Andrew Heaney was an imperfect pitcher during his six-and-a-half season tenure with the Los Angeles Angels. Heaney was never a detriment to the team, but he never reached the heights the Angels hoped for when they traded Howie Kendrick to the L.A. Dodgers for him in 2014.
In 102 starts for the Angels, Heaney held a 4.51 ERA, a 1.254 WHIP, and a K-to-BB ratio of 3.66. He showed flashes of being an ace, but struggled with consistency. Ultimately, just two months before his impending free agency, the Angels finally felt it was time to move on, dealing him to the New York Yankees for pitchers Jansen Junk and Elvis Peguero.
Heaney made his return to Angel Stadium this week as part of the Yankees’ three-game set. In his first appearance out of the bullpen this season, he allowed a solo home run to Shohei Ohtani as one of two earned runs. He has struggled with the Yankees this season, amassing a 6.43 ERA in six appearances (five starts).
Being back in Anaheim and facing the Angels allowed him to reminisce on his extended stay with the team. His tenure, while filled with many great moments, also came with some regrets, Heaney said via Jeff Fletcher of The O.C. Register:
“I was always kind of league average,” Heaney said. “I think it was tough, kind of feeling like we never accomplished what we were seeking to.”
Heaney went into further detail on the day he was traded to the Yankees and his feelings as he left an Angels organization that developed him into the pitcher he is today.
“The worst feeling was walking out of the clubhouse,” Heaney said. “The show doesn’t stop. Everything keeps going. The Angels are gonna play a game that night. They’re gonna replace you with a different pitcher on the roster. They’re gonna keep doing their thing. In that moment it was just kind of sad to be leaving what I was familiar with, and then going on to something new. But time heals all wounds. Just getting acclimated in New York, and everything’s been great here.”
While leaving the Angels certainly appears to have hurt Heaney, it’s not all negative. He will now likely get the chance to pitch — out of the bullpen — in the playoffs. He never made the postseason during his Angels tenure.
Fans often don’t think about the deeply personal part of trades. It’s especially hard for a player like Heaney who spent nearly seven years in Anaheim. However, the Angels had to do what was best for their franchise, and collecting two potentially promising prospects before Heaney’s free agency was a price they felt was worth paying.
Angels’ Sam Bachman climbing up prospect ranks
Part of the impetus for trading Heaney was knowing that they were not going to re-sign him in free agency. The biggest reason for that was the fact that several young Angels starters are making their way up the Minor League ranks.
One of those players is Sam Bachman, who has joined the MLB’s top 100 prospect list after making just four starts at the High-A level. The Angels hoped he would be a fast riser in their system and it’s possible he’s already making that ascension.