The Angels claimed right-handed reliever J.C. Gutierrez off waivers from the Kansas City Royals and added him to their 40-man roster Wednesday. The Angels had one open spot on their 40-man roster, so adding Gutierrez brings them to full capacity seven days before the non-waiver trade deadline.
Gutierrez was designated for assignment by the Royals 10 days ago when Wade Davis was activated from the paternity list. The 30-year-old was under contract for $750,000 this season, is out of minor-league options, and becomes a free agent at year’s end.
With the Royals, Gutierrez was used in the sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth innings, almost exclusively in non-save and non-hold situations. He compiled a 3.38 earned-run average, eight walks and 17 strikeouts in 29 ⅓ innings spanning 25 appearances.
Gutierrez was in the Arizona Diamondbacks’ system from 2007-11. When current Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto was the Diamondbacks’ Director of Scouting and Player Personnel, the D-Backs acquired Gutierrez from the Houston Astros in the trade that sent Jose Valverde to Houston.
From 2009-11, Gutierrez appeared in 143 games for Arizona, all out of the bullpen, saving 24 games and going 4-9 with a 4.62 earned-run average. His 2011 season ended prematurely due to an elbow injury that eventually required Tommy John surgery.
Gutierrez came back with the Royals the following year, pitching in the minors in 2012 and earning a 40-man roster spot after the season.
According to Fangraphs, Gutierrez features a mid-90s fastball and a curveball that bottoms out in the high 70s. He hasn’t thrown a slider that was his primary breaking pitch before the surgery.