signed a two-year contract worth a total of $3.75 million. Base salaries come in at $1.5M the first season and $2.25M the next, with performance bonuses. This puts the Angels roughly around $20.5-24M away from their luxury tax threshold.
The Angels have been looking for cheap utility players, and Pennington fits the part for a cheap price. The former first-round draft pick has a career slash of .245/.313/.344, with last season being the worst of his eight-year career.
Pennington defensively has 10 defensive runs saved since 2012, 10th most for shortstops with at least 50 innings played. His defense as a utility player will be vital late in games as a defensive substitute.
Pennington is expected to fill the role of utility infielder, giving the Angels an option with Rule-5 draftee, Taylor Featherston. Featherston will likely begin next season with the Triple-A affiliate, Salt Lake Bees, while Johnny Giavotella remains the starting second baseman and Kaleb Cowart or Kyle Kubitza will remain the starting third baseman, pending free agent signings or trades.
Taylor Blake Ward is a Senior Publisher for Scout.com, and can be found on Twitter, @TaylorBlakeWard.